Ozempic and other injectable weight loss medications are a hot topic in the healthcare community and in popular culture right now.
As more people become interested in these medications, we are beginning to understand that many need support in adjusting their eating habits and behaviors to enhance and sustain the effects of these medications.
Comprehensive behavioral support for people using these medications helps ensure safety, fortifies healthy behaviors, enhances motivation and self-confidence, and increases the ability to recognize and successfully navigate common barriers to weight-loss success.
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can contribute to eating habits and patterns of low physical activity that can cause weight gain or make it difficult to lose weight. When people medically treat the weight but leave their mental health behind, they may not feel as good as they hope to with weight loss because they are not addressing the underlying issue.
A thorough assessment of the factors contributing to difficulty with weight loss can identify other areas for support, in addition to injectables treatment, to help individuals achieve their health goals. Effectively treating depression, anxiety and other conditions with psychotherapy or medication can help people better meet their goals, weight-related and beyond. The mental health professionals at Bariatric Counseling Center support clients with setting up habits and routines that help them to be healthier in many ways.
Help with sema-glutides
Many users of sema-glutides report GI distress, including constipation and nausea while adjusting to the medications.These symptoms — plus the intended effects of low appetite and feeling full quickly — all contribute to users significantly decreasing their food intake.
Nausea can be particularly confusing because it can often indicate a need to eat while decreasing the desire to eat. The BCC staff helps clients identify when eating may alleviate rather than worsen nausea. Without proper dietary supervision, some sema-glutide users may be at risk of malnutrition if the little food they are taking in is of poor nutritional quality. The registered dietitians at BCC work with clients to behaviorally manage side effects with exercise, helpful eating techniques and meal plans to meet nutritional goals through intake of a diverse range of nutrients and foods.
The efficacy of weight loss medications can also be enhanced with direct help in changing eating behaviors. Eating more slowly and methodically can help people to recognize fullness cues before they become uncomfortably full, which will happen much sooner with injectables than they are accustomed to.For those whose eating habits are driven by food cravings and hunger, they may struggle with making decisions about what and how to eat when hunger and cravings are gone. This can result in undereating and contribute to the risk of malnutrition. The staff at BCC helps clients to better plan and prepare for their meals to ensure they are meeting their nutritional needs.
Many people use food to cope with emotional distress
Some sema-glutide users may find their distress increases when they cannot engage in binge eating or emotional eating any longer to relieve stress, anger, sadness, etc. The BCC mental health professionals help clients improve their abilities to cope with uncomfortable emotions without relying on food to do so.
The staff also help clients develop the interpersonal skills to manage “food-pushers” at social events, respond to those critical of or overly curious about their medication usage, elicit support from family members hesitant about changing the home food environment, and manage other relationship stressors that can be barriers to lifestyle changes. Clients may need support with creating habits and other behavioral changes to support the desired outcomes of the medications, and they may need help structuring their schedules, their meals, and their movement activities. Some may need to develop new hobbies that are less focused on preparing and consuming food, as these hobbies may be less fulfilling with a lessened appetite and result in low mood.
When clients are better prepared for a new lifestyle, they will experience less anxiety about eventually going off the medications, be more confident that they have made real changes to their lives that benefit them, with or without the addition of medications, and feel more motivated to maintain their behavioral changes for the long term. Contact us for help on your weight-loss journey.