Weight loss medication plus exercise best for Maintaining Weight Loss

Posted: Feb 03 in Weight loss, Weight Loss Medication, Weight Management Strategies by

Most people I speak with are concerned about one thing – “How much weight can I lose, and how quickly can I lose it?” (Okay – that’s two things). The majority set personal weight loss targets far exceeding what is typically seen. I spend a lot of time counseling people on realistic goals and expectations. In setting realistic weight loss expectations, instead of focusing so much on how much and how fast, I try to help people see the bigger picture – for how long can the weight loss be sustained?

Unfortunately, the majority of people who lose weight find that a year later they’ve not only regained what was lost, but are even heavier than before! This represents the natural history of the disease of obesity – people gain a pound or two a year, in spite of any efforts to lose weight. That’s why at Clinical Nutrition Center, we focus on reversing the disease as much as we can, but also on preventing it from coming back.

A recent study examined tools to see what worked best for maintaining weight loss. Patients were divided into 4 groups – one group received a placebo, one received a weight loss medication, one received exercise counseling, and the final group received exercise counseling and weight loss medication (in this case, liraglutide, marketed as Saxenda).

The results are actually quite interesting – the only group that had a good sustained weight loss was the 4th group – weight loss medication plus high levels of physical activity. In addition, the group that engaged in physical activity plus weight loss medication reduced their body fat percentage more than the other 3 groups.

Physical activity plus medication resulted in >5% weight loss 87% of the time, >10% weight loss 69% of the time, >15% weight loss 49% of the time, and >20% weight loss 33% of the time. These numbers were significantly greater for exercise + medication than for the other three groups in all of these categorical numbers except at 5%.

So, want to lose weight and keep it off?

  1. Don’t stop the medication used to help you lose the weight.
  2. Find time to be active!


2 Responses to “Weight loss medication plus exercise best for Maintaining Weight Loss”
  • Anna says:

    I reached target weight with Wegovy 2.4.
    Can i use a LOWER dose Wegovy (or saxenda) for maintaining this weight?

    Thank you.

    • Dr. Lazarus says:

      The recommended maintenance dose of Wegovy is 2.4 mg weekly. If you have side effects, it is also approved for chronic use at 1.7 mg weekly. We generally maintain on Wegovy. You could move to Saxenda, but it is hard to find right now as it is in shortage, and it is less-potent than the Wegovy. The recommended maintenance dosage of Saxenda is 3.0 mg daily.

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