In the interest of transparency and to bring something a little bit more personal to the site I wanted to share a different type of post with you today. I recently shared a weight loss jar printable to help anyone that is on a weight loss journey to track their progress. Well, in today’s post I wanted to get a little bit deeper into the weight loss conversation and chat to you about my current weight loss journey. This time around though, I am not going at it alone. But along with healthy lifestyle changes I am using injectable prescription medicine, Saxenda (liraglutide) weight loss injection, to be precise. And I wanted to share a bit more about my Saxenda diet plan to help you if you’re also on a weight loss journey.
First of all, I’ll start by saying that this is not medical advice and is just based on my personal experience thus far. You should definitely see your healthcare provider before starting this or any other weight loss plan. I say that from experience. On top of that, I will second that by saying that this by no means is a rapid weight loss fad either. Sure, there are many stories of celebrities misuing the medication purely for aesthetic reasons and to go from an already regular body weight to an even lower one, but all that aside, weight loss medication is a fantastic new treatment for people who are overweight or obese.
So, what is Saxenda?
Saxenda is the brand name for liraglutide, a glp-1 receptor agonist medication (glucagon-like peptide-1), that aids in the weight loss process by lowering your appetite, and keeping you fuller for longer by slowing down gastric emptying. Saxenda works like GLP-1, a naturally ocurring hormone in your body that tells you when you’re hungry or not. Saxenda, made by Novo Nordisk, has the same active ingredient as Victoza, but the former is the only GLP-1 medication approved to be used exclusively to help with weight loss.
How to get on Saxenda?
Although I had seen so much about Saxenda and Ozempic online, I knew that I couldn’t and shouldn’t try to get my hands on it over the counter. There seem to be different online pharmacies that carry it. But in my opinion, and my experience, if you want to sort your health conditions out properly, going to your GP is the way to go. In my case, I made an appointment with a dietician who alongside a GP helps you reach your weight loss goals.
Before I even started Saxenda I had bloodwork done by my doctor to determine if I was an eligible candidate for the medication. In my location, the choices were between Ozempic and Saxenda. In some places they are both prescribed interchangeably, but my doctor would only prescribe Ozempic if my bloodwork showed that I had blood sugar levels that were high or out of control. Since that wasn’t the case, Saxenda was the recommended option.
Between waiting for the appointment for the bloodwork and the appointment for the results, two weeks passed, in which I was placed on a low-calorie diet. The dietician was thorough enough to give me options regarding diets, but since I had had issues in the past with a keto diet we decided that a 1200 calorie intake diet was the best option for me.
There are a lot of people on social media and online in general stating that 1200 calories is not a sustainable diet for an adult. Which is why I think that if you do decide to do something as drastic you do it under medical supervision as there can be serious side effects that one may not even think of. I’ll share more on that later.
Once my bloodwork came back and I was given the prescription for Saxenda I was prepared as I had been on a healthy diet for a month already. Two weeks on my own just by cutting my portion sizes and ingesting fewer calories, and 2 weeks on the diet given by the dietician.
How to administer Saxenda?
Saxenda is a subcutaneous injection, which means that it is injected right under the skin. If you’re afraid of needles you shouldn’t worry too much as the needles used for Saxenda tend to be smaller needles that are usually 0.25mm x 5mm and frankly, you don’t really feel the pinch. There are 3 places that it is recommended that you inject your medication into – your upper arm, your upper leg, and your stomach area. I have tried injecting my thigh, but the discomfort was too much. I haven’t tried injecting my arm, but have settled for my tummy, which has quite a lot of soft, fleshy bits, and have only experienced slight discomfort on a few occassions.
This part will usually be trial and error, so it’s up to you to find the best injection site.
So, what does the Saxenda diet plan look like?
This is different for everybody, but all in all it is all about a reduced-calorie diet that is also a balanced diet, physical activity, and your dose of Saxenda to help bring you down to a healthy weight. Meal plans tend to vary, and I have had to make some variations to my diet to accommodate for the type of food that I would normally consume. This is due to the fact that I want to be able to make sustainable changes that I can continue on a lower-calorie diet even after I get off of Saxenda.
