Nov 21, 2023 • 8 min read

How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight on Wegovy? Expected Weight Loss Results

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Wegovy is an injectable weight-loss prescription medication. It can also be found under the generic name Semaglutide which is a class of GLP-1 agonists. 

Wegovy works by mimicking your body’s natural glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormone which is responsible for regulating your appetite. Those taking Wegovy may notice feeling full quicker, staying full for longer, and a significant reduction in cravings.

But how long does it take to lose weight on Wegovy? 

Based on a 68-week clinical study conducted on 1,961 overweight or obese adults, those who took 2.4mg of Wegovy lost a minimum of 5% of their body weight, and nearly half lost at least 15% of their body weight after taking it for a year compared to the placebo group.

Those taking the placebo only noticed a 2.5% reduction in body weight. Both groups ate a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity during this time.

This study also found that those taking Wegovy:

  • Lost at least 6% of their body weight by 12 weeks 
  • Lost at least 10% of their body weight by 20 weeks
  • Lost at least 15% of their body weight by one year

This guide goes over how long it takes to lose weight on Wegovy, including what a typical timeline looks like, how to safely lose weight while taking Wegovy, and more.

What the studies say: How long it takes to lose weight on Wegovy

While there are studies available investigating the rate of weight loss on Wegovy when combined with diet and lifestyle changes, no studies show an expected rate of weight loss per week. Everyone is different and individual results will vary. 

Most studies of Wegovy found some noticeable weight loss within the first four weeks of treatment. However, significant results may not be seen until at least 12 weeks or longer.

The largest study was by Novo Nordisk, the makers of Wegovy, which showed the rate of weight loss in increments of four to eight weeks for a total of 68 weeks. Most participants in the Semaglutide group (those taking Wegovy) lost nearly 15% of their body weight by the end of the study. 

The most notable losses that occurred were during the first 12 weeks in which participants in the Semaglutide group lost roughly 6% of their body weight. The next best results were at the 20-week mark in which participants in the same group had lost roughly 10% of their body weight.

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How Wegovy helps with weight loss

Wegovy is a GLP-1 agonist medication which means it mimics our body’s natural GLP-1 hormone. GLP-1 is responsible for stimulating insulin production after a meal. It also plays a direct role in appetite and helps to delay gastric emptying.

Delayed gastric emptying is when your digestion is slowed, and food takes longer to leave the stomach and travel through your digestive tract. This makes us feel full quicker and stay full for longer. 

GLP-1 medications, such as Wegovy, can help reduce appetite, food cravings, and food noise (thoughts of hunger and food) in those taking them. This can result in improved portion control and reduced frequency of snacking which can result in weight loss.

It’s important to eat the correct foods on Wegovy, as well as the right amount of foods, to lose the ideal amount of weight.

Benefits of losing weight while taking Wegovy

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing many different health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, certain types of cancers, and more. 

Losing weight with diet and exercise can be challenging for a lot of people. Because of this, medications like Wegovy can be helpful for weight loss and reducing associated health risks. According to research, Wegovy may help:

  • Reduce heart disease risk. According to a recent study, Wegovy can help reduce the incidence of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease by up to 20%.
  • Improve blood sugar control. Research has found that Semaglutide medications including Wegovy are effective at helping to improve blood sugar management in those with type 2 diabetes.
  • Long-term weight management. Wegovy is approved for long-term weight management which can improve weight loss outcomes and quality of life in those taking it compared to other weight loss medications.

To get the best results, consider working with a dietitian. There are many benefits to working with a dietitian. You can create a balanced, personalized nutrition plan that will help you manage your blood sugar and set you up for gradual, sustainable weight loss. Having additional accountability from a nutrition expert will help you stay motivated and stay on track. 

Should I take Wegovy for weight loss?

You are eligible to take Wegovy if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more or a BMI of 27 or more with at least 1 weight-related health condition such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol.

While Wegovy can help you lose weight, it’s only encouraged for those who have tried dieting and exercise without any success. Wegovy also works best when combined with diet and lifestyle changes such as a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise.

Those who suffer from medullary thyroid cancer or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) should not use Wegovy.

Additionally, be sure to tell your provider if you have type 2 diabetes with a history of diabetic retinopathy, kidney or pancreatic problems, mental health issues, or if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or currently breastfeeding.

Wegovy may interact with certain medications and supplements so always disclose these to your health care provider if you are planning to try Wegovy for weight loss.

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How to make sure you’re losing a safe amount of weight on Wegovy

Wegovy was made to help with weight loss. However, it’s important to ensure that you are losing weight at a safe rate to prevent muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies, metabolic disturbances, malnutrition, and other potential negative health effects from a rapid loss in weight.

While on any weight loss medication, you should be seeing your doctor or dietitian regularly to monitor your health and assess your current diet.

The recommended rate of weight loss while taking Wegovy is one to two pounds per week which is in line with recommended weight loss guidelines for the general population. However, some individuals may experience higher rates of weight loss while on this medication.

