Ever since I can remember, I have been struggling with depression and anxiety. I have seen therapists and taken different types of medication to treat my symptoms. Presently I am not doing anything at all to treat my depression, I am just trying to manage it as best as I can. I believe that depression is hereditary in my family. My grandmother, mother, and I were all diagnosed with major depression. My sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Each of us have gone through different treatment options. One thing my mother and I have in common is that we both took Effexor XR. I took 75 mg, my mom took 150 mg.

Effexor XR is the brand name of the generic drug venlafaxine. It is used to treat serotonin imbalances in the brain. It can be prescribed for depression, anxiety, and panic disorders. There is a risk of side effects when taking Effexor, and some that are not listed on the label, such as weight loss or gain. I am no longer taking Effexor due to the trouble I had with these side effects. My mom, on the other hand, took it for 2 years and only recently stopped taking the drug.

I never had any trouble with gaining or losing weight while taking Effexor. My mom says she gained weight, but is not sure if it was anything to do with the pill or other factors. I have read on quite a few forums that people taking Effexor either lost or gained a good deal of weight. According to EMedtv

While taking Effexor XR I experienced numerous side effects. At first I felt even more anxiety than I had in the first place. I could not get to sleep at night because my mind would not stop racing and my legs kept tingling and wanting to twitch back and forth. I got headaches, diarrhea, dizziness, and confusion. The thing that bothered me the most is that I basically just wanted to lay in bed all day. Every time I would have a negative thought it is like a “zap” would go through my mind and I would just lay down and go to sleep.

I am so glad that I stopped taking Effexor XR. It did nothing to help my depression, it only seemed to make things worse for me. While my mom was taking it, it worked for her. As long as she was taking the medicine she was very mellow and had no anxiety. For her, the problems bagan when she stopped taking the medicine. She had strong withdrawal symptoms and a rage she called “practically homicidal for no reason.” She felt irritable, angry, had headaches, and felt like she needed the Effexor. My mom has not taken Effexor in months now and she no longer has these symptoms. I would recommend anyone who is taking Effexor to talk to their doctor or therapist about the side effects, especially before deciding to stop taking the medicine. Probably the weight loss is due to getting nausea and diarrhea. I am not sure. I wish I had lost weight though as I have always struggled with being chubby.

Dieting does not have to be grueling. You also don’t have to starve yourself. I never did. It’s changing the way you eat which you can encompass all through life.

In 1993 my husband and I went to the Chiropractor. He threw out his back and he was at least 200lbs overweight. I had gained a few pounds as well and was at least 25 lbs overweight. Doesn’t sound like a lot but for me it was. He told us about a low carbohydrate diet he himself had been on and how great it worked for him. I was told this followed the Atkins Diet. I was tired of my pants size going up and having to buy bigger clothes, which in fact has never been a problem for me until this point. I have to tell you, I had enough and decided I was going to lose weight. The concept was simple:

The Food

Low carbs for breakfast and lunch which meant each serving of food I ate must be 4 carbs or less. This equated to my eggs, bacon, and juice each had to equal 4 carbs or less. Lunch was the same. Dinner I could eat WHATEVER I wanted as long as I finished it within an hour. This means you can cook and eat a dinner for the family as usual. Then you’re done for the night until the next day. Day 2 you start all over again. If you fall off the wagon get right back on.

I went out and bought a book of food counts. When I went to the grocery store I always looked at the box to check the carbohydrates in the product. Bottom line, I went from 140 to 108 in 3 months. My husband lost 40lbs and decided to give up. Key success is:

Make a list of all the foods that are 4 grams of carbs and less. This will make it easy when you go to eat, what you can eat right off the bat without getting tempted with what else is in the fridge.

Weight yourself every day. There will be a lull at times where the scale won’t move but this does not last long if you stick to the diet. You will see the scale go down and it’s very exciting.

Bring your lunch to work. If you pre-plan what you’re eating for the day you are less likely to go out and grab fast food. If I had to for example I ordered a burger no bun or a salad instead of pasta which did I mention I love.

Keep those old clothes that don’t fit any more and try them on every couple of weeks so you have a goal and see yourself you are losing the weight.

Stick to your diet no matter who tries to tempt you out of it, and believe me they will. Reach for a realistic goal and when you reach that goal, you can go further. You’ve gone this far and you can go further. Remember, most people eat out of boredom. If you get bored keep yourself busy. Get a hobby or go for a walk. Do something that will keep the temptation of eating the junk food out the door.


Ok let’s face it. Your thinking this is a dirty word. You’re not going to lose weight; I don’t care what anyone says unless you get some exercise, and I had never exercised. Exercise in some way, shape, or form , is key to weight loss and quite frankly I don’t want to be putting some pill in my mouth which I have no idea what’s in it, that tells me I can lose weight without exercise in 2 weeks. Not going to happen and you’re more likely to fall off the wagon. I went out and bought a slant board. I started out on the lowest slant and started with 5- 10 sit ups a day. The slant board was put right in front of my bed so I had to trip over it in the morning. It was the first thing I did, no questions asked. I was able to work myself to 80 sit ups each morning on the highest slant over time. This will take time as the abs will be sore and you need to rest a couple of days until you feel better and can do more sit ups each day.

