Weight Gain: 4 Simple Ways To Stay Fit While Taking Antidepressants
Most of us are already familiar with a psychological illness called depression. Depression is not your typical short-term mood fluctuations and emotional response but more of a long-term feeling of hopelessness and sadness (read more), as many described it. More than 264 million people are affected by the illness, and the numbers are still increasing today. In worse-case scenarios, a severe case of depression can increase the risk of suicide and self-harm.
To combat depression, scientists developed antidepressant medications to help uplift the long-term feeling of sadness and other symptoms. Though it does not cure depression, antidepressants are a stapled treatment plan. These medications may be lifetime maintenance.
Out of many side-effects from antidepressants, weight gain is what most people are concerned about. Body looks are essential, especially to people with depression related to their negative view of the self-body image. So, what can we do to prevent weight gain while taking the medications? Well, today, I will give you some tips to stay fit while taking antidepressant medications and a bit of information about antidepressants!
How Does Antidepressants Work: An Overview
To give you a brief idea of how these medications work, it balances chemicals in our brains called neurotransmitters. But to explain how exactly they work is not that simple. Researchers today have yet to find evidence about how these medications work in our brain and its neurotransmitters. But their effects ultimately improve your mood, increase your concentration, and improve your sleep and appetite! There are different types of antidepressant medications, and each of them works differently.
Almost all antidepressants have weight gain as a side-effect, but it may not always be the cause of it. Every person reacts to the medications differently as some people do not gain any weight, and some even lose. With that said, it entirely depends on your unique bodily responses to these medications.
However, some antidepressants have more chances to make you gain weight than others. Yet again, there is no evidence as to why these medications are more likely to cause weight gain. The following are some examples of these antidepressants:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) like Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline, doxepin, and imipramine (Tofranil)
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) like Paroxetine
- An atypical antidepressant called Mirtazapine (Remeron)
Though these medications have an increased risk of gaining weight, people should not abruptly stop taking them. But if antidepressants cause weight gain on your body, don’t be discouraged as there are plenty of ways to stay fit while taking these medications. This brings me to the next topic!
Simple Ways To Stay Fit While Taking Medication
1. Add Exercise To Your Routine
Nothing screams “staying fit” more than adding a daily workout to your routine. Working out will burn those excess calories and help you lose and control weight. But I know depressive episodes can give you a hard time having that motivation to exercise, so I suggest doing it while out of it.
Working out does not always involve going to the gym and starting lifting weights. You can work out by doing light exercises and giving yourself some small achievements to attain, for example, taking a walk for 20 minutes in a park and gradually increasing the time you spend as the days go on. You can also do simple tasks like cleaning the house, climbing up the stairs rather than taking an elevator, or mowing the lawn. The best part of it is that you get to exercise without realizing it!
But that is not all. Working out can release those endorphins into your body, improving your mood and making you feel good. Exercising can also take your mind off of worries that could feed the depression!
2. Having A Healthy Diet
One of the effects of antidepressants is improved appetite, and it is possibly one of the causes of weight gain. So what can you do when you feel like eating but do not want to gain any more of those calories? Well, the answer is simple, plan yourself a healthy diet. Having a planned healthy diet can help you control those calories and also lose some!
It might take you some effort and willpower to stick with your diet, but with enough commitment, you can effectively prevent weight gain. You can start by counting your calories per day, depending on your body mass index (BMI). Plan the food you will eat for the day, including snack times. You can also do small frequent meals rather than the three meals per day.
Fasting can be another option, but it might not be optimal. Forcing yourself not to eat can cause more harm to your body than its benefits. You can also experience withdrawal when fasting for too long.
3. Delude Yourself With Water And A Small Plate
Tricking your mind that your stomach is full is an effective way to prevent overeating. By drinking plenty of water before eating a meal, your stomach will feel like it is filled to a brim, and your brain will signal other organs to reduce your appetite. On top of that, water helps you digest food much faster because it can break down food into smaller particles!
Eating on a small plate can also trick your mind. For obvious reasons, the small dish can only fit a few amounts of food on it, ultimately controlling your overeating. Your brain would also think that the food on the small plate is adequate.
4. Never Eat For Boredom Or Stress
The pleasure of eating can indeed be entertaining and also help lessen your stress. However, that should not give you a reason to eat while you are not on an empty stomach as it can do more harm (link: https://www.psycom.net/mental-health-wellbeing/5-ways-to-stop-stress-eating-and-why-you-should) to your body. So what you should do is find entertainment or stress relief elsewhere.
You can engage yourself with a hobby like perhaps gardening, playing video games, or even fishing! Engaging in a hobby can also help relieve stress and distract you from worries. But Other than hobbies, talking to your friends or family can be as relaxing and entertaining as eating, so why not give your friend or family a call?