6 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight On Saxenda

Struggling with Saxenda weight loss? Discover the common reasons causing little results and the solutions to get you back on track.

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by
Sarah Zimmer, PT, DPT
— Signos
PT, DPT
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
April 23, 2024
February 29, 2024
— Updated:

Table of Contents

Saxenda, a brand name for the medication liraglutide, is an FDA-approved prescription injectable used for weight management in adults with obesity or conditions associated with being overweight. It works by mimicking the function of the hormone GLP-1, which helps produce insulin from the pancreas. After you eat, GLP-1 promotes insulin release, inhibits glucagon (sugar) production, and slows down the emptying of your stomach, leading to appetite suppression. Therefore, a course of Saxenda typically leads to greater feelings of fullness, reduced food intake, and, ultimately, weight loss.6

However, unlike other weight loss medications that provide immediate results, Saxenda often requires a longer period to demonstrate significant weight loss. This delay in notable results can be attributed to its gradual approach to modifying appetite and metabolism and the necessity for patients to adhere to a long-term healthy diet and exercise regimen. 

In this article, we will delve into the mechanisms behind Saxenda's effectiveness, provide insights into managing your expectations during a slower weight-loss process, and find strategies for how to use this medication as part of a comprehensive, holistic weight-loss strategy.

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Can Everybody Lose Weight on Saxenda?

While Saxenda has shown efficacy in aiding weight loss for many individuals, not everyone experiences the same degree of success. Several factors contribute to why some people may not lose weight while on Saxenda or see the results they hoped to achieve. Firstly, adherence to the prescribed dosage and administration schedule plays a crucial role. Remembering to administer a daily injection can feel cumbersome, and skipping doses or injecting the medication improperly may hinder its effectiveness. Moreover, these injections are found to be most effective if they are paired with improved lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity levels. The faster you adopt healthier habits and the more consistent you are at practicing these habits, the more successful Saxenda will work for weight loss.1 

Secondly, individual variations in metabolic response can impact the efficacy of Saxenda. While the medication works by suppressing appetite and creating a feeling of fullness, some individuals may not experience these changes in hunger or may require additional time to see noticeable weight loss results due to a slower metabolic rate. Negative side effects may also contribute to poor adherence or a lack of results while using Saxenda. A few systematic reviews have found some patients using Saxenda to experience GI distress as a side effect of using the medication. Although this adverse reaction was minor and small, it was shown to cause discontinuation of Saxenda use for some patients before seeing any significant results.2, 3  

Let’s look deeper into the current statistical data and the insights they provide into Saxenda's effectiveness. Clinical studies have demonstrated that, on average, individuals using Saxenda in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity experience greater weight loss compared to those following diet and exercise alone.4 Another study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that participants using Saxenda for 56 weeks achieved an average weight loss of 8.4% of their initial body weight, while those on a placebo lost 2.8%.5 It's important to remember that individual responses to Saxenda will vary, and not all users will achieve similar results. To reach the best long-term weight loss success with Saxenda, make sure to practice a holistic approach that includes eating a healthier diet, finding more physical activity and exercising each week, sleeping better, staying hydrated, and managing stress levels, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed in trying to lose weight. 

How Long Does It Take for Saxenda to Work?

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Saxenda typically begins to show signs of aiding weight loss within the first few weeks of consistent use, but the process is slow and steady rather than immediate. Individuals may start to notice a reduction in appetite and feelings of fullness, which can lead to a gradual decrease in caloric intake. While the initial changes may seem modest, the cumulative effect of Saxenda over time can lead to significant weight loss outcomes. 

As individuals continue to adhere to their prescribed regimen of Saxenda injections, alongside adopting healthier eating habits and incorporating regular physical activity, the results can become more pronounced. Over several months of consistent use, some individuals may achieve a substantial weight loss of 5-10%, which can be drastic compared to their starting point.4

That said, those who take Saxenda must manage their expectations and understand that the weight loss journey with Saxenda is a gradual process. This gradual increase in dosage over time will help reduce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. The results may not be immediate, but they can be incredibly transformative. By staying committed to a treatment plan and making sustainable lifestyle changes, individuals can maximize the benefits of Saxenda and achieve long-term success in managing their weight loss goals.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Also Read: </strong><a href="saxenda-for-weight-loss">Saxenda for Weight Loss: Everything You Need to Know</a>.</p>

6 Reasons Why You Might Not Be Losing Weight on Saxenda

Despite its efficacy for a wide range of individuals, Saxenda may not always yield the weight loss results many are expecting. Several factors can contribute to its limited effectiveness. Below are some reasons why Saxenda might not be helping with weight loss:

