According to randomised controlled trials, you start losing weight almost immediately after taking Wegovy (semaglutide). Patients on semaglutide lose an average of around 5% of body weight after one month and 8% after two months.
Semaglutide reduces appetite and hunger, helping you eat fewer calories; this effect is almost immediate. However, you might notice the effect of lower hunger wearing off after 4-5 days post-injection in the first month of taking Wegovy.
It can take 4-5 weeks for Wegovy to reach a level in the body we call a steady state. A steady state is when the drug’s levels in the body remain consistent rather than spiking and falling.
Interestingly, this initial weight loss is no different to other weight loss treatments or the impact of diet interventions on weight loss. The real effect of semaglutide is seen beyond 3 months.
Semaglutide is a long-acting medication that’s started at a lower dose to reduce the number and severity of side effects as it’s built up to a higher maintenance dose.
How much weight do people typically lose with Wegovy?
Research has shown that semaglutide (semaglutide 2.4 mg) can lead to a weight loss of around 16% of your body weight, or 16-17kg, after 68 weeks.
Most of this weight loss occurs in the first 32 weeks (9 months) and plateaus, as the body adapts to the medication and patients find a sustainable way of eating.
What diet works best with Wegovy?
A balanced diet that includes whole foods and minimises the intake of ultra-processed foods is recommended for optimal results with Wegovy.
However, there’s no research comparing different diets to one another alongside Wegovy. So, it’s unclear whether a specific diet would be best to eat whilst on Wegovy.
You can read our complete guide for a detailed review of what a balanced diet looks like here, but from Second Nature’s perspective, a balanced diet encourages the consumption of:
- High-quality protein sources: Fish, meat, eggs, tofu, tempeh, yoghurt, cheese, and seafood.
- Fat from whole foods: Meat, fish, eggs, dairy products (rich in calcium), nuts, seeds, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil.
- High-fibre carbohydrates: Whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, sweet potato, white potatoes, pumpkin, legumes like lentils, chickpeas, beans, and butternut squash.
- Fruits and vegetables: Take your pick!
How long can you stay on semaglutide for weight loss?
In the UK, NICE guidelines restrict semaglutide (Wegovy) for weight loss to a maximum of two years.
However, in the U.S. and other countries, these restrictions don’t apply, and many people may stay on semaglutide for much longer.
Some obesity researchers believe that in complex cases, semaglutide might need to be a lifelong treatment to ensure people keep the weight off in the long term.
However, we don’t yet have data on semaglutide beyond 68 weeks, so it’s unclear whether there would be any adverse effects of staying on the medication for this length of time.
Should I try Wegovy to lose weight?
Semaglutide is designed as an additional tool for weight management and, in most cases, shouldn’t be considered a lifelong medication.
Instead, it should be used to help you kickstart your weight loss and healthy journey while you commit to living a healthier lifestyle.
Ideally, we’d be able to lose weight without medication and lifestyle changes would be enough to support weight loss in the long term.
We’d generally recommend trying Second Nature’s weight-loss programme before considering a weight-loss jab.
Changing your habits is the most sustainable way to achieve long-term weight loss, and it’s also less expensive.
At Second Nature, we’ve been trusted by the NHS since 2017 to support people with type 2 diabetes and obesity to lose weight, manage their blood sugar levels, and lead healthier lifestyles for the long term.
In 2022, the NHS published data in the BMJ that compared the weight loss outcomes of five providers in the National Diabetes Prevention Programme.
Second Nature was more than twice as effective at supporting weight loss than the other four providers.
However, if you’ve decided to try semaglutide (when it’s available) but need support in making positive changes to your lifestyle, Second Nature could be an option for you. But it’s worth noting that we have strict eligibility criteria.