With more than 123 million Americans taking prescription drugs at any one time, many people out there have wondered how to lose weight after using antidepressants. While some people seem to simply shed the pounds gained after using antidepressants, others continue to struggle with extra weight long after they have stopped taking pills. For those people, learning how to lose weight after using antidepressants can not only make them look better and feel better, but can actually lead to a healthier, happier future.
- Switch doses or medication. If you are still using antidepressants, talk to your doctor about adjusting the dosage or trying a different medication. Side effects of antidepressants are quite varied from one individual to the next, so if one antidepressant causes you to gain weight, it's likely that there is another one out there that will work for you without causing this side effect.
- Examine your diet. It's possible that you've slipped in your effort to maintain a healthy diet. To lose weight after using antidepressants, track your daily caloric intake for a week, looking for excess calories and other bad eating habits you may have developed. If needed, start making changes in your diet such as drinking more water, eating less fatty foods, and increasing vegetable and fruit consumption to get your weight moving in the right direction.
- Get moving to lose weight after using antidepressants. Exercise not only helps you lose the weight you've gained, it's also been shown to increase chemicals in the brain that improve your mood and make you feel good. Tackle your depression and your weight gain at the same time by engaging in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Raise your metabolism if you have gained weight on antidepressants without a corresponding increase in calorie consumption. Some people find that the weight just seems to magically pile on after several months of antidepressant use. This is an indication that the metabolism is being affected. In these cases, focusing on increasing the metabolism is the way to lose weight after using antidepressants. Ways to increase the metabolism include regular exercise, eating more protein and complex carbohydrates, drinking moderate amounts of coffee or other beverages containing caffeine, and increasing the amount of muscle in the body through a regular strength training program.
- Get adequate sleep. Antidepressants affect the sleep cycle and may thus encourage weight gain in some people. Get back on the right track to lose weight after using antidepressants by setting up a regular bed time and routine. Aim for at least six and preferably eight hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep raises cortisol levels, a stress hormone in the body which in turn increases other hormones which signal hunger. Getting your rest can help your weight loss effort on many fronts.
- Cut the simple carbohydrates, sugar, and fat from your diet. You don't have to swear off these foods entirely, but you may well be eating them in rather significant amounts if you have recently stopped taking an antidepressant. One side effect of these medications in some people is to increase cravings for simple carbs and high sugar foods. This naturally leads to excess calories and weight gain. Try snacking on something crunchy or salty to curb these cravings, or reach for a piece of fruit as a sweet, low-calorie and healthy substitute.