5 Important Tips to Help You With Weight Management on Zoloft

zoloft weight

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If you found this page, you’re likely having problems with your weight.

And you might have a hunch that your weight problems are due (at least partially) to taking the prescription?SSRI Anti-Depressant Zoloft.

Guess what, you’re probably right.

Does Zoloft cause weight gain? There’s good reason to believe it does (in some cases.)

If you are experiencing unexplained?weight gain?(more common) or?weight loss?(less common), it could be due to how Zoloft can stop the body from being able to monitor itself metabolically. Zoloft side effects of weight gain is a very common concern.

You take Zoloft to help?relieve?your anxiety and depression. Right?

So if in 4 months time after starting Zoloft you’ve gained 30 pounds and your clothes don’t fit anymore – ?well that can be pretty depressing in itself.

And if it happened?without changing your diet or exercise routine at all??Well, that’s really a bummer.

You work hard to stay healthy – so it really sucks if you continue to gain weight regardless of your efforts.

If this is you then ask yourself: is the way this drug regulates my emotions worth potentially feeling even worse about myself than before I started taking it??(due to the weight & other side effects).

One young man explains his challenge with weight gain on Zoloft below:

“When I first started taking it I was underweight because of my severe depression. After about?4 months I had never seen myself bigger. I was eating pretzels and salad and going to the gym, yet I looked like I was chowing down on multiple cheeseburgers during any free moment.?The minute I switched to a different medication I started dropping the weight…

Not fun.

In the end, many people decide that the negative effects of Zoloft and weight gain and try something else. Whether that something else is a different SSRI drug or alternative ways to deal with emotional hardship.

As a caveat, some people decide that the positive effects on their emotional wellbeing far?outweigh?the weight gain issue. Gaining weight is fine for them as long as their mood is stable.

Also, some bodies just don’t respond to Zoloft by fluctuating weight wise. It all depends. Everybody is different.

So, for you, do you think Zoloft is doing you more harm than good??You might already know the answer, but?let’s take a closer look at the drug and the potential for related weight problems in this post. Hopefully, you’ll be able to decide for sure by the end.

1.) Zoloft and weight gain – how does it work?

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So why does Zoloft make us gain weight? What exactly is it doing to our insides?

Here’s (a simplified version) of?what?happens:

Zoloft alters the bodies serotonin signaling system by inhibiting the bodies re-uptake of serotonin in the blood.?Serotonin levels affect your mood.

By altering this system, the drug is able to stabilize mood swings.

But, serotonin also affects your appetite.?Many people experience these appetite changes by craving food.?So they eat more, regardless of whether they need it or not.?

And the type of cravings you’ll mostly get? Quick energy boosting foods like sugary/refined carbs / high-calorie foods (due to blood sugar changes).

That right there is a recipe for weight gain.

… Now couple this with the fact that Zoloft itself can throw off your whole metabolic response and render your body unable to maintain regular weight -?regardless of your diet.

Now we have a real problem.

You’re eating more AND your body can’t correctly manage itself metabolically.

2.) Why does Zoloft make us crave food??

It’s thought to stress the pancreas, among other organs and body regulatory systems, which in turn messes with your blood sugar and insulin levels.

When the brain is unsure about the amount of blood sugar coming to it, it makes you crave sugary/carby/ high-calorie food as a stress response.

With Zoloft in the mix, these cravings can be powerful and incessant.

You might?experience wild fluctuations in blood sugar levels entering your brain. This, in turn, triggers strong food cravings as your body constantly tries to figure out what the drug is doing.

3.) How does it make your body confused like this?

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We don’t know exactly.

There haven’t been reliable studies done to understand everything that’s happening.

Under normal circumstances, the body should be able to find a sort of equilibrium with blood sugar levels. It must learn how to maintain the levels well because if our blood sugar is low we become weak, and when its high we tax our system.

Now add in the effects of anti-depressants like Zoloft and your body might not be able to tell where it’s “equilibrium” is anymore.?

It loses it’s ability to choose a good target blood sugar range and gets confused, letting its system go into?disarray.

All this is happening while the drug itself is artificially altering blood sugar levels in ways which might be completely contrary to what the body itself would want to do.

(This is a wild simplification by the way. Systems affected in blood sugar dysregulation include leptin, insulin, and?adiponectin?systems as well. There are a lot of factors that go into Zoloft’s weight gain or loss.)

4.) Do women and men have different weight change?patterns with Zoloft?

