The Truth About Weight Gain in Recovery

When you were thinking about ending your substance abuse problem and working towards a healthy recovery, you probably heard all about the benefits to giving up drugs or alcohol in lieu of living a stronger, healthier life. One aspect you may not have heard about is the weight gain. Alright, to be fair, not everyone gets hit with weight gain in recovery but the truth is, many people do. And many of the people who do weren’t prepared for or expecting it!

So, here’s what you should know about gaining weight in recovery and what you can do to counteract it. We know your primary goals are to gain a healthy mind, body, and spirit, but the body has a way of taking just a little longer to catch up. The first thing to realize about weight gain, is the “why,” narrow down your personal why and you’re one step closer to overcoming the weight gain. 

If you’re gaining weight because your body is normalizing and you were naturally at a heavier weight before addiction, you might take a different approach to weight loss compared to someone who is gaining weight because their addictive habits and behaviors have transferred over to their relationship with food. If you’re gaining weight in recovery because you’ve never been out on your own before and you still have some learning to do in the nutrition department, this is a relatively common scenario too. Your personal weight gain will depend on many factors and could even be some combination of the above scenarios. 

The most important thing to realize about weight gain in recovery, is that it’s a good sign that your health is improving and your body is finding a new normal after ending substance abuse. Once you have an idea of why you’re gaining the weight, you’ll be able to use all those new behavioral skills you’ve learned in therapy to maintain a healthy weight!

Hardy, S. “Gaining Weight After Rehab: Ins and Outs of Sober Body”. Ocean Breeze Recovery. (Website). September 2016

  • 2 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • This is good information. Although, when I quit drinking I lost weight. Probably from not taking in all those extra calories. I guess I did eventually gain some of that weight back. But initially, I lost about 15 pounds right after quitting alcohol. Of course, everyone's results will likely be different.

    Thanks for sharing this.
  • Weight gain is a big concern for many people, regardless of whether they are in recovery or not.... This is a good idea to be alert and informed when heading into recovery or if you're already on the recovery journey.

    Some weight gain is certainly a good thing if you were thin and  nutritionally lacking.... As we progress on our recovery journey, learning to balance things out with food is important...striving for healthy food and drinks.. :) 

    Addiction to sugar... this is something I think about... I like sweets. I don't go all out, but realistically I don't need to eat them at all. 
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