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!


What Can You Do Now?

Depending on where you are with your personal weight loss journey, and at regular intervals, it’s a terrific idea to think back to where you started and take a few minutes to compare what you could do then versus what you can do now. Not the obvious things like being able to walk around the block, finish a gym class, are overall healthier and have more energy.

The less obvious ones:

* Being able to run to the car through the rain without being winded.

* Being able to bend over in the shower to shave your legs.

* Automatically reaching for an apple instead of a donut without realizing you’re doing it.

* Doing a yoga pose instinctively, perfectly, the first time, to your own amazement.

* Getting up from a low couch without leaning on something or needing help.

* Comfortably crossing your legs.

* Leaning over and wrapping your arms around your legs while seated on the floor, again without thinking about it.

* Moving past the conscious decision to do a healthier activity because so many are now second nature. Like taking the stairs and parking farther away to get a little extra activity.

* And the very little things like going to sleep at a decent hour because you’re honesty tired, not because you’re eyes are fried from too much tv or video gaming, but because your body has reset itself.

* Finally, the feeling developing deep in yourself that you’re a thin person, a healthy person, temporarily wearing a fat suit. That happened to me a few days ago and it’s been instrumental in strengthening my commitment to reaching my fitness and weight goals.

As you keep a food journal, an exercise journal, maybe think of starting a list of “new developments” list of thoughts and actions that you look back and realize how long it’s been since you were able to do them, if at all. More than a number on a scale or the amount of weight you’re able to lift or miles you can now run, it’s the little things that we now take for granted that truly make all the difference.

Start that list – you’ll be glad you did. Plus you can use it for a confidence boost when your commitment wanes or you hit a plateau!

There is NO “I Can’t”

There truly is no “I Can’t” and the only limits we have are those we impose upon ourselves. No one exemplifies this more than South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, a quadriplegic who is competing head to head with the rest of the those running in this summer’s 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“Oscar Pistorius, running on prosthetic legs, finishes last in race, first in hearts”

(South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius pops out of the starting block in the men’s 400m semifinals during the Summer Olympic Games on Sunday, August 5, 2012 in London, England.)

At the tiny gym I go to now (not sure it’s really a gym, more like a place where serious athletes and body builders train), one of the owners – my trainer Liz – is going to put a huge poster of Oscar on the wall so anytime anyone says “I can’t” or wants to quit when they still have something in them, she’ll point him out as an example. Not only did he make it to the Olympics, and even with all the padding, those prosthetics HURT! He’s in pain and he’s still running! And maybe he came in last in his first race but he still has the 400 to go. Talk about “never say die”!

I’ve posted the “Versus” motivational video numerous times because it is so powerful. Any goal we want to achieve – mental health, weight loss, getting in shape, relationship or career goals, school, whatever – can be daunting, especially if we don’t have a solid ground of support and/or achievement. There comes a time when it’s necessary to become our own cheerleaders. To discover the strength we have RIGHT NOW inside us to start down a new path. If it helps, print out Oscar’s picture and put it where you’ll see it the most. Use his example to remind yourself that anything is possible, anything that can be dreamed can be achieved.

I believe in you. Now it’s your turn. If you’re already there, I’m working my a** off to catch up!

Pain, Agony, Hungry, And It’s All Going To Be Worth It!

(Thanks to Erin Says… for the terrific graphic – and grats Lady on the weight loss this week!)

Days of Pain and Ibuprofen

The new trainer gave me – finally – my new “eating plan” and not only is it incredibly strict, I feel like I’m either eating or preparing meals all the time. Which is true because I eat every 3 hours.

She also killed me in the workout side to the point that I had to lay down with my feet elevated. And stopped short of an hour and she had me ride the bike for 20 minutes. Felt like a workout wimp.

So I decided to do another monthly challenge and this one is a “take an hour for you to improve in some area” and of course mine is fitness. In that vein, started the C25K program this afternoon. Then did 20 minutes of strength training and limped to my car. Was Ms. Cranky at home until the worst of the soreness passed. Funny, even my toes hurt. And during the running portions, felt every one of the extra 40 pounds I’m lugging around as they bounced around!

Am contemplating an even bigger challenge but considering that although I finished the first C25K session, Week 1, and went on to work out more, I’m exhausted and will probably go to bed in an hour or so.

Yes, even after a well balanced meal, still hungry, in pain and on to the ibuprofen, but happy to have finished the first workout. Next, will check back in after finishing the first week. That and sticking to the meal plan…am seriously craving a cupcake – evil, bad cupcake!!

This post is a kind gentle warning for those of you considering starting the C25K program – definitely eat an hour before, make sure you do protein plus a carb, and stretch before and after. Good idea to do it on non-strength training days – major tip!

