Medication and weight gain

One thing I didn't envisage when I had my breakdown was significant weight gain due to the prescribed medication. This however happens to many people with a range of prescription drugs. It's unfortunate that drugs designed to alleviate one issue can create another. 

As well as the side effect of the drug I had been prescribed - which was to be permanently hungry - this side effect was compounded by my state of depression at the time which meant I didn't care about the consequences of giving in to that constant hunger. 

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

The result was that within a few months I had gone up 4 clothes sizes. One day I decided I couldn't let myself get any bigger, and spoke to my psychiatrist about switching meds. I was disappointed in myself for letting myself get so big, but also angry with the mental health services for letting me. 

For all that is good about the mental health system, in my case at least, my wellbeing was not looked at holistically. That is, so long as the meds were apparently taking care of my mental illness, there didn't seem to be any concern on the part of my care team for my physical health. This approach is hopefully changing. 

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

However, after speaking to the psychiatrist I switched to another med which doesn't have the same side effect. This has given me the chance to begin to reduce my weight without fighting against the drug. It took me a while longer to knuckle down to losing the weight, after trying and failing with different types of diets.

I finally feel I'm on the right track. I now pay to go to a popular weekly slimming group and have lost 1.5 stone so far over the last year. I want to lose at least the same again. It feels good to gradually drop down one clothes size to the next. My aim is not to be thin, but healthy. I'm also happy to take my time in the hope that if I take my time then the weight loss will be sustainable. 

Photo by Caju Gomes on Unsplash

Slimming groups are not for everyone, but if you are dealing with unwanted weight gain due to medication or mental illness, I would encourage you to explore different options and see what works for you. If, like me, you have a significant amount of weight to lose, the goal may feel too far away. Yet there is a well-known saying that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. 

You may want to reflect on what little steps you can take to move towards a healthy weight?

How can you look after yourself in body as well as mind?

Bryony Bennett 

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