Being depressed isn't any fun, but at least medical science has found medicines that can often treat depression. Unfortunately, one of the more common side effects is gaining weight. The problem is that some people will stop taking their medication if they start packing on the pounds (never stop taking medication without talking to your doctor first). How to avoid weight gain on antidepressants is an important question as it can improve the quality of your life.
To be clear, you should never stop taking antidepressants or change your dosage unless you are told to do so by a qualified medical doctor.
The cause of weight gain for people taking antidepressants isn't all that easy to figure out, and not everybody will gain weight. However, enough people do experience significant weight gain that it is worth looking into.
A good first step is to talk to the prescribing physician about potential side effects. If gaining weight is one of them, then be sure to discuss your concerns. It's possible that your doctor will be able to modify the dosage, change your prescription to something else, or be able to suggest ways to minimize the side effects. If you have been on the same dosage of the same antidepressant for a long time, and your weight suddenly goes up or down, then that could be a sin of something else going on and you should make a doctor's appointment.
The good news is that the question of how to avoid weight gain on antidepressants is much the same as losing weight for any other reason.
Making better food choices will help you to limit the total number of calories you take in, and will also ensure that the calories you do take in are healthy for you. This isn't about depriving yourself, but rather about eating food that's better for you. Typically speaking, the best choices include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meat and healthy fats.
Physical activity will also help prevent weight gain, and it has the benefit of making you feel better, too. One of the symptoms of depression is not wanting to do anything, but if you are able to get up (and out) and get moving, then you are causing your brain to produce chemicals that help you to feel good. If you happen to be taking medication to fight depression, you may think that exercise isn't that important because you're already feeling better, but you should still engage in regular physical activity.
The most important thing to remember is to keep taking your medication. Yes, you may gain some weight, but that's much better than having depression. Besides, now you know a few methods for how to avoid weight gain on antidepressants, so it should be easy to keep your weight under control.