Extra Weight Gain? Is it Food or Meds? Or What?

I’M UP 5 POUNDS, I FEEL LIKE CRAP, WHAT NOW???

We all know it starts with food – what we eat, how much, frequency, when, etc. Then it goes to activity, water consumption, getting enough sleep, but then it gets murky. In a depression, there’s tons of science about eating more, craving sugary/fatty foods, eating less or not eating. There are tons of factors but many of us end up with extra weight gain and feeling worse about ourselves as we move out of the depression or other episode. Not all, but the “I could care less” during the episode changes pretty quick for me when I look at the scale. The question is: did the depression cause the weight gain or did I gain weight by self medicating with food???? What other factors are in play?

For me, the main culprit has usually been meds. They helped me gain most of the weight, than I helped myself. Took 2 years to titrate (lower dosage) down 1 main culprit and another I was worried about dependency with. Then wham, bad episode, doc ups the “evil weight gain med” and a week later I’m 5 pounds up and feeling like a double failure. The pain of the episode, both mental and physical, pushed me over the edge to self medicate with food. Chicken, egg? The point: the med change helped me so much emotionally I’ve been coming out of the bad funk over the last few days. Have been able to slowly knock the increase back. And the 5 pounds, well with the lower dosage, lots of exercise, cutting back carbs, and increasing protein, not only are they gone, I’m actually back to July/Aug weight.

Lesson: There are so many factors that impact weight gain and loss, but for us on mood meds, they can have a very real impact on our hard work. Some are notorious “weight gainers” and while they help us feel more stable, we look in the mirror and are pretty unhappy with the side effects. What’s critical to remember is that mood stabilization, mental health, and mental safety come first. You can only do so much when you’re in an episode. Once you’re more stable, then you can talk to your doc about the weight issues and what you can safely do to address them. Be good to yourself – hopefully you have a plan in place and support system to call on when needed. If not – DO ONE!!!!! I wouldn’t be here typing away if those two things haven’t been my lifeline for 12 years. Although I’m preaching to many in the choir, hopefully this will shed some light for some others of you.

Huge Shout Out to Sandy Sue for her friendship and amazingly great advice/insight! Hugs!

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Help, I’m Out of Control!

I’m Out of Control And Really Need Help

After 6 weeks I finally got the scale back and guess what, I’m almost 4 pounds heavier. Pretty upset about this.

It’s time to admit that I have a problem and figure out what to do about it. Yes, I’ve lost almost 80 pounds and for the most part have kept it off. BUT since losing that bulk of weight and still having 40 that I want to lose, I’ve been fighting a losing battle with emotional and impulse eating for the last 4 months. I’ve plateaued and been ping-ponging on the scale.

One of the reasons I’ve gained back 4 pounds is 2 weeks of limited exercise (no trainer sessions, no body pump classes, only a solid weekend of hard work outside). Even after the major lawn overhaul and then the following week getting ready for and getting some major dental work, the 2nd reason is that my eating is out of control. I try to stay with the plan my trainer gave me but during the weekend and the time around and after the dental work (about a week), it’s been carbs, carbs, carbs and SUGAR. Getting takeout, going out for lunch complete with pancakes two days in a row. Ice cream one night, a half container of caramel almond butter with chocolate chips another. Making mega brownies. Eating half a challah loaf two days in a row. No wonder the pounds are flying back on.

Add sitting on my butt on the couch for hours a day and not using the fitness equipment sitting in the other room and it all makes sense.

Although my trainer says over and over, it’s your fat percentage that counts and how your clothes fit, especially as you gain muscle and lose fat (muscle weighs more), because I am still so overweight that’s not the issue now. Get me down to 10 pounds to goal and we’ll talk.

