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.

Tagged on:                 

8 thoughts on “Expanding

  • October 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

    My opinion (take it or leave it) is that it sounds like your medication is to blame for the current weight gain.

    If that’s true, then you could starve yourself while running a treadmill and still gain weight.

    Not that, “lol, not your fault, here, have a bag of cheetos” is the answer, but it sounds like you’re a smart, self-aware person whose going through a major shitstorm in your life. If there’s even a chance the storm will subside in time, I’d vote for worrying about it THEN instead of now.

    Now, you’ve got the inside of your head to worry about. Later, you can worry about how well your pants fit.

    If, however, the storm and subsequent medications aren’t likely to subside, I can at least offer a sounding board and share a few of the diets I’ve read about (such as the Hormone Diet) which may or may not be full of crap, but would at least give you some measure of feeling like you’ve got control (without invalidating the GF OR requesting that you squish every carb in sight)

    *hugs* Wish I could be more help,

    • October 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      Tami » Unfortunately right now I don’t know if this is a long term thing or not. The doctors don’t know either, but there is a (halfway decent) chance that in the future I’ll have the coping skills and stability to deal with all of this shit without meds. I don’t know that for sure, but that is still a possibility. (There’s also a possibility that I won’t be able to stay on this particular medication long term, and will get to go through Pharmacy Roulette again, which can do any number of things to my weight and health, because bipolar/PTSD/anxiety are weird and the medications for them are weirder.) So I think I will take your opinion, and your advice, and punt this one downstream as much as I can.

      SSH tells me the same thing – concentrate on eating healthy food, being active, and getting better. And if all else fails, I can just stop wearing pants.

  • October 26, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Loving your body is tough as SHIT these days. When I was on antidepressants several years ago (Xanax for 2 years til that stopped working then Lexapro for 1.5 til that stopped working, then I found behavioral therapy without drugs helped me) I gained… well about size 16-18 to size 22 in that time. I was also involved in a very stressful living situation that didn’t help at ALL. I’m an 18/20 now and I think this is where I will stay for probably most of my adult life. No matter what I do or how I eat, I just stay this same size. This seems to be the size my body wants to be.

    Have you read anything by Lesley Kinzel? I’d start here: http://www.xojane.com/healthy/how-to-love-your-body-stop-weighing-yourself then move to her blog: http://blog.twowholecakes.com/ which is a bit more weighty (har har). I’ve been involved in the Fat/Size Acceptance movement for a few years and it’s done the best thing for my self confidence. Anyway, if it’s something you’re interested in talking about I am ALWAYS down for a discussion about teh fats.

    • October 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Awlbiste » I’ve read her blog for awhile, but hadn’t seen the “throw away the scale” post, which I like. Part of me is very scared to let go of that control method, but at the same time, there’s not a lot I can do to lose weight right now. I already purged my closet of things that didn’t fit, in an attempt to stop adding to my stress and shame levels. Right now I’m somewhere in the 12-14 range, but it’s so weird to go shopping that I’m not always sure. So far my list of “attempted” medications includes Celexa, Lexapro, Xanax, Saphris, Lamictal, and now Invega (which is the one that appears to be actually working). Plus a side helping of Lunesta for sleeping when the mania hits. None of those are really nice.

  • October 26, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I usually had the same problems on any number of anti-depressants (mood stabilizers you name it). My most recent psych suggested I try the sugar-busters diet to help stabilize my mood during the day, and I must say, that it’s helped slim me down a bit too! Whether or not it’d actually be helpful for you and the way your regular diet is currently, it might not help at all, but it might be worth a look.

  • October 26, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Oops, I just noticed in my comment I said Xanax when I meant Zoloft. I’ve taken Xanax on an as-needed basis (ie when I had/have a panic attack). ANYWAY. Pharmacy Roulette sucks a ton, I feel for you. I also wanted to add that I think it’s super awesome you’re able and willing to talk about struggles. It shows your strength!

    Re: scale- believe that I know letting go can be insanely hard. As someone with GAD sometimes that control is the only thing in the world you think you have. Maybe ask SSH to hide it somewhere for a predetermined length of time (a couple weeks? a month?) and see how you feel after that. /hugs for being awesome.

  • October 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I love you. You are smart, and witty, and creative, and hilarious, and earnest, and talented, and loyal, and resilient, and strong, and generous, and kind. My life has been enriched because of our friendship, and I hate that you are in pain like this. 🙁 *internet hug*

  • November 2, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Yeah, this is where I am too. A while ago, it became very clear that I could not exist without medication. The problem being that I’ve gained almost fifty pounds on it. I eat like a bird, and am GF (different reasons), and still don’t lose it. I am upset about it, but really, what can you do? Right now, I’d just say cope as best as you can and if you *can* in the future live without medication, I’d say do so. So I feel you here, and I really don’t have much advice except that I’m around IM if you wanna rant/gripe/talk.

Comments are closed.