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November 21, 2023 · By Dr. Tim Church, MD, MPH, PHD, Wondr Chief Medical Officer

5 top weight-loss medication misconceptions 

Our Experts Weight-loss medication Wellbeing

Unraveling misinformation for better health and well-being for your people.

If you’re aiming to improve the health of your people, it’s time to reframe the conversation about weight-loss medications. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding these medications – on social, in the news, and more. This blog serves as a roadmap for employers like you, eager to elevate the well-being of your population. So, let’s dive into the common myths of these medications for the health of your people and your bottom line. 

Misconception 1: Medications are key to jumpstart your weight loss 

Weight-loss medications, especially GLP-1s, seem like the perfect answer. A miracle drug that can melt off the pounds? A dream come true. But, as the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Starting off these medications without addressing behavior is treating the symptom and not the root cause. At best, it does a disservice to the patient and at worst, it’s downright irresponsible. First, clinical outcomes are more likely when paired with behavior change. Especially a program that uses physical activity to lower the risk of lean muscle mass loss. Second, and most important, a patient who has the tools for better mental, emotional, and physical well-being will be healthier before, during, and after taking these medications. Because the goal isn’t actually weight loss, it’s better health.  

Misconception 2: The role of willpower 

Weight is a medical condition surrounded by stigma, so unfortunately, there’s a lot of judgment, including self-blame. Because we’re the ones in control, right? We are the ones who decide what to eat and what physical activity to do – it’s all up to us. Except it’s not that simple. Virtually everything – and I mean everything from your neighborhood that you live in, your genetics, your sleep, and more – can impact your weight. And that’s never been more evident than when we look at weight-loss medications. People who have struggled for years to lose weight can do so with these medications. What we realize now is that there are complex biological factors that control appetite. For some people, intrusive thoughts of food stop after taking weight-loss medications without any change in willpower whatsoever. The key question: We don’t judge someone for high blood pressure medication, so why would we judge someone who would benefit from weight-loss medications? 

Misconception 3: The biggest challenge of weight loss  

It’s game changing to lose a large amount of weight with these medications, right? Well… yes and no. Weight maintenance is much more challenging and the real key to long-term health. Not only is your body biologically predisposed to weight regain but having a drastic change in your life (even a welcome one) can actually be stressful. It’s not about the biology, but the psychology. Losing large amounts of weight impacts every aspect of your life, and many don’t see this coming. There are many patients who struggle with shifting social ties or their misaligned expectations of what their weight loss can “fix” in their lives. For example, thinking “If I lose 15 pounds, I’ll be more successful at my job.” But lifestyle intervention is pivotal. This goes beyond providing behavior change tools for physical activity, nutrition, sleep, stress, etc. An adequate program supports metabolic, emotional, and physical well-being throughout their weight loss journey. 

Misconception 4: There’s no long-term data 

With GLP-1s, such as Wegovy,  taking over headlines and social feeds, it feels like nothing like these medications have ever existed before. But GLP-1 receptor agonists aren’t new to the market – not by a long shot. These medications have been used to treat type 2 diabetes for 15+ years. So fortunately, there’s more than a decade of data on these medications and millions of people have already been safely taking them. The pattern has been a type 2 diabetes medication that impacts weight will then release as a weight-loss medication – and this has happened over and over again. This is good news for anyone wanting safe, trusted treatment options for obesity management.  

Misconception 5: The biggest benefit of weight loss 

With all the noise of celebrities and social feeds, it’s easy to overlook the bigger impact of these medications. It’s not actually about weight loss. It’s mitigating the risk of chronic conditions at a rate that we have never seen. These medications will change lives. We’re likely to see clinical guidelines targeting 15% weight loss – which reduces the risk of diabetes by 90% and the risk of having a stroke or heart attack by 20%. That’s 90% fewer people getting type 2 diabetes and 20% fewer people having a life-altering health issue. This impact transcends cosmetics and gives people a chance of a better, healthier, longer life. 

While exploring benefits to support your workforce, understanding the reality behind weight-loss medications is pivotal. When done the right way, these medications go beyond shedding pounds and are a gateway to better well-being and reduced chronic conditions – offering your people a path towards a healthier, longer, and happier life. 

Ready to harness the power of behavior change and weight-loss medications? Learn more about Wondr Advanced, the game-changing metabolic health answer to the high cost of obesity management and weight-loss medications.  

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