Subject: Weight loss and Olanzapine! ... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Subject: Weight loss and Olanzapine! So how long did it take for you to lose your weight gain caused by Olanzapine?


My 2nd baby is now 3 months old. And this time I took 5mg, then 2.5mg of Olanzapine as a preventative, after having had postpartum psychosis with my 1st born and having been sectioned.

This time has been smooth sailing which is great. But I've gone from size 10 to a big size 14 which is pretty miserable. The same thing (plus some +) happened the first time when I was on olanzapine for a year that time and initially at 10mg then 20mg. The weight did all come off in the end, but for ages despite healthy eating and exercise it went down really really frustratingly slowly. But then a few months later it suddenly just all fell off within about a month. I believe a lot of the weight was water retention (I look puffy and swollen). I just want to get back to my normal self and feel a bit daunted by how potentially tricky it may be. Be good to hear other people's experiences, preferably the more positive ones ;) !! Thanks

14 Replies

Hello Joanna,

Congratulations on the birth of your second baby. I think rather than dwell on your weight, the 'positive' has been that PP has not returned so you are able to delight in the early days of motherhood. I too was sectioned on two occasions, years ago now, following the births of my sons. As it has been so long ago and I was under general psychiatric care for some time, including ECT, I cannot remember the medication regime. However, there are other mums here who will be able to share their experiences with you.

I'm sure, as before, your weight will reduce. I appreciate it is a concern for you, as you say it may just be water retention. Perhaps you could also ask your G.P for advice?

Take very good care.


Hi Joanna,

Congratulations from me too for the birth of your 2nd baby & staying well - it's great to hear preventative meds did the trick for you!

You're so right the weight gain is miserable, it really is awful. I guess it's a small price to pay for staying well though & it helps to remember that it's temporary, not forever. I had similar weight gain to you, I was on Olanzapine for a few weeks then changed to a different anti-psychotic +antidepressant & went from size 10 to a 14-16. For me it really affected everything because it wasn't anything like I was used to & made everything feel much worse - not only did I not feel myself mentally, I didn't recognise myself physically either. I was told the weight gain wasn't due to my meds but I'm not so sure & think it was probably a combination of that & being less active too - I was always pretty active before I was pregnant but couldn't face any exercise at all when I was ill.

For me I couldn't think about losing the weight until I'd stopped taking my medication, being so ill I felt I needed to be mentally strong as I was before, before I could think about fixing the physical side. This'll be different for you & the fact that you're thinking about it now is really good, well done! Setting your mind to it is the first step to success & I found once I'd decided to get myself back physically the weight all vanished pretty quickly - it took me 6 months to get back to normal with losing 2llbs on average per week, (some weeks no loss at all & others weeks with more). We're all different though & obviously it's different for everyone but the really positive thing is that by taking it slowly & steadily & carrying on, the weight really does get back to normal - for me & lots of others I've know, it's stayed off too!

There's a thread here about weight issues that was started a while back that you might find useful:

Wishing you all the luck in the world - you can do it!

P.S. I've still got my size 16 t-shirt which makes me smile as it reminds me how far I've come :-)


Hi Joanna

Just wanted to add my current experience with trying to lose weight while on a maintenance dose (5mg) of Olanzapine. I'm finding it's definitely hard work... but I've managed to lose around 9lb in the past 3 months and I chatted to a GP friend of mine for some advice. She recommended not cutting calories back too drastically, aiming to think more about a healthy diet with 3 good filling meals a day. If counting calories she recommended not to go below 1600 a day (I have been using a good app called 'myfitnesspal' to monitor cals) She said that eating a lighter meal in the evening can help, as well as cutting out evening snacking as much as possible, as the sedentary time we have in the evening and then sleeping can make it easier for fat to be laid down.

The main focus of her advice though was increasing my exercise! She recommended 3 times per week doing 30 mins of exercise which gets you properly out of breath. I know that Olanzapine is making me still quite sleepy especially in the mornings and seems to reduce my energy levels in general. So I'm aiming for one evening intensive exercise class (I'm doing spinning - indoor cycling - which is great fun) and then two lunchtimes either pushing the buggy hard up and down hills or using my exercise bike.

Are you still on 2.5mg of Olanzapine at the moment or have you discontinued completely? I hope the tips are helpful and we're here any time you need to chat.

