Recovery from a substance abuse problem is a lifechanging process, but it doesn’t come without a few bumps in the road. .One of the side effects of addiction recovery is sometimes packing on a few unwanted pounds. Gaining weight after quitting drinking is particularly common. For most recovering addicts, this is less than ideal, but there are ways to deal with weight gain in recovery without letting it overwhelm you.
The Connection Between Sobriety & Weight GainBefore you start creating a plan of attack, you may first be wondering what the cause is for this sudden addition of bodyweight. If you are gaining a good bit of weight after your initial drug detox program, you are not alone. Weight gain in addiction recovery is common and may be the result of several factors.
While most people do not like to gain weight, a few extra pounds may be good and necessary if your addiction left you malnourished. In this case, weight gain in sobriety is the result of your body getting healthy again. Some drugs also curb people’s appetite, but now that they are sober, they find themselves eating much more than they used to with the same activity level. Other people start to turn to food to help them cope or to give them a bit of a dopamine boost now that drugs and alcohol are not an option. The result is usually overeating.
Coping with Weight Gain in RecoveryOne of the many benefits of residential treatment is that you are under 24-7 care and in a controlled environment. This strict structure may help you curb the weight gain initially, but after people leave rehab, they may start to see the pounds building up. Because many people do not know how to deal with weight gain in recovery in a healthy manner, the pounds may continue to add up and other unhealthy habits may develop. To avoid this fate, these tips on coping with weight gain in recovery from addiction may help.
ExerciseThe best way of dealing with weight gain in recovery is exercise. It is not uncommon for people with substance abuse problems to lead sedentary lives, but now that you are eating more regularly, you need to also get active. Exercise can help you lose weight while also providing several other physical and mental health benefits that can help you in the long run with your sobriety journey. Just be careful not to overdo the exercise as your body is still healing.
Get Help from a FriendEven if they want to lose weight, many people struggle to find the motivation to exercise or eat healthy. To help keep you on track, find a friend who will go on this healthy recovery journey with you. This could be an old friend or someone from your cocaine detox program who is also in recovery. Having someone else on this journey with you can keep you honest and hold you accountable.
Stay off the ScaleMany people who struggle to know how to deal with weight gain in recovery think it is all about the number on the scale, but obsessively monitoring this number can leave you feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. Instead of getting caught up with what the scale says, focus on getting and being healthy. Especially if you were a long-time drug user, your body needs time to heal. Get into the habit of exercising and eating healthy first, and then the numbers will fall into place.
Talk to SomeoneIf some extra pounds are bothering you that much or you find yourself taking extreme measures to avoid weight gain in recovery from addiction, it may be a sign of a bigger problem. As many as 35% of people who have struggled with addiction or substance abuse have also had an eating disorder.1 Losing weight won’t fix your problems and if left alone, an eating disorder could lead to an addiction relapse. Instead, get help and talk to someone about this problem immediately.
Gaining weight in addiction recovery is normal, so be patient with your body. If you follow healthy exercise and eating habits, you will find that over time you weight should get closer to where you want it to be.
At Banyan Detox Stuart, we help people find lasting sobriety and lead healthier lives. To get started on the road to recovery for yourself or a loved one, call us today at 888-280-4763..