Overcoming weight loss setbacks: why am I gaining weight on Saxenda? The image shows a woman with a concerned look holding a weighing scale.

Overcoming weight loss setbacks: why am I gaining weight on Saxenda?

September 26. 2023

Saxenda is one of the most efficient weight management drugs on the market; it promotes more body weight reduction than many weight loss supplements. If you are taking this medication and not getting the expected results, you are probably on the verge of screaming Why am I gaining weight on Saxenda? We hear you and understand your frustration. Losing weight is challenging enough, and when medical treatment isn’t working, that can be hard to process.

Before you lose your mind and think about giving up, give this article a chance to explain what could be happening. Novel weight control drugs, such as Ozempic weight loss, have their own set of ins and outs that you must craft to attain your goals. Let’s figure out Saxenda together and get to the root of your weight gain.

How does saxenda promote weight loss?

Have you heard of appetite suppressant supplements? Phentermine for weight loss is a very popular one. Those supplements work by decreasing your appetite to help you lose weight. Saxenda works just as an appetite suppressant, but its process is a little different.

Saxenda’s active ingredient is liraglutide and belongs to the incretin mimetics drug class. Other drugs of that type are Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro. As the name suggests, Incretin mimetics mimic naturally occurring drugs and enhance their effects. In the case of liraglutide, it activates glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a gut hormone that works in our digestive system.

Liraglutide mimics and prolongs the half-live of GLP-1, making this incretin hormone more powerful. GLP-1 receptor agonists will cause the pancreas to release more insulin every time you eat. That will help reduce blood sugar levels and create slow gastric emptying. Slow gastric emptying means food stays in your stomach for longer. Why is that good for weight loss? Because now, when you eat, you will feel satiated faster and remain full for longer.

If your weight gain comes from overindulging in unhealthy foods, Saxenda will also help you overcome that issue. GLP-1 appetite hormone also targets the hunger region of the brain, modifying food-seeking behavior. Your brain will tell your body you are full sooner than usual; some Saxenda users even lose their craving for greasy, fatty foods.

Are you using Saxenda right?

Most times, the problem behind a medication not working lies in the patient not following the doctor’s instructions. Saxenda comes with a detailed dosage schedule, storage, and application guidelines. Your weight loss clinic in Chicago expert will teach you how to use injectable pens and tell you about the best time to take Saxenda. If your doctor didn’t explain how to use Saxenda, we encourage you to ask them; that information is crucial to guarantee the treatment’s full effectiveness and attain a healthy weight.

Dosage schedule and administration

Liraglutide comes as a liquid solution inside injector pens. Also known as injectable pens or subcutaneous injections, injector pens are a convenient alternative to classic syringes. Injectable pens are so easy to use that you can even give yourself the shot – or you can ask a friend for help. It is crucial you stick to the recommended Saxenda injection sites for the drug to work properly.

With Saxenda, there is a titration period – a short time when you take a low dose for your body to adapt to the medication. Is the titration period really necessary? It is; otherwise, you could develop intense side effects and would have to quit the drug. Common side effects of Saxenda include nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, and constipation. The good news is the adaptation period only lasts about 5 weeks.

Saxenda is a daily medication; you will start the Saxenda treatment by taking 0.6mg every day. You have to increase the dose weekly until reaching 3mg per day. For this medication to work, you must take your shot every day and at the same time of the day. We advise you to set an alarm on your phone never to miss a dose. Frequently missing dosages will decrease the treatment effectiveness and could be the reason behind your weight gain.

Why am I gaining weight on Saxenda?

Gaining weight while on Saxneda is rare; most individuals lose an average of 6% of body weight while on this medication. If you are putting on pounds while taking Saxenda, we must get to the bottom of this problem to reverse the situation. These are the most common reasons why people gain weight while on Saxenda.

You need to be a bit more patient

Many people ask why am I not losing weight on Saxenda only a couple of weeks into the treatment. That’s why we explain to all our patients that the drug needs some time to work; you must allow it a few weeks to do its magic. Besides, as mentioned above, Saxenda has a titration or adaptation period. Most people don’t experience weight loss or any changes during that time, while others may experience some weight gain. The key is to be patient until you pass that period and start seeing results. Typically, people started experiencing weight loss 8 weeks into the Saxenda treatment.

Your diet is sabotaging the medication

Have you read on the internet about a magical method that can make you lose weight while still eating anything you want? Well, that’s probably rubbish; that method likely won’t work – at least not in the long run. There is no medical weight loss program that doesn’t include a healthy diet and reduced calorie intake as part of the treatment.