I feel like I’m at the end of my rope – I’m sneaking sweet stuff again, staying on plan during the day and then blowing it at night, not getting in enough movement, and letting temptation rule my food choices. I’ll go for weeks on plan and then blow it over a weekend. And to make matters worse this Friday and Sat we’re eating out to celebrate with friends. So I’ll do great until Friday night then blow it with the bread at the restaurant. Saturday is a birthday party complete with cake that I’ll be making and dinner out at a japanese steakhouse. That’s what’s been happening the last few months and why I’m not making any progress. I’ll stay on plan and then at the slightest opportunity, fall right off. Sure I get back on but the damage has already been done.

Crappy factoid here: within a few hours of a high fat meal we put on 3 teaspoons of fat around our middle, waiting to move somewhere else on our body. 1 meal!!!

I’m feeling so discouraged when I should be grateful that for the most part I’ve kept off what I lost over the last year. The problem is I’m not at the maintaining stage yet and still have a ton to lose. And my willpower seems to have taken a vacation.

I don’t know whether I need to go see my therapist again for a booster or figure out what’s really going on mentally that’s blowing my progress. Going to a training session today and hopefully trainer will help put this in perspective. That and planning ahead for this weekend’s meals, making a single layer cake (just use 1 pan), and starting to journal food again. The picture journal is a lot of work and a real pain which is why it was a short lived venture. Trainer has nixed the calorie counting but a simple daily listing of intake seems like the best way to go.

Even bought a book about stopping emotional eating, which I put down after a few chapters and haven’t picked back up. Can’t tell if I’m not ready to face this yet but if I want to achieve my goals I really need to suck it up and figure out how to be the winner when faced with chocolate (and ice cream)! Something has to change and stay changed for this journey to continue and figure out how not to fall back into sabotaging habits. Many of you have inspired me so much and would love your feedback on this. Right now I’m my own worse enemy!

Food & Activity Log: 7-22-12

Well, you’ve had a whole week of my new “Daily Photo Log”. What do you think? Have had a comment or two and they’ve been super positive but would like more feedback to continue this project as part of my blog. Please either “Like” or “Comment” – you’re a huge part of why I’m on here!

Glad you liked yesterday’s “Skinny People” post. Some nice tips, one of which I took today – eat early. We had dinner before 5 pm and that’s all the food for the day. And now, without further ado, here’s today’s Photo Food Log!

FOOD LOG:

Breakfast: Total Calories – 220 calories

Coffee w/ fat free half & half –25 calories

Hot water w/fresh lemon juice – 3 calories

Protein shake w/ unsweetened almond milk – 150 calories

Oatmeal (less than ¼ cup) – 42 calories

Lunch (?): Total Calories – 820 calories

Cherry Danish – 410 calories

Puff Pastry – 410 calories

Dinner: Total Calories –741 calories

Cuban Ropa Vieja – 264 calories

Cuban Yellow Rice – 64 calories

Cuban Black beans (1/4 cup) – 153 calories

Fried (Plantains) Tostones (4) – 260 calories

Green Tea (large) – 0 calories

TOTAL CALORIES FOR DAY: 1,781 of 1,700

Net Calories For the Week: -481 Calories

ACTIVITY LOG:

Had a bad “emo” day. Went to a meditation / reike class and it sent me right into a bp episode. Stopped for pastry at Publix on the way home and then napped all afternoon. Needed to take xanax early and will go to bed early as well. But only 81 calories over daily target.

Breaking Up (with Junk Food) is Hard to Do

This is a “reblog” (courtesy of and with thanks to SparkPeople) but truly funny to get your Sunday started off right! We’ll resume our regular programming of pretty food pics, scary exercise tips (ok, not really – have a foam roller one planned for tommorow – spoiler!), and all around good times!

But first, are you and junk food still doing the tonsil tango? (That sounds wrong doesn’t it!) Got this email recently and just roared! Hope you enjoy it to, so without further ado, here’s the:

“Top 3 Finalists from our Break-Up Letter Contest”

— By The SparkPeople Community

Editor’s Note: The following three letters were finalists in our June 2005 Break-Up Letter Contest. We’d like to thank everyone who participated and voted. While the contest is closed, you can still read the top three letters below.