My sister at the same time was on a high protein, low fat diet and she was basically starving herself. When she saw the diet I was on and ate whatever I wanted for dinner she laughed at me and said “you’ll never lose weight on that diet”. When she saw my pounds drop, she dropped her diet and went on mine. I did get the temptations of “come on have a donut” and it was always the ones who were overweight who threw those temptations at me. I politely said “I will take it and eat it for dinner”. I was even told after I lost the weight and went to the doctor for a checkup, that I needed a Bone Density Scan because I was too thin for my age. What a joke. The nurse must have been 40lbs overweight.

I can honestly say I did not starve myself or deprive myself of healthy foods which would be considered a no no on this diet like fruits and bread. I just switched the time of day I ate them and ate them at the same time each day which for me was the Dinner hour with my family. Dinner meant breads, pasta, milk, fruits, and even Ice Cream occasionally for desert if I felt like it. I just finished it within an hour and yes I did have my fill without eating 2 plates of food which I didn’t need any more. You have an hour and you finish earlier than this do you need to eat more? No if your full just stop. Your done.

This diet changed the way I ate. I was not as hungry as I was before. When I reached my goal I was able to taper and off slightly and still keep the same weight instead of still losing. If I saw I had gained a few I just adjusted my eating and that did the trick. I am sure if you take the time, implement daily exercise and stick to your plan you can lose weight too. Just make up your mind you’re ready to do it, and do it.

Current statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics state that over 60 million adults and nine million children between the ages of six and nineteen are considered obese. Weight loss surgery has quickly gained popularity among overweight adults over the past few years, and the American Society for Bariatric Surgery estimated that more than 177,000 Americans had some type of weight loss surgery last year. Previously, the number of children having weight loss surgery has been very small, but due to the major increase in the number of overweight children and improvements in surgical techniques, many doctors and parents are now considering it as a viable option.

For many years, weight loss surgery for children was considered very risky as it carries a death rate of 1 in 50. According to federal statistics, only 350 children in the United States had the surgery in 2014. A large scale study will begin shortly to look at how children respond to various types of weight loss surgery. A study is currently under progress at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago and at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian. In addition, New York University recently completed a study examining the effectiveness of laparoscopic gastric banding (otherwise known as “gastric banding” or “lap band”) surgery in children.

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is starting a study this spring to examine how children respond to different types of weight loss surgery including gastric bypass, where a pouch is stapled off from the rest of the stomach and connected to the small intestine. Three other hospitals received approval to investigate the effectiveness of gastric banding, where an elastic collar around the stomach limits a person’s food intake.

Results from the study conducted at NYU were reported in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery this month. A total of 53 girls and boys between the ages of 13 and 17 participated in the study. Results indicated that they were able to lose half of their weight over 18 months and did not suffer any major complications. Children were only considered as candidates for surgery after they spent six months trying to lose weight using under the supervision of the hospital or a physician.

Crystal Kasprowicz, 17, of St James, NY, said that she lost 100 pounds after having the surgery. Prior to the surgery, she took medication for rapid heartbeat, and was showing signs of developing diabetes. She made efforts to curtail her weight gain such as dieting and exercise, but all of them failed. She no longer needs medication and her blood sugar levels are normal.

“I’m a totally different person,” she said. “I’ve very outgoing now. I hike a lot and go to the beach in the summer now. I’m not as self conscious when I go shopping for clothing.”

Growing acceptance for weight loss surgery in children has also faced criticism, especially since the long term effects are unknown at this point. According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, four in ten adult weight loss surgery patients develop complications within six months. Common complications include: pouch stretching, band erosion, leakage of stomach contents into the abdomen, and nutritional deficiencies.

Evan Nadler, a pediatric surgeon and co-author of the NYU study, said nineteen of the patients who participated suffered some sort of complication within six months. Two of the patients needed additional surgery to adjust a slipping band; two developed hernias; five got an infection; five suffered mild hair loss, and four had iron deficiencies. One asked for the band to be removed due to discomfort.

Many overweight adults have come to view weight loss surgery as a “quick fix.” According to Thomas Wadden, an obesity expert at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, many patients show up demanding weight loss surgery as a first step. When asked what they have done to lose weight, many will respond that they have done nothing. He said, “They are going right to a $25,000 operation for which they are ill prepared.”

Joanne Ikeda, a nutritionist emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley said, “I don’t think altering the human digestive tract is a solution to the problem of excess weight. It’s one of these quick fixes that isn’t a fix at all.”

According to Nadler, the potential medical complications related to surgery are minor when compared with the long term complications such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension that are associated with being overweight. He believes that the surgery can be very beneficial to teens if careful screening is in place. He said, “These are people who have tried everything they could possibly try. Once they reach this level of morbid obesity, the vast majority go on to be obese adults.”