Still considering the “major challenge”!

Love to hear your stories of recent challenges you’ve decided to take on – virtual support can be just as good as the real life stuff.


A little late…But Some Terrific, Healthy Breakfast Ideas

You’ve got to love SparkPeople! Got this in my mailbox this morning and sorry so late in sharing it. But hey, it’s only ___ hours until your next breakfast!

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Eat Right, Even When There’s No Time

— By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer, SparkPeople.com

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 937 times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why? You just spent eight hours with no food or water. You’re dehydrated, your blood sugar is low and you have little energy. And now it’s time to hurry the kids off to school before the eight-hour workday. More than any other point in the day, you need nourishment. Right now.

Besides, eating breakfast actually helps you lose weight. Those who skip the meal tend to snack before lunch and throughout the day, usually on unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Breakfast eaters typically cruise until lunch, while beaming with energy.

So what are some breakfast ideas? Scratch that–healthy and quick ideas? Here are some of our favorites:

  • Prepare a casserole the night before. Pop it in the microwave when you wake up and it will be ready to go when you are.
  • Incorporate complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat toast and bagels. Spread peanut butter and raisins on top of either for added flavor.
  • Bake bran muffins early in the week, then grab one or two each morning. Or check out a local bakery for healthy varieties.
  • Make waffles Sunday morning and freeze the leftovers. You can pop ‘em in the toaster for a homemade breakfast. Also, grocery stores sell frozen whole grain selections.
  • Have you ever tried a tortilla for breakfast? Wrap up cold turkey and cheese, grab an apple and you’re on your way.
  • Don’t forget cold cereal. We’re not talking about those covered with sugar, but the healthy variety. Items such as Wheaties and Cheerios are always good choices.
  • Whole-egg or egg white omelets with fresh or frozen veggies (carrots, broccoli, celery, peppers, onions and even black beans make great additions).
  • Make a shake or a smoothie. Blend fruit and yogurt and then drink it in the car. A side option is a small bag of finger foods, such as a mixture of granola and grapes.


One important additional tip:

If you’re working out fairly soon after your first meal of the day, you’ll want to have a small protein/carb combo shortly before you work out, in addition to your breakfast. Why? Your body is in starvation mode after no food for 8 hours so rapidly processes what you first put in it. You’ll want to give it some extra fuel about 1/2 hour before putting stress on it. And don’t forget your post-work out protein boost. Taking a shake with you to sip in the car on the way home is easy and quick. And of course, don’t forget your water for during and afters (sorry, know that one’s obvious!).

Day 2 – Food and Exercise Log

Well, so far a few of you have voted and you won’t be sorry you did – so more votes please!

And, after you see today’s insane food consumption – Holiday or No Holiday, am pretty sure will be getting more votes. See the end for a Major Lesson Learned!!!

Breakfast: 2 homemade blueberry/lemon turnovers, coffee w/ff half and half & stevia

Holiday Luncheon with the Gang: OMG!!

1st – Appetizer plate (spinach dip w/bread, chips w/golden onion dip, crab dip w/crackers)

2nd – Lunch, Part 1 (beer brat on bun, hamburger w/muenster cheese, coleslaw, beans)

3rd – Lunch, Part 2 (beer brat solo)

4th – Lunch Dessert (slice coconut custard pie, small piece brownie w/strawberries and small side of light ice cream)

5th – a few hours later, a light snack of chips and dip

6th – a few hours after that (small piece of brownie)

Ok, at this point you’re probably thinking OMG she’s the pig of the century!

BUT STOP – choosing to take pics of my all my food choices actually KEPT ME FROM EATING A 2ND AFTER LUNCH PLATE OF CHIPS AND DIP! Hey, this is working and after only 2 days. I ate only 1 plate of appetizers, didn’t graze, and didn’t go back for more dessert while at friend’s house.

THAT is a huge improvement over how I usually eat at special, or any occasion, get togethers. It is making me accountable for my food choices and actually prevented me from overeating to the same extent today. This pic log is working already!

Oh, and as promised Exercise Log:

Walking – to the car, then from car to friend’s front door, and from chair to food table a few times. Not a whole lot obviously.

Tomorrow: working on windows and hour training session in the afternoon at gym, Yay!

Stay Tuned Tommorow for better food choice pics and exercise updates!

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!!!

It’s All a Matter of Perspective…

No, duh right?!

Seriously, isn’t it easy to lose that priceless thought process when life throws it’s slings and arrows our way/weigh? When the scale pulls it “evil overlord” prank, we have an argument with someone we care about, the dog gets sick and we’re hit with a big medical bill and we scour the furniture for change to help pay for it, etc.

