Methadone is a medication typically used in treatment programs for individuals who were previously addicted to opiate drugs. It helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms by changing the way the brain responds to pain signals, says PubMed Health. While many side effects tend to resolve after a period of time, weight gain is a common side effect that persists, causing distress in some patients. Methods can be used to achieve a healthy, steady weight while on methadone, but it is important to do so safely. Talk with your treatment team about your desire to lose weight while using this medication before taking any action.
Talk with your health care provider about whether you need to lose weight during recovery, and what a safe amount to lose would be. Your body might need all the nutrients it can get to bring you back to health after drug dependency. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health notes that methadone can restore your appetite, whereas narcotic drugs tend to blunt it.
Exercise on a regular basis. Recovering addicts on methadone in interviews have said that while using drugs, they often would run around looking for their next fix, while not eating much. When these individuals no longer had to go to various places to score drugs, they became inactive, which likely contributed to their weight gain. Physical activity helps burn calories and build muscle, which aids in burning more calories.
Eat a balanced diet of healthy foods. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats can all help with weight loss or maintenance. Minimizing the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars helps you stay healthy, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ask your doctor about lowering your methadone dosage as you get further into your recovery process. According to PubMed Health, physicians can change the amount of methadone administered or change the dosing schedule as treatment progresses.
Find a sober friend who will support your fitness and health goals and set up times to exercise together, even if it is just a walk. Tell your sponsor about your weight goals so he can support you during recovery as well. Having someone to hold you accountable can help you stick to your fitness plan, stay motivated and lose weight safely while on methadone.
Work with a nutritionist who can show you meal plans that meet your nutritional needs and facilitate weight loss.
Do not take any diet pills or weight loss aids to help you lose weight while on methadone without talking with your health care provider. This can be dangerous, and your recovery is the main focus during drug treatment.