Wegovy Weight Loss Plateau: What Is it and How to Overcome It

Feb 28, 2024 | Weight Loss

You’ve been taking weight loss medications like Wegovy, Ozempic, or Zepbound for some time. You’ve followed a healthy, low-calorie diet, improved your exercise habits, and changed your lifestyle. And you’re experiencing greater weight loss and excited about it.

But, suddenly, you notice that you’re not losing weight as before. The scale is not moving–You’ve hit a weight loss plateau.

Everyone hits a weight loss plateau at some point, no matter their weight loss technique.

In this post, we’ll help you understand why you’ll hit a weight-loss plateau on weight-loss medications, whether you should continue taking the drugs, and how to overcome a plateau while taking them.


What Is a Wegovy Weight-Loss Plateau?

A Wegovy weight loss plateau refers to a situation where you’re using Wegovy as part of your weight loss regimen and experience a period where your weight loss slows down significantly despite continued medication use. You may still be on a low-calorie diet and exercising as before, but the pounds aren’t shedding like before.

A Wegovy plateau is quite similar to a regular weight loss plateau. The only difference is that it happens when the person takes Wegovy to lose weight.


What Causes a Wegovy Weight-Loss Plateau?

A Wegovy weight-loss plateau can occur because of several factors, similar to weight-loss plateaus experienced without the medication. Here’s why you may hit a plateau even on Wegovy:


1. Metabolic Adaptation

Initially, Wegovy may lead to significant weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. However, over time, your body may adapt to a lower caloric intake and exercise regimen and slow down to conserve energy.

Your metabolism also naturally slows down because when you lose weight, your muscle mass reduces. Your body burns calories more quickly when you have more muscle—weight loss stalls when you can’t burn more calories than you consume.


2. Inconsistency in Medication Use

Inconsistent use of Wegovy or failure to follow the prescribed dosage can affect its effectiveness in promoting weight loss.

Weight loss medications like Wegovy and Ozempic are designed for long-term use. You may experience a plateau or regain weight if you stop taking them.

Studies suggest that you may regain two-thirds of your weight within a year if you stop taking 2.4 mg weekly semaglutide injections.


3. Dietary Changes

After a calorie-deficit diet for a while, you may unknowingly increase your calorie intake, which could be snacking on something while cooking dinner or going for larger portions. These changes to your diet can hinder weight loss progress.


4. Physical Activity

Changes in physical activity levels can impact weight loss. If someone becomes less active or reduces the intensity of their workouts, this can slow down their rate of weight loss or lead to a plateau.


5. Lifestyle Factors

Wegovy’s clinical trials showed that the drug was most effective when combined with other lifestyle modifications. The weight loss medications are designed to be used with lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthier eating pattern, increased physical activities, stress management, and getting enough sleep.

Factors such as stress and inadequate sleep can affect your weight loss efforts. Stress may lead to emotional eating or cravings for high-calorie foods, while poor sleep can disrupt the hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism.


How to Overcome a Plateau While on Wegovy

Overcoming a weight loss plateau while on semaglutide may require a combination of strategies to optimize its effectiveness and address potential barriers to weight loss. Here are some tips to help overcome a plateau while using Wegovy:


1. Review Your Diet

Wegovy functions best when combined with a low-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Evaluate your current eating habits and ensure you follow a balanced and calorie-controlled diet. At times, it may seem like you’re not eating much, but you still have challenges shedding pounds.

Consider tracking your food intake to identify areas where you might be consuming more calories than intended.

Monitoring your calories and macronutrients–protein, fat, and carbohydrates can give you specific insights into how much you’re consuming. This will enable you to adjust your diet as needed.

Avoid sugary and processed foods, reduce alcohol intake, limit snacking between meals, and focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.


2. Increase Physical Activity

Increasing your exercise routine may help break a plateau. This is because when you lose weight, your metabolic rate decreases. The steady decrease in metabolic rate when weight drops might make it extremely hard to continue losing weight.

Fortunately, research suggests physical activity may successfully reduce this impact.

Wegovy studies advise participants to work out for at least 150 minutes weekly. If you don’t currently exercise a lot, start there and choose an activity you enjoy, such as swimming, cycling, or walking for 20-30 minutes each day.

