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Medication support for weight loss

Prescribed as part of your personalised weight management plan

weight loss medication

While the body mass index or BMI is not the only measure of healthy weight, it can be used effectively along with the waist circumference (which indicates the distribution of body fat), lifestyle factors, and genetic risk, to assess whether you are of healthy weight. As a rule of thumb, the following thresholds are used used when assessing for risk of conditions associated with being overweight or obese:

  • a BMI of over 25 is considered overweight, can lead to fertility concerns, and means you should consider lifestyle changes to get out of the risk range.
  • a BMI of over 30 is directly associated with Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, infertility, increased risk of breast cancer and many more diseases.

One caveat: these thresholds do not apply if you are of Asian or South-East Asian heritage, because the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease (angina) – all increase sharply at a lower BMI. See this table for ethnicity-specific BMI risk thresholds.

If you are not a professional athlete or bodybuilder, then your BMI will usually be a reliable measure of whether your are at risk of conditions related to overweight and obesity. You can easily work out your BMI using this online calculator. This also takes your ethnicity into account.

What is the medical weight loss service?

The medical weight loss service offered at our clinic consists of a personalised package of:

  • Medical consultation with a doctor specialised in obesity management
  • Blood tests to exclude other treatable conditions contributing to being overweight (hormonal / nutritional imbalance for example)
  • Nutritional support with a low calorie diet plan
  • Support from an experienced activity and exercise instructor specialised in Diabetes and Obesity and
  • Medication approved by the MHRA for weight reduction (Saxenda® Liraglutide 3mg)

While the weight loss injection (Saxenda®) will help you to achieve weight loss, it is long term changes that will be beneficial to your health. For this, you need to ensure that you don’t depend only on medication, but make positive changes to your lifestyle, your eating habits, and your mindset about healthy weight.

Why the weight loss service is more than just a medication

It is important to understand that our genes and environment are geared toward weight gain, as our lives have become physically easier but more stressful. No weight loss strategy will work and produce sustained results on its own. This is why we must fully understand the complex nature of obesity and overweight, and how our internal physiology will react when we reduce food intake. For example: if our brain realises that we are reducing calorie intake, it will make our bodies adapt to what it believes is an imminent famine. We will become more efficient and using fuel for energy. We will start storing more. We have all encountered this – the “plateau” that occurs during any diet or exercise program following the initial rapid weight loss.

We also cannot stay on a diet all our lives – that is unsustainable. When we return to normal eating, our bodies have already become more efficient in extracting energy from food. We now use less energy and store more of it as fat. This means we regain weight faster than we did before we reduced our calorie intake. This rebound weight gain is something we are all familiar with, and that is precisely what all weight loss diets depend on, to keep us returning to purchase their products.

If we are in a period of hormonal change, such as the years on either side of the menopause, it has been scientifically proven that our energy expenditure drops, and fat gets redistributed. Did you know that after the menopause, there is a reduction in unconscious movements that we make and spend energy on, like fidgeting? This “slowing down” also happens in other hormone deficiencies such as an underactive thyroid. So it is vital to check for, diagnose and correct these imbalances if we are going to have good weight loss outcome.

We are creatures of habit, conditioned by generations of convenience behaviours – and we cannot just eliminate all ultra-processed foods, convenience foods, or mental stress. But we can use effective medication to keep our mind from triggering our hunger hormones, to keep us from becoming “hangry” while we make those essential lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, many weight loss aids (pills, injections, low calorie diets, specialised detox diets) get marketed heavily by bloggers and PR gurus – making us believe that there is one magic remedy that will keep weight off forever with no long term plan or effort.

If you stop to think for a few minutes how complex our bodies are, how many years of processed food, snacking and stress we have had, how our hormones change our waistlines, weight and sugar levels – well, you will soon realise the metabolic condition needs to be addressed as a bigger picture, a whole-person health and lifestyle condition.

While the weight loss injection (Saxenda®) will help you to achieve weight loss, it is long term changes that will be beneficial to your health. For this, you need to ensure that you don’t depend only on medication, but make positive changes to your lifestyle, your eating habits, and your mindset about healthy weight.

How does Saxenda® work?

Saxenda®, a prescription only weight loss medicine that contains the active substance liraglutide. Similar to the natural occurring hormone GLP-1 that is released when you eat, Saxenda® acts on the appetite receptors in the brain to make you feel full much sooner after eating.

How does a medication like Saxenda® help me to lose weight?

While on Saxenda®, you can eat much smaller portions without feeling hungry which means you lose weight without the deprivation you can feel when trying to diet alone. If you have a condition such pre-diabetes that would improve with weight loss, you can successfully complete your chosen low calorie diet plan with less hunger and craving.

Once you have discussed with your doctor about your personalised weight management plan, you will know whether Saxenda is right for you. If you have been prescribed Saxenda injections for weight loss, you can get the most current information about the science and how it works from the manufacturer’s official page (Novo Nordisk) for this medication here.

Dr Aarti is registered with the Care Quality Commission, as this is a requirement for all doctors who provide weight loss services and carry out blood tests for patients in clinic.
This is a prerequisite for the safe assessment of your weight management needs, diagnosing conditions related to being overweight or obese (obstructive sleep apnoea for example), and for prescription of FDA and MHRA approved prescription medications for weight loss such as Saxenda (Liraglutide 3mg injections), for those patients who are found to be suitable for this following consultation.

Take home messages: There is no magic weight loss bullet. But lifestyle and behaviour change supported by medication where safe will enable you to take control of your weight and future health risk.

Book your Weight Management Consultation