Losing Weight in the Age of Ozempic: Holistic Medicine to Balance Blood Sugar

It seems like the “easiest” ways to lose weight today involve the use of medications, which can come with a range of side effects as you lose weight. For women who want to take a more natural approach to weight loss, there are ways to improve insulin sensitivity, balance hormones, and regulate blood sugar levels without medication.

Holistic medicine takes into account the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—when addressing health concerns. For weight loss specifically, it focuses on improving overall health and balance rather than just targeting weight loss.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can achieve the effects of popular weight loss drugs to help you lose weight, balance your hormones, and target the underlying factors contributing to weight gain. And, I’ll share with you natural alternatives to these medications to help you achieve sustainable weight loss.

Midlife Patterns of Weight Gain

In midlife, hormonal shifts can contribute to specific patterns of weight gain (1).

  • Belly fat, often associated with hormonal changes, poses potential health risks.
  • Fat accumulation in the upper arms and back may be influenced by decreased muscle mass and hormonal imbalances.
  • Hips and thighs tend to store fat due to hormonal changes and genetic factors.

Tailoring approaches to address these specific patterns involves a combination of targeted exercises, hormonal balance support, and personalized dietary adjustments.

Related: Getting Rid of Belly Fat After 30: What to Eat & Do

The Common Factor Is Blood Sugar

First, let me explain why we’re talking about blood sugar when we’re focusing on a weight loss journey. 

Our bodies convert the food we eat into glucose, a type of sugar that is used for energy. To keep our blood sugar levels stable, our body releases insulin, a hormone that tells the body to move glucose from the blood into cells. Insulin also has other functions in the body, one of which is signaling to our fat cells to store excess energy as fat.

When our diet consists of mostly processed foods, high in refined sugars and carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels can become chronically elevated. This can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin. Insulin resistance then causes excess glucose to remain in the bloodstream, leading to higher levels of insulin being released by the body.

More insulin resistance = more fat storage.

When insulin is high, fat cells receive more messages to store energy as fat, leading to weight gain and difficulty losing weight (2).

Read: 9 Causes of Excess Belly Fat in Women

Ozempic works to lower blood sugar

Weight loss drugs like Ozempic or semaglutide have become increasingly popular, but how do they work? These medications belong to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs). These drugs mimic the action of GLP-1, a hormone that is produced in the gut in response to food.

GLP-1 stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreas, the hormone mentioned above. GLP-1 RA medications like Ozempic can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels, which can lead to weight loss (3).

Ozempic may also reduce appetite, resulting in consuming fewer calories which is also supportive of weight loss efforts.

Read: Nature’s Ozempic Without the Side Effects?

Risks with Ozempic

Weight loss medications to manage the blood sugar instability but often at the expense of gut health and hormone health. And they ignore the other factors involved in this pattern of insulin resistance.

Potential side effects that could accompany the health benefits of weight loss include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation (4).

Less common side effects include pancreatitis, kidney problems, and thyroid cancer. While these side effects are rare, they can be serious. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you are considering taking Ozempic or any other medication for weight loss.

The Role of Hormones in Weight Loss

Hormones play a crucial role in regulating our metabolism and how we store and use energy. When our hormones are out of balance, it can lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

These are just a few examples of why I encourage everyone to know your numbers when trying to lose weight or address other health issues.

Listen: Balancing Hormones for Weight Loss

Leptin: The Satiety Hormone

One hormone that is particularly important for weight loss is leptin, known as the “satiety hormone.” Leptin is released by our fat cells and signals to our brain that we are full and should stop eating. However, when we consistently overeat, our body can become resistant to leptin, leading to overeating and weight gain (5).

Cortisol: The Stress Hormone

Another hormone that affects weight loss is cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone.” When we are under chronic stress, our body releases cortisol, which can lead to increased fat storage and cravings for unhealthy, high-calorie foods (6). 

Estrogen & Testosterone

Women with PCOS also commonly struggle with weight and stubborn belly fat. In this case, the culprits are hormones like testosterone or estrogen dominance, in addition to insulin resistance.

