weight gain

Medications and Weight

I’m feeling pretty down about my weight right now. I wanted to check in and share my experiences lately.

I was doing pretty good. I was to the point where I had 9 pounds to lose to get back to pre-Logan weight. I was feeling better about myself, even though it’s taken forever to even get to that point.

I’ve shared in the past about my experiences with depression and taking antidepressants and the unfortunately side effect: weight gain. Well I’m back to that spot again.

A few years ago I realized that my issues are more with anxiety than depression. Yes, depression was a big issue for me in my teens and twenties but in my 30’s it’s been anxiety. Like on a scale of 1-10, I’ve been holding steady at like a 7 for anxiety! I definitely had postpartum anxiety.

After I had Logan I was sleep deprived and anxious and because of my history I was super vigilant about looking for signs of postpartum depression…so much so that I totally missed the fact that I was suffering from PPA. Mostly because it wasn’t even on my radar. People talk so much about PPD but rarely PPA. I didn’t even know it was a thing until I started to feel like I was going insane.

I was so anxious all the time. The biggest thing for me was anxiety about SIDS. I had no reason to be anxious about it but I became obsessed. To the point where I wasn’t sleeping at all in those early months. It was not a healthy situation. I talked to my therapist and she eventually said it was time to go back on my medication. So when I stopped breastfeeding at 10 months PP, I went back on my Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin has been my go-to medication for 20+ years. It’s the one that has worked best for me and THANKFULLY NO WEIGHT GAIN. It’s basically the only one out there that honestly does not cause weight gain.

Well, good news: no weight gain for me. Bad news: the medication that has always worked in the past suddenly didn’t work — instead, it super aggravated my anxiety. I was crushed. I went off the medication per my doctor and he suggested we try Prozac.

I was reluctant to try it because I couldn’t really find a lot of information about Prozac and weight gain. My doctor said it was usually “minimal.” But I decided to try because my anxiety was so bad. It was exhausting. I started the Prozac last November and once it started working, it was like a giant weight was lifted. Suddenly my anxiety was gone. I was able to think more clearly and manage the anxiety that came up. It was really eye-opening how bad my anxiety had been.

Fast forward about 4 or 5 months and my doctor decided it was time to increase the dosage a bit.

10 pounds. That’s how much I’ve gained since taking the Prozac. It was slow at first and then the dosage increase bumped it up pretty fast. I talked to my doctor and he said that 10 pounds sounds about right for that. He still called that “minimal.” I know 10 pounds is minimal to most but it’s A LOT to me. Especially in a short time.

I’m unhappy about this, I’m frustrated. Especially considering I’d been doing so well. And then on the flipside, I keep thinking “is losing weight worth the crippling anxiety?” Or is it better to just be like this and have my anxiety under control?

I talked to my doctor and he had a few suggestions:

  1. reduce the prozac back to the lower dose and see if that helps
  2. try Cymbalta instead (the side effects seem iffy to me)
  3. try Buspar (it’s an older medication and apparently doesn’t cause weight gain–but…..who knows)

I’m honestly not sure what the right decision is. It’s clear I need something to help manage the symptoms. But…at what cost?

So that’s the update right now. I still haven’t decided.

Obstacles and Motivation

I got an email from a reader who had some questions for me. I thought I’d try and address them here.

The vision that motivated me was twofold. First, I was tired of being in pain. I was having a lot of health issues (high blood pressure, pre-diabetic). My back and knees and feet hurt all the time from the extra 100 pounds. Second, I was tired of not being okay in my body. There was definitely an emotional aspect to wanting to lose weight–wanting to be skinny, wanting to be pretty, wanting a life partner some day, wanting to be able to wear cute clothes that actually fit properly. There is definitely a motivating factor in vanity, but I would say that the health issues were the #1 reason I wanted to lose weight.

The biggest obstacle? Good question. I would say there were several. The first obstacle was that the idea of losing 100 pounds was a very overwhelming number. It seemed unattainable. In order to overcome that very scary, very unrealistic goal, I decided I would start small. I was going to be a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding in one year and I wanted to lose 50 pounds by then. I worked really hard and reached that goal and then it didn’t seem so hard to lose another 50 pounds.

Another obstacle would probably be the weight loss plateaus. Those were really hard. I’d be losing weight, feeling better, getting stronger, buying clothes in smaller sizes…and then all of a sudden it would stop. I didn’t know a lot about nutrition, really, and I definitely went through phases of overexercising thinking I could just work off the weight. I see now that that was pretty disordered–like working out for 3 hours because you ate some pizza. That’s not healthy. It’s better to just recognize your mistake and do better the next day…not punish yourself!

I don’t know that I ever “failed.” Failure implies that I gave up or that I stopped trying. I was so determined and so focused on my goals that failure was not an option. I was not going to quit. Even when I hit plateaus, when my weight fluctuated up and down, I kept my eyes on the road and just kept doing what I was doing. And it worked in the end.

These days, I am definitely finding it harder to not look at my lack of weight loss post-baby as a failure. I have been very hard on myself about how difficult it has been to lose even 10 pounds. It can be discouraging and frustrating and depressing. But I am still trying. I never gave up before, and I don’t plan on quitting now.

Whenever I didn’t hit a goal before, I looked at what I was doing and tried to figure out things to I could change. I often got into ruts and switching up my diet helped. Cutting out trigger foods helped (pizza and ice cream). Changing my workouts was definitely good! I started running and fell in love with it and it was very motivating for me in terms of weight loss and just EATING BETTER. I had to re-evaluate everything I was doing to be a better runner.

Training for races helped. It helped keep me focused. It gave me a goal to work towards. It helped me stay motivated to work out. I had something to train for. Something to look forward to. That has been the #1 thing keeping me going–HAVING A GOAL (losing 50 pounds before the wedding, training for a race, etc). I think it’s better to have focused, specific goals instead of vague ideas.

So there ya go, hopefully that answered the questions!