Monday, February 19, 2018

One Week Off Phentermine

Good morning. I'm here with an update on my first week off the phentermine (although it wasn't technically a whole week... I was taking half doses for a couple of days and then Tuesday I stopped taking it altogether). I didn't notice a big difference in how I felt whether I was taking it or not. No major energy difference and no real hunger difference, either... until I was 100% off it. Then I did notice I *wanted* to eat more often. Not cravings, and not stomach-grumbling hunger... just that I caught my mind turning to food a lot more frequently. It's like on the phen I just didn't care much about eating unless my body needed some calories or nutrition, but without it, some of that old "what can I eat?" thinking started coming back in. It wasn't as strong as it used to be, but I definitely ate more often and my weight is up to 207, a gain of two pounds this week.

I won't get into a lot of explanation, but I did find some scientific studies on the National Institute of Health that give some hints as to what phentermine might do aside from appetite suppression. One (here) was about using phentermine as a drug to treat Binge Eating Disorder in combination therapy; after 6 months of treatment, yes, people lost weight (less than 10% of body weight) but they also had a huge decline in binge eating behaviors. Some were "binge free" or considered "in remission from BED" at the end of the study, even though they had regained the bit of weight they lost. To me, this makes sense. I know what BED is like; I suffered from it for many years. Part of the disorder, for me, was the obsession with food in the mind that felt impossible to break free from. While I don't binge anymore, I *do*  still have some issues with "food thoughts" that can be a bit intrusive. I deal with them much better than I used to and they tend to go away a lot more quickly, not coming back over and over causing an obsession. If phentermine helps stop these intrusive, obsessive thoughts and the compulsion to eat, that would explain why these people were able to stop binge eating, AND why I don't have any thoughts about food when I'm not hungry when I take phentermine.

Another study (here) on mice "confirmed that phentermine has a metabolic antiobesity effect"... meaning, phentermine didn't just make them stop eating and lose weight. It actually increased their metabolic rate. It increased the mice's energy expenditure (calorie burning) by 35%! That is huge. My doctor had told me that studies indicate that phentermine speeds up metabolism. Interesting?

Anyway, obviously gaining weight is not good and worries me a lot. I have an appointment with my doctor next week and will see what she thinks about all of this. I also may try going back on phentermine to see if maybe the week-long break was enough to make it start working again. I've read and been told that when it does stop working, a break can be a good thing. I just don't know if that break needs to be longer than a week... maybe a month or more.

Phentermine is a crutch, or a tool, I am trying to use to get to my goal weight. I wish I could just get the weight off without it, but I don't have a lot of faith in my ability to do that (based on decades of trying). I also decided that I'm going to go back to counseling, because I am probably missing something about how my emotions play into the weight thing. I've done a lot of work on that already, but I cannot mess this up. I have to be ready to maintain *without* medications or any other crutches by the time I reach my goal weight, so I am getting very busy working on every aspect of that RIGHT NOW.


Anonymous said...

I’ve been reading all your posts and can relate to the constant thoughts of food. I took a medication years ago for weight loss that freed me from those feelings too. I felt so free! It stopped working quickly and the feelings returned. I applaud you for filling the toolbox with as many things as possible to help you through this. It’s worth the fight! I think you’re doing a great job.
Theresa in Alberta

Amy said...

You are doing awesome and I hope these tools will help get you where you want to be!

Anonymous said...

You are on the right path my friend. Get right back on that pill and therapy and exercise and you will drop the weight left and right and it will stay off this time. Routing for you!

Anonymous said...

How is your task-oriented exercise program doing?

Lyn said...

last Anon~

going well!

Diana said...

Lyn, exercise also increases your metabolism. Have you upped your exercise now that you've lost so much weight? Also, as I'm finding out this time around, whatever you do to lose the weight, you have to be willing to for the rest of your life. For me, that's 1.) exercise five times a week and 2.) tracking every bite of food in MyFitnessPal. I eat on average, 2,000 calories a day, yet I'm still slowly losing weight. When I get to goal (6 more pounds), I can up my calorie intake to 2,400 - as long as I get in my exercise.

I know phentermine is a tool. I get it. But you can't take it the rest of your life. Just getting to goal is NOT the goal. Maintaining your weight loss is your goal. I know you know this as well as I do. We've both been down this path too many times. We know that losing the weight isn't even half the battle. Maintaining the weight loss is the biggest challenge we ever face in this weight loss game.

I think therapy for food obsession is a good idea. I've been thinking about the same thing too. The two times in my life that I sought out a therapist and went to a few sessions, it was a dismal failure. Once, many years ago, for marriage counseling. The therapist literally told my now ex-husband that our problems were all his fault. Even though I agreed, it didn't help anything and just made him angry. The second time was during my divorce process in 2013. My attorney wanted me to see a therapist so he could use it in court. About how emotionally battered I was by my husband. Even though that therapist agreed I'd gone through some really tough times with him, after three sessions she declared there was nothing wrong with me. She said I didn't need to come back. There was still a lot wrong with me. Ending a 24-year marriage, getting cancer that same year, my sister dying that I was legal guardian to, and my beloved cat dying - all in one year - I was truly NOT okay. Anyway, my experience with therapists is dismal.

If you do start therapy, please let me know how you go about finding a good one. I really have no idea how to go about it. Since I struck out two for two, my faith in them isn't good.

Take care, and you've got this Lyn. Whether you go back on Phentermine or not, this is our last time down this path. I want you to succeed at getting to goal and maintaining it for the rest of your life. I feel like we're in this together. ❤️<---and if that heart turns black, it's supposed to stay red!

Lyn said...


hi! Yes, I've made a goal to do 20 minutes of exercise daily, and so far that's going well. As for the therapist, I hear you on that. I keep hoping there will be some kind of eating disorder therapist (specialist) nearby and in my insurance network, but still no luck. My searching is basically printing out the list of therapists who take my insurance, checking online to see if they have any good or bad reviews, looking at their sites, calling. Some of them do a free phone consultation to see if it's a good fit. I've also looked at "addiction centers" because sometimes they will cater to EDs but usually it's just for drug/alcohol issues. Still looking!

We are definitely in it together and I think both going down a good path right now. I believe in us! :)