Gaining weight on medication and losing it afterwards

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Gaining weight on medication and losing it afterwards

This topic contains 16 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  whyamisoshy 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • Hello everyone,
    I have been on the fasting diet for 2.5 years. When I started, I weighed 70kg. My goal weight was 60kg. It took me 10 months to lose my first 8kg, then my body kind of settled at 62kg, and no matter what I tried (5:2 or even 4:3) those last 2kg weren’t coming off. So I decided I was happy weighing 62 kg, which I managed to keep for 18 months on 6:1.

    In February 2016 I was prescribed Nortriptyline as a preventative drug for my chronic migraines. The neurologist did warn me that it may cause some weight gain. Within 2 weeks I put on a kilo, within 4 weeks, another one. I decided to go back to 5:2 (rather than staying on 6:1), but the weight kept creeping up, and I found myself that by the end of 8 weeks I had put on 3 kilos! I wasn’t a a happy bunny and decided to come off the drug, since not only it made me put on weight, but it wasn’t even working at preventing migraines 🙁

    I carried on with my 5:2 regime, in the hope of losing those three extra kilos that I had put on, and yet, three months down the line, I have not been able to shift a single pound. It’s not only about the weight, my measurements are also larger, I can feel my clothes tighter and I just hate it. You can imagine how frustrated I feel. I am sticking to my TDEE of 1500 calories on the non-diet day, so I don’t understand why those extra kilos are not coming off.

    Any ideas on how to move forward?

    I suspect that your insulin levels have increased as a result of the medication. Your basal insulin levels dictate your weight set point. To prevent spiking your insulin levels when eating avoid SUGAR at all costs and simple carbs like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, pizza etc. Basically any grain based products. If you want to significantly lower your insulin levels try water fasting for your two fast days rather than 1/4 TDEE. Some people can do it rather easily, some cant. Give it a try.

    Thank you Bigbooty; the problem is that sugar reduction (and I’m not talking about reducing cakes and biscuits, but simple grains) is not good for my migraines. I get more attacks if I reduce my carbs. Having said that, I don’t tend to eat too much bread/pasta anyway, but I know from the past when I went on the Atkins diet or the South Beach diet, I had many more headaches, due to the lack of sugar/carbs.

    But tell me more about the water fasting. Would that mean no eating at all on the 500 calorie day and only drink water? Could that be enough for shifting the weight?

    I do not follow a keto diet. I get most of my carbs from veggies and try and avoid grain based products. Im not a saint, I do occasionally have grain based foods, but they are a treat, not a staple.

    I dont pretend to know much about migraines so you have to be careful. I allow myself to have two cups of coffee with a splash of milk so its not strictly a water only fast. Maybe 50 cals all up for the day? I initially used to get headaches (not bad but one of those persistent ones that are always just there) but they tend to diminish after about a month. Make sure you stay hydrated helps and I take a vitamin B tablet which helps with liver function. Getting headaches is partly due to hydration but its also due to the fact that your brain is relying on glucose to run. The brain also runs very well on ketones though, its just that your liver isn’t very good at making ketones to start off with.

    Im now 10 months in and I find it ridiculously easy and flip over into ketosis after 24 hours. Used to take 48-60 hours initially. I measure my ketone levels with a glucose/keto meter. Once you start measuring ketones in your blood there is only once source where its coming from. The conversion of stored fats into glucose and ketone bodies.

    So will it shift that persistent weight? It has to, your body has no other option. There is a lot of talk (misinformation) about your body consuming muscle (protein) to get energy. This may happen but it is minimal if any. Biologically it makes no sense to do this. A 1-4 day fast is not the same as going into starvation mode!! I ride my bike quite often and have noticed no loss in my leg muscle definition.

    god that would be a long fast for me then, bigbotty, as i have had to have my life saved on 9 occasions and taken abut 6 or 7 drugs a day since i was 23. 🙂

    start slowly Why. I don’t advocate that anyone else do what I do, although there are many on this forum that do water fast. Find a pattern that you can follow and stick to it.

    yah agreed, bigbooty. i just am worried that if i try 500, cals i might eat too much. that if i just dont eat its better for a personality type like me!
    i really must get this meds induced weight off asap.
    also, i think broth/bouillon is full of the right things, no?
    i can cope with hunger. sickness/dizziness as long as i see fast results!

    x thanks

    ps. if the OPs insulin levels have been raised, over 23 years of heavy daily multiple meds mine will be too. so water fasting is the best idea, is it?

    and do i have to do low carb cos i found it a very anti social diet when i was on atkins, which i found useless. michael seems to say itd not essential and wont make you lose faster. he says you can eat what you want within reason.

    i gained 46 pounds from an anti seizure drug i was on for 6 months and many of my friends gain 100-150 pounds on meds they would die without.
    hard, isn’t it?

    Just a quick update after following bigbooty’s advice. Just water fasting didn’t work for me, mostly because after a day of eating nothing and simply drinking plenty of water, the next day I get the most horrendous migraine attack. Perhaps my sugar levels drop too much. And by ‘migraine’ I do mean that most horrendous, painful pain in your head (and neck/shoulders with associated nausea) etc, not a simple headache.

    I also tried spreading the 500 calories between two meals, breakfast and dinner, but again, the next day I get a bad migraine attack. If I spread my 500 calories throughout the day, I don’t get such bad migraine attacks the next day.
    I don’t understand, I would have thought that I would get the attack during the fasting day, not the next day, but it’s almost like my body ‘registers’ it afterwards.