Natural Ways to Balance Hormones and Lower Blood Sugar 

In the world of holistic weight loss, there are many things that can help you achieve what Ozempic accomplishes with weight management. The best part is that most of these are inexpensive, easy, and accessible to almost everyone.

For those who prefer a more natural approach to weight loss, there are supplements like:

  • Berberine is a compound that is found in a number of plants, including goldenseal and barberry. It works by activating an enzyme called AMPK, which plays a key role in regulating metabolism. By activating AMPK, berberine can help to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and promote weight loss (7).
  • Apple cider vinegar, which has been traditionally used to help promote digestion. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes and also reduce body fat percentage (8).
  • Glutamine, an amino acid that can help to reduce sugar cravings, balance blood sugar levels, and support gut health (9).
  • Probiotics. Studies have found that supplementing with probiotics can help improve blood sugar control, promote weight loss, and support healthy hormone levels.

Related: Choosing the Best Probiotics for Weight Loss, Hormone Balance, Mood & Women’s Health

Understanding Weight Loss Peptides: Mots-C, CJC 1295, and Ipamorelin

Weight loss peptides have gained attention for their potential to support healthy weight management. These can be part of a holistic approach to weight loss, but it’s important to work with a provider to determine if they’re right for you.

  • Mots-C, a mitochondrial-derived peptide, is known for its role in cellular metabolism and energy regulation. This can help you get to a healthy weight especially alongside healthy eating habits and exercise.
  • CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin are peptides that stimulate the production of growth hormone, influencing metabolism and fat metabolism.

These peptides may aid in weight loss by enhancing metabolic functions, promoting fat breakdown, and supporting lean muscle mass.

Benefits of Weight Loss Peptides

  • Enhanced Metabolism: Weight loss peptides may boost metabolism, supporting the body in efficiently utilizing calories for energy.
  • Fat Breakdown: Peptides like CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin may encourage the breakdown of stored fat, contributing to overall fat loss.
  • Lean Muscle Preservation: By promoting the production of growth hormone, these peptides may help preserve lean muscle mass during weight loss.
  • Appetite Regulation: Some individuals experience appetite-suppressant effects, aiding in calorie control.

Who Should Consider Using Weight Loss Peptides

Weight loss peptides may be suitable for those who have tried other holistic weight loss methods unsuccessfully, and particularly those struggling with metabolic issues or who have a significant amount of excess weight to lose.

However, individual responses vary, and consultation with a healthcare professional is crucial to determine the appropriateness of these peptides based on specific health conditions.

How Holistic Medicine Can Help

Before you try weight loss meds like Ozempic or other peptides, you should consider other aspects of a holistic weight loss program.

There are natural ways to improve insulin sensitivity, balance hormones, and regulate blood sugar levels without medication. Here are a few tips:

  • Eat a balanced diet: Focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods and limit your intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates.
  • Incorporate strength training: Strength training can help to increase muscle mass, which can improve insulin sensitivity and boost metabolism. It also helps to reduce cortisol levels and promote the balance of other hormones in the body.
  • Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can disrupt hormone levels, including leptin and cortisol (10). Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to promote overall hormone balance and help promote a healthy weight.
  • Reduce stress: Chronic stress can lead to imbalances in cortisol and other hormones, which can contribute to weight gain. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.

Other holistic approaches that may benefit women struggling with weight loss include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and stress management techniques like meditation or yoga. These practices can help to reduce stress levels, balance hormones, and improve overall well-being.

Read: Holistic Weight Loss for Women, Steps to Balance Hormones & Reduce Body Fat

What to Remember

While weight loss drugs may seem like a quick fix for weight loss and improved metabolism, they come with potential risks and side effects.

Holistic medicine can help improve blood sugar regulation and balance hormones through nutrition, lifestyle modifications, and natural supplements or herbs. By addressing the root causes of insulin resistance and hormone imbalances, holistic medicine can provide a long-term solution for weight loss without the use of medications.