Women gaining weight from Zoloft is considered more common than in men. But most of this information is anecdotal.

Typically, the tendencies of Zoloft to cause dysregulation of the metabolic system span to both men and women equally.

As a rule, weight changes are based more on individual body physiology rather than gender.

Some men gain loads of weight on Zoloft, some don’t.

Some women gain loads of weight too, some don’t.

It varies!

5.) Are there ways to counter any weight issues from Zoloft without getting off the medication?

One of the most common side effects of Zoloft is weight gain when taken in the long run.

Many times people don’t experience much of a change in their weight for months after starting the medication, but after 6 months to a year, they start to see their body expanding.

This can prove a?conundrum?for many, as the medication might be helping their quality of life substantially, but they also get very upset when they’re continuing to gain weight.

Long?term this drug can also lead to IBS and other inflammatory diseases, especially if the higher appetite signals from Zoloft result in eating unhealthy foods.

If you are sure you want to stay on the med, maybe there are some ways to lessen the effects of weight gain?

  • Cut out inflammatory / allergenic foods from your diet.?The typical western diet is steeped in foods that cause detrimental side effects in the body.?Foods like?wheat?(gluten), various grains,?vegetable oils?(too high in omega 6 fats),?sugar?(easily toxic in high amounts) should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Zoloft is known to increase appetite?regardless of your actual need for food. So if you are getting strong cravings to eat, develop a good discernment whether or not you?actually need to eat.
  • Get more balanced energy from healthy fat intake rather than carbs/sugars.?This may seem contrary to what our culture has lead us to believe. Many people equate fat intake with being unhealthy, but that’s far from the truth. Fat (especially saturated fat and omega 3 fatty acids) are extremely important for healthy weight and energy. Saturated fat is needed for good brain health, great skin, and proper energy expenditure. Carbs burn up quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. You’ll need to snack more and more frequently if you want to feel full. This only gets worse when Zoloft is altering your chemistry. Fat, on the other hand, is a slower burning fuel source. You can eat a fatty smoothie/meal for breakfast and you’ll be more likely to stay satiated and energized longer before needing to eat again.
  • Be active – Get outside – Exercise!?This is essential if you’re worried about packing on pounds. Being sedentary will only make Zoloft weight issues worse. Way worse! Get into a habit of working out or running. In the least, get outside and take a walk as often as you can!

Supplements that Help with Weight Management

If you’re going to maintain your Zoloft regimen you’ll want to take some natural supplements to keep your weight as manageable as possible.

I’ll just focus on one natural supplement that should help tremendously.

This supplement is Triphala.

It’s an Ayurvedic herbal blend of three fruits – Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Harataki.

It’s used to cleanse the system and tissue.

It’s great for digestion and maintaining natural hormones and weight.

You can add it to drinks in powder form or take it as a tablet/supplement.

You can find it here.

26 thoughts on “5 Important Tips to Help You With Weight Management on Zoloft”

  1. i started zoloft back in march and i was really depressed and not eating as much as a girl like me should and after i started it i gained weight and it makes me even more depressed any tips

  2. I have been on Zoloft for a number of years, and have noticed more and more weight gain with each passing year that I?ve been on the medication. Each doctor I?ve been to has assured me that weight gain isn?t a side effect of this kind of medication, which has been very frustrating for me. I know that the medication has been the reason for the weight gain, because I’ve experienced a direct cause and effect relationship when I?ve gone off of the medication and then back on it again: When I?ve gone off of it, I?ve lost weight. When I?ve gone back on it, I?ve gained weight. Over the years, I?ve tried many different things, including the most obvious things ? like diet and exercise ? and have found little relief. As I?ve researched this online, I?ve found lots of articles telling about how medications like this slow the metabolism, leading to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and even pre-diabetes. Some sites even suggest that patients be put on the diabetes medication, Metformin, to combat the drug-induced weight gain. I?ve purchased supplements from various websites, which were marketed to combat this drug-induced weight gain, but none of these products have worked for me. But recently, I heard about a product called Plexus Slim. I was skeptical at first. After all of the things I had tried, I wasn’t sure if this product could really be all that different. But, I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised. I started with a very small dose of the Plexus Slim each day, and noticed right away that I had more energy. I hadn?t expected to actually feel better, but I noticed that I wasn?t as fatigued as usual. And, for the first time in many years, I am starting shedding some pounds. It has been several weeks since I started the Slim, and I?ve lost about 7 pounds so far. I don’t know if Plexus is the answer for everyone, but it seems to be working well for me.

