Not Able to Lose Weight on Effexor

Alexandra Powell Allred's picture


Dear Fitness Expert,
I've been taking 225 mg of Effexor XR for about a year now. Although the Effexor is helping with my depression and anxiety, I find I am unable to shed any weight since starting the medication. I need to lose 100 pounds and this is very frustrating -- and depressing! I work out at a gym 90 minutes/day, 5 times a week. I am pretty good in watching what I eat. Dieting is not a new concept for me. I have dieted many times in the past and have always managed to lose weight -- even up to 80 pounds once about 7 years ago. My question is how do I lose weight while taking Effexor? Are there foods I may need to stay away from besides junk food? Is there any particular exercises that I should do?

I know they say Effexor usually doesn't make people gain weight, but I have spoken to my doctor and had tests completed. There is nothing wrong that would affect my weight.

I really want to get pregnant within the next year but I desperately want to shed some weight before getting pregnant. Please help


I have several recommendations. First, I'm glad to hear that you are communicating with your doctor. But I would like to see you talk to your OB/GYN rather than just a family physician. It is a good idea to get several opinions on this issue. There are a number of medications on the market that have or state no medical evidence of causing weight gain but scores of people taking that same medications who say otherwise. Personal experience vs. research data. It is a confusing but common issue that has everything to do with who is in the control group during the medical experimentation's. For this reason, it is all the more important that you discuss this matter with an OB/GYN as well as your regular doctor. I can never hurt to see an additional doctor as well.

Having said that, you've thrown a few red flags for me. I am glad to hear that you are looking for a strong health plan before getting pregnant. All too often, women get pregnant and then decide to lose weight -- not a healthy plan. So, good for you for planning in advance. However, your yo-yo dieting is a concern because this only makes losing weight for you all the more difficult. Most likely, your metabolism is screwed up. Before you can hope to lose weight, we need to set you on a strong, healthy course.

I would like to set you up on a workout program and readjust your diet. By diet, I mean when and how you eat. Diets DO NOT work. Lifestyle changes, however, do! So, I want to give you an assignment. Keep a food journal for the next two weeks and BE TRUTHFUL and committed. (No one ever likes to write out what and how they eat -- including me. Recently, I flew to Los Angeles for a writing assignment. I needed to keep all my receipts to bill my client and when I wrote everything in the invoice I was surprised how much I ate while traveling. I don't even know how I got anything else done as it appears all I did was eat!) It is a good indicator of eating patterns that we can later adjust.

We also need to know that you have been given permission to workout. Because we do not know what your medical status is, we can' recommend any kind of workout until we know you have been given medical clearance. A quick question? Have you done anything physical lately? If so, what? What is your fitness background?

Talk to you soon.
-- Alex