I tried metformin to lose weight, and this is what happened

I tried metformin to lose weight, and this is what happened

I tried metformin to lose weight, and this is what happened

Some prescription drugs can lead to weight gain and it can feel defeating. But, as Emilie learned, you don’t have to sacrifice one aspect of your health for another.

Sheryl Kraft
Last updated:
January 30, 2024
5 min read
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When Emilie Zemanek became engaged to her boyfriend, Dylan, during a trip to Ireland in 2023, she never thought that moment would lead her to metformin.

Emilie naturally wanted to document the surprise proposal with lots of photos. In one, the happy couple walk hand-in-hand through a garden blooming with verdant colors. Another shows them embracing, Emilie’s newly adorned hand delicately resting on Dylan’s shoulder, ring sparkling in the light.

But before sharing the happy photos, Emilie couldn’t ignore her tinge of sadness. “I felt so embarrassed about the way I looked,” she said. Her hesitation was palpable on what she describes as one of the happiest moments of her life. That hesitation gave her the nudge to take action finally. “I’d been wanting to lose weight for so long, especially for my health, but this inspired me to buckle down and get very serious about it.”

How Emile’s weight loss journey led to metformin

 Now 32 and living in Orlando, Florida, Emilie spent much of her early 20s active and healthy; she says she was “obsessed with running half-marathons and 10Ks.” Her weight, easily maintained, hovered around 130 pounds. On her 5 foot 7 inch frame, Emilie was proud of how she looked and felt: slim and fit.

But in her late 20s, Emilie’s weight—and habits—changed. She sought solace in food as a way to ease her depression and anxiety. “It’s easy to get quick dopamine from eating junk food,” she admits. As often happens, too, the medications prescribed to treat her mental health challenges caused her to put on weight. On top of that, the COVID lockdown that began in 2020 made it easier to gain and harder to lose weight. Emilie all but lost her enthusiasm for exercise and healthy eating, and her lifestyle, once active, turned sedentary. Her weight climbed to a high of 200 pounds.

As the world began to right itself, Emilie followed suit. She joined an online weight loss program. But at the end of eight months and “following the program very strictly,” she says, she had only lost about ten pounds. “It was incredibly discouraging. I resigned myself to being at that general weight for the rest of my life. I slipped back into old habits, and it wasn’t long before I had gained the weight back. Determined to get back on track, Emilie tried again. “I didn’t use any official weight loss program, but attempted to make healthier lifestyle choices and increase my exercise.”

But nothing seemed to take any weight off.

How a medication for type-2 diabetes helped Emilie lose weight

Sometimes, the road is not straight, but you get to your destination just the same. 

Frustrated but determined, Emilie knew it was time to consider a medically-assisted weight loss program. After researching and comparing the many options, she decided that Found was the right program for her. Found is affordable, and many of the medications, like metformin, have a long history of helping people successfully lose weight.

Although metformin is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes, it is often prescribed off-label for weight loss. Metformin helps regulate glucose and has been shown in many studies to trigger feelings of fullness and reduced appetite, leading to less calorie intake in people taking it.

A review of metformin studies in Current Obesity Reports praises its safety and “tolerability,” demonstrating that patients with and without type 2 diabetes, obesity, and pre-diabetes were able to lose weight without experiencing any significant safety issues.

And a 2019 meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology that examined 34 trials found that metformin, when used in people with excess weight and obesity and without diabetes, offered “clear advantages.”

Why Emilie chose metformin for weight loss

By the time Emilie decided to join Found, she realized that weight loss is a very individual process, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.

That’s just one of the advantages of Found: its unique MetabolicPrint™ assessment that can individualize your weight loss journey. By uncovering the root causes of your weight challenges while taking your genetics, health history and habits into account, a personalized treatment—put together exclusively for you by a Found-affiliated health care provider trained in obesity medicine—sets you up for success.

“My provider (who is incredible!) and I discussed several options, and we ultimately decided on metformin,” Emilie says. “I am honestly shocked with the results.”

When Emilie started taking metformin, she noticed her blood sugar dipped a bit in the evenings. But her body soon adjusted to the medication. She’s tolerating it well and has been free of some of metformin’s most common side effects, which include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.

It’s also important to know metformin has other risks: The FDA has a “black box warning” on metformin as it carries a serious safety risk of lactic acidosis. This rare but potentially fatal condition causes a buildup of lactic acid in the blood. Too much can lead to low blood pressure, breathing issues, confusion or disorientation, extreme fatigue, or even death. Additionally, metformin may stimulate ovulation in those with PCOS or who are premenopausal and may increase the risk of unintended pregnancy. If you’re in a sexual relationship that can result in pregnancy, use at least one form of birth control unless you’re planning on getting pregnant. Find detailed side effect and risk information on our dedicated metformin page. 

Success: Emilie’s lost 32 pounds and counting

Along with taking metformin, Emilie walks more, eats smaller portions, and sticks to a healthy diet. The medication isn’t the sole cause of her weight loss, she says, “but the metformin has helped make losing weight so much easier.” After five months, Emilie’s weight has dropped from 200 pounds to 168 pounds. (Individual results vary.) She’s not done yet: Her goal of 140 is within reach.

“At first, I felt like taking medication for weight loss meant that I wasn’t capable of losing weight on my own,” says Emilie. But, by being open to anyone who asked, she quickly learned that people were excited and inspired by her journey rather than judging her. “There’s no reason to be embarrassed about using medication to help you if you’re truly going to benefit from the results.”

Besides looking forward to her wedding, Emilie is excited about being able to attend pool parties and beach outings without feeling self-conscious about her body. And, perhaps even more than that is the pride she’ll feel when she looks back on her big day and shares her wedding photos without a moment’s hesitation.

About Found

To discover your MetabolicPrint and start your journey with Found, take our quiz. Found is among the largest medically supported weight care clinics in the country, having served more than 200,000 members to date.

Published date:
January 30, 2024
Meet the author
Sheryl Kraft
Freelance health journalist

Sources

  • Yerevanian, A., & Soukas, A. A. (2019). Metformin: Mechanisms in Human Obesity and Weight Loss. Current obesity reports, 8(2), 156–164. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00335-3
  • Yerevanian, A., & Soukas, A. A. (2019). Metformin: Mechanisms in Human Obesity and Weight Loss. Current obesity reports, 8(2), 156–164. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00335-3
  • Hui, F., Zhang, Y., Ren, T., Li, X., Zhao, M., & Zhao, Q. (2019). Role of metformin in overweight and obese people without diabetes: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. European journal of clinical pharmacology, 75(4), 437–450. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00228-018-2593-3
  • Sharpe, A., Morley, L. C., Tang, T., Norman, R. J., & Balen, A. H. (2019). Metformin for ovulation induction (excluding gonadotrophins) in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 12(12), CD013505. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013505
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    I tried metformin to lose weight, and this is what happened

    I tried metformin to lose weight, and this is what happened

    Some prescription drugs can lead to weight gain and it can feel defeating. But, as Emilie learned, you don’t have to sacrifice one aspect of your health for another.

    Ready to break the cycle and live your healthiest life?

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