Morning everyone!

Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. This week I had the opportunity to interview one of my most successful weight loss patients, Brandy Collins. 

Brandy is a Registered Nurse who has struggled with weight her whole life. After years of trying different diets and exercise programs, she started on Ozempic and lost 100 pounds. Her testimony is more powerful than anything I could say, which is why I am sharing the breakdown of our conversation in today’s Note. 

My hope is that you will be inspired to achieve whatever weight loss goal you have, and/or share it with someone you know that is struggling. Like Brandy, it could change your life.

Give us a short synopsis of what you’ve done for weight loss. 

Brandy: I started Ozempic in October of 2020, so it has taken me 1 year and 9 months to reach my weight loss goal. Before that time, I had tried different things like diets, going to the gym, etc., and nothing worked. My highest weight was 240, and now I weigh 132! It took a while, but I made it. 

Dr. Rogers: And that weight is where you want to stay. Ozempic is one of my favorite weight loss tools. It’s a once a week shot you give yourself. You can’t take it if you’ve had pancreatitis, medullary thyroid cancer, MEN syndrome II, or a family history of those last two. Note: those are very rare conditions. It’s marketed for diabetics, but has been approved by the FDA for non diabetics for weight loss in the form of another medicine called Wegovy. They are the same medicine, just different names. I’ve used Ozempic on many patients and have had great success. Most overweight people that come to my office are insulin resistant, which means prediabetes. With Brandy, we did some lab work and found out she was insulin resistant (high insulin level). Insulin resistance is when your insulin is too high to bring the sugar from the blood into your cells for energy. Insulin is a fat storing hormone. It causes you to crave carbs and store fat.  

How did you feel taking this shot? Side effects? 

Brandy: I did have some nausea when I first started, but it wasn’t enough to stop. There isn’t a set time that the nausea hits you. It’s random. I started my dose at 0.25, and for the first two weeks I did really well. When I bumped it up to 0.50, I would get a little bit of a headache. This happened on Wednesdays after taking the shot on Sundays. After that, I moved up to 1 (so many clicks at a time) and felt great. 

You have to watch what you eat. It’s a whole different lifestyle. I now have trouble eating greasy foods like pizza and hamburgers, and most of the time I’m just not hungry. 

Dr. Rogers: Ozempic (and medicines like it) delay gastric emptying. That’s why you feel full and at times may feel nauseated. Ozempic works in several different ways: It hits your appetite control center, makes your insulin work better, and decreases glucagon output of the liver. A lot of people have success with Ozempic, especially those who are insulin resistant (which is most everyone that’s overweight). 

When was the last time you weighed 132 pounds? 

Brandy: Elementary school. I’ve always been big. I’ve tried this diet and that diet. This medicine and that medicine. It’s always been a constant battle. 

How do you feel now? 

Brandy: I don’t have that feeling of wanting to come home and sit on the couch. I don’t want to sleep in until mid morning on my days off. I hurt less and have a lot more energy on Ozempic. I noticed more energy the first month on Ozempic, before I lost a lot of weight. Overall, I just feel better on the shot. 

Were you losing inches before weight? 

Brandy: Yes. I initially lost 10-12 pounds and then it kind of leveled out. I would lose 1-2 pounds here, and 2-6 pounds there. I kept losing a little bit of weight, and then a little bit more. What I noticed was that my clothes were a lot looser. 

Did you ever get discouraged? 

Brandy: I didn’t. I just kept going. I made up my mind to not weigh myself all the time. 

What did your friends say? 

Brandy: They’ve told me I look great! They were shocked. 

How are you going to keep the weight off? 

Brandy: When you’ve battled weight for so long, you’re constantly thinking it’s going to come back. You always have that in the back of your head. My plan is: I’m going to drop my dosage and stay on Ozempic as long as I don’t lose too much weight. I want to stick to the eating habits that I have now. Smaller portion sizes. There will be busy days where I realize that I hadn’t had anything to eat that day. You’re just not hungry on Ozempic. 

Dr. Rogers: Besides telling patients that life isn’t fair, I also tell them that man was not meant to graze all day. We eat too much. People don’t live as healthy of a lifestyle as they did back when I was growing up. I didn’t see obesity as a kid. I also think they make the foods more addictive now. 

So to keep the weight off, Brandy, you’re going to go on a lower maintenance dose of Ozempic until you feel like you don’t need it anymore. Of course during this time, we will continue to monitor blood levels (Hemoglobin A1C, Insulin, Hormones, etc.). All of this comes into play. 

Weight loss is the most complex problem I’ve dealt with in 36 years of practicing medicine. It’s not simply calories in and calories out. There are so many factors: physiological, psychological, genetics, and hormonal. It’s a complex subject. 

There are many good tools available now. I firmly believe that your weight has nothing to do with willpower or laziness. People who are obese have a metabolic problem that someone else may not have. Some people need help to get where they want to go. Tools like Ozempic (and others) help get you there. 

Note: It’s important to understand that obesity is a metabolism problem. 

Do you have concerns about loose skin? 

Brandy: You do have a lot of loose skin. For me, it’s my arms and stomach. I’d like to know how to get rid of that eventually, even though it has gotten a little bit better.  

Dr. Rogers: There are a few machines that help with that  (i.e. EVOLVE). They work by melting fat, tightening the skin and promoting muscle growth which leads to permanent fat loss in problem areas. 

Do you plan on taking Ozempic for the rest of your life? 

Brandy: It depends on how I do and if I lose too much weight. Of course, I’ll watch my labs. It just depends on how I do. There are other health benefits of taking Ozempic. My gastroenterologist told me they have found that it reverses fatty liver disease. 

Dr. Rogers: There are, in fact, a lot of uses for Ozempic.  Cardiologists love it because it reduces heart disease. 

Thank you so much, Brandy, for doing this interview with me on the Common Sense MD. Hopefully, this will inspire a lot of people to achieve their own personal weight loss goal. 

Note: check out my full Common Sense MD interview with Brandy Collins, and also her interview with Ben Rogers on Outside The Box, both on YouTube.