Diet and exercise continue to be the mainstay of weight loss and weight maintenance programs. Small studies looking at particular strategies for lessening medication-associated weight gain show some benefit in behaviorally based weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers.
The best strategy when going on a medication associated with weight gain is to try and modify your eating pattern before a weight problem develops. Think about what snack foods will be readily available in the house and eliminate high-fat and high-calorie junk foods and fast foods and pay attention to portion sizes.
Some pharmaceutical companies provide extensive educational materials on healthy diet and nutrition to people on their medications.
Exercise, which we’ll touch on later, is critical to maintaining or losing weight and also has been shown to have benefits in combating depression and regulating sleep.
Even with diet and exercise, you may decide that the risks, both to your health and to your self-esteem, associated with the weight gain are too great. Where there are antipsychotic medications less commonly associated with weight gain, a frank discussion with your practitioner and a switch in medication(s) might make sense.