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How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight On Wegovy?

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How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight On Wegovy?

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Wegovy is an FDA-approved weekly weight loss medication that is self-injected into your thigh, abdomen, or upper arm once a week.  
  • After starting Wegovy, some people experience weight loss in as little as four weeks, but research suggests that long-term compliance (a minimum of 12 months) is needed to see results.
  • While taking Wegovy, you’ll also need to make lifestyle and dietary changes to support weight loss.

Lifestyle and dietary changes are recommended strategies to help people lose weight, but these approaches aren’t effective for everyone.

Factors that work against weight loss include age, genetics, hormone levels, and general health status.

Other medical interventions to support weight loss might be more appropriate, including bariatric surgery and prescription medications. 

Wegovy medication was approved for weight loss in 2021 and has risen in popularity.

Users have to administer the drug at home once per week, and it facilitates weight loss by decreasing appetite and slowing down digestion to promote fullness. 

Keep reading to learn about Wegovy and how long it takes to start losing weight. 

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What is Wegovy?

Wegovy (semaglutide) is an FDA-approved injectable medication prescribed for weight loss.

It’s recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 or a BMI of 27 with weight-related medical problems that may benefit from weight loss—such as cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.

Although Wegovy can help with weight loss (users lost 15.8% of their body mass after injecting 2.5mg weekly for 15 months), the manufacturers recommend taking the medication and making lifestyle and dietary changes to achieve the best results. 

This includes eating a diet rich in high-quality foods, sleeping 7-8 hours per night, managing stress levels, and increasing your physical activity—the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and 2-3 days of resistance training. 

How Does Wegovy Work for Weight Loss?

Wegovy mimics a gut hormone called glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone released after eating to signal fullness to your brain and regulate blood sugar levels. 

After starting Wegovy, you’ll feel similar effects as GLP-1 and gradually feel less hungry.

The decreased appetite associated with Wegovy contributes to reduced energy intake, resulting in weight loss. 

Another mechanism of action is Wegovy's effect on the rate of digestion.

The medication delays gastric emptying, and food moves slower through your stomach into your intestines.

A slower digestion rate can make you feel full longer, which may contribute to less energy intake. 

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How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight on Wegovy?

Wegovy manufacturers can only estimate how quickly a person will lose weight after starting the medication.

Everyone’s metabolic response to the drug is unique, and it’s impossible to predict how soon you’ll experience changes. 

The medication dose is intentionally low to help your body adjust.

You’ll start with 0.25mg weekly and monitor any side effects. 

Some people may see weight changes after four weeks, but the results vary.

If you feel well after one month of using Wegovy, you’ll gradually increase your dosage every four weeks until you reach 1.7mg (approximately four months after starting the medication). 

  • If you’re experiencing digestive side effects after four weeks, your physician may ask you to stay at 1.7mg
  • If you don’t have side effects, you can titrate up to a total dose of 2.4mg (approximately five months after starting the medication)

A recent study of 175 participants observed weight loss changes after taking semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy) for three and six months.

Participants taking high doses (either 1.7mg or 2.4mg) experienced an average weight loss of 6.9% from their baseline at three months and 12.1% at six months.  

Most clinical trials observe significant weight loss changes after several months of taking 2.4mg, and researchers speculate that people may need to titrate up to the total dose before they see meaningful results. 

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Factors Affecting the Rate of Weight Loss on Wegovy

A medication may not produce weight loss results for a few possible reasons, including: 

  • Missing a dose.
  • Taking the medication incorrectly. Wegovy instructions state the pen should be rotated through injection sites, including the upper arm, abdomen, and thigh. 
  • Using expired products. 
  • Miscalculating the correct dose. 

Although medications can help with weight loss, other metabolic factors could influence the rate of weight loss.

These include: 

  • Age. 
  • Sex. 
  • General health status. 
  • Hormone function. 
  • Level of physical activity. 
  • Muscle-to-fat ratio. 
  • Genetics. 

The medication functions best when the user changes lifestyle and diet while taking Wegovy.

Typical Timeline for Seeing Results

Wegovy’s dosing schedule is available online.

