Based on data from a randomised controlled trial (RCT), you’ll likely regain some of the weight you lose on Mounjaro after stopping the treatment if you haven’t made the necessary lifestyle changes to help you maintain weight loss.
In the RCT mentioned above, 670 participants were placed on an intervention to receive a Mounjaro weight-loss injection once a week.
Average weight loss at 36 weeks was ~21%. At this stage, the participants were randomised to continue on the medication or start receiving a placebo to investigate the impact of stopping Mounjaro on weight loss.
After 88 weeks (one year after the groups were split), the results showed that the group who stopped Mounjaro had lost 9.5% of their body weight on average, showing they regained 11.5% of the weight they’d lost after 36 weeks in the trial.
After almost two years, losing 9.5% of body weight is still a significant achievement, and it’s highly likely that the health of the participants improved compared to the start of the trial.
However, the trend in this group indicates that the weight continued to be regained over time.
In comparison, the group that stayed on Mounjaro continued to lose weight and lost another 5% of their body weight on average, losing nearly 26% after 88 weeks.
Many experts interpret these results to suggest that Mounjaro and other weight-loss injections, like Wegovy, are lifelong medications, and to avoid weight regain, you need to stay on them for good.
However, it’s unlikely to be that black and white. Every individual response to this medication is different, and everyone’s treatment of obesity will need to be personalised to their needs and underlying situation.
Why do you regain weight after stopping Mounjaro?
Weight regain after stopping Mounjaro might occur for various reasons, the primary one being that the high levels of GLP-1 and GIP maintained in the body to reduce hunger will decrease.
When GLP-1 levels fall after stopping Mounjaro, our hunger levels will likely increase, and we’ll find it harder to manage our portion sizes, which could lead to an increase in calorie intake.
Here are three more reasons why you might regain weight after stopping Mounjaro:
- You haven’t changed the quality of your diet: Tirzepatide naturally leads to lower hunger levels and helps us eat less. If you’re still eating a diet based on ultra-processed foods but simply eating less – you’ll lose weight while on the medication. But, when you stop taking Mounjaro, you no longer have the medication to help you eat less, and a diet rich in ultra-processed foods inherently leads to excess calorie intake and weight gain.
- You haven’t introduced exercise into your routine: Sedentary lifestyles are a vital contributor to the development of obesity, and good research suggests that those who exercise more are more likely to keep weight off in the long run.
- You haven’t changed your underlying habits and behaviours: If we haven’t addressed the underlying causes of our overeating, we’ll unlikely be able to keep weight off in the long run. Psychological factors like mood, emotional health, and stress can all contribute to our eating choices. If we don’t address these whilst on Mounjaro, we’ll struggle to keep the weight off when we stop the medication.
Can you keep weight off after stopping Mounjaro?
You can keep weight off when you stop Mounjaro; weight regain isn’t inevitable. However, this is the most challenging aspect of a weight loss journey, with or without medication.
Weight maintenance is extremely challenging, but there are a few things you can do to help avoid weight regain after stopping Mounjaro:
- Improve the quality of your diet: Eating a diet based on whole foods and minimising the consumption of ultra-processed foods will help your body regulate your appetite naturally.
- Exercise: Research has shown that people who exercise more after weight loss are more likely to avoid weight regain in the long term.
- Address the underlying causes of overeating: Weight loss is as much about developing an understanding of why we eat, as much as it is about how and what. If we can identify the underlying causes of our overeating, we’ll be more able to address them. This could be emotional eating, environmental triggers, or other psychological-related causes like previous trauma.
Do you need to stay on Mounjaro forever?
At Second Nature, we don’t believe you must be on Mounjaro forever to maintain long-term weight loss. We view Mounjaro and other weight-loss injections like Wegovy similarly to anti-depressants.
Anti-depressants are rarely, if ever, prescribed as a lifelong medication to ‘cure’ depression. They’re used to open a window to treatment so the individual can engage in therapy to address the underlying causes of their condition.
Medications and therapy are used as a package to treat the underlying condition. We see Mounjaro and Wegovy in a similar way. We feel they help to calm down the ‘food noise’ that people experience so they can find their eating off-switch.
By interacting with the brain’s appetite control centre, the hypothalamus, these medications open the window to treatment by allowing people time and space to address their condition’s underlying behavioural, psychological, and environmental causes.
Of course, there will be some circumstances where people will need to be on medication longer than the two years these medications are approved for in the UK.
Some people will have specific genetic predispositions to hunger and cravings that only medication may address.
But many people will likely be able to use Mounjaro as a way to kickstart their weight loss journey and develop the healthy habits required to rewire their brain and keep their cravings at bay before coming off of the medication when they’re ready.
Second Nature’s medication-supported programme
Second Nature has launched a medication-supported weight-loss programme for people who need the extra help to lose weight that Mounjaro and other weight-loss injections can provide.
Generally, we’d recommend trying our weight-loss programme before applying for a weight-loss injection. Not only is it cheaper (~£33 a month compared to ~£229), it may be more sustainable to focus on habits and behaviours without the medication.
However, if you’ve tried every diet and weight-loss program me under the sun and, despite your best efforts over many years, you still can’t find the solution to maintain your weight loss and lower your cravings. Our medication programme may be for you.
Our medication-supported programme offers:
- Peace of mind that we’re the only weight-loss programme in the UK offering a medication-supported programme that’s also trusted by the NHS to deliver weight-loss services
- 1-1 support from a registered nutritionist or dietitian
- A guaranteed ongoing prescription for either Mounjaro or Wegovy that’s approved after a consultation with our clinical team