All weight loss is NOT created equal. If you are experiencing Wegovy Muscle Loss while taking Wegovy, or if you have just started taking the powerful medication, there are ways that you can improve your chances of losing fat while maintaining important muscle.

But, first the facts…In a recent clinical trial published by the New England Journal of Medicine, participants taking the maintenance dose of semaglutide—the active ingredient in the drugs Ozempic and Wegovy—demonstrated significant weight loss compared to placebo. But notably, participants taking semaglutide lost about 15 pounds of lean body mass on average, compared with 23 pounds of fat during the 68-week trial. Today, we dive into how to lose fat, not muscle while taking Wegovy. Let’s get into it.

Intro to Wegovy

Semaglutide and other GLP 1 Receptor Agonists are a powerful class of drugs that will almost certainly help you lose weight, but there is a difference between healthy weight loss and unhealthy weight loss.

What is Semaglutide (Wegovy) and What is Wegovy Muscle Loss?

What is Semaglutide (Wegovy)?

The injectable drug, initially only used as diabetes medication, is the first drug since Saxenda (2014) approved to treat chronic weight management in the 70% of American adults who are obese or overweight. Research continues to show the effectiveness of semaglutide injections for weight loss. It also highlights the value of treating obesity as a chronic metabolic disease instead of expecting people to rely solely on willpower and lifestyle changes to manage their condition. But semaglutide is not a miracle drug, and it’s not for everyone.

One of the most notable effects of semaglutide is its impact on weight loss. In clinical trials, participants using semaglutide experienced significant weight reduction, making it a valuable tool for people who are looking to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. This weight loss when mostly fat loss, can have a positive impact on overall health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other obesity-related conditions, but not all weight loss is created equal.

What is Wegovy Muscle Loss?

Muscle atrophy is the wasting or thinning of muscle mass. It can be caused by disuse of your muscles or neurogenic conditions. Symptoms include a decrease in muscle mass, one limb being smaller than the other, and numbness, weakness and tingling in your limbs. Disuse atrophy can be reversed with exercise and a healthy diet.

How does Wegovy Work?

Wegovy works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake. The medication dose must be increased gradually over 16 to 20 weeks to 2.4 mg once weekly to reduce gastrointestinal side effects.

Should People Taking Semaglutide Have a Weight Loss Goal?

There’s no shame in having weight loss goals. One narrative floating around that if you want to lose weight, you don’t love yourself. Another narrative that says losing weight is a losing battle. Both are completely false!  You can love the body you’re in and still have room for improvement. Don’t feel guilty for your weight loss. It is your health and your body. You have autonomy over your body and your choices. 

Many people have a desire to lose weight because of genetic predispositions to chronic disease or the health conditions that they’ve seen their family members go through. Other people want to be in better health to be active with their kids and family. 

At the end of the day, it’s about taking the right steps to living your happiest and longest life.

What is a Good Weight Loss Goal?

Obesity and overweight are considered significant health problems and have become a global challenge due to their high prevalence in almost all countries. The most appropriate mechanism to treat overweight conditions is the reduction of body weight. Weight loss is associated with metabolic changes, mostly favorable to improving the overall health of an individual. A direct link is shown between weight loss and improvement in metabolic diseases such as hypertension, blood glucose, lipid profiles, sleep apnea, and comorbidities such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, type 2 diabetes, etc.

Most people aim for a weight loss goal of 5%. To learn how to calculate your weight loss, click here. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to see what a good first goal is for you while taking semaglutide.

If I am Taking Semaglutide, Do I Need to Change My Diet to Avoid Wegovy Muscle Loss?

There’s no easy way around this. No magic bullet. You do need to change your diet to see weight loss and more importantly to save your muscle or lean body mass.  Nutrition is 80% of the battle and exercise is a “complement” to a healthy weight loss diet. Increased exercise without changing our diet is undermining all of the work. Take the metaphor of a sports car. If you’re putting cheap gasoline into the car, you won’t expect the car to be able to perform at peak capacity. You’re simply pushing the car harder with the wrong gas. 

This is a recipe (pardon the pun) for burnout! The only proven method that we have to achieve weight loss is through healthy eating with the addition of exercise.

What are Common Barriers to Successful Healthy Weight Loss?

Competing Priorities

As a human, you are endlessly bombarded by demands on your time and resources. When your appetite has been greatly diminished, it can be hard to think of meals and because all of us have finite time, money, and energy, if you don’t make deliberate decisions about our priorities, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Faced with an endless to-do list, you might find yourself doing nothing instead of something – anything. Fortunately, you can learn to manage conflicting priorities even when you don’t have an appetite in a way that will help you be more productive while feeling more at ease. 

