It is important to work closely with a medical professional when choosing a weight loss program.
A new client came into our clinic yesterday to continue a weight loss journey with VIVA Wellness. I say ‘continue’ because she had recently started a weight loss program with another provider but felt uncomfortable with the lack of appropriate medical help she received at that clinic. She understood that, above all, health is most important in any weight loss program.
Weight loss drugs such as Semaglutide, Ozempic, Wegovy, Tirzepatide, Mounjaro, and others have been seeing rising popularity and are being endorsed by celebrities. There are now countless clinics and health professionals offering them as a way to lose weight. Semaglutide is the generic name for common weight loss drugs also used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is frequently used in conjunction with diet and exercise to help control blood sugar and maintain healthy body weight. This medicine is part of a group of prescription drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
Read some of our recent articles on the topic:
- Celebrity Use of Semaglutide for Weight Loss—Body Image, Safety & Ethics
- Semaglutide, Ozempic, Wegovy, Tirzepatide, Mounjaro for Weight Loss—is the subscription and telehealth model safe?
When used correctly, these weight loss drugs can be life-changing. Just like any other medical treatment, however, these medicines are not without their side effects. Though uncommon, serious side effects can occur in some patients. Without proper pharmacological management and medical care, there is a risk of potential interactions with other medications. If not used as part of a comprehensive weight management program, these drugs can end up doing more harm than good in the long-term.
VIVA Wellness Weight Loss Protocol & Nurse Practitioners
VIVA Wellness recognizes the importance of medical oversight with any medical weight management program. To carry out weight loss programs in a responsible way, we developed a rigid treatment protocol that we use with each of our patients to ensure the program’s safety and effectiveness.
At VIVA Wellness, our weight loss protocol starts with a medical intake form followed by a conversation with one of our nurse practitioners to discuss a client’s goals and other health concerns. Next, we review lab work and conduct a physical exam to establish a baseline weight, blood pressure, EKG, and listen to your heart and lungs. We do all this to be sure we prescribe the best program for each client and maximize our client’s safety.
Once we have an established relationship, we continue to work with our patients closely. Our nurse practitioners may make recommendations to aid in your weight loss, such as increased physical activity and nutritional counseling. We continually monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary along the way using routine check-ins and support. Individual results are as unique as the patients themselves. You can read more about our unique process here (The VIVA Wellness Weight Loss Experience: What to Expect as You Begin).
What are the components of the VIVA Wellness Weight Loss Protocol?
- An Intro Consultation with one of our experienced Weight Loss Nurse Practitioners to ensure that health history, quality of life, goals, and mental/emotional support are all aligned with the use of the medication we prescribe.
- Weekly progress check-ins for support, accountability, body weight monitoring, medication injections, and side-effect mitigation according to your individual needs.
- Access to in-house services that can be used in combination to complement the use of weight loss drugs. Examples are colon hydrotherapy, infrared sauna, lymphatic drainage treatments, IV infusions, and skin tightening. These services not only mitigate common side effects but facilitate the efficacy of the medications by supporting overall systemic health in the body. A healthier, thriving whole system may lose body weight more easily.
- Access to a vetted network of Western/traditional medicine, Eastern/alternative medicine, and energetic practitioners who can step in to support you with health concerns that may be outside the scope of the treatment protocol.
Other Clinics Don’t Offer Our Level of Support and Monitoring
After speaking with various clients, we’ve heard many other clinics will start their patients on a prescription for semaglutide to lose weight without first reviewing their bloodwork, medical history, or conducting a physical exam. We’ve even heard that some clinics don’t take a baseline body weight! They write the patient a prescription and send them on their way. At VIVA Wellness, we believe that is not only a recipe for failure but puts patients at risk for complications and serious side effects.
Although some of these programs may help some overweight adults lose a lot of weight quickly, advertising as much as 15 pounds in a month, they do not set patients up for success in keeping the weight off long-term. Because they are not closely monitored by responsible healthcare professionals, these programs also may have related health risks, often including digestive and gallbladder problems.