All injections are done weekly; your starting dosage will be 0.25mg for one month. 

  • Increase to 0.5mg in the second month. 
  • Increase to 1 mg in the third month. 
  • Increase to 1.7mg in the fourth month. 
  • Increase to 2.4mg in the fifth month. 

Most people experience some weight change after four weeks of starting the medication; however, results are highly individualized.

Wegovy firmly states that its product is for long-term weight solutions, and you’ll need to be patient to see results. 

Side effects may occur while increasing the dosage, and you may not tolerate 2.4mg.

Many symptoms are linked to digestion, including stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, etc.

You and your healthcare team can decide on a final dosing value that works well for you. 

Wegovy may lead to rare, more serious side effects, like pancreatitis or kidney issues.

Talk to your doctor about whether this medication is right for you.

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Combining Wegovy with Healthy Habits for Long-Term Success

Weight loss isn’t as simple as eating less and moving more.

Although some calorie reduction is necessary (which Wegovy offers), you must also develop healthy behaviors supporting long-term success. 

  • Heal your relationship with food
  • Learn how to build balanced meals using the USDA MyPlate model. 
  • Practice cooking at home more often. 
  • Do physical activities that light you up, such as dancing. 
  • Build a support network to stay motivated
  • Try to sleep for a minimum of 7 hours every night. 

Intuitive eating practices can be beneficial for building a healthy relationship with food.

This evidence-based approach encourages you to reject diet culture and embrace an all-foods-fit mentality. 

Improving your relationship with eating and weight is critical for your long-term success.

Research has shown that people who move away from food rules are more likely to maintain long-term healthy eating behaviors.

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Wegovy Alternatives for Weight Loss

Saxenda is another popular weight loss medication that functions similarly to Wegovy.

It contains liraglutide, which mimics GLP-1 function and reduces appetite.

This medication must be injected daily, and research suggests it may not be as effective for weight loss as Saxenda users.

People taking Saxenda lost 6% of their baseline weight after 68 weeks, compared to 15% on Wegovy. 

Some medications are being prescribed for weight loss, although they aren’t FDA-approved.

Most of these drugs are GLP-1 agonists, similar to Wegovy and Saxenda, but are intended for type 2 diabetes management.

They include Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Trulicity. 

Instead of medications, some people may be interested in exploring surgical interventions for weight loss.

These are commonly grouped as bariatric surgeries that alter your digestive system's size and function to promote weight loss.

Pursuing surgery is a big commitment, and you’ll need to adjust your diet and lifestyle post-operation to maintain weight loss results. 

Takeaway

Wegovy is a weight loss medication and can be a tool to help you achieve your health goals.

It mimics GLP-1 hormones by signaling fullness to your brain and decreasing appetite. 

In addition to taking Wegovy, you’ll need to make lifestyle and nutrition changes to support your weight loss efforts.

It’s impossible to tell how quickly Wegovy will help you lose weight, but most people see initial changes after four weeks.

More significant results are demonstrated in long-term usage, greater than one year. 

Another layer to consider when choosing Wegovy is the price.

The medication is expensive and costs approximately $1300 monthly without insurance coverage.

The high price tag may affect your decision to try the medication, especially if you have to pay out of pocket.

How a Dietitian Can Help

A registered dietitian is a nutrition expert and healthcare professional.

They’re highly trained in nutritional health management and can also address weight loss and management questions. 

You may not know what to expect if you’ve never met with a dietitian before.

Here are questions to ask:

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for Wegovy to start working?

Wegovy isn’t an overnight solution and will take time to start working.

People may experience weight loss results after four weeks, but significant weight loss (up to 15% of body weight) may occur after one year of taking the medication.

How quickly does weight loss occur with Wegovy?

People may experience weight loss in as little as four weeks, but it could take three or six months to see results.

Most people see changes after one year of using Wegovy when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

How much weight can you lose with Wegovy in one month?

Results vary too greatly to predict how much weight you can lose in one month while taking Wegovy.

You can work with a registered dietitian to develop a weight loss plan to maximize your efforts.

References

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