Saxenda is a powerful tool for achieving weight loss goals. But if you counteract this mediation effort by indulging in unhealthy foods, you will decrease its effectiveness. And what is worse, you could end up gaining weight. Ask your healthcare provider or dietitian about foods to avoid while on Saxenda. A long list of foods can easily break your weight loss efforts. Instead of continuing to wallow in unhealthy foods, take advantage of Saxenda appetite suppression and reduced cravings to create some long-lasting healthy eating habits. That will allow you to lose weight and keep it off once you are off the medication.

You are not doing the right workouts

Saxenda works by promoting appetite reduction; this drug doesn’t directly burn your fat storage – that job falls on your side. You and Saxenda will work together towards your dream weight. One of your most essential tasks is regular physical activity. If you are not used to exercising, you can include physical activity little by little into your routine by taking walks or going for a run every day.

Now you know you can’t skip physical activity to attain weight loss and burn insulin resistance belly fat. But can some exercises sabotage your weight loss journey? To be clear, all types of physical exercise are good for your health. However, if, for example, you only engage in strength training and never do cardio, you’ll gain muscle mass without burning fat. You’ll gain weight (muscle tissue), but your fast storage will never disappear.

We highly recommend getting personalized guidance or a customized workout routine to achieve weight loss. At any gym, the coach will be able to guide you and prepare a workout session for you. If you prefer to work out at home, you can develop your own routine, including fat-burning exercises like squat jumps, jumping jacks, burpees, and mountain climbers. You can also engage in other cardio activities, such as a sport, cycling, running, and jogging, or sign up for a Zumba class to spice things up a little. Physical activity doesn’t have to be a burden; find an activity you love and practice it a couple of times a week.

An underlying medical condition

Another potential reason you gain weight while on Saxenda could be an underlying health condition. There are many medical reasons for not losing weight. Some medical conditions can even lead to obesity or make losing weight an arduous challenge. There are ways to overcome those roadblocks for most conditions, but first, a doctor must diagnose it.

For example, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition that affects women during their fertile years. PCOS is characterized by hormonal disbalance and may cause insulin resistance, subfertility, missed periods, and other symptoms. This condition can also lead to weight gain and obesity. Hormonal disbalances are one of the leading health conditions behind unexplainable weight gain.

Can undiagnosed diabetes cause weight gain? Sometimes, it can. Depending on the type of diabetes you have, that condition can unexpectedly make you gain or lose weight. Other health conditions that may promote weight gain are hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, kidney problems, and menopause.

Your healthcare provider must test you for those conditions if you have trouble losing weight and present any typical symptoms of each disease. If you are wondering Why am I gaining weight on Saxenda? Tell your doctor about your situation to rule out a medical condition sabotaging your journey.

Side effects of Saxenda

We mentioned above some of the most common side effects of Saxenda – vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, etc. As you can see, the majority of those adverse effects are gastrointestinal-related. That is due to how Saxenda works; the GLP-1 hormone impacts your digestive system to promote appetitive reduction. Most of the symptoms are well-tolerated by patients; side effects tend to disappear or lessen once the body adapts to the highest dosage.

Can Saxenda’s side effects cause weight gain? Well, the answer is no and yes. There is one side effect that can add up to the number on the scale: Saxenda constipation. The link between weight gain and constipation is deeper than you think, and while being constipated doesn’t actually make you put on pounds, you will weigh more while experiencing this side effect.

Constipation is the lack of regular bowel movements, which causes you to feel bloated, among other symptoms. While taking Saxenda, you may gain a little weight if you develop this particular side effect. But once you have regular bowel movements again, that extra weight will be gone for good.

Your body doesn’t react to the drug

In some rare and unfortunate cases, a person’s body doesn’t react to Saxenda as it should. That means the drug will not cause any effect and won’t promote weight loss.

How long does it take for Saxenda to work? Many factors determine the timing, but generally, it takes from 8 to 12 weeks for the drug to deliver substantial results. If, after 16 weeks of taking Saxenda, you haven’t experienced any weight loss, your healthcare provider will likely advise you to quit the treatment. You shouldn’t worry about Saxenda not working for you until you reach that instance; give the medication time to do its job. If you have to quit Saxenda, your weight loss expert can recommend other similar drugs that may be a better fit for you. Never switch medications without first consulting with your doctor.

Final thoughts

Why am I gaining weight on Saxenda? We hear and care about your frustration when a medication that is supposed to make you lose weight delivers the opposite result. We understand your disappointment, especially if you’ve tried to stick to a healthy diet and regular physical activity. In this article, we mentioned the most common reasons behind the treatment not working. Sometimes, medication doesn’t do the trick for you, but the answer never is to give up. It only means it’s time to take a turn on your weight loss journey and find a method that better suits your particular situation. Do you need help getting results? Schedule a call with our dedicated team; we’ll work hard to find the right treatment for you.

Nurse Walton


Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

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