Weight Loss Medications are Not Without Risks
Like all prescription medications, there are risks in using Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and other semaglutide-containing products for weight loss in adults. Even though these risks are small, a client could have symptoms after beginning the medication. It is important to remember that every person is different, and individual risk can vary depending on your age, health history, and other factors. Some patients experience adverse effects because of dehydration. According to LT Men’s Clinic, some rare but more serious potential risks of semaglutide include: thyroid cancer, inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis, eye problems, infections, low blood sugar, and kidney problems. Sometimes a client may be experiencing serious adverse reactions without realizing it. This is why it’s essential that our patients meet with our experienced nurse practitioners consistently throughout the program. We are trained to identify possible problems and make the necessary interventions as needed to ensure each patient’s success.
Trained Medical Support and Monitoring are Keys to Weight Loss Success
We customize the individual program for each of our patients and change medications if we need to. We know that optimizing the functions of the kidney and liver are important factors in losing weight and remaining healthy. We can offer clients IV vitamins and hydration to make weight loss easier. We have methods to minimize side effects for our patients like nausea, constipation, bloating, and fatigue. This is why our regular check-ins are so important.
At VIVA Wellness, our client’s health and safety always come first. That’s why we customize each and every weight loss program to our patient’s unique needs and continue to support them toward their goals. Our nurse practitioners offer care and compassion along with the medical know-how to guide each client to their own personal success.
Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Loss Programs
The FDA has approved five prescription medications for long-term use in managing weight in overweight adults or adults with obesity: orlistat (Xenical, Alli), phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia), naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave), liraglutide (Saxenda) and semaglutide (Wegovy). The National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides a table of approved weight loss medications and common side effects.
Medications designed to help support weight management are often prescribed by healthcare professionals for overweight adults struggling with weight-related medical problems. By assessing your body mass index (BMI) and other factors, our experts can determine if medication is an appropriate tool to help you reach and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Prescription medications, when paired with a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition and physical activity, can enhance weight loss efforts dramatically. On average, overweight adults who take medication as part of their journey typically experience 3-12% more weight loss than those who received a placebo in the first year.
You are an individual with a unique body and unique needs. You have your own metabolism, medical conditions and family history. The treatment that is right for you may not be the same treatment that is right for someone else. Our healthcare professionals at VIVA Wellness will get to know you and your needs and find the best weight loss solution for you.
By committing to the treatment plan, taking recommended supplements and medications as prescribed, and attending regular appointments with your healthcare provider, you may experience results within a matter of days. Most patients start seeing results within one week or up to a month after starting treatment. With medically guided weight loss, you have the added benefit of having a supportive partner in your journey to reach your desired goal. Successful weight loss requires effort and dedication, and the staff at VIVA Wellness are here to walk with you through your journey.
Semaglutide offers impressive weight loss outcomes without the need for a dramatic lifestyle shift or an overly restrictive diet. It helps quell cravings, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and extends your feeling of fullness by slowing digestion in the stomach—making it ideal for those looking to see meaningful changes with minimal effort! Because of its effects on appetite and body weight, it can also have a positive effect on symptoms of diabetes. Semaglutide has been studied extensively and approved by the FDA. A trial by the New England Journal of Medicine showed that overweight and obese adults without diabetes mellitus who took once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide and made some lifestyle changes had substantial, sustained, clinically relevant weight loss versus those given a placebo.
Depending on your baseline body weight, your reduction in body weight can vary. According to the New York Times, "Nearly 2,000 participants, at 129 centers in 16 countries, injected themselves weekly with semaglutide or a placebo for 68 weeks. Those who got the drug lost close to 15 percent of their body weight, on average, compared with 2.4 percent among those receiving the placebo.
More than a third of the participants receiving the drug lost more than 20 percent of their weight. Symptoms of diabetes and pre-diabetes improved in many patients."
At VIVA Wellness, we will take note of your initial body weight and monitor you during the course of the program to make sure you are losing weight at a healthy and steady rate until you reach your ideal body mass index.
Based on clinical trials of semaglutide in adults, semaglutide's effects can be felt in as little as two weeks, although visible results may not appear until week eight. With regular use, many people experience significant improvements within the first 12 weeks after beginning semaglutide treatment. International, double-blind clinical trials showed that most patients, in combination with dietary and physical activity counseling, showed meaningful weight loss over 52 weeks compared with placebo at all doses.