    Needless to say, if I wake up with a migraine the day I’m supposed to do the 500 calories, I just skip that diet day to another day, as I can’t fast on a migraine day.

    Something that has worked for me to nudge those extra kilos is to shift to 4:3, i.e. do the 500 calories on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I thought it was going to be hard, but I got used to it and I’ve lost 2 kilos already. I will keep you posted.

    I have to take two types of anti-epileptic drugs to prevent migraines, and I think they’re responsible for the extra fat hanging around too long.

    martina, hi

    honestly, the weight gain is more or less BOUND to be because of the meds you are on (unless they are topamax which doesnt gain weight) but most of the type youu tefer to do. i get seizures and migraines so i take the sort that gain 70-100 pounds in a year. they alter your metabolism so one calorie equates to about 4 inside you.

    i have gained about 45 pounds. my eating habits and exercise did not change.

    the good news is, you can change this. i have a terrible migraine now. its so bad i have been online only for about 20 minutes. flashing lights. vomiting. i have them about 3 weeks of the month. 75% my life is nursing these. anyhow… in pain as i am, i wanted to reassure you, you can and will lose this wight and also, fasting on the migraine days would probably be the best thing. many of my riends do longs fasts in order to cure their migraines. and they do. i am not advising. this is anecdotal. but true nonetheless.

    take care x

    Hi Martina
    This is just a suggestion to consider re the migraines the day after fast day. There is a condition that involves food intolerance. I have this type of intolerance to several foods. It is often a food we really like. Some time after it’s eaten there is a withdrawal period, which brings with it various yuck symptoms. Not all of mine involve headaches, but I have 1 that does. When the food is eaten again the withdrawal goes away. Some time after the withdrawal symptom/s return, and repeat. It’s hard to pick what food causes it because the withdrawal symptom/s are delayed, but often a clue is that you really like the food. The ‘liking’ is more like addiction for some people. For me, I spent quite a long time with a dietitian doing a full elimination diet of all foods, additives. It helped sort out what was happening. We discovered I have food intolerance with withdrawal symptoms with an addictive component, food intolerance without the withdrawal , and also food allergy.

    There is a book where I first discovered this concept 30 yrs ago, but don’t know if any further literature or studies are available. It’s called “Not All In The Mind”. I’ll get back with the author. The first I identified within 48 hrs of reading the book was caffeine. The withdrawal was migraine for 3 weeks after ceasing it.


    Not All In The Mind was written by Richard Mackarness. It is out of print, perhaps, but try to get a copy from somewhere -library maybe.

    i found it sooooo depressing. it made me afraid to eat anything. i became paranoid. and really, every item of food became a suspected enemy. awful. i became a hypochondriac and desperately unhappy.

    we’re all different. i burned my copy. i really feel it ruined one hot summer. what i had was stress, not a food allergy. also some meds i used to be on had chronically constipated me, so there was a lot of scary pain and diarhea when things started to work again.

    You’re right whyamisoshy, we are all different! For me, this book was one of hope. It didn’t make me afraid of food, it pointed to something I hadn’t known about that could be checked with a dietician’s help.

    I initially got the book several decades ago when I was trying to unravel the different food allergy and food intolerance challenges in my family and me. In those days food allergies were an accepted medical phenomena, but food intolerances weren’t. Food intolerance was a concept thought to be phsychosomatic by many in the medical field, and certainly by lay people. Allergies, of course, are an immune system response, but the mechanism behind intolerance is more gut related, and the 2 groups of researchers did not agree. To many, food intolerance didn’t exist. Food intolerance with a delayed reaction, and an addictive twist for some of them, was way out of left field at the time.

    Sounds like you’ve had some very real challenges, why. I hope 5:2 is a tool you can use to help. It’s helped me a lot, and I just do the basic 5:2, with 2 days a week at 1/4 of my TDEE. I’ve known someone with who was on a thyroid medication for some time who put on a lot of weight with it, and when able to go off it, the weight came off on it’s own.

    I wish you well, why,

    lovely response and i am truly glad it worked out for you
    cheers xx

    Thank you so much whyamisoshy and Merryme.
    I have tried the food exclusion diet twice and found a few foods I was intolerant too, but they seemed to trigger my IBS symptoms, rather than migraines. I just tend to avoid those. I might consider doing the diet again, as intolerances can change (I was told by both dieticians), it’s just the prospect of two diets (5:2 and food exclusion) kills me.

    whyamisoshy, I am sorry you suffer with debilitating migraines too. I hope you feel better today. You suggested that “fasting on the migraine days would probably be the best thing”. Not for me. If my stomach is empty, my nausea gets worse, and somehow even the pain seems stronger. Can’t take painkillers on an empty stomach either.

    i understand 100% totally and am sending a virtual hug now. NOW. sorry for suggesting the wrong thing. we are all different i as just trying to help. i end up taking anything i can get on an empty tummy cos i have thrown my guts up. mine can go on and on. one went on for 6 weeks without remission. i was in hospital at the end. 10 years this year.
    and the cause of so many side effects . people have NO IDEA about levels of pain. if you in enough pain you will do anything to get out of it. anything.
    and 43 pounds are here to prove it!
    now , to get rid of them x

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