How do you manage competing priorities to avoid Wegovy Muscle Loss?

Let’s pretend that you’ve arrived at your desk for the day. It’s 9 am. You have no meetings on the calendar and a long list of tasks to do. What should you tackle first? 

Do you feel paralyzed and end up on social media? Or do you dive in without taking a moment to think? Instead of jumping in headfirst or staying on your deck chair, you need to find the middle ground. Take some time to review your action items and assess each one. 

How do you tackle your to-do list?

For your to-do list, ask yourself these questions:

  • How important is this to my company/family/self/spouse?
  • Will this item help me reach my goals?
  • When is it due? How flexible is the due date?
  • How long will it take?
  • Am I the only one who can do this? If not, should I delegate it? 
  • I follow a few shortcuts that help me organize my thinking.  I’m a dietitian, so client tasks always take priority over internal work.
  • Now that you have made a conscious decision to make a long-term goal of healthier eating, we will review how to avoid muscle loss while taking Wegovy.

How to Avoid Wegovy Muscle Loss While taking Semaglutide

We all know about the quick-fix diets that leave you hungry and missing out on your favorite foods – Whole30, keto, Beach Body 21 Day Reset. You see quick results and then gain the weight back (plus more!). 

When I use the term “diet,” I am not talking about a quick-fix. When taking Wegovy, you need a diet plan that will actually help you achieve weight loss and keep the weight off for good. So here are a few tips to start losing weight and establish healthy lifestyle changes and habits that will help you long-term and maintain the weight loss even if you decide to stop taking the medication.

Wegovy Meal Planning

Meal plans are a great way to put your week and your diet on autopilot! I have designed semaglutide meal plans that get a minimum of 30 grams protein per meal and they are designed specifically for people taking Wegovy. To create your own meal plans, based on your preferences, use my meal plans as a guide. If you would like to do this on your own, here are 3 simple steps to start meal planning as a person taking Wegovy.

Step 1: Spend 10 to 20 minutes per week to sit down and look at your schedule for the upcoming week. Make note of what days you’re able to come home and cook dinner and what days are going to need some extra help (i.e. frozen meals, meal delivery service, healthy eating out options).

Step 2: Write out your grocery list and head to the store. If you like going shopping yourself, check out my Healthy Pantry Guide for my favorite product recommendations. Don’t be afraid to shop online either. Your time is valuable, so pick the option that works best for you.

Step 3: Start your prep! Some people like to prep ahead on one day of the week while others like to take it in smaller chunks. If you are new to meal prepping, you can start by chopping up your veggies and prepping ingredients that you can throw into meals later in the week. 

If putting a specialized meal plan together is overwhelming, that’s where dietitians (like me) can come into play. We can curate meal plans based on your preferences, health goals, medical conditions, and lifestyle factors. If you are not ready to take the leap into a one-on-one consultation, I have curated recipes specifically for people who are taking GLP-1 Receptor Agonists featuring meal plans that are easy to prepare, feature recipes that are both protein-rich and plant forward, and customizable. Sign up here.

If you would like more support with meal planning, join our free Facebook group today.

Meal Prep

For those who are ready to tackle a week’s worth of meal prep, here are a few tips to save you time and energy. 

  • Make freezer-friendly meals! Experiment with batch cooking and freezing leftover servings in a freezer-safe container. Rather than grabbing a TV dinner, if you have a frozen homemade soup or casserole on hand you can heat those meals up just as quickly. Be mindful of freezing meals with a dairy base like yogurt or milk.
  • Prep a few go-to snacks and meals for you and the family. For example, bake some plain chicken tenders and cut up raw veggies. If dinner isn’t a home run for everyone, you have an easy backup meal for your picky eaters.

Making A Grocery List

Making a grocery list (and actually sticking to it!) is key for keeping your grocery budget and your weight goals on track.

  • If you have trouble with impulse purchases while grocery shopping, consider online shopping. You may spend a little bit extra with shopper fees but you will eliminate impulse purchases, so you will likely come out even.
  • If paper works best for you, keep a running list on your fridge and any time you notice something you are low on, you write it down. 
  • If you are more tech savvy, use apps like the iPhone Notes app, Google Keep and the Alexa app to make a shared grocery list that the whole family can contribute to.


Leftovers are the biggest opportunity to save time and energy with cooking. Here are a few tips to become a leftover queen.

  • Double or triple every recipe you make. Simple as that! Maximize every time that you cook and clean. Leftovers can be either kept in the fridge or the freezer. Make sure to put a date on every leftover so you know when you need to throw it out. 
  • Leftovers stored in the fridge will last 3 to 4 days. When storing in the freezer, it’s closer to 3 months.