Letter #1

Dear Abby,

Help! I have been trying for a long time to break up with this friend of mine (we’ll call him Snickers because that is his real name. He’s not innocent and does not need to be protected). He just can’t seem to take the hint. We’ve been together for longer than I care to admit. We’ve had some wonderfully sweet times together. No matter how tired I get of my other friends, Snick is always there. At first it was okay. We were a pretty good team. But then he would just never go away. Sometimes I wanted to be alone, but every time I turned around he was there. For a long time I enjoyed having him in my purse or in my top dresser drawer. Then I realized he was keeping me from some very important relationships. I barely knew Apple and Banana, and Broccoli just didn’t feel welcomed when Snick was around. It would have been different if he liked my other friends. We could have all spent time together. But Snick became so selfish. He wanted to be the only one. I’ve tried to explain how I feel. He has become so possessive of me, wanting all of my time and attention. Frankly, I’m afraid of him. Sometimes I see him watching me from the pages of a magazine, from the TV, even from my own kitchen cupboards. I’ve become a victim of Snicker stalking. Please help me! If only I could make him understand there still is room in my life for him. But there are others I want to spend time with also. What can I do?

Desperate

Dear Desperate,

Your problem is not uncommon. Many people out there find themselves in relationships that are too possessive, too selfish. I can sense from your letter that you are very upset with Snick. Take a moment to calm down and think clearly. Snick is feeling threatened right now. He used to be tops on your list. Now you’re bringing in more Apples, more Whole Grains, more Green Beans. Of course Snick is going to try harder than ever to get your attention. My advice to you is not to shut him out entirely. Invite your other friends in so you can all get to know each other. Let him hang around. As soon as he feels your friendship is secure, he won’t be so apt to require all of your attention. Let him know you still care. Let him know that most of your time is going to be devoted to Apple and Broccoli, Whole Grains and the others. If he feels you still care for him, he will be content to share you with others.

Abby


Letter #2

French Fries, we have to talk.

I don’t know how to say this, but –

I can’t see you anymore.

I just can’t do it—the clandestine meetings, the sneaking around—it’s just too much for me. My husband is beginning to suspect something.

Just yesterday, he found one of you on the floor of the car. I laughed nervously and denied everything but I think he knew I was lying.

I felt so ashamed!

And it started me thinking – I really love him!

We made a promise to each other, and I know you probably can’t understand this, but our life together means more to me than anything.

I know, I know, we’ve had some good times together and yes, you’ve been there for me — like the time I was so upset when my boss got mad at me. And when I was so nervous about giving that speech.

No, no, it’s not you, it’s me! I’ve changed.

I’ve found some new ways to deal with my emotions. And they’re really helping. One thing I do is meditate or pray every night. Nothing happened at first, but over time, I find myself a little calmer, a little more capable of handling life’s everyday stresses.

I also try to walk every day. You should try it, it really does clear your head!

And if I really get stressed, I write it all out in my journal.

So, you see, French Fries, I have to thank you for helping me out when I needed it.

But I think I can take it from here.


Letter #3

My Dear Beloved,

I’ll never forget the day I met you, Mr. BLT Pizza. I was on a church youth group retreat in the winter of 2003. We stopped by a Happy Joe’s Pizza Parlor on our way back to the cabin. I was expecting a pleasant time, for the parlor name indicated a cheerful, delightful atmosphere. I certainly wasn’t looking for anyone new. A new love in my life was out of the question, for I had been dragged down and chubbed up by your kind before. The other women at the table spotted you first. They said you looked “delicious” and just wanted to “eat you up!” To be honest, you weren’t my type. I wanted something safe and reliable; I wanted the strong, sturdy type. Plain ol’ Mr. Cheese beckoned to me; however, the women were wild cats and insisted on you. Now, I don’t hold them responsible. H How were they to know you would slowly destroy my life? How could they know that your initials didn’t only stand for Bacon Lettuce Tomato, but they also stood for Big Lying Traitor?