The Buddha isn’t the first to say that life is suffering. It’s painful to be born, all the most important lessons in life are usually learned the hard way, and I can’t count the times I’ve swallowed lemon juice instead of lemonade. You, too right? But there is a way out of suffering and it’s not some amazing spiritual awakening or giant light bulb over our heads.

I’ve found that no matter how bad the depression is, how hopeless I feel about ____, how worried I am about money, the future, the cost of tea in China, as long as I remember my wife’s advice about perspective, I know I can get through anything. It’s a simple question: Did anyone die or lose a limb? If not, go ahead and cry and get upset, then sit down and breathe. Then either get out pen and paper or call a friend and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re able to get at least the basics of a game plan. This is absolutely not to minimize how tough things can get, just to help put it in perspective.

That includes a slower than planned weight loss, awhol motivation, and getting sick and tired of working out so hard and not seeing hoped for results.

And, as someone who’s been through the “yes” to the perspective question – it’s the hardest to get through, it takes for many a lot of time, and a lot of help and support, but each of us is stronger than we could possibly believe. The kernel of the superhuman capacity to overcome literally anything life throws our way is within all of us.

At this point you may be wondering the point of all this: easy, if you, like me, took the holiday weekend off from our particular weight loss / activity journeys, no one lost a limb. No beating up ourselves for that 2nd hotdog or excessive use of puff pastry! Once again, get back up and on the elliptical! I’m behind you 100%!

Celebration Time, C’mon!

You’re Invited to the “Virtual 1 Year Celebration” of my Weight Loss Journey!

Please join me for a bit to enjoy virtual cake, virtual ice cream, virtual balloons and party favors, and, my favorite, virtual martinis and cosmos, to celebrate my 1 Year Weight Loss/Life Transformation Anniversary!

First, thank all of you for your support during this amazing, challenging, and oh so rewarding time. You have helped me so much with your following, comments, and encouragement “on the weigh”. And if I can do this, and keep working toward the main goal of losing the rest and then maintaining/thriving for a lifetime, then so can you!

A Quick Recap:

Here’s a very quick recap of the positive changes from the start point to today.

1 Year Ago – April 14, 2011

  • Weight: 278.8 pounds
  • Classification: Morbidly Obese
  • Clothing Size: 28 Women’s, 3X Women’s
  • Activity Level: Sedentary (butt glued to couch!)
  • Social Life: Almost non-existent, rarely left the house, isolated
  • Diet: Awful – high in sugar, fat, salt, fast food, bad carbs, very little fruits/veggies
  • Cholesterol: High in all the Bad Ones
  • Blood Sugar: Pre-Diabetic (in the danger zone)
  • Mood: 3-4 full episodes a month, depressed most of the time – A MESS
  • Sleep: 12-16 hours / night

A picture is worth a thousand words:









TODAY – April 14, 2012

  • Weight: 205.2 pounds (74 almost 75 Pound Loss!!!)
  • Classification: Moderately Overweight
  • Clothing Size: 16-18 Women’s, XL/1X Women’s
  • Activity Level: ACTIVE (4 sessions at Gym, 1 Hatha Yoga Class, 1 Exercise Meet-Up – every week!)
  • Social Life: out at the gym, friends at yoga, weekly motivational/exercise/social meet-up, out and about almost daily, blog/email/even talk on phone – Huge!
  • Diet: 160 degree change – mostly lean meats, chicken, fish, veggies, fruit, good carbs/grains, still struggle with fast food and sugar/fat bombs but major change
  • Cholesterol: All in Normal Range
  • Blood Sugar: Normal Range
  • Mood: 1-2 episodes a month, managing depression, snap out much more quickly
  • Sleep: 8-10 hours / night

A picture is worth a thousand words:

(And that’s from 2 months ago! But the changes are about 10 pounds down so it’s close enough.)







If I can do it, coming from being barely able to walk a block or climb a flight of stairs, sick and tired all the time, and chronically depressed – So Can You!

So let’s Celebrate wherever we are in our own “Weight Loss Journey’s” and be proud of our accomplishments, every big and every little, one of them. I would love to hear your stories in “Comments” and to see pics of your “before” and “now”s. Celebrating is more fun when we do it together!

Here’s to staying on track, meeting our goals, and thriving, a little bit every day “along the weigh”!

100 Reasons You Should Work Out Today

You woke up this morning, rolled out of bed, and got ready to start your day with all the best intentions.

~ “I’ll walk/workout during my lunch hour.”

~ “I’ll hit the gym/yoga mat/dvd class after work/day.”

~ “I’m feeling good about this week so far so I’m motivated to keep on track with my food intake. I may even log today!”