Healthy Alternatives

If you are having trouble getting your family on board with meal prep, try making small tweaks to some existing family favorite recipes. Here are a few easy examples.

  • Switching out mashed potatoes with cauliflower mashed potatoes to lower the carbs and calories. 
  • Replace unhealthy fats like vegetable oil and canola oil with olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Replace sugar in a baking recipe with applesauce, dates, or honey.

Unless you are very savvy in the kitchen, be sure to do your research before making any major changes to a recipe. For example, switching out the wrong oils can change the smoke point and lead to an overcooked meal.

Meal planning with a picky eater while taking Wegovy

Picky Eaters

There are the inevitable picky eaters. Many families end up making extra meals catered to their picky young ones – the kiddos who won’t eat veggies and turn their nose up at anything with a funky texture or odor. 

When you’re tasked with providing easy, quick meals that everyone at the table will like, sometimes healthy eating habits go out the window. Getting your children to contribute to meal planning at the beginning of the week, can help with the likelihood of your child trying new and healthy foods. For more tips and recipes for picky eaters, click here.

Building A Healthy Plate to Avoid Wegovy Muscle Loss

Healthy eating is more than just raw salads and chugging water. To keep our bodies running at full capacity, we need a variety of different foods to make sure we have a balanced and healthy diet. 

People know about their five main food groups (vegetables, fruit, protein, grains, and dairy), but we also need to focus on making sure we get our macro and micronutrients

Macronutrients are nutrients that our body needs in the largest quantity, that is protein, fat, carbs, and water. Micronutrients are nutrients that you need a smaller amount of, but they’re just as important for your body to thrive.


  • Protein should be 15 to 35% of your daily calories (depending on your preferences for animal meat). For those doing more intense exercise or recovering from an injury or sickness, you’ll want to be on the higher end of that protein range. Protein is a key component in a weight loss diet for boosting satiety and metabolic function. 
  • Good protein sources include lean meat, poultry (chicken and turkey), eggs, seafood, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products. 
  • Adult women need about 3-4 oz of protein per meal.


  • Carbs get a bad reputation but this group is so much more diverse than just white bread and sugar. Your best sources of carbs are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. They are the main fuel for our bodies so don’t throw them under the bus!
  • An adult person needs about 30-40% of their daily calories made up from carbs, but this can also be adjusted based on metabolic function and other symptoms. 


  • When you think veggies, think fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 
  • You can also get some healthy carbs and protein through your veggies such as good protein sources like lentils, beans and peas or starchy vegetables like potatoes.  
  • Aim for 3 or more cups per day of raw, non-starchy veggies.


  • These are the “good carbs”. Make sure to consume fruit raw and whole rather than juiced or dried in order to get the most fiber out of the fruit. 
  • Adult women should aim to consume 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit a day.


  • Whole grains (think brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta) are great healthy sources of carbs and even have some small amount of protein too. Whole grains include all three parts of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm), while refined grains (white grains) do not include the bran or germ. Removing those pieces removes the B vitamins and the fiber!
  • A good rule of thumb is a ½ cup serving of grains.


  • Fats are essential in our body as they are the building blocks for hormones, healthy neurotransmitter communication, and just general protection for your vital organs.
  • Healthy fats include unsaturated fats like olive oil and avocado oil. Foods that are high in healthy fat include nut butters, avocado, and hummus. 
  • Avoid products with any amount of trans fats. These are chemically processed fats that are actively being removed from our food system.
  • Fat should make up 25 to 30% of your daily calories. 


  • Not sure how much water to drink? Here’s a simple formula. Match up the number of calories you need to eat to ml of water. If you eat around 2000 calories everyday, you should aim for about 2,000 mL of water per day (that is 68 oz or 8 1/2 cups of water).
  • If you are unsure of your calorie requirements, stick to half your body weight in ounces as a starting point.


  • Dairy products are important because they are great sources of calcium and vitamin D.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, dairy free milk alternatives like soy milk or almond milk are also great options. 
  • Whenever you are selecting dairy products, make sure to opt for the plain, unflavored versions. Add your own flavors at home!
Strength training is important to help the body lose fat not muscle while taking Wegovy

Physical Activity to Avoid Wegovy Muscle Loss

What is the evidence behind the most recent diet and exercise recommendations?

Here is a summary of some recent evidence that was published on Medscape in October 2023.

