WEIGHT MANAGEMENT ∙ 4 minute read

Weight loss with semaglutide: Hailey’s story

By Kirsty Mason | Medically reviewed by Dr Luke Pratsides

During months of lockdown, Hailey’s weight surged. And her journey with weight loss proved challenging. Struggling to drop the weight, she decided it was time to seek professional help. That’s when a doctor introduced her to semaglutide, a drug that controls your appetite and helps you to reset your relationship with food.

We spoke to Hailey about the challenges that she faced during her journey with weight loss and what inspired her to take action and regain control of her health.

Can you start by telling us a little bit about your journey with weight?

It was a combination of things that led to my weight gain: having my son, taking medication, lockdowns, and unemployment. My weight just ballooned. I started trying to eat less and exercise more but I kept finding that four or five days later, I would sabotage myself with a binge. 

What was the greatest challenge you faced when it came to losing weight?

The greatest challenge I had before losing weight was physical movement. I wanted to exercise but my joints hurt so much. It’s not as easy as going to the gym and running on a treadmill. After three minutes, as much as you want to keep going, your knees and ankles really hurt. It’s frustrating when you try to do the right thing but you can’t. And then you just start to feel really crap and embarrassed. 

Another challenge is hitting a weight loss plateau. When this happens, I try to remind myself that I’m not just doing it to lose weight. It’s also about implementing healthy habits so I try to focus on that instead.

Would you say that your weight impacted your confidence and relationships?

Definitely. It got to the point where I didn’t want to go out and see friends because I was so embarrassed at how much weight I’d put on, so it really affected my social life. My confidence just tanked. I felt like a crap wife, a crap mum, and a crap person. Weight does make you feel like a lesser person.

What motivated you to take action this time with your weight?

It was getting to the point where I was really worried about becoming diabetic. Also, having a four-year-old that I couldn’t keep up with anymore. I found it easy to lose weight in my teens and early twenties but not anymore. I realised that I needed to do something so I could get fitter and enjoy time with my son - and also for myself as well. Having seen some elderly relatives with pretty significant health problems related to weight, I decided that I needed to address it now, and not when it was too late. So I went to a doctor and they recommended semaglutide. That was the turning point in my weight loss journey. It was brilliant.

Did you have any hesitations about taking medication for weight loss?

I didn’t like the idea of injecting myself with a needle. But once I sat down with a doctor and they explained that this is how you administer it, these are the side effects that you can get, and this is what we’ve seen with other patients, I felt reassured and decided to give it a go.

Do you have access to professional support to go alongside your medication?

I’ve got an app that I use to log my weight, get meal plans, and workout videos. It’s good because I don’t want to just be focussing on the injection as at some point, I’m going to stop taking it. I’ve got to use it to help me change my habits and lifestyle. It’s not a quick fix. Semaglutide helps me to curb my cravings and drop the weight so it’s easier to exercise. But I’ve got to use those changes to rewire my eating and exercise habits if I want to keep the weight off long-term.

How long did it take for you to start seeing results?

In terms of actual appetite, it was the next day. In terms of physical health, and losing weight, it was around a month later. I went to put something on and realised it was feeling loose. My husband pointed out that I wasn’t snoring at night anymore and I was feeling lighter just walking around. It was little bits like that over 4 to 8 weeks that I noticed the weight loss.

When I first weighed myself, I was 105 kilos but I know I was higher than that at some point, I just refused to step on a scale. Over the last nine months, I’ve dropped around 26 kilos which is a good three dress sizes.

What habits have you kicked, and what new habits have you formed as a result of using semaglutide?

I’ve always used food as a coping mechanism and I think the best thing to come out of using semaglutide has been the way it’s changed my relationship with food. I still enjoy it but I don’t get fixated on it anymore. If I’ve had a stressful day at work, I don’t come home and straight away binge on junk food. Instead, I might get a small snack, feel full, and then I’m not thinking about eating more. This is the first time I’ve ever felt like that. Now, if I’m stressed out but not hungry, I’ll go to the gym, for a walk, or find something to do that’s not food-related to decompress. It’s been helpful to learn how to manage my emotions without binge eating. It’s rewired my relationship with food where now I eat to stay alive rather than to fill a massive void.

Have you experienced any side effects? 

I felt a bit nauseous at first but nothing that wasn’t manageable. Actually taking the shot took a bit of getting used to but it’s such a fine needle that once you’ve done it a couple of times, you barely notice it.

Other than the physical aspect, how would you say losing weight has affected your life?

It’s been really good to go out and do things that I couldn’t bring myself to do when I was overweight - like going to the park or pool with my son. He gets really excited because he sees that his mum wants to go out and do stuff with him. My social life is better too. I actually want to go out and see my friends. Weirdly enough, feeling more confident has helped with work too, even though my actual weight has nothing to do with it (I just sit at a desk and type numbers), I just feel more confident overall. It’s also helped my sleep because I’m not snoring as much and waking myself up. My throat doesn’t hurt and my joints aren’t as painful throughout the night. I’m waking up feeling more refreshed which has a positive impact on the rest of my day.

Were there ever any moments when you thought about giving up? 

There have been times when I’ve been frustrated, mostly about the cost and doing the shots, but I just remind myself why I’m doing it. I have a piece of clothing from when I was at my starting weight and I ask myself do I want to get back to that - absolutely not! When it comes to the cost, it sucks but it’s cheaper than ending up with the whole array of health issues that come with being overweight. I sometimes have to remind myself that I’m not just doing this to look nicer in clothes, it’s to prolong my life and be able to go out and do things and be healthier as a whole. And I’ve got to remind myself of that too - that it’s not just weight.

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