The National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends:
"For people who are overweight or have obesity, experts recommend a beginning weight-loss goal of 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight within 6 months. If you weigh 200 pounds, that would amount to a loss of 10 pounds, which is 5 percent of starting weight, to 20 pounds, which is 10 percent of starting weight, in 6 months."
Ozempic and Wegovy are two FDA-approved, yet distinct prescription medicines that have been designed to serve different purposes in the treatment of obesity and patients with Type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is prescribed for managing Type 2 diabetes due to its ability to help the pancreas produce additional insulin necessary for healthy blood sugar levels. Wegovy can be utilized for weight management in adults, but it is not approved for treatment of diabetes. It works on both a physiological and psychological level, inducing feelings of fullness and reducing overall food intake. Both can result in improved control of blood sugar levels and diabetes symptoms in addition to aiding weight loss.
According to Drugs.com, the most common side effects of semaglutide-containing products include:
- blurred vision
- cold sweats
- cool, pale skin
- darkened urine
- difficulty swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- increased hunger
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- loss of appetite
- pain in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- skin rash
- slurred speech
- tightness in the chest
- trouble breathing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- yellow eyes or skin
There is a small risk for more serious side effects, especially when combined with other medical conditions, which is why medical monitoring is so important while taking these medicines.
Tirzepatide (brand name Mounjaro), an injection used to treat Type 2 diabetes, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist and is only available with a doctor's prescription. Our dedicated Nurse Practitioners are able to prescribe tirzepatide for patients with obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Currently, insurance will only cover Mounjaro for those with documented type 2 diabetes, but our office works with compounding pharmacies to bring our clients access to generic Tirzepatide.
Prescription drugs in a medical weight loss plan can include:
- NEW Semaglutide: One of the most powerful weight loss drugs given through a weekly injection protocol without radically modifying diet and lifestyle. Semaglutide is a non-stimulant that reduces cravings, makes you feel fuller for longer, and regulates blood sugar levels.
- CONTRAVE® (naltrexone HCI/bupropion HCl) – Works on two areas of your brain, the hunger center and the reward system, to reduce hunger and help control cravings.
- Phentermine – A short-term solution for appetite suppression to control body weight. Works best in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.
- Qsymia® – This is a combination of two drugs: Phentermine and Topiramate. It will help you eat less and lose weight by reducing your appetite and feeling more satisfied with what you've eaten.
- Additional weight loss drugs may be prescribed during your care.
We want you to be in control of your health journey. With VIVA Wellness, you can pick and choose which services fit within your wellness and weight management plan. If you'd like a helping hand in creating a perfect roadmap for well-being, our team is available to support you. We believe in an integrative and holistic approach to wellness, meaning that all parts of the body are connected. When you are able to create healing in any one area, the whole system benefits.
At VIVA Wellness, we pride ourselves on our calm, welcoming atmosphere that puts you and your body at ease. Your body does not work at its best when it is in its stressed state, and we keep that in mind at every point in our interactions together. Our rooms feature comfy couches, cozy blankets on treatment tables, music, essential oils diffusing, and other amenities to make you feel calm and peaceful.
If you have any special requests or medical anxiety, simply let our team know how we can best support you when you book your appointment. We honor all you've been through and can assure you that we'll do our best to accommodate your needs.
You can help us get to know you better and prepare for your visit by:
- Writing down any questions you may have.
- Making a list of any medications and herbal supplements you are currently taking.
- Writing down any diets or programs you have tried in the past to lose weight.
Bring a list of known family history of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Get started today!
Have you been wanting to start your journey to lose weight but don’t know where to start? Make sure it’s done the right way—with VIVA Wellness! Our knowledgeable Nurse Practitioners are here for you with all of their expertise and support. All we need from you is a few details, like your goals and health history, and we will do the “heavy-lifting” of creating the weight loss protocol that is custom-made for you. Become one of our valued patients today and let our team help you write your next chapter!