Now that she’s finding success with the medications bupropion and naltrexone for weight loss, Katie Holding is looking back at what didn’t work. She remembers her first diet, when she was limiting her calories as a way to drop some extra pounds and improve how her body looked. She was in third grade.
Now 48, Katie can list all the programs and strategies that followed her elementary school diet, from keto and exercising too much to tracking points and limiting carbs. Like many people on a similar path, each attempt would work for a while—but a minor swerve off course would derail the effort.
"Something would trip me up, like getting hurt when I was exercising too much or having one meal that wasn't part of my plan. That would lead me to berate myself for messing up," she recalls. "Then I'd be so down and stressed that I'd fall off the wagon. Or I'd actually stick to my plan really well, but the scale wasn't moving. Worse, sometimes I'd gain weight."
Added to that tension, Katie constantly thought about food. She yearned to get some mental relief when she ate, except that never happened. Even when she felt full, it didn't feel like enough. Although she'd heard about weight-loss medication, including bupropion and naltrexone, she admits that it sounded like a shortcut, as if she didn’t have enough “willpower" to do it on her own. Then, she began doing some research.
"When I looked into how medications worked, it struck me that it was similar to how drugs for ADHD work," says Katie. "As a teacher, I can see when students with that condition take medication, and they seem relieved and focused—like ADHD isn't controlling them anymore because it's all about brain chemistry.” Katie wanted that too, for her intrusive food thoughts.
During her research, she came across Found. She was intrigued, since it didn't involve counting calories or assigning points to different foods. Instead, she found a comprehensive approach that involved working with a provider and using medication tailored to each person’s specific needs that included a breadth of weight-loss options, like bupropion and naltrexone, as well as others.
She says she realized at that moment that she was worth the investment. She felt like she could either put her money and effort into weight loss now—or, “pay later in different ways,” as she puts it, potentially watching her health deteriorate as a result of her weight. Another driver was her son, 9, who always wanted to play and run around. Before Found, Katie was often too tired and felt like she had mobility restrictions. "I wasn't the mom I wanted to be," she explains. Here’s a look back at her first 90 days and why she feels confident about what’s ahead.
After consulting with her Found medical professional, Katie went on a combination of bupropion and naltrexone. Although results with medication differ from person to person and can often take time before any changes are felt, Katie says she saw changes within the first week—not on the scale yet, but definitely in her mind.
"It was like magic," she recalls. "I was shocked. I remember saying to my husband: Is this what it feels like to be full? I truly felt like I'd never experienced that before." For example, they'd go to a favorite restaurant, and she'd eat about a third of her usual amount. But she was satisfied, and didn't feel deprived.
Within a couple weeks of starting her Found program, Katie began losing weight steadily—about one to three pounds every week, on average, which felt like a sustainable amount.
"The word I'd use is joyful," says Katie. "Because of this, I could enjoy food instead of always craving more.” And she got to the point where she enjoyed trying on clothes. “That was new to me, too,” she remembers. “I used to dread clothes shopping."
Katie appreciated that Found includes regular check-ins with her provider to assess how well the medications were working, whether there were any side effects, and what type of physical and emotional shifts she might be seeing. After two months, she determined that she had no notable side effects. (It’s important to remember that’s not the case for everyone.)
Bupropion and naltrexone are FDA-approved, but not for weight management or obesity. People taking these medications may experience side effects. These medications are not advised for those with certain conditions or risk factors. Serious risks include suicidality and other psychiatric disorders (bupropion) and increased risk of overdose if taken with opioids or opiates (naltrexone). Find detailed side effect and risk information for these and other medications by name here or ask your health care provider.
In addition to turning the volume way down on her brain's "food noise" and watching her weight gradually decline, Katie also noticed other major changes. Most notably, she had much more energy, even at the end of the day, which led to doing more outings as a family instead of arriving home from work exhausted and flopping down on the couch to watch a show.
She felt more confident in her work, too (she'd experienced weight stigma from parents at the start of a school year). She walked around class more, joked with her students more often, and simply felt lighter.
"There's more happiness, more laughter in my life," Katie says. "I was so down on myself before that I couldn't fully be in my life, and I recognize the good qualities in my family that maybe I didn’t recognize before. But now, because I love myself more, I'm able to see them and my life in new ways. When I signed up with Found, I thought: What's the worst that could happen? But the real question is: What's the best that could happen? Because, like me, you might find out."
*Individual results may vary.
Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, having served more than 200,000 members to date. To discover your MetabolicPrint™ and start your journey with Found, take our quiz.