But – as the day goes on and all the stress / pressures pile on, visions of pizza, hamburgers, and a beautiful cupcake meander through your mind. Maybe going home to watch a DVR‘d show or out for a drink with the “____”. You’re tired from your busy day so don’t you deserve some “you time”?


So what’s your definition of your favorite “you time”? Think about it, then think about the fact that even a half hour of exercise will relieve your stress, give you back some of the energy you expended during the day, combat those “carb cravings”, and kick in the “feel good” hormones. Now, doesn’t that sound better than hitting the couch, the martini, or the take-out menu drawer?


  1. Because it makes you feel confident
  2. Because it helps you get stronger
  3. Because exercise helps combat depression
  4. Because you’ll feel proud of yourself
  5. Because you have goals you want to reach
  6. Because you’ll feel bad if you don’t
  7. Because you want to move forward, not backward
  8. Because it burns more calories than not working out
  9. Because it improves your heart health
  10. Because you want a great butt
  11. Because it prevents diabetes
  12. Because you want to be a good example to your kids
  13. Because you want to feel good in your clothes
  14. Because it reduces your risk of cancer
  15. Because your body was made to move
  16. Because you want to be an athlete
  17. Because you want to look better
  18. Because it lifts your mood
  19. Because you want to stand taller
  20. Because it reduces back pain
  21. Because it feels good
  22. Because it makes you feel accomplished
  23. Because you spend most of your day on your butt
  24. Because swimsuit season is always coming
  25. Because strong is the new skinny
  26. Because dieting only works so much
  27. Because it strengthens your bones, too
  28. Because it helps you lose weight
  29. Because it allows you to eat more food
  30. Because it’s the best way to spend “me” time
  31. Because it helps you de-stress
  32. Because it’s cheaper than therapy
  33. Because you want a strong core
  34. Because you want to take care for yourself
  35. Because you take pride in your body
  36. Because it strengthens your legs
  37. Because it helps your clothes fit better
  38. Because you want to push yourself
  39. Because you are capable of more than you ever imagined
  40. Because moving your body feels good
  41. Because it keeps your mind sharp
  42. Because it helps you beat belly bloat
  43. Because it helps you sleep better at night
  44. Because it gives you energy
  45. Because you want to stay healthy as you age
  46. Because you want to look younger
  47. Because you want toned arms
  48. Because it improves your balance
  49. Because it burns off last night’s dessert
  50. Because it boosts your immune system
  51. Because sweat is sexy
  52. Because you want to live longer
  53. Because you want to get better at your game
  54. Because you want to catch someone’s eye
  55. Because exercisers earn more money
  56. Because you’re more likely to eat better when you exercise
  57. Because you want to shave time off your running pace
  58. Because you want to breathe easier
  59. Because you want to see the scale drop
  60. Because exercise improves your sex life
  61. Because you are worth it
  62. Because being fit makes everything in life better
  63. Because you promised yourself that you would
  64. Because you deserve a better life
  65. Because it’ll help you drink more water
  66. Because you want to do real push-ups
  67. Because it reduces your health care costs
  68. Because you’ll miss fewer days of work
  69. Because you want to create a new future for yourself
  70. Because it’ll help you like what you see in the mirror
  71. Because it’ll makes clothing shopping more fun
  72. Because you want to look and feel incredible
  73. Because exercising can be fun
  74. Because it’ll give your skin a glow
  75. Because it’s a good way to spend time with your friends
  76. Because it’ll help you prevent the middle-age spread
  77. Because it reduces your blood pressure
  78. Because you don’t want to let yourself go
  79. Because you don’t want to squeeze into an airplane or rollercoaster seat
  80. Because it strengthens your spirit
  81. Because it’s a cheap way to entertain yourself
  82. Because you’ll be able to reward yourself
  83. Because you need a reason to wear those new workout clothes
  84. Because you’re tired of being tired
  85. Because not working out is not going to get you very far
  86. Because it’s a great way to spend time outside
  87. Because you made a commitment to yourself
  88. Because you’re tired of starting over
  89. Because there will always be another wedding, vacation or reunion
  90. Because you’re not a quitter
  91. Because it improves your cholesterol
  92. Because it boosts your metabolism
  93. Because it prevents age-related muscle loss
  94. Because if you can do this, you can do anything
  95. Because a fit body is a healthy body
  96. Because it beats sitting on the couch
  97. Because  everyone has at least 10 minutes to spare
  98. Because you want to be stronger than your excuses
  99. Because not working out isn’t working out for you
  100. Because the only workout you ever regret is the one you skip

Even if only 1 of these, say #100, speaks to you, remove your tush from the seat of your car of the cushion of your couch and GET MOVING!


You might want to copy this list, print it out, and put it in a prominent place like your bathroom mirror or fridge to look at when you need an extra boost.