what a long year it’s been

So last fall I was doing physical therapy (PT) as a sort of “pre-hab” to see if I could avoid having arthroscopic surgery on the labral tear on my hip.  I also started my MS program.  I still managed to go to weight watchers but didn’t achieve my goals.  I ended up deciding to go off Zoloft in September 2014 to see if that would help with my weight loss.  Took one class two nights a week.  I did manage to lose a a few pounds, even after having my surgery in February.

My spring semester was really busy: classes four nights a week, plus working full time, doing PT and spending time with my husband and two girls.  I managed not to binge too much.  But then my therapist started mentioning that I seemed depressed and anxious and recommended going back on meds.  I was really scared to because I feared I would gain weight.  I tried Brintellix (vortioxetine) , which isn’t supposed to affect your weight, but I felt worse.  Really stressed out with all the kids’ whining.  Then school ended and I had to go home every day instead of getting to go to class and stimulating my mind.  I signed up for some free online classes to try to get ahead.  I also applied for a few new jobs and did one round of interviews before pulling out because it’s not a good fit.  I ended up officially quitting weight watchers because I only went a few times in the Spring semester, and I feel so stressed about money.  Thinking of seeing a financial counselor.

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I ended up stopping Brintellix and trying Viibryd (vilazodone).  I’ve been on it a month and now I’m at my highest non-pregnant weight since 2011: 158!  I’m thinking of joining a Binge Eating or Eating Disorders support group to try to improve my body image.  But then part of me just wants to lose weight so I feel better about myself.  I constantly feel judged.  By my co-workers, friends, strangers, in-laws.  What can’t I like me the way I am?  Should I just go back to Weight Watchers?  I’m crying all the time, and officially you’re not supposed to do Weight Watchers if you have an eating disorder.

But I really want to lose weight before my 20th reunion in 2016.  I also hate being so fat and ugly in all our family pics with the kids.

I’m trying hard to not feel like this year has been wasted, but that’s kind of what I feel like…

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motherhood

My youngest daughter is about to turn one on Friday.  It’s been tough for me to adjust to being a working mom of two.  I find that I spent so much time this past year just trying to survive and get enough sleep to function the next day that I haven’t had much time to focus on anything just for me. I’m going to try to have more balance this coming year; if I’m happy and feel like I get to do some things that I enjoy, I hope that will rub off on the time that I do spend with my family.

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I took my first non-baby, non-family, non-prenatal, regular adult-only yoga class on Saturday morning, and I loved it! I used muscles I haven’t used in probably two years.  I challenged myself, but didn’t go too crazy.  I’ve been sore for the past two days–even my armpits are sore!  As I pump less and less at work I’m going to try to take a class or two on my lunch break, too.  Maybe Pilates, too.  I’m really looking forward to feeling strong and fit again!  And I just found out my company might start Weigh Watchers at work, which would be convenient and save me money that I could spend on yoga and Pilates classes. 🙂  I do like getting lots of steps on my FitBit walking all the way down to my WW meeting, though…

So, I didn’t reach my goal of losing 5% of my weight by her 1st birthday.  In fact, I’ve almost crept back up (yo-yo-ing) to my return-to-work weight.  On Thursday when I weighed in and saw that I gained back the 1.4 that I’d lost the previous week I was really sad.  I just kept thinking how disappointed I am in myself.  I keep repeating the same negative self-talk in my head: “You were only 7 pounds away from your goal after giving birth, and now you’re 17 pounds away!  What kind of idiot eats so much after having a baby?”  But then Friday I thought, “Enough!” What’s done is done.  I want to reach my goal, and it might take a little more time, but I was busy nurturing my children, returning to work, getting through the baby period, and applying to graduate school, and now I can spend more time on nurturing myself.  I need to stop comparing myself to my sister-in-law and other skinny people at work and on the street.  I am me.  No one else.  I successfully lost weight after my first daughter.  Really it was the most successful I’ve ever been at achieving a healthy weight since college.  I can do it again if I put my mind to it.  There, I said it.  I can do it!

work and school

I found out last week that I got into a graduate program that I applied to.  I’m really happy, but nervous about balancing it with work, my family, and my weight loss and health goals.  I plan on using Citibike to get from work to school (before it starts snowing), so at least I’ll get some exercise in. We’re working on sleep with my youngest, so hopefully come September, I’ll actually have some time in the evenings to study.  And I have my commute time to read.

