Last updated: November 27th, 2019 ~
You shouldn’t use Vyvanse solely for weight loss. But, many people who take Vyvanse for ADHD or Binge Eating Disorder (BED) end up losing weight as a side effect of the prescription medication. So, what’s the deal here? Is Vyvanse weight loss a good or bad thing?
Well, that’s what today’s article is all about. This article explores topics like:
- The tricky relationship between Vyvanse and weight loss
- Why weight loss is a controversial side effect of taking Vyvanse
- How to stay healthy while dealing with weight loss from Vyvanse
Disclaimer: Before we begin, please keep in mind that this article is not medical advice – but a first-hand account of my experience dealing with weight loss from Vyvanse.
OK, Let’s get started…
The tricky relationship between Vyvanse and weight loss
Vyvanse and weight loss goes hand in hand.
When I was taking Vyvanse throughout most of 2016, I was decently lean at 5’8″ and 170 lbs.
My body fat percentage was roughly around 15%, and I had a slight six pack. That’s pretty good for guys (women’s body fat percentages are a little bit different).
All in all, I probably lost around 15 lbs of body fat when I was on Vyvanse, and put on some muscle, too.
Most importantly, I stopped drinking alcohol when I was on Vyvanse, since alcohol and stimulant-based ADHD medication don’t mix very well.
So with all of these dietary changes, and plenty of exercise, I found it extremely easy to lose weight while I was on Vyvanse.
But, I’m not the only one to notice the connection between Vyvanse and weight loss…
When I lived in a fraternity house for a couple years in college, I noticed that most of the guys who were prescribed ADHD medication (probably 30 guys in total) were super lean, too.
I’m not trying to glorify the weight loss side effects that come from using Vyvanse here.
I’m just laying out the truth about the weight loss from Vyvanse that I experienced first-hand, and noticed in some close friends and even family members.
Why weight loss is a controversial side effect of taking Vyvanse
Weight loss is listed as one of the most common side effects of taking Vyvanse.
As you probably realize, experiencing side effects from prescription medication usually isn’t a positive thing. And yet, many people actually seem to enjoy the weight loss side effect that they get from Vyvanse.
While it’s normal for people to want to lose weight, I think that the seductive weight loss side effect of Vyvanse can be deceiving.
Let’s just say that stimulant-induced weight loss isn’t healthy over the long-term.
You might feel great once you notice that you’re super lean while taking Vyvanse. But at the same time, you might also feel uneasy knowing that the weight loss is only temporary.
Yes – there’s a good chance that you will eventually gain weight if you decide to stop taking Vyvanse.
So, any weight loss that you experience while taking Vyvanse is temporary, fleeting, and dependent on you continuing your use of Vyvanse. As you can probably imagine, this is why I don’t recommend relying too much on Vyvanse for weight loss.
If you want to lose weight and look great – you’ll get much more sustainable results from improving your lifestyle…
- No more processed junk foods
- Minimal alcohol consumption (this is important)
- Drink lots of fluids (keep hydrated)
- Eat clean whole foods
- Eliminate refined sugar from your diet
- Exercise 5x per week (HIIT plus resistance training)
It’s much easier to take stimulant-based ADHD medication than it is to change your lifestyle.
But, I truly believe that living an all-around healthy and active lifestyle is the most sustainable decision that you can make to lose weight and live extremely well over the long-term.
In the short-term, losing a little bit of weight while using Vyvanse is extremely common and probably even OK (check with your doctor to make sure).
Over the long-term, you’ll probably want to think about optimizing your entire lifestyle with a number of healthy habits beyond just taking Vyvanse.
How to stay healthy while dealing with Vyvanse weight loss
Weight loss is a side effect of Vyvanse that you should bring up to your health care provider. I’m not a doctor, and I can’t give medical advice.
But, I have personally dealt with weight loss from Vyvanse. So I can talk about the methods that I’ve used for a number of years to maintain great health.
Just to be clear, I have no problem with using Vyvanse. It’s a high-quality ADHD medication that can give you amazing cognitive benefits.
But, you still have to do everything that you can to stay extremely healthy while you’re losing weight on Vyvanse.
So, here are some important health tips to keep in mind:
Tip 1. Force yourself to eat nutrient-dense foods (meal prep)
It’s really hard to eat when you have Vyvanse in your system. This happens because Vyvanse typically suppresses your appetite, and makes even delicious food seem unappealing.
This is a problem, because you need to eat nutrient-dense foods in order to think clearly, perform at work, enjoy your relationships with people, and maintain a healthy body weight.
You ultimately have to force yourself to eat high-quality food regardless of how “full” you feel (you rarely feel full on Vyvanse).
Again – I know this is really hard to do. But, eating quality food is super important.
To solve this problem, what I like to do is prepare 12+ meals worth of food in advance – usually on a Sunday evening.
For those readers who aren’t involved in the fitness scene, this is called meal prepping.
I’m not a picky eater, and I don’t like to spend much time cooking.
So, preparing at least 12 meals in advance gives me roughly 4 days worth of food. This frees up my time and mental energy tremendously – and makes it so much easier to eat healthy food on the spot.
Think about it this way:
If you individually cook two or more meals every day of your life, and you spend 15 to 20 minutes cooking each meal, then you spend almost 4 hours every week cooking meals (at minimum). This is assuming that you eat out for one meal per day (like many corporate employees do).