    1. Are you still on the zoloft and plexus and how is it going?

  3. Dear Janae

    I wonder how you are getting on now with the plexus abs id you have continued to use it with effective results?

    Regards

  4. SANDY BRABSON

    i have started taking sertraline 25 mg for a long time now and i can tell a lot of difference. i used to run off from my mom and my friend tina and i had suicidal thoughts. since i been on this medicine i have not ran off anymore and i don’t have the suicidal thoughts anymore and i am more happier now.

  5. SANDY BRABSON

    since i been on sertraline 25 mg i been eating more and gaining more.

  6. Hi, This information is very interesting to me as I have gained a lot of weight (42 pounds at least!) taking 100mg of Zoloft daily (I’m in UK & it’s named Sertraline here). I was slim and felt energetic before and now I’m very overweight and lethargic. Another side effect that effects my weight is the lack of self control that comes with this medication. It could be just me but I seem to be so incredibly impulsive with food that I have lost the ability to be reasonable and not eat the wrong things. I eat something even if I’m not hungry. I will just eat lots of whatever I want regardless of fat content and calories, which I used to be very careful with. I don’t even have a shut off point for my appetite now and can eat as much as I can fit in in one go – and then still keep going. It’s all so alien to me. I NEVER ate in this way before the Zoloft.
    I always regret eating so much and I desperately want to lose weight but my brain seems to have taken over and has other ideas. Incidentally this effect is also happening to a lesser extent with very out of character impulsive behaviour. Such as the over eating but also, impulsive clothes shopping -especially items that I really can’t afford and a lack of focus on previous interests (I can no longer focus and read a book). I now download audiobooks instead. I’m reluctant to change the medication as I had bad experiences with nausea when taking other antidepressants.
    Thanks so much for this article. I was starting to think I was going nuts and it was only me experiencing the weight gain. X

  7. Chrissie

    I have been on sertaline for 4years at 200mg and I have gained 3stone in weight.this in the long term has worsened my depression
    I have weened myself off it now and will never take it again.

  8. Corinne Blackburn

    I have been on Sertraline for 15 years.
    200 MG daily. I was put on it because of panic attacks & depression issues.
    I’m 58 years old and feel like I have wasted my life on physch drugs.
    I am still concerned that I will go off the deep end if I stop.
    But the massive weight gain & IBS that resulted from years of use that I finally have had enough. I have cut my dose in half. I’m be very careful to do it right. Through my experience I know that the greatest help in crisis is slow deep breathing techniques that I learned from a crisis counselor. I am so grateful for them. I realize that meditation & breathing can get you through most any crisis. Learn from my loss of years on prescription drugs & just learn to close your eyes, focus on nothing, and breathe correctly for how ever long it takes.
    It’s truly worth using natural techniques instead of prescripotion drugs.
    It worked for me & it will work for you. No more waisted years.
    Believe me, you’ll recover a lot quicker with no side effects of medication that will make your condition worse over the years.

    1. I?m with you! And the withdrawal from this drug is awful. It takes months to get completely off, and i feel great one day and the next i can barely remember my name. I still have 50 mg to go before i am off this horrible drug , my blood sugar was all over the map. I did gain a lot of weight , i have lost somewhere around 45 pounds, on this drug i did not feel anything, not happy, not sad no feelings at all. These are coming back in such chaos, i am seeing a counselor to help me look at them, as it has been some 30 years i?ve Been on ssri medications. 15 for Zoloft. Using natural methods to manage my life and mental health, b complex, vitamin c, B2, bright light therapy, meditation, journaling, it takes more time, but no side effects and much more enlightened.

  9. I have been on zoloft for about 8 years and every year a little more goes on.. i have put on 20 kilos.. it is very sad but i just don’t know if i can go off them as the feeling of depression is so bad.. i eat so healthily and not huge amounts either.. it is a vicious cycle and hope you all can find answers.x

  10. It is such a relief to see these posts. I gave been on sertraline for about 18 months and my dose slowly climbed to 150mg, meanwhile my weight increased by 14kg. Now back down to 50mg but still gaining weight (although more slowly) despite working with a PT. Really fed up today with it all but this site has offered me hope. Good luck everyone!

  11. Mommyof2

    I have been on Zoloft/Sertraline for 2 years, this year is by far the worst for weight gain! I have been trying all of my old tricks to loose weight, and it is not coming off. My Brian function is by far way better, and my anger management has been so much better on 100mg daily. I feel I am a better mom & wife. The weight gain is so hard to accept as a side effect, but my mental health is so much better. I will take the good with the bad.