If you currently exercise, working out an additional 1-2 days a week or increasing your exercise intensity may boost your metabolic rate.

Aim for cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to challenge your body and break through the plateau.


3. Make Lifestyle Modifications

You might excel in adhering to medication, maintaining physical activity, and reducing calorie intake. However, you must also improve lifestyle factors, including sleep patterns, stress management, and hydration levels, to break a plateau.

For many, stress triggers the cravings for high-calorie comfort foods like chocolate, chips, and cookies. To help you manage your stress and avoid junk foods, list relaxing things you can do instead of eating, including deep breathing exercises or meditation. Talking to a therapist may also be beneficial.

Getting enough sleep might help you lose weight, whether you’ve hit a plateau or just starting. People who don’t receive the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night might eat more calories during the day to relieve fatigue. Sleep deprivation can also increase stress levels and poor eating habits.

Dehydration can also be mistaken for hunger and lead to overeating. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily, or more if you’re physically active or live in a hot climate.


4. Increase the Dosage

Studies suggest that 25% of people on low doses of semaglutide may hit a plateau or even not lose weight, while those on higher dosages see more weight loss.

At NP2GO Clinic, we start semaglutide at a lower dose of 0.25 mg once a week for the first 4 weeks. We will then increase it to 0.5 mg per week for the next 4 weeks.

Depending on how your body reacts to semaglutide, we may increase your dosage every 4 weeks until you reach the maximum maintenance dosage of 2.4 mg for Wegovy and 1 mg for Ozempic. The entire scaling-up process might require 3 months.


5. Try a Different Medication

You cannot go beyond 2.4mg doses of Wegovy, so when you hit an extended plateau at that dose, we’ll recommend trying a different weight loss medication, such as tirzepatide.

Tirzepatide is a weight loss and type 2 diabetes medicine marketed under the brand names Zepbound and Mounjaro.

The FDA approved Zepbound for weight loss in people with obesity or who are overweight and have a weight-related medical condition. Mounjaro is only approved for people with type 2 diabetes, though doctors can prescribe it off-label for weight loss, even if you don’t have diabetes.

Per the approval, tirzepatide doses start at 2.5mg weekly and can max out at 15mg. Studies show that people taking tirzepatide lost an average of 15% of their body weight and up to nearly 23%.

A different trial showed that individuals might lose 26% of their body weight on average, statistically higher than the Wegovy trials.


Helpful Hints to Remember:

Losing weight can be challenging, particularly if you don’t notice any or very little progress in the numbers on the scale for weeks. A weight loss plateau can even be frustrating if you’re on semaglutide or tirzepatide.

Don’t give up, though! Step back and start thinking about aspects unrelated to the scale. Consider your energy level, sleep quality, mental clarity, changes in the size and fit of your clothes, or your degree of physical activity. Regardless of the scale, these features show how your body changes. You may be headed in the right direction even if the scale isn’t moving.

If the number on the scale continues to consume your thoughts, consider keeping a weight-loss or weight-management journal. Keep track of your food intake, water intake, activity level, mood, and physical measurements.

Take new measurements at the end of the month. Compare the two and see how much your body has changed. While you may not be showing physical signs of weight loss, positive changes are happening to your body!

Keep going even if the number on the scale remains constant or moves occasionally. Pay attention to your feelings and all the wonderful things you have done for your body and mind.

Remember that muscle occupies less space than fat, so your body may be getting stronger even if the scale isn’t moving as you’d like it to. You are taking charge of your general health and well-being by being proactive. This is important, and you should be proud of yourself! Move On. Keep going and achieve more goals in your weight loss journey.


What to Do if You Still Can’t Lose Weight on Wegovy or Ozempic

If you feel stuck on your weight loss plateau and could use extra motivation, we are here to support you at NP2GO Clinic. We understand that losing weight can be difficult, and everyone has different needs and objectives. Our weight loss clinic in Oklahoma will develop a safe, efficient, personalized weight loss plan based on your goals, body composition, and budget.

If you’re ready to overcome your weight loss plateau and make meaningful lifestyle changes, schedule a consultation or call us at 405-696-7003.