Because these medications impact our appetite, it can be easy to under-eat while taking them. This puts us at a greater risk of losing valuable muscle mass and decreasing our metabolic rate which makes sustainable weight loss more unlikely.

If you are experiencing weight loss of more than two pounds a week for multiple weeks while on Wegovy, you may be losing weight too fast. Be sure to notify your doctor if you notice any of the following signs that you may be losing weight too quickly:

  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle loss
  • Fatigue
  • Nutrient deficiencies 
  • Gall stones 

Be sure to reach out to your doctor or a Registered Dietitian for guidance on how to reduce your rate of weight loss to a safe level.

Why you may not be losing weight on Wegovy & what to do

Some may not experience weight loss while on Wegovy. This could be a result of multiple factors including the following: 

  • Inconsistent medication regimen. For Wegovy to work as intended, it is essential to take your injections consistently. If you miss injections or go periods without taking the medication as directed, you may not see any weight loss progress.
  • Medication dosage. In many instances, your physician will start you off on a low dose of Wegovy and gradually work up. You may not notice any significant weight loss until you reach the dose that works best for you.
  • Lack of diet or exercise changes. While Wegovy is a weight loss medication, it is meant to be used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise. If you aren’t seeing any weight loss progress and you haven’t implemented these changes, this could be why. 
  • You’re eating too little. Wegovy impacts our appetite which can help us create a calorie deficit, but it can also lead to under-eating which can negatively impact our metabolic health and cause a slowdown or stall in weight loss.
  • Medical conditions that make weight loss difficult. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, PCOS, Cushing’s syndrome, and depression can make weight loss more difficult regardless of whether you are taking medications such as Wegovy.

If you are struggling with weight loss progress while taking Wegovy, consider making the following adjustments:

  • Take your medication at the same time every week. Be consistent with taking your Wegovy injections. Choose a day and time that you will always remember to ensure it works as directed. 
  • Add in regular physical activity. If you haven’t already, incorporate movement most days of the week. This can increase your calorie deficit, increase muscle mass, and improve your metabolic function for better and more sustainable weight loss.
  • Focus on protein. To avoid losing muscle mass and stalling in your weight loss on Wegovy, be sure to include a protein-rich diet. Aim to have a good source of protein at each meal and snack such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, or soy products.
  • Choose a reduced-calorie diet. Wegovy won’t likely help you with weight loss if you continue to eat the same amount you were eating before. Aim for a calorie deficit of roughly 500 calories per day to ensure a healthy rate of weight loss without undereating.
  • Manage any chronic conditions. If you suffer from conditions that make it more difficult to lose weight, be sure to manage them with recommended tools including medication and lifestyle changes.
  • Eliminate alcohol. While there are no known dangers of drinking alcohol on Wegovy, it can lessen the effectiveness of the medication and slow or stop your weight loss.

How Zaya Care helps you book registered dietitians covered by your insurance

Here at Zaya Care, we’re dedicated to helping people find dietitians based on their preferences, needs, and insurance.

When you request an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians, we’ll check your insurance so you know exactly how much you’ll have to pay, if anything at all.

It’s worth noting that 90% of Zaya Care patients pay $0 for nutrition care with a registered dietitian as we are in-network with many major carriers.

Losing weight with Wegovy FAQs

How can I make sure I lose weight on Wegovy?
To ensure you are getting the most out of Wegovy, it should be used in conjunction with diet and exercise. If you are not sure how to make changes in your lifestyle to complement Wegovy treatment, consider working with a Registered Dietitian to help guide you in the right direction.

How much does Wegovy cost?
If you have insurance coverage, Wegovy can cost as little as $25 per month. However, without insurance, Wegovy can cost upwards of over $1,000 for a 1-month supply. To find out how much Wegovy will cost for you, speak with your pharmacy or insurance provider.

What should I do if I’m not losing weight on Wegovy?
If you aren’t seeing progress while taking Wegovy, evaluate your lifestyle habits to see if there’s any room for improvement in areas such as your diet, exercise, sleep, or stress management. If you continue to struggle, consider working with a Registered Dietitian to help provide guidance.

Why am I still hungry on Wegovy?
One of the common side effects of Wegovy includes appetite suppression. However, this is not a guarantee as everyone reacts differently. It could also be related to the dose you are taking. Some people need higher doses to experience a decrease in their appetite.

Why am I gaining weight on Wegovy?
If you are seeing an uptick in your weight while taking Wegovy, it’s important to assess your lifestyle to see if any areas may be impacting your weight loss. As mentioned earlier, weight is impacted by a variety of lifestyle factors including diet, exercise, sleep, and stress.

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Meghan is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist from San Jose, California. She received her undergraduate degree from San Diego State University in 2015. Following an unexpected cross-country trip that landed her in Florida, she completed her didactic training through AdventHealth Orlando. Meghan has extensive experience in multiple aspects of dietetics including critical care, motivational interviewing, writing, and research. She is passionate about health and wellness and has dedicated her free time to breaking down complicated nutrition topics and disseminating them to the public through the arena of writing.