Dieting is a tricky one. On the one hand, we want to lose weight but on the other hand, we don't want to stop eating the foods we love. When using medicated weight loss, it is far easier to reduce your portions and cut down on those unhealthy foods and treats.
Some clients have even reported that they find certain foods you regularly have either do not taste the same or do not have the same effects on them anymore. This is down to how the medication interacts with your body.
Saxenda & Ozempic initially help slow down the digestive process. This means that anything you eat stays in your digestive system for longer. This helps with making you feel more satisfied and full, however, it does mean that you’ll need to adjust your portion sizes in order to feel comfortably full rather than bloated. Many people find that eating from a smaller plate can help with portion control.
Sometimes, if we eat the same old foods we're used to whilst using this medication, we can experience a difference in taste, a lack of sense of satisfaction, bloating, nausea, sulphur burps, reflux, stomach cramps or even loose stool. None of those sound pleasant, right?
So what foods can I eat?
Generally speaking, you can eat most things with Ozempic. However, some people find that they need to eat less of certain foods to feel full and to feel comfortable.
When on a weight loss program, most people decide to cut out certain foods, such as carbohydrates. Others might choose to cut out chocolate or sugar. We have never recommended avoiding any whole food groups, even the ones that are seen as unhealthy, such as fats and carbs. These can actually be useful for our daily functioning and to keep our body & minds in a healthy condition.
As we know, it can be much harder to stick to a diet plan if you’re forcing yourself to restrict the foods that you enjoy. Instead, you should account for some treats within your calorie allowance whilst still maintaining an overall healthy diet - that's what this medication is all about; it helps you to make the healthier choices without the cravings and the hunger, which gets you into a positive mindset and into healthier eating habits. This is so that you can continue to lead a healthier lifestyle without the need for medication.
Whilst there are no foods that are completely off limits, you may need to reduce certain foods. This is completely personal and down to you as an individual; you will quickly learn what foods work for your diet whilst taking Ozempic as the weeks progress.
We love our carbohydrates - for some reason, some of the best foods are high in refined carbs, which unfortunately means they are high in calories and sugars. When using Ozempic and Saxenda, many clients have reported that carbs can cause bloating. Because of this, we advocate for your meals to be higher in protein and fibre, and lower in carbs - particularly the refined, processed carbs.
When you’re trying to lose weight, protein has been proven to help aid you by giving you a sense of fullness and satisfaction, reducing your hunger levels. There are all kinds of options available for both meat eaters and those that eat a plant-based diet. Lean protein is often lower in calories than a lot of carbohydrates, and can be incredibly filling. Good sources of proteins include:
Protein also helps repair tissue & muscles, meaning it is important for injuries and exercise. If you're upping your exercise, protein is important to nourish your body. It will also help reduce the risk of illness.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables. These foods are packed with fibre, vitamins and nutrients. Nutritional experts and the government recommend that we should aim to be eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, plus you get a lot of natural carbohydrates from your vegetables! Nutritional experts recommend that your meals contain at least two portions of fruit or vegetables.
We also talk a lot about fibre in our articles. It is important in the diet for several reasons. Even though we can’t digest it, it’s helpful for gut health and digestion. On top of this, fibre also takes up room in your stomach, helping you to feel fuller for longer.
Foods that are high in fibre are often low in calories, which can also make it easier to stick to your daily calorie allowance. But when taking Saxenda and Ozempic, it's also a great way to help keep your digestive track moving, helping reduce the risk of constipation.
Whilst carbohydrates are often demonised in most diets, they are still important. It is more the type of carbs that we chose to eat that can make the biggest impact. By reducing the bad carbs (refined pasta, rice, bread etc) and eating smaller amounts of the healthier carbs (wholemeal options), not only can it help keep your blood sugar levels stable, it can also help release energy more slowly during the day, keeping you feeling fuller and more energised for longer.
Those good wholemeal carb options can include wholegrain or whole-wheat bread, brown or wholegrain rice and pasta, oats or Muesli, and sweet potato. Plus, as mentioned above, lots of green vegetables have plenty of natural carbs in them.
Essentially, you should plan your meals to be fairly low in calories in order to do this. We would recommend aiming to eat around 1,200-1,800 calories per day, depending on your current height, weight & target weight. This should allow you to have enough energy to continue your daily living whilst still allowing you to lose weight.
How do I do this?
We've always been an advocate of meal planning. It is great for your budget, helps you plan ahead and helps you know what to expect for the upcoming week, making it less stressful and more organised. Meal plans and planners can really help you look ahead so that you're not stuck one day thinking "What should I eat?".
Try to avoid takeaways or greasy foods. Many of our clients have reported that these types of food can lead to reflux or loose stools, showing that the medication is working well with your body to help it realise that it does not want those types of bad, unhealthy foods.
Avoid the processed and refined foods and carbs. As mentioned above, stick to the natural, wholemeal options if possible or simply reduce your current food portions to help increase the weight loss and reduce some of the potential gastric side effects.
It's not easy to make big changes, which is why we advocate to make small changes each day. Start off small and as time progresses you will soon see that you have made big changes over a period of time. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
And if you ever feel that you need any nutritional advice or support, you can contact us anytime.
Thanks for reading,
The Slim Transformation Team