Simply taking Saxenda alone is not enough to help you lose weight. You should also make appropriate changes to your lifestyle to manage your weight.
Below are some tips for adjusting your lifestyle to get the most out of your Saxenda treatment.
You should aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise. This can include activities such as running, jogging, cycling or swimming.
An easy way to manage this is to aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week.
Find an exercise which works for you - not only for your lifestyle but for your weight and fitness level.
Build up the amount of exercise you do week on week before you find the right level for you. Don't try to push yourself too early. Not only can strenuous exercise result in injury, it can also affect you mentally and make you feel dissatisfied. Pace yourself - if you are comfortable running for 3 minutes, try running for 5 minutes. If you normally do 10 strokes in the pool, try 13 or 15 next time. Gradually increase the amount of activity you do.
If you feel you pushed yourself too far, dial it back to an amount you feel comfortable with. Always seek medical help if you experience pain or feel unwell while exercising. Pushing too hard can result in injuries such as sprains and strains, which can put your exercise efforts on hold while you recover.
You can avoid injury by doing a warm-up before exercising. A combination of static and dynamic stretches are ideal before a workout - static squats, jogging on the spot, lunges and other stretches can help to limber you up.
Don't forget, increasing your activity level isn't limited to just going for a run around the park. You can do squats while you are waiting for the kettle to boil, do star jumps during the ad breaks of your favourite show, get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way, take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. Small, regular exercises can have a noticeable impact on your weight loss achievements.
It's important to keep hydrated while working out. A bottle of water or isotonic drink is ideal. If you don't have isotonic drinks at hand, you can make one using full-sugar squash. Mix 1 parts orange squash with 4 parts water and add a large pinch of salt.
If you are using a fitness tracker or app, don't get bogged down in the numbers. If you don't reach your target number of steps on a given day, for instance, aim to achieve the same goal another day.
Most importantly, find an exercise you enjoy and want to do. Getting involved with a sport can be great for your physical and mental health. Your activity won't feel like a chore and you will be surrounded with other people who are striving to live healthy and active lifestyles. Likewise, fitness classes can be great for socialising while on your weight loss journey.
Don't worry if you feel unmotivated or unwell to exercise. Leave it out for a day and try to exercise the next day. You should avoid any strenuous exercise if you are recovering from an injury.
Just like with exercise, making small and simple changes can help you achieve your weight loss targets.
Start by reducing the amount you eat, rather than cutting out food groups. The NHS recommend reducing your calorie intake by 600 calories a day. However, you should consult your doctor or a dietician before making drastic changes to the amount you eat.
Next, consider the plate method. Imagine your plate is split into even quarters. 2 quarters of your plate should consist of non-starchy vegetables, such as peas, carrots or broccoli. You can mix up different vegetables, for example, sliced carrots and peas. 1 quarter of your plate should be filled with protein from lean meat, skinless poultry or seafood. The final quarter should consist of complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice or wholegrain pasta.
Snacking can greatly contribute to weight gain. To avoid the urge, eat meals at regular intervals throughout the day. Ideally, you should aim for 3 meals spread even apart from one another. This can help you to regulate how much you eat in a day and prevent cravings for foods.
If you do crave a snack later in the day, particularly if your evening meal is eaten later in the day, you should eat something healthy. Apples, carrots and celery are great for snacking on, as are small portions of nuts and seeds. Avoid snacks such as chocolate, biscuits, pastries and baked goods, such as cakes and doughnuts.
What you drink can also contribute to weight gain. Fizzy drinks, tea, coffee and fruit juices can contain high amounts of sugar and be high calories. It's important to be aware of the sugar contents of what you drink. Check the label for the "carbohydrates of which sugars" and the kcal amount. In most cases, the calories will be visible on the front of the label. In tea and coffee, substitute sugar for artificial sweeteners, so long as you aren't sensitive to them.
Limiting or cutting out alcohol can also help you to lose weight. Alcoholic drinks often contain a high amount of calories but carry little to no nutritional value.
Keeping a food diary can help you track what you eat. Write down every meal and snack you eat, making note of the number of calories alongside everything you eat. This record can be reviewed by your doctor or a dietician, who can identify areas of your diet which may require improvement.
The common side effects of Saxenda are nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhoea. While they usually reduce over time, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of side effects.
Firstly, it's important to administer Saxenda at the same time every day. If you find it difficult to remember when to take Saxenda, set a reminder on your phone or smart device.
Side effects such as diarrhoea and vomiting can dehydrate you. It's important to keep hydrated while taking Saxenda by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
You may find that your side effects become more prominent when you escalate your dosage. If you cannot tolerate the side effects, discuss your options with your doctor. Your dosage may need to be reduced. You should always follow the recommended dose escalation.
Negative thinking can impact your weight-loss journey, making it harder to lose weight. The negativity may be caused by how you view yourself, how you think others see you and your thought process when faced with these attitudes.
Identifying your attitudes towards eating and weight loss can help you keep your weight off in the long run.
Set yourself manageable and do-able goals and learn what you can do to make them more achievable.
Create an environment for you which motivates positive attitudes towards healthy eating. Try to keep unhealthy snacks out of your house to prevent you from snacking on them. Keep healthy fruits in your house to snack on instead.
Surround yourself with positive people who motivate you - including family, friends or local weight loss support groups. Speak to your doctor if you notice any negative changes in your mood during your weight loss journey.
When you achieve a weight loss goal, it's easy to turn to an unhealthy snack as a reward. Swap this unhelpful option for something like an activity or a new item of clothing. If you reward yourself with unhealthy snacks, look at what you can swap them for.
As you continue your weight loss plan, you may find that you reach a plateau whereby you will find it harder to lose as much weight as you previously could. While this is completely normal, it can make you feel as if you are stuck and hit a brick wall. Speak to your doctor if you reach a plateau or are struggling to lose weight. Your diet and lifestyle may need to be reviewed to keep you on track.
During your weight loss journey, there may be changes to your lifestyle you wish to continue, such as keeping healthy snacks in the house, engaging in a sport, keeping a food diary to track your eating habits or changes to your diet. Keeping these habits can help you keep the weight off and prevent you from gaining the weight you worked so hard to lose.