You were so deceiving. You covered yourself in layers of crisp lettuce and ripe tomatoes that I had to peel away to find the bad parts like fatty bacon, oozing mayo, and greasy crust. I couldn’t figure out what I craved about you. What was I drawn to? I tried to convince myself that your lettuce and tomato exterior drew me to you. I told myself you were really a lettuce and tomato type of guy at heart. I’ll admit it now; I was drawn to the bad boy in you. The mayo got me! The mayo! My family begged me to bid you farewell, but I couldn’t. I was addicted to you. With a wild heart (and stomach and tongue and lips), I defied my family to be with you. When you invaded my mind, I wanted you right then and there. I’d throw you on the table and devour you. I found myself staying in with you more and more often. I invited a friend to hang out with us a few times, but I was too greedy. I couldn’t share you!

Soon my thighs were straining to escape my jeans. I think they were trying to tell me to escape you. My stomach was rolling over my waistband. I felt it. I saw it. I saw the me that was the result of you. I saw my chin, Mrs. Chiseled Chin, and her new partner, Mr. Chubby Chin, who moved in after you came into my life. They had united to form a chin family. I didn’t want to wait around for their children to emerge. It was enough.

I tried weaning myself off of you. I saw you less frequently and asked for smaller portions of you, but I couldn’t bring myself to a complete halt. I kept going back to you and forgiving you for mistreating me. But not anymore! I’ve burned all your boxes with relish. I’ve rid my phone of your number. I’ve realized that I’ve mistreated myself more than you have mistreated me. I’ve allowed you to take control of my life. It’s MY life. It’s not OUR life. I have control of my life, and you don’t belong in it with me. I don’t need to be Mrs. BLT Pizza and have my initials stand for Bulky Lard Tooshie. You were a little too wild for me. I think it’s time for me to find a real life partner, and that Mr. H2O over there is looking pretty refreshing!

You Don’t Deserve the Sincerely Here You Jerk!
N

————————-

And Now: Some “Ultimate Motivation” – try not to feel empowered after watching this one!! (I get very sniffly!)

Today I’m Losing My Best Friend

Ok, maybe not my BEST friend…but it’s been there for me through thick and thin over the last year plus.

Yes, it’s my…

MY SCALE!!!

After going to see an amazing new trainer this morning who did a caliper test to give me the wonderful news that my BMI is what it was almost 25 pounds ago – i.e. the machine my last trainer used to check it is was WAY off.

And this is all thanks to the advice of my new trainer and her friend (another bodybuilding person). Oh, did I mention my trainer competes in those bodybuilding things and she is “supa’ buff”? Not as cute as my sweet honey of course, but really buff. She also handles the nutrition side of things and promised to kick my butt on a weekly basis. The words “you should leave here soaking wet (i.e. sweaty) at the end of every session” were said more than once.

The thing is though, 6 weeks without the scale. 6 weeks. 6 very, very long weeks.

Stay with me – I need all the help I can get to not lose my mind over the next month and a half – comments welcome (and needed!!)!!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!

OMG!!!!!!

We’re going to a concert tonight and I found out I fit in a solid size 18 jean and an XL shirt! Check this out:

And this is the pic from February, 4 months ago:

And this was at the worst, about 2 years ago:

If I can do it – YOU CAN TO!!!

Do You Sneak???

Are You A “Sneaker”?

If so, you’re not alone! Here’s a short but familiar story.

Today, I started reading “Weight Loss Boss” by David Kirchhoff, the President and CEO of Weight Watchers. Most of what I’ve read so far is familiar since I was in Weight Watchers for over a year, lost about 30 pounds, and then promptly gained it back after leaving the program. But that’s just me – many people have successfully lost and kept off weight on WW. What I’ve found the most resounding though is the chapter on “sneaking”.