  1. Your Diet Needs Adjustments: Continuing to consume high-calorie, unhealthy foods counteracts the effects of Saxenda and can contribute to weight gain. Without adopting healthier habits, weight loss may be minimal or nonexistent. 
  2. Saxenda Might Be Interacting With Other Medications You Are Taking: Certain medical conditions or medications may interfere with Saxenda's mechanism of action, reducing its effectiveness in promoting weight loss. Such medications include insulin, warfarin, some antidiabetic drugs, and certain thyroid medications. Consulting with a healthcare provider is crucial to address any underlying issues while taking Saxenda and reducing the incidence of adverse reactions to any medications.
  3. You May Need to Adjust Your Exercise Routine: Adhering to the same exercise routine without adjustment may lead to plateauing in weight loss progress, especially if the goal is to build lean muscle mass at the same time. Modifying and diversifying exercise routines can help optimize the effectiveness of Saxenda in supporting weight loss efforts.
  4. You Need to Manage Your Stress Levels: Emotional eating, stress, and other psychological factors can undermine efforts to lose weight with Saxenda. Addressing underlying psychological issues and implementing coping strategies may improve the medication's effectiveness.
  5. You Might Be Suffering From Metabolic Adaptation: Some individuals may have slower metabolic rates or different responses to Saxenda's appetite-suppressing effects, leading to slower or limited weight loss outcomes. If you have health conditions like type 2 diabetes, it also may be naturally more difficult to lose weight. 
  6. You Aren’t Adhering to the Proper Dosing Schedule: Skipping doses or not following the prescribed administration schedule can hinder Saxenda's ability to aid weight loss effectively. Consistency is key to ensuring optimal results.

What Can You Do if You Are Not Losing Weight on Saxenda?

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When Saxenda doesn't seem to be yielding the desired weight loss results, there are several strategies that individuals can explore to address this issue in order to still see significant outcomes. From lifestyle adjustments to medical interventions, finding the right solution often requires a comprehensive approach tailored to each person's unique circumstances.

  • Talking to a Specialist: Consult with a healthcare provider to evaluate potential underlying factors contributing to the lack of progress. They can assess medication adherence, review diet and exercise habits, and consider any medical conditions or medications that may be interfering with Saxenda's effectiveness
  • Keeping Track of Your Calorie Intake: Saxenda works best when paired with a healthy diet that encourages weight loss. Aim to fill your plate with lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Working with a registered dietitian to develop a personalized meal plan or using an app to track your calories can optimize weight loss outcomes
  • Stay hydrated: Adequate hydration is vital for overall health and can support weight loss efforts. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help promote feelings of fullness, improve metabolism, and enhance the effectiveness of Saxenda in managing weight
  • Manage Your Stress Levels: High stress levels can negatively impact weight loss efforts. Incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga into daily routines can help manage stress levels and support weight loss goals
  • Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep and Exercise: Prioritizing sufficient sleep and regular physical activity is essential for weight management. Aim for at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night and incorporate both aerobic and strength training exercises into your weekly routine to support Saxenda's effects on weight loss

Learn More About How to Improve Blood Sugar Health With Signos’ Expert Advice

Choosing the appropriate medication is crucial for improving health outcomes, managing diabetes effectively, and achieving sustainable weight loss. The right medication can help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications, and promote overall well-being. Additionally, selecting a medication that addresses both diabetes management and weight loss goals can lead to synergistic benefits, enhancing metabolic control and supporting long-term health. The experts at Signos are qualified to help you find a personalized regimen that works. 

If you have more questions on improving your health, fitness, and nutrition, seek the expert advice of the Signos continuous glucose monitor and Signos team. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can give you the insights to make smarter nutrition and exercise choices. The Signos app provides a unique, personalized program to help you lose weight and reach your health goals. Take this quiz to see if Signos is a good fit for you and reach your goals faster than ever before.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn More: </strong><a href="saxenda-vs-wegovy">Saxenda vs Wegovy: What Is The Difference?</a>.</p>

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References

  1. Paul MacDaragh Ryan, Jill K Hamilton. (2022). What do I need to know about liraglutide (Saxenda), the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist for weight management in children with obesity? Paediatrics & Child Health, 27(4); 201–202. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/pxac026
  2. Mehta, A., Marso, S. P., & Neeland, I. J. (2017). Liraglutide for weight management: a critical review of the evidence. Obesity science & practice, 3(1), 3–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/osp4.84
  3. Konwar, M., Bose, D., Jaiswal, S. K., & Ravi, R. (2022). Efficacy and safety of liraglutide 3.0 mg in patients with overweight and obese with or without diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of clinical practice, 2022.
  4. Davies, M. J., Bergenstal, R., Bode, B., Kushner, R. F., Lewin, A., Skjøth, T. V., ... & NN8022-1922 Study Group. (2015). Efficacy of liraglutide for weight loss among patients with type 2 diabetes: the SCALE diabetes randomized clinical trial. Jama, 314(7), 687-699.
  5. Pi-Sunyer, X., Astrup, A., Fujioka, K., Greenway, F., Halpern, A., Krempf, M., Lau, D., le Roux, C., Ortiz, R.V., Jensen, CB., and Wilding, J. P. (2015). A randomized, controlled trial of 3.0 mg of liraglutide in weight management. New England Journal of Medicine, 373(1), 11-22.
  6. Whitten, J. S. (2016). Liraglutide (Saxenda) for weight loss. American family physician, 94(2), 161-166.

About the author

Sarah is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, graduating from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2017.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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