Discover How Exercise Helps Sustain Weight Loss Post Saxenda

Michael Thompson

Written by Michael Thompson


GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs, such as Wegovy, have gained traction not only for managing diabetes but also for their effectiveness in weight loss. A recent study from Denmark provides new evidence that these medications might not have to be a lifelong commitment if paired with regular exercise. In this study, participants were able to maintain a 10% weight reduction even after discontinuing the drug, provided they kept up with physical activity.

These findings counter the prevailing belief that the discontinuation of weight-loss drugs inevitably leads to weight regain. GLP-1 medications aid in weight loss by mimicking the natural hormone GLP-1, which helps create a feeling of fullness, reduces the tendency to overeat, and slows the emptying process of the stomach.

The study, published in eClinicalMedicine, involved various GLP-1 formulations, which are commonly administered via injection, with some available in oral forms. Among these, Wegovy (semaglutide) and Saxenda (liraglutide) have received FDA approval specifically for weight loss, while others are used off-label for this purpose.

The Copenhagen Study

In a rigorous randomized controlled trial, 166 obese adults in Copenhagen underwent an 8-week calorie-restricted diet. This was followed by a year of different treatment combinations involving Saxenda, a placebo, exercise, and in some cases, both medication and exercise. After the year of treatment, and another year post-treatment, those who had been on Saxenda and engaged in exercise were more successful in maintaining their weight loss.

For those who took liraglutide without incorporating exercise, the average weight regain was notably higher. This offers a glimmer of hope for individuals concerned about being tethered to weight-loss medication indefinitely. The study’s senior author suggests that structured exercise might allow for the cessation of medication without significant weight regain.

Dr. Mir Ali, a bariatric surgeon, commended the study while also pointing out the limited size of the study group. He emphasized that diet, particularly low carbohydrates and sugars, plays a more critical role in weight loss than exercise alone. Nonetheless, exercise is universally recommended for overall health improvement, regardless of body size.

Medication as a Weight Loss Tool

Weight-loss medications are increasingly being recognized as a means to facilitate a healthier lifestyle and diet rather than a standalone long-term solution. These medications can be particularly useful in reducing weight to ensure safer bariatric surgery conditions and can aid individuals post-surgery who are struggling to lose weight.

The Danish study underscores the importance of lifestyle changes in conjunction with weight-loss drugs. The combination of medication and exercise seems to bolster the chances of maintaining weight loss over a more extended period without continuous medication use. This can be a relief for those wary of the long-term use of weight-loss drugs and can redefine how these medications are incorporated into weight management strategies.

Moving Forward with Weight Management

As obesity continues to be a significant health challenge globally, the findings from this study offer a new perspective on the role of GLP-1 medications in weight management. They are not just a crutch but a tool that, with the right lifestyle adjustments, can provide lasting benefits and potentially reduce the need for ongoing medication. This research adds to the growing body of evidence that underscores the importance of combining medication with sustainable lifestyle changes for long-term weight management success.