Bipolar disorder and major depression are some of the main types of mood disorders that affect millions of people worldwide. Often, the only way to take care of such disorder when it unmasks is to put patients on what we call mood stabilizers, these include some of the most notorious drugs like Lithium, Valproate, Olanzapine, Quetiapine and more. And although these drugs seem to control symptoms and treat patients of many mental disorders, almost all of them cause serious weight gain which ironically leads to low self-esteem and dwindling of overall physical and mental image of a person.
1 Eat the Right Calories. When it comes to managing weight gain associated with mood-stabilizers, there is no better way than to know exactly how many calories you put in your body and even more importantly, what type of food are these calories coming from. The first thing is to know your macros, that is, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. While people on mood stabilizers usually have intestinal cravings for sugary foods like cakes and cookies, it is always better to eat foods that are healthy and satiating. One great way to take care of your sugar cravings is to add Stevia (Naturally occurring, zero calorie sugar alternative) to your desserts or snacks. Overall, a good quantity of proteins and fats is also necessary and to know how much you need, you can use different calculators available online and as Android / iOS apps to help you through the process.
2 Exercise Regularly. One great thing that always helps is to sweat out every once in a while. It does not have to be the gym, anything that keeps you active will do. Usually, people on these drugs have a tendency to remain inactive and you can evade that by linking a positive hobby with your workout. This can be in the form of an audio-book that you listened to while you run / walk or anything of that sort.
3 Install a Fitness App on Your Smartphone. Installing a fitness app like a calorie counter or an activity tracker is always going to keep you motivated for weight maintenance. Some of these apps even give you great advice for a healthier life.
4 Buy a Health Tracker. A health-tacker like a Fitbit is not only going to measure your activity level but also track your heart-rate and sleeping patterns. Sleeping patterns are particularly important as patients taking these drugs tend to have a greater inclination towards laziness and that invariably leads to sleep. If you can keep track of your sleep and get a 7-8 hour quality sleep every night, that is sure going to help control cravings throughout the day and there before prevent occasional weight-gain.
5 Try to have 2-3 cups of coffee every day. Coffee is a great stimulant and a great fat-burner and chugging as much coffee as you can during the day will not only keep you active and alert but also help you shed that extra fat you have been building up due to inactivity.