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Cravings and Weight Loss Struggles

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Old 05-03-2013, 10:01 AM   #1
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Default Cravings and Weight Loss Struggles

Hey guys, it's been a while.

About 4 years ago, I changed my eating habits and started exercising regularly, ad I lost 35 pounds in 5 months. After maintaining that weight for several more months, I returned to school, became very depressed, and eventually gained most of the weight back.

The major source of my difficulty in losing weight has been 1) my dislike of exercise (I really don't get endorphins from it) and especially 2) my cravings for sweets that haunt me all the darned time (which I've suffered all of my life).

When I fell into depression, I was put on medication that helped a LOT but made me more lethargic, and it became nearly impossible for me to get myself to exercise without making myself feel miserable.

However, after complaining to my doctor about my lethargy and constant cravings, she adjusted my medication, and BAM, suddenly, NO cravings.

I feel like I can eat like a normal person now, without having to exert any willpower, or think about it, or anything like that. During my weight loss craze, I read a LOT about healthy eating/living, so I already have all the knowledge, but the cravings were out of control...I either had to eat the offending food and feel guilty or resist but think about it all the time and feel miserable.

I posted in this subforum because I take it that other ladies here find cravings to be a major problem. This sudden change, due to a tweaking of medication, makes me feel that cravings are really NOT anybody's fault, and highlights for me how horribly unfair the "fat-shaming" the media and public love to engage in is =/

I'm wondering if medication could be the answer for other people too? This loss of cravings (NOT loss of appetite, I still have a healthy appetite) is just a happy side effect of my meds, but it makes me wonder if giving people tools to help with cravings would make them better equipped to deal with the rest on their own? Does that make sense?
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by JoJoP View Post
Hey guys, it's been a while.

About 4 years ago, I changed my eating habits and started exercising regularly, ad I lost 35 pounds in 5 months. After maintaining that weight for several more months, I returned to school, became very depressed, and eventually gained most of the weight back.

The major source of my difficulty in losing weight has been 1) my dislike of exercise (I really don't get endorphins from it) and especially 2) my cravings for sweets that haunt me all the darned time (which I've suffered all of my life).

When I fell into depression, I was put on medication that helped a LOT but made me more lethargic, and it became nearly impossible for me to get myself to exercise without making myself feel miserable.

However, after complaining to my doctor about my lethargy and constant cravings, she adjusted my medication, and BAM, suddenly, NO cravings.

I feel like I can eat like a normal person now, without having to exert any willpower, or think about it, or anything like that. During my weight loss craze, I read a LOT about healthy eating/living, so I already have all the knowledge, but the cravings were out of control...I either had to eat the offending food and feel guilty or resist but think about it all the time and feel miserable.

I posted in this subforum because I take it that other ladies here find cravings to be a major problem. This sudden change, due to a tweaking of medication, makes me feel that cravings are really NOT anybody's fault, and highlights for me how horribly unfair the "fat-shaming" the media and public love to engage in is =/

I'm wondering if medication could be the answer for other people too? This loss of cravings (NOT loss of appetite, I still have a healthy appetite) is just a happy side effect of my meds, but it makes me wonder if giving people tools to help with cravings would make them better equipped to deal with the rest on their own? Does that make sense?
JoJoP - thanks for sharing that. I, like you, am hopeful that it is of help to others.

As I've posted before, sweet cravings have never been a big problem for me. It's mostly the salty, crunchy stuff that I want. But boy can I relate to what you are saying about exercise! I hate everything about it, but I can honestly say that since I've now completely embraced the non-dieting mentality, I do find myself going for walks spontaneously and enjoying them much, much more than I did when I was doing them as part of a diet program.

I've been fortunate enough to have never needed any medication for depression so I don't know how I'd react if I did need to take it, but I have read of others here who have struggled with cravings, especially for sweets. I do know that ANY kind of medication can have undesirable side effects, and how frustrating it must be for people already struggling with their weight to have the situation exacerbated by their meds. And one wonders, ironically, if their depression has been brought on, at least in part, by their weight issues? What a vicious cycle!

