Lifestyle

Kittle: Dealing with weight gain caused by antidepressant medication

This question came up in one of my fitness classes last week—What can you do about weight gain due to antidepressant medications?

There are a few theories out there on why weight gain occurs with antidepressant use, but nothing concrete.

Some theories blame the antidepressant’s effect on metabolism or appetite. Many report feeling increased hunger and intense cravings for sugar-rich foods. Some deny eating more, but still experience weight gain.

So, what can you do?

Here are some tips from the experts.

If you experience weight gain while on antidepressants, it is important that you talk to your doctor.

Sometimes the weight gain can be related to an under-active thyroid, a complete physical may be worthwhile.

Also, potentially switching from one antidepressant to another may provide the symptom control without weight gain.

Reduce and burn more calories. Create a calorie deficit of at least 500 calories per day.

Avoid weight gain by making small changes. Use measuring tools to get the right portion sizes, and avoid packaged, processed foods and avoid excess fat and sugar.

Giving into sugar cravings leads to increased appetite and weight gain.

Research shows proper proportions of proteins (i.e., lean meat, fish); carbohydrates (i.e., fruits, beans, whole grains and vegetables) and good fats (i.e., olive oil, canola oil) can reduce food cravings.

Increase physical activity to help burn more calories.

From better heart function to improved mood, exercise has vast benefits for both mind and body.

Along with the physical benefits of exercise are the social benefits of joining a group fitness class.

A woman in one of my fitness classes for those suffering with fibromyalgia, recently told me she was able to safely come off her antidepressant medication and attributed it to the exercise program and the social environment.

You should check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

For more information on land/water group fitness classes for arthritis and fibromyalgia, contact me at 250-317-3508 or check out my website www.pursuitfitness.ca.

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