  • With a combination of regular strength training and adequate protein intake, it may be possible to prevent loss of lean body mass (LBM) while losing weight.
    • 4-week study consisting of a 40% daily caloric deficit and a robust exercise regimen was performed to assess the impact of two amounts of daily protein consumption:
      • Exercise regimen: 2 days of full body resistance training plus 4 days of mixed aerobic and resistance training per week
  • Frequency and duration of strength training affects benefit; individuals should aim for at least two strength training sessions per week with a goal of 60 minutes of total strength training time per week.
  • Strength training routine recommendations should follow evidence-based guidelines.
    • According to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association, strength training sessions should be targeted to all major muscle groups, consist of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise, and be performed at least twice per week on nonconsecutive days.

Given that the goal for daily protein consumption may be difficult for individuals to achieve on a regular basis through food sources alone, and because low-cost, high-protein, low-calorie protein supplements are readily available, these appear worthy of incorporating into clinician-supported weight loss plans.

Healthy Activities With Your Kids

If you want to hit two birds with one stone, tackle healthy habits and quality time with the kids all in one go. Here are ways to get active with your family.

  • Take your kids for a 15 to 30 minute walk after dinner.
  • Go outside to run around and play.
  • Go for bike rides or hiking.
  • If they are school age (pre-school or older) they can experiment with cooking in the kitchen. 
  • Ask them to help create a grocery list. If they feel like they have a voice in what food comes into the house, they’re more likely to eat it.
  • If you are trying out a new recipe or even a new food, ask for their feedback. Ask them to describe what they like and don’t like about the new food.

How To Find Time To Exercise

Just like you would schedule anything in life, you’ve got to block out time for exercise. If it’s not planned out, chances are it won’t happen. 

Failing to plan is planning to fail, as they say. You don’t need to pencil in an hour to go to the gym. A workout can happen anywhere or anytime.

Finding accountability with your workouts can be a game changer. Ask around – you might be surprised that your neighbors or co-workers would like to be your walking buddy.  

If you do better going to a physical gym, seek out a gym with daycare options if you need it. There are days when you won’t want to drag yourself to workout, but this is where accountability shines through. 

Your kiddo can even hold you accountable! Set up fun rewards for you and the kids if you meet your activity goals every week.

Do I Need to Exercise to Lose Weight while Taking Wegovy?

While you can lose weight without exercising, consistent activity, specifically strength training, will accelerate the process and ensure you do not lose muscle while taking Wegovy. Exercising not only helps to burn calories while you’re working out, but the more lean muscle mass you build, the more calories you burn outside the gym too.  Scroll down for a completely done for you major muscle group workout program. Just enter your email address in the form below, and I’ll send you 12 weeks’ worth of workout programming, including exactly what exercises to do and how many reps and sets you should do for each exercise. 

More lean muscle mass equates to a high metabolism all day long. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories to lose a 1-2lbs per week. 

Cutting out 1,000 calories from your diet is extremely hard, but when you combine that with exercise, that deficit is more achievable.

How Much Do I Need to Exercise to Lose Weight?

There is no perfect formula for exercise and weight loss. Many variables come into play like the type of workout you’re doing and how much weight you’re wanting to lose. 

For example, if you wanted to steadily lose about 1 pound per week, then a 500 calorie deficit would be appropriate. That can be done by cutting 250 calories through your diet and exercising for about 30 minutes per day in a cardio-based workout. 

If you don’t have a smartwatch to track your exercise calories, you can use this calorie burning rate calculator, developed by University of Rochester medical center, to help you estimate how much you actually burn during physical activity. 

Remember, no matter how smart the watch or formula, all of these numbers are estimates!

The Best Exercises For People Taking Wegovy

Short on time? Can’t make it to the gym? New to working out? Here are my suggestions for quick, gentle workouts.

Resistance Training / Weight Lifting

Weight lift in the gym with formal weights or at home with makeshift weights like water bottles or books.   

Stair Step Machine

Stair stepper machines at the gym are a great workout, but you also can go to a local school stadium or an empty stairwell. 


Sign up for a class, or you can watch videos off YouTube at home. 

Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical machines can be great for people who want aerobic exercise without having to go to a formal class. You can watch your favorite show while on the elliptical.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a good fit for people who want slow meditative exercises that can be done at home.


Swimming laps is great cardio and low-impact if you have joint pain. 

Running and Walking 

Can be done on the treadmill, on the streets, or at your local neighborhood track.

Yoga or Pilates 

Sign up for a formal class or follow a video in the comfort of your home.

Bike Riding 

Bike riding can be done either stationary or out on the streets. It’s a great way to get out with your family and be physically active.

If you make a plan, losing weight as a busy mom is very doable. This means you have to block off extra time to prioritize yourself so that you can show up as the best version of you. 

Taking care of yourself and modeling healthy habits for your family will make an impact for generations to come. If you need extra help tackling your healthcare journey,  join us in the Free Facebook Community for support.

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