- Tina Baylocq, 52, said she lost 70 pounds, and maintained it, with help from medication.
- Weight-loss medications like semaglutide and liraglutide can reduce appetite and cravings.
- A doctor described the drugs as helpful tools with other weight-loss strategies but not a quick fix.
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A California woman said a combination of a healthy diet, exercise, and weight-loss medications had helped her lose 70 pounds and maintain it by controlling cravings and appetite.
Tina Baylocq, 52, told Insider she had never dieted or struggled with her weight until about 2015. After a desk job and injuries kept her from being active, she said, she noticed that years of gradual weight gain had added up and found herself feeling mental and physical strain from a poor diet and sedentary habits.
"I was sluggish, tired, and had no energy," she said. "I was eating badly and had cravings for things that I knew wouldn't make me feel good, so it was a self-perpetuating cycle."
Baylocq starting working with the obesity-management platform Enara Health on a weight-loss program of diet, exercise, and medications, including liraglutide and semaglutide.
Known under the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic, semaglutide was approved for weight loss in 2021 and become so popular that shortages were announced by the manufacturer.
Baylocq said the combination of strategies has helped her lose weight and improve her health and confidence.
"Mentally, I feel better than I probably have in my entire life," she said.
Medications helped reduce cravings and aid portion control
Before starting a diet program with Enara, Baylocq said she had no idea how to start eating for healthy weight loss.
"I had never counted a calorie and didn't really understand it," she said.
Through Enara, she learned more about healthy eating and was prescribed phentermine and topiramate, two medications that can aid weight loss by reducing appetite.
In 2018, she started using Saxenda, a brand name for liraglutide. Last year, she switched to Wegovy.
Both medications were originally developed to treat diabetes; they help with weight loss by regulating hormones associated with appetite. Saxenda is dosed in daily injections, while Wegovy is weekly — Baylocq said fewer injections worked better with her busy schedule.
She immediately noticed fewer cravings for foods that had previously been difficult to eat in moderation.
"I have no interest in bacon anymore," she said. "Who doesn't love bacon? Sugar, for the most part, I just don't care for it."
She was also more in tune with her appetite and feelings of fullness.
"I would always go for seconds my whole life," Baylocq said. "I now can't even finish one plate of food. I'm OK with putting it away and saving it for tomorrow. I know how to stop now when I'm not hungry."
Weight-loss medications aren't a quick fix but can support healthy lifestyle changes
While semaglutide and similar drugs can be useful tools, they work in combination with other weight-loss strategies by mitigating hormonal and metabolic changes that typically make long-term weight loss difficult, according to an obesity doctor.
"It's not a shortcut. What is does is make it so your biology rewards you instead of tries to fight you," said Dr. Rami Bailony, an obesity-medicine specialist who is the CEO and cofounder of Enara.
A major caveat is patients need to continue taking semaglutide to maintain weight loss. Bailony said he's hopeful that some patients could see continued results by eating a healthier diet and exercising more, even if they were to stop the injections.
Baylocq said she planned to take the medication for another year and then see if she could maintain her weight without the drug in the long term.
"I need to learn now how to live my life without the medications in the new body I've created for myself with just exercise and good eating habits," she said.