Whether new to Semaglutide and Tirzepatide or multiple months in, you may wonder what to eat or drink, how to reach weight-loss goals more quickly, how to avoid negative side effects or what lifestyle changes will keep the weight off. According to ShedRx providers Dr. John Bernard and Dr. Vinson Di Santo, as well as general recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, here are eight tips and suggestions to help in your weight-loss journey:
Whether fond of exercise or not, it will assist in weight-loss. Resistance-training will help to maintain muscle and focus more on shedding fat. Therefore, this will also help tone your body more.
Stay active, Bernard suggested. However, avoid drastic change in workouts. He advised that patients stick with what they were doing prior to taking medication rather than to undergo a new, vigorous exercise regimen. You don’t want to burn yourself out.
Di Santo said, “Engage in activities that you can do for 10 or 20 years without struggle.” He encouraged clients to participate in exercise that they enjoy to remain engaged more long-term.
Insider said that according to personal trainer Luke Worthington, “The aim when losing weight should be to change your body composition — the ratio of fat to muscle — not just become a smaller ‘skinny fat’ version of yourself.”
Muscle uses calories at rest. It is an active tissue, which means that strengthening muscles will help maintain weight loss. Eating a high-protein diet will allow muscles to grow and become stronger which helps to lose fat rather than losing weight, in general.
While he did note that the best approach to exercise is including both cardio and weight training, Bernard emphasized the idea of staying with what they did before. “The key is, really, to just follow what your body’s telling you.”
Not only will protein-rich foods keep you fuller longer, but they will also assist in maintaining muscle. Shoot for protein to make up ¼ of your meals and choose leaner options such as chicken, turkey, fish, tofu and beans as much as possible.
Bernard taught a general rule to go by is to consume one gram of protein for each kilogram a person weighs on a daily basis. For example, if an individual weighs 180 pounds, roughly 81 kilograms, the suggestion is to consume about 81 grams of protein daily.
While each individual varies, he said this is a good goal to shoot for, as an increase of protein has seemed to help patients. He encouraged those on medication to swap out red meats for leaner options, such as chicken and fish.
3. Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables will add fiber to your diet, as well as vitamins and minerals. They help to maintain blood sugar, as well. When sitting down to eat, double check if half of the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. If not, maybe add a few. “You want to stay focused on things like vegetables and whole grains, especially,” Bernard stated.
Di Santo expressed the value in eating a balanced diet. “A good structure would be a typical way we once ate in more ancient times,” he said. “Eat the way our great grandparents ate before they had bad options.” He explained this means eliminating low-value foods which are unnecessary.
4. Whole grains
The last ¼ of the plate should be filled up with whole grains. They are rich in fiber and nutrients and allow for greater satiety. Some suggestions include whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, oats or quinoa.
It is stressed that water consumption is imperative in order to maintain hydration and limit potential side effects, swapping out sugary drinks for good, old-fashioned H2O. The University of Missouri System suggests that individuals should drink roughly half of their body weight in ounces each day and even more if exercising.
“Very often, people are substituting water with a different type of beverage that dehydrates them more,” Di Santo said. He encouraged individuals to drink water when thirsty over a sweet drink or energy drink.
Nutrition to Avoid
6. High-fat foods
Stay away from anything greasy or fried which may cause an upset stomach or digestive issues. When including fats in a daily diet, seek out healthy fats and do so sensibly. Examples of healthy fats are: seeds, nuts, avocados and coconut oil.
Bernard counseled against food items that are processed or high in saturated fats. He added that high-fat foods, including butter, whole milk and red meat should also be consumed in moderation.
7. Added sugar
While it may show up unexpectedly, whether in sauces, dressings or frozen meals, watch out for added sugars so as not to spike blood sugar or worsen symptoms. It may work against the weight-loss medication, doing the exact opposite of the desired purpose of Semaglutide and Tirzepatide.
Bernard added that sweets, like candy, cookies, cakes, pies, etc. are not very nutritious. They have a high amount of sugar and carbohydrate content.
Alcohol consumption may worsen possible side effects of Semaglutide and Tirzepatide. Bernard said it is full of “empty calories.” Semaglutide and Tirzepatide slow the digestion process, so limiting alcohol consumption will lessen the possibility of gastrointestinal distress symptoms.
UCLA Health stated, “When used in conjunction with diet and exercise, [Semaglutide] can cause significant weight loss.” In other words, while Semaglutide and Tirzepatide, alone, are effective in losing weight, they are not as influential as paying attention to how you are fueling and strengthening the body.
By intaking proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and water, and limiting high-fats, added-sugars and alcohol, this will be a catalyst to weight-loss. In addition, incorporating strength training to target different muscle groups will ensure quickened results.
Bernard said most people on medication do not see any side effects at all and if they do, the influence is minimal and may be controlled through changes in diet. Generally, excellent results are produced, meaning a great deal of weight has come off and, therefore, the patient feels better physically and emotionally about themselves.
“Most people really do [obtain] pretty good success,” Bernard said. “And a lot of people — it really changes their life too, and improves their overall health and certainly their emotional sense of well-being.”
Bernard noted that while the perfect medication for weight-loss does not exist, Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are as close as they come.
“They are definitely the best we’ve ever had and they really are game-changing treatments for weight-loss for a condition that, in the past, has been very difficult to manage and treat,” Bernard said. “We are certainly seeing a lot of success with these medications.”