Anyway, it's wonderful that you were able to get the medications adjusted and that the cravings have disappeared!
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:08 PM   #3
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It's great your meds have that side effect! Maybe in the course of time medicine will come up with a solution for cravings that will be good for everyone here... Meanwhile, we need to support one another and keep working on our emotions, right?
Hope everything starts to work great for you!
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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However, after complaining to my doctor about my lethargy and constant cravings, she adjusted my medication, and BAM, suddenly, NO cravings
Very interesting and thanks for sharing. Medications can have the darndest effects. Many years ago I was on an antidepressant that amplified my perception of the tiny vibrations of a muscle in my ear so they sounded like a drill. While on that same medication I would wake up at night and see spidery black shapes moving in front of my eyes, which was very disconcerting. Needless to say I didn't stay on that drug very long.

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Old 05-03-2013, 12:20 PM   #5
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I am confused what people mean when they talk about "cravings." To me, cravings are a sudden, unusual need for a particular food, like pregnant women have. I looooooove sweets and if i restrict them, i'll find myself constantly wishing i could eat them, but i don't call that a craving. I just like sweets. Is that what you mean by craving?
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:41 PM   #6
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I am confused what people mean when they talk about "cravings." To me, cravings are a sudden, unusual need for a particular food, like pregnant women have. I looooooove sweets and if i restrict them, i'll find myself constantly wishing i could eat them, but i don't call that a craving. I just like sweets. Is that what you mean by craving?
I mean that, say, I crave something sugary, and if I can't get my hands on such, I can't concentrate on anything else. It basically feels like a physical and psychological addiction, if that makes sense.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:05 PM   #7
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I sort of know what you mean. When I get a cold, I take Claritin-D. For as long as I"m taking it, I feel like a "normal" eater, i.e., I am not focused on food. The only difference is that it actually reduces my cravings and my appetite. It's really nice for a few days to actually not have food on my mind so much; I wish I were like that all of the time.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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Checking back in....it's been roughly 2 months, and I've lost 14 lbs AND gained muscle, it feels amazing, I feel so free!!

I do feel fatigued, but I was feeling fatigued before this med change...I think it's another med I'm on that's causing it, sadly. Even so, it's still a good tradeoff (feeling tired but having a normal appetite and not feeling depressed!).
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:06 AM   #9
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It's not as simple as taking medication and getting rid of cravings. I have a history of depression in my family and my therapist has always wanted me to go on some kind of medication. I have refused, I'm not sure why but partly because I don't want to depend on a medication if I only need a small dose as they describe.

Cravings and likes for food are not just things that can be controlled by medication. Food IS medication, that's how I think of it. If you eat sweets you'll crave sweets. The more sweets you eat the more sweets you crave. I can see in myself by how I eat how the food affects me. If I eat wheat I get hungrier faster and it makes me want MORE wheat. Same with sweets, same with salty foods. My body finds the best balance when I eat raw foods every day, a lot of vegetables, and proteins. After a few days of eating "clean" I start to lose those cravings. What you eat plays a big role in what you want to eat.

And then there was the time I was pregnant.... a golden moment in my life. Not only was I lucky enough to not suffer from nausea and the usual pregnancy ailments (like constipation, hemorroids, heart burn), but I also had enormous energy and very unusual cravings (for me). I craved avocados and salads almost every moment of the day. I remember taking a bite of a burger and thinking "wow, this lettuce leaf on my burger is crisp and heavenly!!" I was full after half a meal and craved fruits and no sweets. During those few months I lived a life free of disordered eating. I cherished every moment of it and thought "this is what it must be like to be a normal healthy eater." I weighed 10lbs less after the birth of my DS than I did at the start of my pregnancy. I was phenomenal, at the peak of good health.

And then, PPD settled in, breastfeeding led to some pretty serious carb cravings, and although I had never had a sweet tooth I was suddenly craving copious amounts of chocolate chip cookies in the middle of the night. I allowed myself to indulge since I was the skinniest I'd ever been, was taking care of a colicky newborn and was encouraged by the lactation consultant to eat a little more than I was used to. Now I'm left battling a sugar addiction and a 25lb weight gain.