Naomi x

Hi Joanna,

I’m so glad you lost the weight bc I’m coming off zyprexa too. Do you happen to have any other success stories of this? They are so hard to find online and i’m terrified of permanent metabolic damage. Thanks so much! -“Ginger”

in reply to UF123

How has it been coming off?

Mine all came off. I have had to lose it twice as it’s an old message. Each time for the first month or so after stopping it nothing really happens and I panic it will never come off. Then it suddenly starts to shift. Normally takes me a few months. These days at the v early sign of illness I just go on 2.5mg and the weight effects are way less. For me anyway.

Great to hear! I'm trying intermittent fasting on 2.5mg with exercise.

Yes the first time when I had 2 stone to shift, i did it with the 5:2 diet. it came off no problem. But I was totally off the medicine. I'm on 2.5mg now and half a stone heavier than usual (or thereabouts) I don't weigh my self when on it though as I know I am going to have more water retention when I take any olanzapine. So I also drink coconut water to get rid of excess bloat from the medication. Depends though if you get water retention - I get swollen hands feet from it.

Hi! Well i’m on 2.5mg, totally sleeping and not experiencing any anxiety (which i was on the drug for). i’m starting a keto diet.. well did 3 days ago.. i’ll keep everyone updated on my weight loss journey. ❤️

in reply to UF123

I started to do intermittent fasting (alternate day) December 30 and the weight is coming off! I have lost 7lb. This is exciting since i have tried low calorie and exercise and also low carb dieting and this olanzapine wt wouldnt budge. I havent started exercising regularly just walks occasionally. I plan on doing spin classes soon. Ill keep you all posted

Hi JoannaBrooks,

That is such great news! so are you off the dug now? i’ve been off for 5 days now.. doing the keto diet and it is also working.. my stomach bulge is finally going away! 🎉 Tho I have a long ass way to go, as i am 178lbs (thx to this drug) and my usual weight is 110lbs so it’ll probably take me a year. I’m just praying there are no permanent metabolic changes.. i’ll keep the thread posted on how and if i shead the weight ❤️

Hi Joanna Brooks!

I’m in the process of weaning off of Zyprexa and am now down to 1.25 mg a day (my doc has me split a 2.5 mg pill). I gained 18 lbs over the course of a year and a half. About 4 weeks ago I started eating a very low carb diet (22g carbs) and have lost 6 lbs so far. My weight is at a standstill now as I haven’t lost any weight in the last two weeks but I’m hopeful I will lose the rest.

I would love to hear from anyone who has had new or continued success losing the weight after coming off the drug.

Take care everyone!

Hi everyone,

Do you have any tips on what worked for you in losing the olanzapine weight and staying motivated through the hunger? I put on 13.5kg since before I was pregnant (I started olanzapine about a week after giving birth) and it is getting me down that I can't fit into my old clothes. I am still on 5mg stepping down soon to 2.5mg. I started the 5:2 diet last week and did calorie restrictions of about 1400 cals for a few days in between fasting days. I've finished my third fasting day today at about 500 cals but have found it quite hard going. I've also been doing about 45 mins to 1hr of moderate intensity exercise every day except Sunday (combining resistance band exercises and aerobic low impact cardio). I want to lose weight but I also want to have enough energy to enjoy my life. From reading the posts above it seems eating more at around 1600 cals per day might be better. Any recommendations very much appreciated!

Thanks x

in reply to ColibriGirl

Hi ColibriGirl,

I started loosing the weight when I came off the drug completely, I was still having too many hunger pangs to a level I was not used to, so dieting did not entered my mind at the time, well done you for being so proactive! I put on 16 kilos from my pre baby weight, and I lost 12 of those in 9 months. I did calorie counting, keeping everyday on the lower end of the 1000s, except for some weekends when I allowed myself a cheeky pizza or an ice cream. I am a very bad example of exercising, I go for long walks and run after my toddler, if those count. But exercise have huge benefits both physically and mentally.

It took me some time to come off the weight, and I will be happier if I shed 2 more kilos, but it does come off at the end. I saw a massive reduction on my appetite when I stopped the medication, I am now back on my usual level of food intake and it feels fine.

I wish you all the best, take good care

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