There are a few theories as to why people gain weight when on certain medications including the drug’s relationship with insulin to its affect on certain gene markers. Some drugs increase appetite, according to Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, or cause food cravings. Some medications known to affect weight gain include antidepressants, antiseizure medications and blood pressure drugs. While watching what you eat and going to the gym certainly will help you drop a few pounds, you first need to discuss your side effects with your doctor.
Schedule an appointment with the doctor that prescribed the medication. Before you head out to the gym, before you change your diet, you need to discuss this side effect with your doctor. You need to be sure that your change in diet and that the rigorous exercise you need to do to drop weight won’t interfere with your medication.
Switch to another medication. Ask your doctor if there is another drug that can treat your health issue but does not cause weight gain. Cheskin warns that if you abruptly stop taking your medication, those side effects may be worse than just gaining a few pounds.
Exercise every day. Certain prescription drugs can decrease your metabolism by 10 percent, according to Madelyn Fernstrom, director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, making weight gain nearly inevitable. Interval training is an effective way to give your metabolism a boost and burn calories. Incorporate short bursts of rigorous exercise into a typical aerobic routine. For example, walk at a fast pace on a treadmill for 10 minutes and run for five minutes. Repeat two or three times.
Eat fewer calories. Under normal circumstance, the Weight-Control Information Network indicates that you need to eat fewer calories than you use in order to lose weight. Since eating and lack of exercise has not caused your weight gain, the exact amount of calories you need to take in won’t be so easy to gauge. Fernstrom recommends eating low-calorie foods that make you feel satiated. Try eating high-fiber foods, which take a while for the body to digest, lean proteins and healthy fats, all of which make you feel fuller faster.
Snack on vegetables and fruits. These foods have high water content, which makes you feel full. They also have much fewer calories compared to candy, baked sweets and salty processed snacks.
Drink water or low-calorie beverages. A 22 oz. bottle of soda can have nearly 300 calories. To minimize your calorie intake, drink sugar free iced tea, diet soda or water.
The next time your doctor prescribes a new medication, ask if it will cause weight gain. Preventing weight gain is a lot easier than losing weight after you’ve begun taking a new drug.
You can ask your doctor if a lower dose will help, but sometimes it’s not the amount of the drug that is causing your weight gain but how the drug interacts with different hormones and neurotransmitters in your brain.
- Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience: Antidepressants Induce Cellular Insulin Resistance by Activation of IRS-1 Kinases
- John Hopkins Health Alerts: Prescription Drugs That Cause Weight Gain
- Amercian Council on Exercise: High-Intensity Interval Training
- Today Show: Getting Fat, Should you Blame Your Meds?
- DietFacts.com: Pepsi