Sunday, October 15, 2017

Phentermine Side Effects, and Weigh In

Yesterday marked the end of seven weeks since I started taking phentermine at the urging of my doctor. I think that's about halfway to the point when I will have to stop taking it, since she stated that usually it stops working for people after about 3 months. So far I feel fine on it, and have had very few of the noted side effects that phentermine (aka Adipex) can cause. The most common side effects (found on include headaches, dizziness, tremors (nope, I had none of these), dry mouth (nope, but I do feel thirsty more often and drink more water, which is good!) and diarrhea or upset stomach (nope). I did experience a few of the other common side effects in the first week. I had trouble falling asleep at bedtime for the first few days; I felt wide awake and just couldn't get to sleep until late. I fixed that issue by taking my phentermine earlier in the day and skipping the afternoon dose for awhile until my body got used to it. The only longer-term side effect I have had that is listed is (TMI) constipation, even though I eat fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water. I even added a fiber supplement with no luck. Now I just drink a cup of Senna tea once a week or so to keep things moving along.

Since phentermine is a central nervous system stimulant, one of the other common side effects is feeling restless or "hyperactive" and insomnia. Well, I wouldn't say I ever felt "hyperactive" but for the first week or so I *did* feel more energized and had the desire to get moving more. I sure got a lot of housework and cleaning done that first week! I'd say in the second week, when I was taking half at 7AM and half at noon, the insomnia went completely away along with any jittery feeling. Since then it's been a pretty even keel of yes, having more energy to get out and exercise or get things done during the day, but not as much as I *wish* I could have! Just a bit of a boost. But thankfully, my blood pressure has not gone up and I've had no issues with heart palpitations or racing or anything like that (less common side effects). My doctor sees me once a month to check those things and make sure I'm doing okay.

Mainly the phentermine works in two ways: as an appetite suppressant and an energy booster. I do find I am not as hungry as often and can get by with less food. You can't just take a pill and eat whatever you want, though. You still have to do the work. I went back to what I know best: lower carb eating, based on meats, fats, and produce. I do still enjoy some starches and grains once in awhile but I am really careful to keep them limited. I might have a few corn chips at the Mexican restaurant with salsa, but the rest of my meal would be carne asada and grilled vegetables... no beans or rice or tortillas. And if I am at a potluck I might have some chicken soup and salad and even had 2 bites of a muffin with butter, but I won't have croutons, crackers or dessert. It's moderation and eyeballing my carbs to stay under about 70-80 grams, which isn't too hard for me to estimate after tracking carbs for months and months on other diet plans. I'm not measuring, counting, or tracking anything... just using my knowledge of nutrition to make good choices. As far as an energy boost goes, it's not even the kind of boost you might get from a few cups of coffee. It's more like *just enough* of a difference to get me to go walk the dogs every day instead of blowing it off sometimes, or *just enough* to go ahead and do some yard work instead of deciding to watch TV.  My doctor told me that phentermine also would give my metabolism a "boost." I've found conflicting information about that online; some sources say it does speed up metabolism, and others say it only does so by getting a person moving more. Maybe it's a little of both.

Today I weighed in at 236 pounds... a loss of four pounds since last Sunday. It wasn't until Monday that I hit my 239 goal and posted last, but my usual weigh in day is Sunday and I count pounds lost weekly on Sundays. Here's how it has gone each week since starting Phentermine at 258 pounds on August 26th (which was incidentally, a Saturday, so the first week weigh in is one day longer than the rest:

week 1:  -9 pounds
week 2:  -1 pounds
week 3:  -3 pounds
week 4:  -3 pounds
week 5:  -2 pounds
week 6:  -0 pounds
week 7:  -4 pounds

Total so far:  -22 pounds.

Although it *feels* like a super rapid weight loss and my first month's loss of 17 pounds *is* the most I have ever lost in a month, it's really not overly fast. If you take out that first week loss, which was likely a lot of bloat and water from eating more carbs in the weeks prior, it averages just over 2 pounds a week. That's a nice, steady rate of loss that is within the usual guidelines doctors give for safe weight loss. I'm really happy with this. I can't even explain how much better I feel with 22 pounds gone!

Well this post has gone on long enough. I just wanted to share a few details about the phentermine and my experience. I'd be glad to answer any questions in the comments. Going forward I probably won't be writing about the drug itself much, but more about this process of re-losing, yet again, lots of regained pounds, and hopefully for the final time, escaping obesity.


Anonymous said...

22 pounds is amazing! Great work Lynn, I knew you could do it!

Anonymous said...

Lyn, this is incredible! So happy for you and proud of you for putting the work in. I have one question and one comment. Did your doctor explain to you who is the ideal candidate for Phentermine? Just curious who it might be available to. Like is it a certain BMI, certain weight, certain experiences, etc.? Also, regarding the Senna tea. Make sure you bring it up with your doctor at your next visit. I know you won't be needing it long since you won't be on the Phentermine long, but taking it regularly can cause dependency to where you eventually won't be able to go at all without it. Maybe your doctor could prescribe a stool softener or has some other ideas to keep things regular. Keep up the great work!

Lyn said...

Thanks Anon 1 :)

Anon 2~

Well, she didn't say anything to me about who the ideal candidate is, but one interesting point is that I have been going to her for a couple of years and have discussed my weight and health often, but this is the first time she mentioned phentermine to me. At first, she focused on making sure I understood the basics of low carb eating. She talked to me about exercise. At one point she gave me Victoza to try and stabilize my swinging blood sugars, which did help a lot and I lost some weight on it, too. I think she has seen me in this state of slow regain and felt that I was getting into a danger zone for my health at 258 pounds. Maybe that's why she decided to have me try phentermine.

Thanks for the senna warning and I will definitely bring it up. I agree though I probably won't use it much or for long, and probably should be safe with once a week. I will see if she has a different suggestion though for sure!

Cris said...

Really pleased to see such a positive update- regardless of the weight lost- you seem to have your head back in it, and that’s worth any effort.

Wishing you well and really happy to see posts from you again.

Anonymous said...

My question is: what are you going to do when the phentermine stops working and you can't take it anymore?

Lyn said...

last Anon~

My #1 priority after I stop taking phentermine is to NOT REGAIN. Even if I stay the same weight for a few months while learning how to calmly maintain and not start getting emotional about *not losing*, that will be okay. I think a lot of my food related issues, including binge eating in the past, emotional eating, getting stressed or triggered by counting calories or restrictive dieting, and getting into a whirlwind of emotional drama if I don't lose weight as quickly as I think I should, are tied up in my emotional overreaction to food and weight. Months of NOT counting or tracking has helped tone that WAY down, and I think weeks or months of NOT stressing about losing weight every week will help, too. I sure want to keep losing, but the most important thing I need to get a solid handle on is maintaining the losses I already have.

LHA said...

I'm thrilled for you! It is such a great feeling to get eating under control and see the scale going down. Wishing you great look going forward.

Anonymous said...

When I lost a bunch of weight on a strict diet, what I focused on was developing habits that I could keep up even once I hit maintenance and could be more liberal with my intake. I keep the same exercise schedule and still cook about 90% of my food myself, and I stick to my general sleep schedule, too. IMHO it's all about habits, and if you do it right, the drug could just be the boost that gives you enough energy to get into a good groove in that way (ex. walking with the dogs at certain times every day, prepping food, etc.). Good luck.

Susan R said...

I am so happy for you Lyn!

Alison said...

congratulations Lyn! wonderful job. i'm so happy for you and to have you back :)