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depression, hormones, and medications affecting weight

Sometimes I wonder how much my hormones and medications I take affect my weight.  I feel so stressed all the time that I wonder if my cortisol levels are high.  I remember my mom pushing me to get my thyroid tested to see if that was leading to my weight gain in college and then graduate school.  I think my results showed that things weren’t quite average, but not so far out of the normal range.  And then I’ve been on SSRIs and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRI, NERIs) for almost all of my adult life, and many of them have side effects of weight gain.  Also while breastfeeding I’ve also taken domperidone (DPD) to help with my milk supply, and weight gain is also a side effect.

depression ozanWhen I had success on Weight Watchers in 2011-2012 and hit my lifetime goal I had been off Zoloft for a few months.  All the other times I was unsuccessful at WW and Jenny Craig I was on anti-depressants.  I’m trying to taper off of Zoloft again to see if that helps, but now I’m feeling more depressed again.  My psychiatrist mentioned a few other anti-depressants with no weight gain side effects, but they aren’t compatible with breastfeeding.  I just tapered slowly off of DPD, but I’m still having trouble resisting my urge to binge.  I feel kind of down and wish that I had more time for myself to exercise and prepare healthy foods.  My youngest daughter is almost one, so I plan on gradually weaning soon.  Now that I’m not breastfeeding her and pumping as much I want to start taking yoga classes again.  I think if we can all get some more sleep in our home that will help too.  I wish I had more success at managing my weight when I was single and childless so that I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed now.

Has anyone else noticed a connection between their depression/medications/hormones and weight? What can we do to still have success at losing weight even with depression?  Sometimes I feel like there are so many things stacked against me, how can I still succeed?  I feel like I can’t talk about all of these things at my WW meetings, so I need to get some advice elsewhere…

Picture via Ozan

meal planning

Had a rough beginning to the week–our 13-year-old dog died.  But she was a great dog and lived a good life.

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After a month of plateaus or slight gains I was actually down 1.4 at my meeting this week! Yay! I’ve been trying to do better at prepping vegetables for dinner the night before. My brother helps out by cooking, and I think he appreciates having the veggies prepped and labeled. Since we belong to a CSA, we get lots of veggies each week and my husband and brother aren’t always sure what they are.

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In 2012 we tried using the Fresh 20. The meal plans help you save money and plan meals using mostly fresh ingredients. I liked it but found it didn’t really work out when we get our CSA veggies or when I had a newborn at home.

I’m still struggling with finding the time to prep and cook while working and mothering two kids under 5 (my daughter turns 4 on Sunday!).

Any advice?

Reasons I want to lose weight

I have to constantly remind myself why I want to lose weight, because I completely forget when I’m in a pre-binge state.

  1. Feel good about myself
  2. Be healthy
  3. Be a positive role model for my daughters
  4. Be proud of the way I look
  5. Fit into smaller clothes
  6. Have more energy
  7. Not have my thighs rub together so much when I wear skirts or dresses! I was reminded of this yesterday…ouch.
  8. Feel in control
  9. Enjoy food without going overboard
  10. Not be ashamed of myself
  11. Like the way I look in pictures, especially with my family

I’ve noticed that some of these reasons sound more healthy and some sound a bit narcissistic, but I think I’ll feel a whole lot better about myself if I do get back to a healthy weight.

At my Weight Watchers meetings a few weeks ago we talked about having an “anchor”.  Something you could hold, think about, say, or remember to remind you of what you are striving for.  I still haven’t been able to choose one…what’s your anchor?