My Saxenda diet plan on 1200 calories is a combination of 155 grams of carbs (50%), 70 grams of protein (22%), and 38.5 grams of fats (28%). And the calories are split up between 155 calories for breakfast, 55 calories for a mid-morning snack, mid-afternoon snack, or a snack before bedtime. And 463 calories for breakfast and lunch.
In theory, it’s a balanced diet but there are potential side effects such as the risk of low blood sugar when you’re taking the Saxenda injection but aren’t consuming enough calories.
Side effects on Saxenda
When you start Saxenda you start at a lower dose of 0.6 mg for 1 week, then up to the increased dose of 1.2 mg for another 2 weeks, up to 1.8 mg on week 3, 2.4 mg on week 4, and up to the full dose of 3.0 mg on week 5 and beyond.
My side effects for the first 4 weeks were the typical most common side effects of Saxenda; nausea, headaches, constipation. Though some people can also have diarrhoea, and vomiting. I felt extremely fatigued, had an overall feeling of just being unwell, and nausea that wouldn’t lead to vomiting but was enough to make me feel sick all day. I told the GP about it and was prescribed anti-nausea pills that worked a breeze. You can check out the full list of side effects here.
My recommendations for a good Saxenda diet plan
By the time of publishing this post, I have been on Saxenda for 2 months. I have had a loss of 22lbs! I think that’s signficant weight loss and am confident that the lifestyle changes along with Saxenda have made this difference in helping me drop excess weight.
I have seen these results by sticking to my Saxenda diet plan through and through. Although, with the heat waves being so unbearable I have had a couple of cheeky ice cream cones a week. Though I did try to balance the calories elsewhere to compensate for that.
I have also had some special occassions like birthdays happen within this time, and have eaten foods that weren’t part of the Saxenda diet plan. All in all, I didn’t see any issues, but again, as it was done in a balanced way. Which is actually not a bad thing as it is all part of a healthy eating plan that I am hoping to cultivate going forward.
The only particular foods that I have had major issues with are greasy foods. I’ll admit, I have eaten cheesy bacon chips once and I was pretty much praying for death. I had the most agonising stomach cramps, and that’s when I realised that fatty foods are most certainly not acceptable cheat foods. Sticking to low-fat foods is really the best way to go, in my opinion, and will lead you to more success.
So, what should you eat on your Saxenda diet plan?
My Saxenda diet plan is tailored to the Mediterranean diet. But all of this can be adapted to whatever diet you prefer to follow as using the right ingredients is key. Of course, a specific diet plan for the diet that you know you will enjoy eating and prefer overall will give you more chances of success.
If you stick to wholesome ingredients in the right amounts then you can’t fail. You can either have a takeaway that equals your daily allowance of calories or choose to make healthier choices that will stick and help you with chronic weight management.
Try and eat lots of the following;
- fresh fruit,
- lots of salads,
- good fats like olive oil,
- green beans
What to drink on a Saxenda diet plan?
I tend to stick to low fat foods, like 2% milk, though the recommendation on my diet is skim milk. I just can’t bring myself to drink it. And as I drink milk so seldomly, it works for me.
- water – lots and lots of water! I aim for a minimum of 2 litres a day,
- 2% milk with tea or coffee,
- this one may be controversial, but if I am really having cravings I have a fizzy drink. Not your typical sugary drinks, but a zero sugar drink. They tend to have less than a calorie, and I have found that when I am having a craving it really calms my stomach down.
The benefits of losing weight on Saxenda
Many people criticise those of us who choose to take medications for weight loss or people who choose to have weight loss surgery. Instead of criticising people, one should keep in mind that there are many times when weight gain is a common side effect of being on prescription drugs, of mental health issues, a lower socioeconomic status, and of course, of bad habits overall. However, weight gain can lead to chronic diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and mobility issues. All of which are urgent to fix. So why not take prescription medication to help you lower your body mass index and that will hopefully lead you to not have to take prescription medication in the long run once the medical conditions that can be sorted with weight loss are?