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Old 09-07-2009, 12:34 PM   #1
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Default Med Munchies - any advice?

I have bipolar and take lexapro, lithium and risperdal. I get horribly hungry at night after taking my risperdal. I try to plan for about 200 calories to snack on at night and try not to eat anything heavy. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and could not get back to sleep I was so hungry. I ended up eating a hamburger and 2 slices of homemade pumpkin bread....so it was bad but not so bad.

What to you do when your meds make you hungry? Any ideas for me?
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:09 AM   #2
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Wow.. thats rough. Can you take your meds in the morning and then eat a big healthy breakfast?

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Old 09-09-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
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Make sure you talk to your doctor (and your pharmacist, they often know more than the doctors about specific meds), before changing your medication time. I take several drugs that work on brain chemistry for fibromyalgia, and plms (sort of super- restless leg syndrome, I thrash around when I'm sleeping so badly that I can hurt my husband if I'm not on meds that tame it).

I've also found that for me, I can cope with night-time hunger better than daytime hunger. During the day (when I feel I'm "supposed to be eating anyway"), I find it harder to keep meals reasonable when I'm hungry. Whereas at night, I feel like I'm not "supposed" to be eating, at least not a full meal, so I'm more in "snack" mode than "meal" mode. Not to say that a large snack can't be worse than a small meal.

That being said, my meds are designed to get and keep me to sleep, so I only have a small window when night time snacking is going to hit. It hits pretty hard, but at least I have a chance of falling asleep before it's over whereas with daytime hunger I'm going to be awake for all of it.

Newer studies have found that for weight loss, it probably doesn't matter when you eat so long as you're controlling calories. Night time eating does not put on more weight than day time eating (when the calorie levels are the same). There's just a tendency for late-night snackers to eat higher calorie foods than people who don't snack at night.

So, my advice would be to save some of your calories to use at night (even if it needs to be more of a meal than a snack). Also, it may help to keep night time snacking low-carb, or lower GI to prevent blood sugar drops that can lead to hunger strong enough to wake you up.


I'm not very good at making the best decisions at night, but I do know that
high volume, low-carb, low calorie foods really work best for me. I also do best when I plan for night snacking (which I also don't do well, because I try to fight it rather than plan for it), so this advice is as much to myself as to you.

Some people have better insulin/blood sugar regulation than others, so you may not have to worry about carbohydrates or GI/GL. Glycemic index/glycemic load, are measurements of the rate at which blood sugar is released (and therefore hunger, because one of insulin's jobs is to trigger hunger).

If carbs aren't a problem, then just picking foods that are low in calorie, but bulky enough to fill your stomach may be all you need to do.

For myself, one exception to my low-carb rule for night-time snacking is a bowl of hot oatmeal. Even flavored, instant packets (Quaker low-sugar, and weight-control varieties) are fairly filling and don't seem to trigger more intense cravings (like some higher sugar cereals can). When I really want something dessert-like, I'll add a half cup of no sugar added icecream, or a spoonful of sugar free Cool Whip.

Broth-based soups work well too. So do berries with skim milk (berries are lower in carbohydrates than most fruits. If I eat a banana or other higher sugar fruits, they're filling for a while, but I'm more likely to be hungry again within 90 minutes or so).

For me, it boils down to planning. If I eat something I didn't plan for, the calories seem to add up faster and it's really hard not to return to the old, bad habit of thinking that "since I've already blown it, I might as well keep eating or eat something reallybad and start fresh tomorrow." I'm pretty good at controlling that particular brand of irrational thought, but if I'm going to fall prey to it, it's usually at night.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:25 PM   #4
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I didn't see this thread so I posted about it in the other thread where you mentioned this.

I get night munchies too as a result of taking Topomax (ironically) and ativan at night for sleep. Unfortunately, I only get a tiny bit sleepy and then I'm awake, slighly sleepy and ravenous.
I have found that drinking decaf flavored coffee or hot teas helps a lot and celery because it is crunchy and I really feel like I'm eating something, even though I'm not really eating that much.
I put seasoning salt or fresh salsa on my celery too so it's more flavored.

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Old 09-24-2009, 01:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I am still saving about 200 calories at night and usually have a nice snack of fruit and yogurt or veggies and dip when I take my night meds. I have been drinking herbal iced tea but I think I will start making some hot herbal tea at night too.

I like the celery idea, I make sure I always have celery and I found a gluten free no calorie dressing for dipping, I also have been known to eat a couple dill pickles when I get the hungries.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:54 AM   #6
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Hi, there,
I tried risperadol but found it was just not great for me, for a couple of reasons. Have you tried Seroquel instead? I find it excellent, I get to sleep and don't wake up groggy and I've noticed no major downsides.
If you're sticking with the risperadol, why not try snacking on a few almonds? Alternatively, a piece of bread with Nutella - tasts awesome but pretty low on the 'badness' scale.
Just a couple of suggestions.
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