5 Reasons Why Doctor-Recommended Weight Loss Programs Are Becoming Popular

Doctor recommended weight loss program

Until fairly recently, going to your physician for help on losing weight – assuming that didn’t mean a very serious procedure like liposuction or gastric band surgery – tended to get you advice that you probably already knew deep down.

  • Exercise more.
  • Avoid crash diets and fad diets.
  • No, you probably shouldn’t eat that deep-fried soda at the state fair. And so on.

However, over the past couple of years, that’s all changed.

A new breed of weight loss medications has been FDA-approved and available to be prescribed by healthcare professionals.

Known as GLP-1s, the drugs were initially developed to treat diabetes.

Perhaps the most widely known, semaglutide (known by the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic), was approved for diabetic patients in 2017.

In March 2021, clinical trials showed that obese patients – those with a BMI over 30 – lost an average of almost 15% of their body weight over a 68-week treatment period.

Semaglutide was approved by the Food & Drug Administration for weight loss patients almost instantly (June 2021) and since then the demand for medical weight loss has skyrocketed.

Let’s take a look at the reasons as to why.

weight loss results


While it might feel a bit odd to say ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ in such a context, the success of prescription weight loss medication is startling.

Obese patients lost an average of 8% of their body weight in a 56-week trial of Saxenda (liraglutide).

An even more recent arrival, Zepbound (tirzepatide), hit the market in November 2023 after having trial subjects lose on average 21% of their body weight – 48lbs in real numbers – after completing 72 weeks of medication usage.

To compare, the patients on the Wegovy trial who were given a placebo while dieting and exercising lost 2.4% of their body weight versus 14.9% for those who were given the medication.

weight loss plan


While prescription weight loss medications aren’t a magic bullet – you still have to eat sensibly and do some physical activity – they don’t involve massive lifestyle changes like some dietary programs.

I’ve spoken to people who’ve taken up intermittent fasting simply because there aren’t enough hours in the day to count calories, calculate macros, and then make the rest of the family’s meals separate from their own.

Taking the medication is as simple as a once-weekly shot that comes in a pre-dosed pen for Saxenda, Zepbound, and Wegovy.

For those who aren’t so confident with injections, Naltrexone-Bupropion is a GLP-1 that can be taken in daily pill form.

cut cravings of donuts

Quietening The Snack Monster

GLP-1s works by releasing insulin into the bloodstream, signaling to the brain’s receptors that the user is full.

They also slow the speed of gastric emptying; they keep food in the stomach, with the result being the user stays fuller for longer.

Resisting the urge to snack can be hard.

It can be harder still to resist the urge to graze during holidays when food is almost always around.

Feeling full is a fairly foolproof way to avoid accidentally overeating.

weight loss doctor supported

Medical Support

Support is good.

There’s a reason why group and sponsor models have long histories in everything from weight loss to addiction recovery.

The doctors involved in medical weight loss will go far past the prescribing itself.

Plans and dosage are regularly reviewed and ongoing one-to-one support is provided throughout the medication course.

Losing weight via diet and exercise can sometimes be a solitary pursuit and motivation can wane.

Many studies have shown that having someone in your corner is beneficial to reaching your weight loss goals.

insurance for weight loss

Insurance Support

We keep hearing the phrase ‘obesity is a public health crisis’, with lots of projections about macroeconomics and loss of productivity due to people’s weight issues.

At the direct, individual level, it’s much less complex than that.

A 2021 publication revealed that obesity costs the US healthcare system over $260bn – broken down that’s more than $2,500 for each obese adult.

Many major insurers will now cover doctor-recommended weight loss treatments, as it’s cost-effective for them to pay for the treatment of obesity, rather than its myriad related conditions.

Bottom Line

Doctor-recommended weight loss is still in relative infancy.

Science magazine called them their ‘Breakthrough Of The Year’ for 2023.

But with the massive public interest, and the authorities very much on their side, there’s no reason to think they’ll be a flash in the pan.

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