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Why am I gaining weight?

So I was diagnosed with a form of bipolar(cyclothymia) and they put me on Lamictal. I’ve been on it for maybe 2 months and my mood has evened out completely. Before the Lamictal I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed I was so depressed but now I barely cry. But today I was going through my clothes and none of my shorts or pants fit me which are around size 4-6. This fit me fine a couple months ago. So I immediately thought that it was the medicine but what I read said that it doesn’t cause weight gain or loss of any kind. I have had issues in the past with making myself throw up over my weight but I haven’t done it since over the summer. I used to obsess over my weight but it kinda went away and wasn’t as stressing. Now that I’ve seen what I weigh(143, which I know isn’t a lot to some people but it is to me) I can’t stop thinking about it. I had a full on breakdown going through my clothes and I haven’t done that since I’ve been on Lamictal. I don’t know why I’m gaining weight so much. I don’t want to go back to how I was.
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Avatar universal
You've gained weight.  Have your eating habits changed?  Has your output of energy changed -- less exercise, more sedentary lifestyle?  You're taking a med that in most people doesn't cause weight gain, but that doesn't mean it doesn't in you.  It means it doesn't in most people.  But since it usually doesn't have this side effect you have to look at behavior changes -- quite often meds can make us want to eat more in ways that aren't as direct as it might seem.  For example, you're feeling better, and you suggest you've had an eating disorder which also suggests you might binge eat.  Some people binge when they feel bad.  Some binge when they feel good.  Insidious, but true.  If there truly hasn't been any change in what you're eating, how much you're eating, how often you're eating, or how much you're expending energy, it might be you're just having an unusual reaction to the med.  
4 Comments
IMHO I rhink youe ewply  is a completely plausible , sensible response.   What you wrote are very possible reasons for a person experiences weightgain whatever her/his circumstances.
I haven’t really paid attention to how I eat but I don’t think my habits have changed. And i have also been getting more exercise than before because I joined a sport team for the first time. So I’m going to mention to my doctor the weight gain and see what she says
Moderate exercising doesn't burn many calories unless you do it for a long period and you have to be careful that you don't end up eating it all back. For example 30 minutes of jogging on a mini ramp consumes only 120 calories,  but one cup of orange juice has 111 calories so you have to count both sides of the calorie equation to see what is the net effect.
First, calories are not the main issue with weight.  I know they're hyped a lot, and they are important, but how quickly you metabolize food and how well you metabolize it is considered much more important to weight gain and loss.  It's more what you eat rather than how much, though clearly the latter is again important.  I've said this a lot of other forums more devoted to health issues, but fatty fish is quite high in calories but you won't gain weight eating it unless you eat a ton of it.  Bread isn't that high in calories but in some people it turns to sugar quite quickly and if not burned off quickly will store as fat.  This is how metabolism works.  As for exercise, the above example isn't exactly right -- the numbers aren't the real story.  If you've never exercised and start doing that half an hour you're going to lose weight guaranteed assuming you continue to eat the same.  That's because starting to exercise alters the body's metabolism.  If you're an experienced exerciser and you do this every day, then yes, it won't burn off a lot of calories and also won't alter your metabolism because it's what your body is used to.  But if you stop doing it, you will gain weight, guaranteed, no matter if you eat exactly the same.  Varying exercise is a way to avoid this metabolism trap.  But the point is, exercise isn't about just calories, it's about moving things around in the body -- metabolism.  It prevents stasis.  You can do the same thing by not living a sedentary life -- walk or bike everyone you go, for example.  Don't sit around all the time.  People focus so much on calories because of hype and advertising, but weight is more complicated than just one factor.  Now, orange juice is a good example -- the calories are irrelevant, if you eat oranges instead of other things you might actually lose weight despite the sugar in them.  But if you drink juice, that's a lot of oranges and a lot of sugar, which will store as fat if not burned quickly, which is, again, much more important than the amount of calories in that orange juice.  
Tbd
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Most psych meds can have a side affect with weight.  You have been on it for 2 months which meds can take 6-8 weeks to take full affect.  I have been diagnosed bi-polar for 21 years.  Lithium with Zoloft has been extremely helpful but not all bodies react the same.  I prefer a prescription that has been around with lots of research instead of the new meds they have came out with.  Are you dieting or exercising daily?  That helps with weight & moods.
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