- Staci Rice had tried all sorts of fad diets before trying weight loss drug semaglutide.
- It has been a “miracle” for Rice, who hopes to take it long-term.
- Rice said the drug has made the “food noise” in her head disappear, as well as her cravings.
Staci Rice had tried “every diet around” before she started taking the new game-changing weight loss drug semaglutide.
Rice, 40, who lives in Gray, Georgia, would try a different diet each spring before a beach holiday. But one day she saw an advert for semaglutide while scrolling Facebook and noticed it was cheaper than previous weight loss plans she’d tried.
Semaglutide, which suppresses appetite, was originally developed for diabetes and sold as Ozempic, but was approved for weight loss by the FDA in 2021 under the name Wegovy.
Hype has quickly built around the drug, leading to shortages and rumors that it’s used by celebrities. Semaglutide isn’t cheap, costing up to $1,300 a month, which is why some people have turned to compounded versions of the drug despite the potential risks.
While many people have had positive experiences on semaglutide, some people say the side effects, such as nausea and constipation, are severe enough they’ve had to quit.
When Rice acquired compounded semaglutide from a nurse practitioner at a weight loss clinic she thought she would only take it short-term until after her vacation (which is when she’d usually quit a diet), but she decided to keep going.
Rice lost 62 pounds in the eight months after she started taking it in May 2022. In January 2023, she moved her focus to maintenance and started injecting semaglutide every 10 days instead of weekly, she said. Her appetite has come back a little, but she has managed to maintain her weight.
Rice hopes to reduce the frequency of the shots further but never wants to stop taking the medication, she said.
“I’m actually looking forward to it being long-term because I know myself and my habits, and if I don’t have something like that, then I will regain the weight,” Rice said.
After years of fad diets, which health experts warn against, Rice said semaglutide has been a game-changer because she hasn’t cut out food groups and doesn’t feel deprived. She hasn’t changed her diet, but simply eats smaller portions of what she ate before. The smaller portions also means she saves money on groceries, she said.
For her, the investment is worth it.
“Semaglutide has changed my life and I hope it’s around forever,” Rice said. “It’s been a miracle for me.”
Rice’s ‘food noise’ disappeared on semaglutide
Rice didn’t immediately notice a difference in how she felt when she started semaglutide but she did get a dry mouth that didn’t go away when she drank water and a bloated stomach, as well as some nausea, and fatigue, she said.
Her weight fluctuated for a little while, which was frustrating, but she was eating much smaller portions by month three, she said.
“The food noise was gone,” Rice said.
While she used to wake up wanting sugar, all her cravings and the desire to snack have disappeared, she said.
Rice orders kids’ meals now
When Rice goes out for a meal now, she either orders a kid’s meal or takes her leftovers to go and will get one if not two further meals out of it, she said. Rice also prefers healthier foods now and tries to eat enough to keep her energy up.
She also takes multivitamins to ensure she is getting all the nutrients she needs while eating less.
Rice never used to exercise because she didn’t like it and had knee pain from an injury. But she has noticed the inflammation has reduced since she lost weight, and she now enjoys exercise more, she said. For the first time in three years, Rice managed to run after her dog.
As well as a smaller appetite, Rice is also among users who have found they no longer have the urge to drink on semaglutide. She only used to drink alcohol occasionally but no longer craves it at all.
Rice has been sharing her journey on TikTok and is surprised by her own confidence to do so.
“Before, I felt like a nobody,” Rice said. “But now my confidence is sky-high, I’m able to stand up and talk in front of people, and that is huge to me.”