I’ve never really been a small person. I’m not massively tall, but I’ve got an athletic build and wide shoulders and hips – just structurally – plus boobs and a butt that are nicely proportionate to the rest of me.
And I was pretty OK with that. Thanks to a lot of un-brainwashing from the HAES movement, I was pretty comfortable with looking the way I looked, and happy with what I was feeding my body and how I was active.
Then, about a year ago, my brain took a long walk off a short pier, and I’ve been on various forms of psychiatric medication ever since.
In the 8 months that I was on an SSRI, I gained 20 lbs. In the 5 weeks I was on an anti-epileptic medication, I gained 5 more. Now I’m on an atypical anti-psychotic, and ravenously hungry all the time, constantly preparing myself to step on the scale and see the number break another 10’s digit record.* I’m sure the anti-inflammatories I’m on constantly don’t help much either.
On some level, I feel like this shouldn’t bother me. I mean – yeah, I’m ravenous all the time on this new medication, but I’m also a) not manic b) not suicidal and c) not having panic attacks. On the other hand, putting on 25 lbs isn’t exactly inexpensive and doesn’t exactly help a ton with my self image. I’ve had to buy all new clothes and new bras (my ta-tas, while generous before, are always in the way now) because NOTHING fits anymore. Shirts won’t button, pants won’t budge past my knees.
Even little things are different, like realizing that I take up more space when trying to squeeze into tight corners, or doing yoga and finding my flexibility restricted by my new friend The Chub.
And the world cries out “Eat less, exercise more!” as though it were some kind of magical prescription to make everything better. Well, sometimes it doesn’t. I could go on for pages about what I eat (and don’t eat), what I do for exercise, the amount of activity I get at my job, and really it wouldn’t do any good to the Calories in, Calories out people. Maybe some bodies work just fine as a heat engine, but I’m eating healthier and exercising more than I ever have before, but I went on all these stupid medications and I’m still gaining weight.
Also, it’s really not at all fun to be painfully, ravenously, eat a whole bag of carrots hungry all the time and yet know that you’re already fatter than you used to be.
I’m already eating low-carb, thanks to being gluten free, so I’ve tried to step that up a little, but it means never leaving the house without a string cheese or some almonds or pecans or dried fruit. I refuse to give up carbs entirely (phase 1 of South Beach, essentially) because I can’t take the mental changes that requires – the last time I tried Phase 1, I was a raving, plate-throwing bitch for three weeks. I don’t need any help being crazy these days.
Which kicks off the constant wondering why I’m bothering. Every time I’ve tried to lose weight, I’ve lost it, and then while still on the same diet, still enjoying the benefits of the “lifestyle change” I’ve put the weight all back on, plus 5-10 lbs (if I lost any weight at all. I can put on weight on a calorie restriction diet in ways that just boggle my mind). Every time, even if it was just a quick “lose 10 lbs before someone’s wedding” thing.
So is trying to stay on top of this now only going to mean buying all new clothes again in another 6 months?
Or is ignoring it and just listening to what I know my body needs going to result in the same thing anyway, thanks to metabolic changes from these medications?
*Oh and by the way, the medication I’m on now can cause hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. Yay.