Are diets and exercise not working? Jan lost 28 kg in 16 months doing this

Is your diet and exercise regime leading to barely any weight loss? Are you finding that, no matter how hard you try, the pounds are barely shifting? Unfortunately, your body is doing exactly what science is telling us it will do - almost nothing despite the huge  mental and physical effort, this blog will tell you why.

Weight; it’s in the genes

We’ve all got a friend who’s lost a stone or more just by eating a bit less and exercising a bit more. “Energy in: energy out” they’ll tell us. And they’re partly right - weight loss is absolutely a product of how much we consume against the number of calories we need (officially called our “basal metabolic rate”).

But losing weight and keeping it off has been very difficult for most people - which is why the diet industry has existed for so many decades and why the concept of yo-yo dieting is such a feature of most people’s attempts to lose weight. Everything from our genes to our metabolism plays a part in how successful we are at keeping the weight off.

Let’s start with the science

While the fundamental principles of a healthy diet and regular physical activity are indisputable, the reality is far more nuanced, with many individuals finding themselves trapped in a cycle of frustration and limited success. The STEP clinical trials for Semaglutide offer a compelling glimpse into this struggle, revealing that relying solely on diet and exercise led to a modest 2% body weight loss over just one year.

Wegovy effectiveness

Diets and exercise = 2% weight loss

The Semaglutide Treatment Effect in People with Obesity (STEP) trials opened a window on the success of diets and exercise as standalone weight loss strategies. Despite the dedication of participants to dietary changes and increased physical activity, this showed the inherent limitations.

Those people who undertook an intensive regime of diet and exercise resulted in weight loss of just 2% in the 68-week trial. By contrast, those people who followed exactly the same diet and exercise regime but took semaglutide lost 15% of their weight on average.

The allure of fad diets and false promises

One of the main obstacles which individuals encounter is the overwhelming influx of fad diets and false promises flooding the weight loss landscape. The allure of rapid results often leads people down unsustainable paths, with extreme restrictions and impractical meal plans. From low-carb to high-fat, the plethora of dieting approaches can leave individuals confused, demotivated, and prone to cycles of yo-yo dieting. Sustainable weight loss demands a balanced, individualised approach that goes beyond the confines of one-size-fits-all diet trends.

While the benefits of regular exercise are undeniable, the chasm between intention and action remains a significant hurdle. Many individuals enthusiastically invest in annual gym memberships, imagining a future of consistent workouts and enhanced fitness. However, the reality often diverges from these aspirations, with busy schedules, lack of motivation, or sheer fatigue leading to sporadic gym visits or, in some cases, none at all. The chasm widens as the initial fervour wanes, leaving weight loss goals unfulfilled.

Why it’s not just “energy in : energy out”

Beyond the surface, the complexities of human biology and behaviour play pivotal roles in the weight loss equation. Biological factors such as genetics, metabolism, and hormonal imbalances can exert considerable influence on an individual's ability to shed excess weight. Moreover, behavioural aspects, including emotional eating, stress-induced cravings, and the psychological impact of restrictive diets, contribute to the intricate web of weight management challenges.

Jan Newell - one women’s story represents thousands

Jan Newell  was one of almost 2,000 people who took part in the global clinical trials for Semaglutide from 2018-2020, run in part by clinicians at University College London Hospital – the same clinicians who have developed and directed the CheqUp weight loss service. On average, participants in the trial lost 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks which has led to life-changing benefits for people such as Jan.

“I have spent my whole life dieting – it was miserable. From as early as six I was on a diet trial in a hospital with my food and exercise monitored for 12 weeks to test the principle that stopping obesity in children can stop obesity in adults. I was always active as a child but I was big and active.

“I would start a diet, lose weight and then put it back on. I did every diet and programme imaginable. The weight would come off…….and then it would go back on again.

“At the time I didn’t know, in fact I doubt anyone knew, that there is a genetic component to obesity whereby some people, like me, have a predisposition to being overweight. I had this confirmed by Dr. Giles Yeo (a specialist in this field) when I took part in a BBC Horizon Special programme back in 2014 (called “What’s the right diet for you?”).  He confirmed that I had all the FTO genes identified to date that drive you to eat.

We’ve also learned recently that our bodies have an evolutionary desire to return to our previous weight in order to prepare us for famine!

“I started taking Semaglutide in September 2018 as part of the Step 1 clinical trials run by University College London Hospital. Although it was a “blind” trial with some people given a placebo, I know almost immediately that I had been given the real thing. Within a few weeks of taking the medication I started changing around food. I’d go to buy a coffee and wouldn’t be staring at the cakes and muffins. For the first time in my life I could think “that looks nice……but I don’t want one as I’m not hungry.”

Jan, like many people who have taken Semaglutide, describes this as a “miracle” and it’s easy to see why. “For the first time in my life, my hunger and cravings were being controlled – without the need for willpower, calorie counting or other forms of food management. As someone who had become conditioned to a particular relationship with food because of their physical body make up, this was genuinely life-changing.

“I lost 28kg (about 4 stone) through the Semaglutide trial and  a further 22kg on a second trial using Liraglutide.  I’m now a size 12 and consider myself almost a poster girl for the positive effects of this class of weight management drug providing they are taken as part of a specialist weight management service with nutritional, medical, and physical activity support.

Jan is a Lived Experience Champion for CheqUp

The medication Semaglutide is currently available at Chequp as weekly painless injection pens (Wegovy) or as daily tablets (Rybelsus) - Click on the button below to purchase them today.

Published: 28 Nov  2023