Why Do People Gain Weight in Sobriety?

Gaining weight in sobriety is not something everyone thinks about when it comes to helping out with their health in recovery. People who gain weight in sobriety make up nearly three quarters of those who drink or use drugs. When it comes to being healthy, it takes some intentionality to focus on keeping weight off for good.

Out of Practice

Before sobriety, it depends on how much a person did, but people likely did not spend time and energy on planning healthy meals, exercising, or worrying about nutrition. While energy is focused on recovery, it may not occur to you to think about developing good habits around food. Consuming fast food, craving sweets or salty things, and getting into bad habits may take a toll eventually.

Repairing the Body

It depends on how long the body was deprived of proper nutrition. It may be months, years, or even decades. Substance abuse damages organs, disrupts body functions, and creates deficiencies a person has to overcome with support. The body needs healing but also proper nutrients and vitamins to repair itself.

Cross-over Addiction

Food can stimulate the brain and body in the same way drugs can. Sugary, fatty, and salty foods light up the brain’s reward center and cause the release of ‘happy chemicals.’ when you don’t need it, you might turn to food as a substitute. It is a common coping mechanism to use food to deal with cravings and withdrawal. The important thing is not to give into the urges. It can lead to cross-over addiction when a person is seeking out food or other substances to deal with addiction recovery.

Obesity does not have to be on the horizon if you are focused on being healthy. It takes time as a sober person to focus on the right nutrition and advocating for yourself. There are also people who can help advocate for you and provide support for your journey of recovery. A healthy lifestyle is on the horizon if you are seeking it out. When you are struggling on the journey, it is worth it to tap into your personal resources and advocates that will help pull you out when you are struggling. Healthy eating does not just happen, it is intentional and planned. Be sure to talk to a physician or psychiatrist if you are not able to lose weight as maybe you need adjustments that will help you overcome the challenges of staying healthy and not gaining too much weight in recovery.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.