So what's the culprit? PPD or food?
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:35 AM   #10
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jojop- which meds are you using? i should get my depra under control and would like to mention it to my doc next time...
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:54 PM   #11
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It's not as simple as taking medication and getting rid of cravings
It seems like it is that simple for the OP. Based on your post, your cravings fade when you avoid certain types of foods and when you were pregnant. Your latter example actually seems to validate the OP's point that cravings may be the result of some chemical in the brain/body rather than some behavioral weakness in those who struggle with their weight.

To the OP, I am so happy for you that the medication is working! Best wishes for continued success!
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:58 PM   #12
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JoJoP, your experience reminded me of something I read in a book called Brain Over Binge (you can find it on Amazon). After taking meds helped the author stop binge eating, she realized that she wasn't exhibiting these behaviors because of some suppressed emotional trauma or anything from her past...it was in her brain and she discusses the "animal brain." Anyway, I'm simplifying it a lot but I congratulate you for finding something that helps. Unfortunately for me, I haven't found anything that helps me get over my issue. Right now, I haven't binged in a few months but I know that urge is constantly lurking in the back of my mind and I'm pretty sure that I"ll be binge eating in the future. I just hope it won't be every day for months and months, which is what helped me regain 50+ lbs. quite recently (which I'm shedding again).
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:16 PM   #13
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For me, it WAS that simple.

And by "simple" I do NOT mean that medication could help everyone. In fact, I've never heard of this reaction to anti-depressants; I've only heard about that weight gain they can engender.

I've read a lot about diet and nutrition. I'm no expert, but it did make it easier for me to know how to turn my new near-lack of cravings into a healthy eating lifestyle than it would have been for me years ago.

I did not mention the names of the medications in question because any medication changes must be carefully supervised by a doctor, and frankly, I have no idea whether such a change would help anyone else =/ (Note, however, that if my depression had come back I would have changed right back to my old med levels, cravings or no cravings).

I feel that constant, intense cravings can be pathological, and not something that can necessarily be overcome in the long run with sheer willpower. I feel that I'm on the right path now, and I'm somewhat optimistic that it I will keep feeling this way, now that 2 months have passed. But I take credit for nothing. It was like a switch in my brain was flicked.
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:59 AM   #14
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It seems like it is that simple for the OP. Based on your post, your cravings fade when you avoid certain types of foods and when you were pregnant. Your latter example actually seems to validate the OP's point that cravings may be the result of some chemical in the brain/body rather than some behavioral weakness in those who struggle with their weight.

To the OP, I am so happy for you that the medication is working! Best wishes for continued success!
I wasn't trying to discredit the OP's experience, I fully believe that her cravings did go away with medication. However, I was just stating that it's probably not universal and it most definitely does not apply to me. And I agree, cravings are the result of physiological circumstances whether they be food, medication, or psychological factors. For most of us, it's a combination of all these things.

I forgot to mention (because it was soooo long ago) that I was put on an anti depressant many years ago when I first sought help for my eating disorder. I don't remember what the medication was but I think it started with a Z. It may have been the wrong medication/dose for me but it did nothing to curb my eating. Instead it made it emotionally numb and made my libido disappear but I continued to eat. I got off that medication quickly and it might be the reason why I haven't thought to take any medication since.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:29 AM   #15
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I wasn't trying to discredit the OP's experience, I fully believe that her cravings did go away with medication. However, I was just stating that it's probably not universal and it most definitely does not apply to me. And I agree, cravings are the result of physiological circumstances whether they be food, medication, or psychological factors. For most of us, it's a combination of all these things.

I forgot to mention (because it was soooo long ago) that I was put on an anti depressant many years ago when I first sought help for my eating disorder. I don't remember what the medication was but I think it started with a Z. It may have been the wrong medication/dose for me but it did nothing to curb my eating. Instead it made it emotionally numb and made my libido disappear but I continued to eat. I got off that medication quickly and it might be the reason why I haven't thought to take any medication since.
Bolded for emphasis.

I absolutely do not want anyone to think that adding or changing a medication will have the same effect for you (general "you") that it did for me. In fact, as mentioned earlier, anti-depressants far more often result in weight *gain.*

My experience has, however, helped towards confirming my belief that intense cravings can be caused by some sort of chemical or hormonal imbalance; if it weren't (for me at least), medication wouldn't have had any effect!
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