The hardest “willpower” times for me are when I’m at home, alone, sitting on the couch, and dealing with one of the big three: boredom, loneliness, and depression. Any of these or a combo sends me either out the door to B’s Cupcakes, to the junk drawer for a take-out menu, or to the cupboard to make easy one-bowl/pan brownies. Do I tell my honey (or anyone) about these “sneaked” treats/meals? Oh, No! Do they make me feel any better (like today’s meatball parm sub and cannoli!!!) – No, just a bit fuller and a lot guiltier. Will going to the gym to work out or take a class make up for the transgression? The latest research is also saying NO! Using exercise as either an excuse to splurge/sneak or a way to burn off excess calories doesn’t work in the short or long run. The only true way to lose weight is to eat less calories (and healthy ones) than you burn off through exercise/activity.

Saying that, and after losing almost 80 pounds in a little over a year, why I am jeopardizing all the hard work by listening to “the call of the take out menus”? My story is a lot like the book’s author. My parents didn’t keep a lot of unhealthy food in the house, except for my stepfather who had a stash of candy he bought for himself and hid. Which of course my brother and I found immediately. They would buy horrible ice milk and nasty sandwich cookies that were ok for us to eat but tasted terrible. So I clearly remember waiting until the ‘rents were gone to sneak a few snack size candy bars or Starburst fruit chews. Frankly, I didn’t really even like either of these but they sure beat the only other “sweet treats” in the house. What’s truly weird is that even after I was working, I rarely spent my money of junk food. We didn’t have dessert at home very often so even out I didn’t indulge very often. And when I was working, I was more apt to have a yogurt or other healthy snack during my breaks. So until I hit my late 20’s (and after learning what great food tasted like and enjoying the convenience of being close to a ton of terrific restaurants), I was skinny for the first 27 years of my life. But man, when it hit, it hit! Shortly after my 28th birthday, I realized I was almost 30 pounds over my “normal” weight.

I immediately went to a shady doc to get some “phen/fen”, shed all the weight, and promptly hit the mental health wall. With all the med changes, eating to self medicate, and becoming a couch potato (I was always pretty active for the first part of my life), the weight piled on. Those of you who’ve been with me know I lost most of my weight through careful diet and exercise but have had consistent bumps in the road over the last few months. Another fun fact: the more weight you lose, the slower your metabolism gets – which is why losing those last 10, 20, 40 pounds seems like climbing Mt. Everest. And that’s without “sneaking”. (Let’s not call it cheating – let’s just bite the bullet and call it what it is. If that’s you at midnight with the spoon in the carton in the dark kitchen, well you know what I mean!)

David has some terrific suggestions to help Stop Sneaking, but I’d like to share my first one now: THROW AWAY THE DANG TAKE-OUT MENUS!! I just did a few minutes ago because I know they are a huge trigger for me. Do I feel any less nauseous from my crappy delivered lunch? No, but at least I know it will be harder to indulge like that next time I’m tempted.

Other “Steps To Stop Sneaking”:

1. Focus on what works for you, not what others think. Having healthy behaviors for yourself is more important than getting approval from others. Especially others who want to order dessert!

2. Understand that going undercover with minor indulgences encourages them to blossom into monstrous food disasters. Shame is it’s own weird kind of motivation.

3. Become more aware of the situations in which you’re tempted to sneak food and find detours – or major highways – around them.

4. Plan indulgences into your routine so they don’t knock you off your path of progress. Then it’s a pothole, not a crevasse.

5. Air your dirty laundry! Whether with a friend, on a blog, or notifying Facebook friends, find a safe place to share your “sneaking” and you’ll probably be very surprised how not alone you are and the support that’s out there to help you keep on track.

I hope this has helped a bit today and I’m grateful to have this blog to safely share my “sneaking” and steps I’ll also be taking to put an end to it! Comments and sharing are welcomed!!!