Hi and a bit about my journey so far…

I’m starting this blog to help me stay motivated to live healthfully and mindfully.  I’m trying to get back to a healthy weight after gaining back the weight that I lost between having my two children.  I work outside the home, and so life is pretty hectic.  I welcome any tips or comments to help me stay motivated and not mindlessly eat to meet some need other than hunger or appreciation of food.

I’ve dealt with emotional eating since I was 10 years old.  Here is my weight history: In high school I think I weighed around 120-125 pounds.  I’m 5’2″, so that was toward the heavier side for someone in their teens.  I was a dancer and so I was always self-conscious and wished that I could lose weight, but I loved to snack.  There were times that I limited my food intake too much.  I remember days in high school when I would just have a small single-serve bag of pretzels for lunch and that was it.

In college I gained around 10 pounds and continued to be unhappy with my weight.  I remember a girl in my dorm asking me if I always ate so much cereal.  I still danced, so was getting pretty regular exercise.

In graduate school I gained 10-20 pounds, and would yo-yo up and down 10 pounds or so.  I became really unhappy with my weight and body, but I tended to block it out most of the time.  I was wearing a size 14 but I ignored it and tried to fit into my 10s and 12s.  I tried Weight Watchers for the first time in 2003, but just cried through the meetings.  I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t lose weight on my own.  After trying for 6 months or so with no weight loss, I stopped.  I started dating my future husband, and started to take yoga instead of dancing.

In 2006 my husband proposed (I said yes!).  A few months later my mom committed suicide.  I was devastated for much of the year.  I also didn’t want to pick a date for our wedding because I wanted to be thin.  I tried to lose weight unsuccessfully on my own.  I was attending a gym regularly and eating mostly healthy foods, but just way too much of them.  And I would binge on healthy food and junk food alike.  I didn’t keep trigger foods in the apartment, but I would buy them on the street and hide that I was eating them from my friends and family.

In 2007 we finally picked a wedding date for 2008.  I tried to lose some weight, and even joined a Weight Watchers at work program.  I think I lost around 10 pounds, putting me at around 155 for our wedding in 2008.  Then in 2009 I joined Jenny Craig, and I was able to lose 10 more pounds, after also weaning off of anti-depressants that I had been on since the late 90s.

I got pregnant in late 2009 and had horrible panic attacks and nausea and went back on medication.  I couldn’t work for a month and lost 12 pounds.  My oldest daughter was born in 2010.  Throughout the pregnancy I ate a lot, but I lost a lot of the water and pregnancy weight (I was so swollen!) and was back to 155 when I went back to work, but then I went back up to 158 or so.  In 2011 I had enough.  I tapered off meds and went back to Weight Watchers.  For the first time, I had success with the program and I lost 23 pounds in less than a year!  I was at 135 (a healthy weight) for the first time in over 10 years! I became a Lifetime member in the fall of 2012 and then got pregnant with my youngest daughter.

Instead of tracking and eating mindfully during my pregnancy, I ate a lot.  This time I only gained 28 pounds or so (as opposed to the 40 with my first), and a few weeks after I gave birth I was back down to 142–only 7 pounds away from my goal!  But then during my maternity leave and when I went backed to work, I binged like crazy and gained 10 pounds in a little over a month.  I went back to weight watchers when my youngest was around 5 months old, and I’ve been struggling with intense cravings and lots of emotional eating.  I had panic attacks again and wasn’t able to eat in the morning.  I lost some weight, but then gained it back when I was able to eat again and back on anti-depressants.

That brings us to the present.  I’m around 152 now.  It’s 2014 and I want to feel healthy and mindful again. And feel comfortable in my clothes, too!  I want to set a good example for my two young daughters.  I don’t want to hide food and binge anymore.

Anyone out there with a similar experience? Struggling with life balance, emotional issues, and healthy eating? I hope to share my experiences and would love to hear from anyone else struggling or who has had some success.

Updated to remove typos.