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


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!


17 Day Diet, Day 2

After last month’s “Fit Club” 12 class schedule, there’s the good news and the bad news.

The Good News: my body is changing shape, more definition, stronger, more endurance, under arm “wings” and “fubas” are noticably smaller.

The Bad News: I ended up at just about the same weight as I started!

What To Do About It?:

Going back to where I started – The 17 Day Diet. Bottom lining it, major cut in the carbs department, mainly protein and veggies to create a calorie deficit and kick start my metabolism.

Why Am I Doing This?:

After doing so well for over a year, I’m tired and have been back sliding more and more. As hard as I’ve been working out, my diet has gone to hell in a handbasket and I needed to go back to a very structured program requiring a major, but short term commitment to get back on track. Yes, this is a very tough one, but “Fit Club” was no picnic either. But I seem to do better with structure and following through when I make a promise. Plus La is doing this with me as she wants to lose some more weight. She’s an inspiration to me as she’s kept the weight she lost off for a year! Pretty impressive!

How’s It Going?:

I’m hungry and using the watercloset it seems like every 5 minutes. Hatha Yoga, usually pretty doable, wore me out tonight. Planned to do Bikram tomorrow and we’ll see how that goes. So 15 days to go – that’s only a little over 2 weeks. So I’ll be hungry, so what. If you saw the state of my sneakers and the 4 months I’ve been working to earn a better pair, you’d know my desperation. But getting past this plateau and back on track to lose the last 45 pounds and achieve this critical goal is my priority now. And I could use all the support I can get!

What I’ve Learned, Again and Again and Again:

Other bloggers have said this and I’ve been learning it the hard way: the path is not a straight line! It’s up and down and up again. It’s frustrating, maddening, discouraging, and takes strength, courage, and a hell of a lot of help from my friends (and of course my amazing wife). When you hit the wall, and you probably will, remember you can climb over it or grab a sledgehammer and beat the thing down. It’s a head game and you can win it. As always, one step at a time. Being here for each other, we can do it!


5 Secrets from the 5% Who Lost It…And Kept It Off

You, like me, probably surface for air in this weight loss journey and wonder “but how will I keep it off for the long term after I lose it?.” “Are there secrets from the “long termers” that will help me as well?”

Mike Kramer from Sparkpeople.com has done the research work for us and the results may surprise you!

The 5%…

  1. …Make It Public. The 5% generally don’t keep their weight loss efforts to themselves. They recruit supporters. They ask for help. They swap war stories with friends. They give and take encouragement. Often a goal buddy is involved, or at least a positive, supportive friend who holds the dieter accountable. Studies show that just by writing down or announcing your goals, you automatically increase your chances of success. Keeping a Community Journal or blog is a non-threatening, productive way to make your goals public.
  2. …Pay Attention. A permanent, healthy lifestyle is created on purpose. Planning, tracking, reading menus, asking questions, following progress reports—they’re all part of the 5% strategy of knowing what’s going on and preventing setbacks. This crowd doesn’t believe in fooling themselves or relying on chance to make things happen. Usually (if not always) aware of the foods they eat, and on the lookout for opportunities to stay active, they know that good health is no accident. Nutrition Trackers and Fitness Planners play key roles in this strategy.
  3. …Enjoy Themselves. There’s a reason that a healthy lifestyle sticks around for this small minority. They make weight loss a positive experience and have fun with it. Because they feel good about their goals and their new habits, they also feel good about themselves and what they’ve accomplished. Programs based on negative messages, dread, resignation, or criticism are doomed to disappear. Optimists are proven to reach more goals than pessimists. They also live healthier, longer lives.
  4. …Make Gradual Changes. The 5% know that permanent change is a process, not a 21-day event. Able to see what waits on the horizon, they spend time building a few small habits at a time, rather than diving into a program that’s totally incompatible with their current lifestyle. Too much too soon is like moving to a new country and expecting to adopt the new culture and language in a week. It works much better if you simply stick around and pick up a few bits and pieces at a time.
  5. …Allow Themselves To Fail. It’s a guaranteed certainty. Every one of the 5% has failed at some point along their weight loss journey. The difference is that they learned to forgive setbacks and refused to beat themselves up. Every failure is simply one step closer to ultimate success. With this outlook, and using lessons learned along the way, they kept these setbacks from turning into full-fledged disasters.

So, not so mysterious, now that you know their secrets, huh? A permanent, healthy lifestyle may be closer than you think!