If you’re a day dreamer with ADHD like I am, and you spend 30+ minutes cooking your meals individually, then you’ll spend a whopping 7 hours cooking food every single week. This is equal to 364 hours of cooking per year.
This is an insane amount of time to spend preparing food. And yet, most people with ADHD still cook meals individually!
So do yourself a massive favor – and learn the art of meal prepping.
When you don’t have to think about preparing food (i.e. you take one or two days to prepare all of your food for the entire week) – you’ll find it so much easier to eat a healthy ADHD diet while you’re on Vyvanse.
Meal prepping will save you time, money, and mental energy. And most importantly, meal prepping will make it so much easier for you to eat nutrient-dense food while you’re taking Vyvanse.
Tip 2. Take a good multivitamin supplement in the evening
Since Vyvanse can suppress your appetite, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting all of the vitamins and nutrients that your brain needs in order to function.
I recommend using one of the following food-based multivitamin supplements:
You should take your multivitamin supplement in the evening.
The reason that I recommend taking your multivitamin supplement in the evening is because certain vitamins can interfere with stimulant-based ADHD medication.
You ultimately want to make sure that your vitamins don’t interact with your ADHD medication.
So, it’s probably a good idea to take your multivitamin as soon as you feel like your Vyvanse is wearing off. When I was using Vyvanse, this was typically around 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. I’d feel the notorious Vyvanse crash coming on, so I’d pop a multivitamin, drink a green smoothie, and hit the gym.
Supplementing with a quality multivitamin can give you a lot of peace of mind.
At the very least, you’ll know that your getting an adequate amount of vitamin B, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and various other essential ingredients.
At best, you’ll potentially save yourself from dealing with drug-induced nutrient depletion.
Tip 3. Stay super hydrated at all times
I keep a Klean Kanteen (Amazon) with me almost everywhere I go. I do this to stay super hydrated at all times.
This was especially important when I was taking Vyvanse on a daily basis for almost a year.
Vyvanse makes you pretty thirsty, to where it’s absolutely crucial that you keep a good water bottle with you wherever you go.
If you don’t have a good water bottle, then you might end up buying bottled water (waste of money) or soda (terrible for you).
I like Klean Kanteens because they’re free of BPA and other harmful chemicals. They’re also genuinely leak-proof, which is a term that has been heavily abused in recent years (it’s very rare to have a water bottle that’s actually leak-proof).
So, make sure to pick up a Klean Kanteen or even a Blender Bottle (that should work too). Drink plenty of fluids, and stay hydrated at all times while you’re taking Vyvanse.
Tip 4. Limit your caffeine consumption
It’s definitely OK to drink some caffeine while you’re on Vyvanse.
You just have to be careful about how much caffeine you consume while you’re taking the ADHD medication.
My doctor actually told me that it was perfectly fine to drink coffee or tea while using Vyvanse, so that’s exactly what I did. I used to drink huge cups of coffee on my way to the library while waiting for my Vyvanse to kick in.
Unfortunately, I soon found out that ingesting too much caffeine while you’re taking Vyvanse can lead to some nasty problems like increased heart rate, anxiety, and similar issues.
These side effects caused me to switch from drinking coffee, to drinking Skratch Matcha Green Tea Mix (Amazon), yerba mate, black tea, and various other delicious types of tea.
Generally speaking, tea has less caffeine and more benefits than coffee. For example, the L-theanine found in many types of tea is an amazing, 100% natural anti-anxiety ingredient.
Drinking high-quality tea is an excellent way to control the amount of caffeine that you consume while on Vyvanse, while still getting that extra energy boost that you want.
Tip 5. Exercise like it’s your lifeline
Stimulant-based ADHD medication obviously puts some amount of unnatural stress on your cardiovascular system.
So, let’s work through this simple 3-part equation together:
- ADHD medication causes some unnatural stress to your body (medication is inherently a stressor)
- If you aren’t physically moving your body very much, then you’re basically allowing your body to deteriorate at an increased rate
- To fix this problem, you need to exercise consistently while using ADHD medication like Vyvanse
As I mentioned before, I don’t have a problem with ADHD medication. I actually encourage using a low dose of Vyvanse if it genuinely improves your ADHD symptoms and lifestyle (like it did in my case).
But, I also think that you need to be realistic about the downsides of using ADHD medication, and take the proper actions to offset the risks of using ADHD medication.
Exercise is basically your lifeline in this regard.
Doing a combination of cardio exercise (i.e. sprints) and resistance training (i.e. lifting weights) is going to be crucial to staying healthy while you’re taking Vyvanse.
- Building muscle has been linked to a longer lifespan
- High intensity interval training is excellent for your heart
- Swimming is perhaps the very best way to get fit (my favorite exercise of all time)
If you were to only make one lifestyle change this year, then I would tell you to sign up for a gym membership as soon as possible.
Exercise is that important for your long-term health, well-being, weight loss and overall ADHD symptoms.
Overall, this article should hopefully leave you with the clearest insights into the pros and cons of losing weight as a side effect of taking stimulant ADHD medications like Vyvanse.
Millions of people are prescribed the ADHD medication Vyvanse. Therefore, millions of people will potentially deal with weight loss as a side effect of stimulant-based ADHD medications.
I hope that you use all of the resources that are available to stay in good shape, keep healthy, and treat your ADHD symptoms safely over the long-term.
You’ll be seriously happy you did so.