According to an article in Psychology Today, one way to lose weight while taking antidepressant medication such as Effexor XR is to consume carbohydrates without protein at specific times throughout the day. The details of this diet plan are outlined in the book "The Serotonin Power Diet" by Judith Wurtman, Ph.D. and Nina Frusztajer, M.D.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Effexor XR is the extended release formulation of the drug venlafaxine, an antidepressant that is believed to work by increasing the amount of the chemical serotonin in the brain. Like all antidepressants, Effexor XR has many side-effects, one of which is unintended weight gain. Although this weight gain is often minimal, it tends to be greater in people who take higher doses of the medication for long periods of time and those who are naturally predisposed to gain weight, reports an article in the N.Y. Daily News. Additionally, since depression itself is often responsible for both weight loss and weight gain, it is difficult to sort out the effects of Effexor or any medicine used to treat the disease.
According to the Seratonin Power Diet website, serotonin is the brain chemical responsible for satiety, the feeling of being full. Although Effexor is thought to increase levels of serotonin, many people who take the drug report that they always feeling hungry and overeat as a result. Eating carbohydrates, such as pretzels, pasta, bread and other starches, without any accompanying protein appears to increase serotonin levels and minimize this effect. As a result, the person eats less and loses weight.
People who are prone to obesity may benefit from other weight-loss strategies as well, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Keeping a food diary, looking for cues that prompt over-eating and replacing unhealthy eating habits with healthy ones are time-honored strategies for successful, long-term weight loss.