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I tried Wegovy for weight loss and this is what happened

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When the holidays rolled around in 2022, Paul Hoppa, 39, a self-proclaimed “Christmas nut,” felt a creeping sense of unease shadowing his festive feelings. Each year, he climbs an extendable, 24-foot ladder onto the roof of his family’s home in Cincinnati, Ohio, to hang strands of twinkling lights. But, this time, he worried he might not be able to safely pull off the feat.

After an extended period of stress—getting furloughed from his job during the COVID-19 pandemic—Paul’s weight had spiked to the highest it had ever been: 240 pounds. (Which exceeded his ladder’s weight limit by some 40 pounds.) With extra pounds around his midsection, he had begun experiencing back pain and equilibrium issues. Paul recalls, “I was legitimately scared to go up on that roof because I was so off balance.”

Paul, luckily, managed to install the Christmas decorations without incident. But the situation frightened him. Plus, other issues were piling up. He had started to develop prediabetes, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure; he was snoring so loud that he had to sleep in a room separate from his wife, Christina Durchholz, a physician. “You could see his health going downwards as his weight kept going up,” Christina says. “So, I was concerned.

How Paul’s weight management journey began

“A lot of my life, I was the skinny kid. My mom would say, ‘Oh, he eats like a bird,’ which is funny because birds actually eat a lot,” says Paul, now the owner of parrots. “As time went on, there was this thing that happened in my life…and it was called college.” Thus began years of fluctuating habits and body weights. 

After school, Paul worked for a traveling children’s theater. Living on the road made it difficult to maintain healthy eating habits, and his weight increased to about 210 pounds from his college-era weight of 180. When that job ended, Paul worked on his eating habits and started seeing a personal trainer. His weight dropped to 155 pounds. “That was the lowest weight I had ever been as an adult,” he says. “I felt really good.”

Life went on. Along the way, he revived a fast-food habit, and activity levels dwindled.  He sat at a desk all day and enjoyed free lunches at an office job. The weight started coming back. It was like college all over again.

Why Paul decided to join Found

Following a stressful and tough period in his personal life, as well as challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul’s weight peaked at 240 pounds, and health concerns began impacting his life in troubling ways. When his second son was born, Paul realized he needed to change things—not only for himself but for his family.

His wife started researching options. “I've been doing specialized training in obesity medicine since 2020,” she says, “So, I've developed an appreciation for the value of using medication-assisted therapy along with lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise.” She looked for programs that offered “good support along the way—and wasn't just throwing medication at him.” Found’s program, which combines personalized prescription medicine with supportive lifestyle tools and coaching, lined up with Paul’s ambitions.

Paul’s first 90 days on Wegovy

A Found-affiliated obesity medicine specialist tailored a plan for Paul. This included taking the FDA-approved weight loss medication Wegovy® starting with the lowest weekly dose (0.25 mg). During the first couple of weeks, Paul experienced nausea, which went away within the first month. The drug reduced Paul’s appetite, and he shed about five pounds a month to start. 

Paul charted his journey during Weigh-In Wednesdays, saying, “You gotta do it.” When cravings started to re-emerge, his provider slowly increased the dose. These days, burping is the side effect he notices most. 

 But there can be more serious side effects. Although rare, in animal studies, semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy) caused thyroid c-cell tumors. Wegovy’s “black box” warns of the risk of these tumors. If you have trouble swallowing, develop hoarseness, or feel swelling or a lump in your neck, contact your health care provider immediately. 

The FDA also warns patients not to take Wegovy if they have or have a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, medullary thyroid cancer, insulin-dependent diabetes, or diabetic ketoacidosis. So, if that’s you, Wegovy isn’t the right fit. Find detailed side effect and risk information on our Wegovy medication page

By the 90-day mark, Paul felt like he was finding his flow and eating healthier foods that made him feel good without stressing about it. He still eats the occasional burger or pizza, but in moderation and without inhaling it, like he used to. “My food intake is so much lower now,” Paul says. “[Wegovy] makes me fuller faster. And it makes me eat slower."

Success: Paul lost 70 pounds and feels transformed 

Looking back on his first year participating in Found’s programs and taking Wegovy, Paul marvels at his renewed confidence and well-being. He’s down 70 pounds, and his back pain, balance, and snoring issues have disappeared. But of course, individual results vary. He’s returned to sleeping in the same room as his wife, and he can get out of bed much more easily. Plus, holiday decorating was a breeze last winter. “Getting on the roof last year to put the lights up?” he says. “I didn't have to worry about it.” 

Paul’s health journey has also been meaningful to his family. “He's able to play with our kids more,” Christina notes. “It's been impressive to see how effective the program has been for him. [...] It's been an amazing transformation.” Found is among the largest medically-supported telehealth weight care clinics in the country, having served more than 250,000 members to date. To discover your MetabolicPrint™ and start your journey with Found, take our quiz.

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