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whentaniatalks: Medication Related Weight Loss/Gain

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Medication Related Weight Loss/Gain

So this is a post I have been wanting to write for a long time and concerns the weight issues surrounding medications.

I feel I am in a good position to talk about this as I have experienced both weight loss & weight gain as a result of different tablets & can hopefully provide some useful tips & tricks no matter what your situation.

Lets start with my story. I was taking Sodium Valporate for my migraines but it caused my platelet count to drop to a dangerous level. I needed to reduce the amount I was taking while staying protected against my migraines. Here would be a good time to give you my stats - I am 5" 3', my 'normal' weight is 8st 7lb & clothing size is an 8 (sometimes a 10 to take in to consideration my larger thighs & boobs!).

I can't remember the name of the medication that was introduced to my cocktail at this point, not only did it affect my weight but also my cognitive functioning - great for my second year at university! I went from 8st 7lb down to 7st. 7lb of that I lost in a month! I was never hungry, having to force the last half of my bowl of cereal down. I could easily go until 3 or 4pm before realising I hadn't eaten lunch! Dinner was the worst though as, if I hadn't planned what I was going to eat, I would spend the the whole evening trying to work out what I could force myself to eat! :-( My stomach shrunk & gurgled because I needed to eat & was swallowing air in place of food. There was very little taste to what I was eating. I went down to a size 6 & found shopping for clothes very difficult.

I then changed to Gabapentin & went from 7st to 11st 9lb!!!! Here, instead of my brain quashing my ability to feel hunger (along with other things!), the Gabapentin stopped me from feeling full. As a result my portion sizes got bigger & bigger & I snacked more & more just because I fancied something. I ate an awful lot of sugary products (no wonder I put on so much weight!). Food tasted great, it was like experiencing new flavours all over again. As my dose increased so did my taste buds & weight. I was thrilled that I could finally taste food & fit into clothes again (size 12)!

So here are my tips & tricks to help if you find yourself in one (or both) of these positions:

For Those Affected by Weight Loss

  • Plan your meals. If you know what you are going to be eating during the day it takes the guess work out of meal times so you can get on with eating rather than thinking about what you want to eat (when in actual fact you don't want to eat anything).
  • If you find yourself missing meals, set an alarm on your phone or similar to remind you when to eat.
  • Check out Complan, it's a drink that can be mixed with water or milk to create a shake that contains a number or nutrients & can help with maintaining or putting on weight. Have one to hand at all times & sip between meals.
  • Be realistic about your weight gain - It may be difficult, but don't allow yourself to think you are getting fat. This is counter productive. Remind yourself that you are becoming healthy

For Those Affected by Weight Gain

  • Become comfortable in your body.
  • If you are wanting to loose weight set yourself a main goal with smaller goals along the way.
  • Treat yourself when you reach your goals. This can provide extra motivation. This works best when you know what you're working towards so pick something at the beginning of each step.
  • With exercise, find an activity you really enjoy, so you will be motivated to keep it up.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself - loosing weight gained by medication is harder than 'normal' weight loss!
A really great aid to weight gain, loss & keeping your weight stable is MyFitnessPal. This is a website & app where you set your height, weight and how active you are in your day to day life. You then put in whether you want to gain, loose or maintain your weight & how quickly you want to do it. You are then given a set number of calories per day. You can 'buy back' calories with exercise. There is a whole community providing support for each other available or you can go it alone, whatever works for you! You can visit MyFitnessPal here.

I really hope this post has helped you. Please let me know if you have any questions & feel free to share your stories below.

Tania x



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