Addiction recovery comes with all sorts of losses and gains. Including weight gain after addiction recovery.
You may drop unhealthy habits and create rewarding routines, part ways with old friends and make new ones, and trade substance-induced confidence for true self-confidence that only comes from within.
And, yeah, you might unburden yourself from the weight of addiction and find yourself putting on a few pounds in the process.
If so, there’s a totally normal and science-based explanation for what’s happening in your body. We’re here today to break down the facts and to encourage you to continue working toward a healthy and holistic lifestyle—one free from addiction and open to the world of possibilities headed your way.
Why Does Weight Gain Happen After Addiction Recovery?
You might start by asking, “Why does a person—in recovery or otherwise—gain weight?” After all, we sometimes gain weight due to stress, lack of sleep, lifestyle changes or circumstances beyond our control.
And when you’re working toward sobriety, you can bet that at least one if not more of these complications are present in your life.
Couple this with what research tells us: some people have what’s called a “propensity for behavioral addiction”—when addiction suppresses the appetite process.
In other words: The signal from your brain shouting, “Take another hit! One more sip!” sounded a whole lot louder than the signal from your stomach that whispered, “Eat more food.”
Recovery slowly turns down the volume on the signal coming from your brain—also known as urges and triggers—and turns up the signal coming from your stomach that encourages you to eat.
Your Self-Worth Is More Than a Number on the Scale
Now you know why weight gain happens in recovery, so let’s talk about what it means if it happens to you. The answer: nothing. Really. Hear us out.
Consider all that your body does for you:
- It gets you from here to there
- It helps you make simple and complex decisions
- Allows you to enjoy the beauty of our world and to engage with the people you love
And that’s not even the half of it!
Now think about how you use your body to benefit yourself and others. Do you care for children or an aging parent? What about work? Do You work to earn an income? How about joining your spouse for a walk around the neighborhood as you share in conversation? Do you cook, clean, build or repair things around your home? How do you serve in your community? Do you smile at people who pass you by, laugh at good jokes or cry at emotional stories?
Your body isn’t an object to be viewed—it’s a powerful and miraculous tool for good.
And your self-worth shouldn’t be formed based on image alone—perhaps not on image at all. When assessing your self-worth, remember to think about the quality of what’s inside—your heart and your brain—and what’s outside—your actions and your character..
Treatment Prepares You to Handle Stress and Triggers
Because the aim of recovery isn’t just sobriety but developing a whole and healthy lifestyle, you can count on what you’re learning in treatment also to help you develop positive, productive ways to manage stress and triggers.
You may learn to ignore the cravings for drugs and alcohol, to assess your hunger cues adequately, and to tune in to the most important voice of all: the one that considers you today, you in the future and the people you love most as you make each and every decision.
We’d love to answer any questions you have about weight gain after addiction recovery. Give us a call at 844.921.4386