I have worked with many women who have complained about gaining weight after their doctor put them on various medications. Certain meds for diabetes, high blood pressure and psychiatric disorders have been known to cause weight gain. These medications may be critical to your health, so it is important that you continue to take them unless otherwise advised by your physician. However, you may be able to make some small adjustments that can help you to take control of your weight.
Here are some ideas:
• Start a fitness journal and make special notes about your appetite and level of energy. Write down everything you eat and drink every day. Record all of your activity, how far you walk, how many sit-ups you do, how long you stay on the treadmill, etc. You can share this information with your doctor to determine how much weight can be attributed to the medication. Providing these notes to your doctor will demonstrate how proactive you are, and how concerned you are about the impending weight gain.
• Recognize that whether the medication increases your appetite or slows your metabolism, it is no harder to lose this weight than any other weight. Make your mind up that you won’t sit idly by and watch the pounds pile on. It may be a battle but with a winning spirit you can be the victor.
• Adopt a consciousness about what you are consuming. Learn the nutritional value of the foods that you are eating. Healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables will fill you up but are low in calories.
• Try to exercise regularly and increase your daily physical activity. Depending on your illness or disability, some type of physical activity is usually encouraged by doctors. Before starting any type of exercise, check with your physician and follow his/her advice.
• Park farther away than necessary and walk, take the stairs and try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day. Make a conscious effort every day to exercise. Start slow and gradually increase your activity.
• Eat five small meals a day, instead of three large meals. This will help to regulate your blood sugar, and keep you from craving sugary snacks in between meals.
• Eat protein at every meal, but choose low fat sources. We need protein to build cells and muscles. If you have diet restrictions, check with your physician about which food choices are best for you.
• Be wary of foods with high sodium content. Too much sodium can make you crave sweets, make you thirsty, cause swelling and a whole bunch of medical problems. Check your food labels, and avoid adding salt to your food until you have eaten at least three bites. This will give your taste buds a chance to adjust before you start sprinkling the salt.
• Avoid sugary sodas. If you really want to drop some serious pounds, substitute water or unsweetened tea for sugary soft drinks. You might be surprised at how quickly you can lose weight when you give up these high calorie beverages.
• Drink lots of water. If you concentrate on drinking an adequate amount of water each day, it will be easy to substitute the water for the sodas.
• Don’t stop taking your medication. However, talk to your doctor about the weight gain and ask about other medications that you could take instead. If your doctor prescribes an alternative, be sure to follow his or her instructions exactly as you change medications.
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~ Karen Ficarelli
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