    1. Hi, along with exercise are you noticing you’re eating more? Or eating healthy and still gaining weight?

  12. I have bed on Zoloft for a couple years, last year it was increased to 200mg daily. In a year I have gained about 50 pounds!! This does not help with my depression!! What do I do!!!!

    1. I have gained about 30 lbs in the last 6 months on zoloft. It has caused me to go into worse depression. Carb/sugar cravings are out of control and I want to sleep 16-20 hrs a day. I have even had to call into work just from exhaustion and I never miss work. I’m on 50 MG a day. Thinking about weaning myself off. It isn’t worth it for me. Have you gotten any better? Are you still on it?

  13. I’m on day 5 of .25 zoloft and I cannot believe my hunger pangs. I eat very healthy foods, and plenty of them. I haven’t gained any weight yet but I’m worried about it because of the constant hunger. Trying to stay away from wheat and sugar, I grab a can of cashews when the hunger hits but it does nothing. I had a huge dinner 3 hours ago and I’m starving now! I notice if I smoke a little weed the hunger goes away. Makes no sense. The munchies go away!

  14. christine

    i’m on 50mg of zoloft per day, for 7 months. it’ has been amaxing for my mental health – no more crying jaggs or suicidal thoughts. i have days where i actually think to myself “i am happy!” but in those 7 months i’ve gone from a size 4 to a size 12, gaining gover 50 pounds. i didn’t change any of my eating habits. i have one avergae size protein based meal per day, one protein shake, and a smaller snack. what can i do? i’d rather be fat and happy than thin and dead.

  15. I have been on sertraline for three years now and I?m just realizing the correlation with my weight gain and sertraline. I have not changed my eating habits or exercise habits in fact if anything they have improved since starting sertraline but I have continued to gain weight no matter how healthy I eat or how much it worked out. I feel hungry all the time and when the eating don?t ever feel full anymore so I feel like I have to keep eating to feel fall which causes me to over eat. I can?t believe I?m just now realizing that it?s the sertraline but am relieved to have figured this out.

    1. Thanks for your post. I have been really down about my weight gain and have been on 100mg of Sertraline a day for many years. I just keep getting bigger and bigger. 🙁 I just spoke with my doctor about this and he is going to wean me off of this and try a different drug that seems to not cause weight gain…welbutrin I wasn’t making the connection between the two either. Hope it helps!

  16. This is strange how those meds work on different people. I work in mental health, I see patients with eating disorders being on Sertraline and managing staying under weight for years. They eat five full meals a day, and they have exercise restrictions with limited time for any physical activity including standing and walking. It convinced me it is possible to stay slim on this drug, it just requires lots of control.

  17. This was a very informative article on sertraline. My (former) doctor never mentioned weight gain as a potential side effect of the medication. I have been on it for 2.5 years at 50mg and I had no explanation for a pretty substantial weight gain. It nearly put me into tears when I couldn’t fit into my wedding dress because of last minute weight gain before the big day. We converted it to a lace-up back to get that bit of extra space I needed. Over the course of this medication I have gained over 30lbs (13.6kg) despite efforts to eat healthy and exercise. And the doctor pretty much blamed ME alone for the weight gain…not a possible side effect of the medication she put me on. This wasn’t the only issue I had with the doctor’s diagnosis/ recommendations. Needless to say, I have changed doctors and my new doctor is stepping me off of this medication entirely. At this point, the negatives far outweigh the positives since I am at a much different place in my life and she doesn’t feel I need the SSRI any longer. We are hoping the change corrects the weight and fatigue issues as well.

  18. Mohammad

    I appreciate your article and pray for you. I could not find any explanation for my strangely fast weight gain! I thought it might be thyroid. But it was checked fine. So now I know that the culprit is sertraline. I will cut it off immediately!
    Even if i get symptoms back, i will ask the doctor to give me an alternative later.
    Best wishes
    German lifestyle tajbakhsh is my Instagram page. You can send me messages there.
    Thanks

  19. Mohammad

    I appreciate your article and pray for you. I could not find any explanation for my strangely fast weight gain! I thought it might be thyroid. But it was checked fine. So now I know that the culprit is sertraline. I will cut it off immediately!
    Even if i get symptoms back, i will ask the doctor to give me an alternative later.
    Best wishes

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