Weight Loss Support

Diet Culture

I’ve been thinking a lot about diets, weight loss, body image, body acceptance and diet culture lately.

I have to admit, I have not been very happy in my skin for a long time now. Pregnancy and post-partum bodies can do a number on your mental health. Struggling to lose the weight after I lost so much weight before, getting close to pre-pregnancy weight and then having that reverse due to medications was a mindfuck.

I tried keto, like many readers know. I lost 10+ pounds, was feeling really good, feeling motivated, then it stopped working. And the next year and a half of keto, low-carb, and some kind of diet cycle like that made me gain and lose the same 10 pounds with no real success.

What did it do? Instead, it made me feel sad, depressed, deprived, frustrated. I felt like I was at CONSTANT WAR with my body, with my weight, with FOOD. Food was the ENEMY.

I didn’t like how I was mentally feeling. Looking at healthy foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, grapes, watermelon and thinking “I CAN’T EAT THAT — it’s BAD FOOD”. Bad food?! What? Since when is fruit and vegetables bad? It really is a hard shift in the brain.

While I do still think high numbers of carbs are not healthy and not what MY body likes…that does not mean I need to be severely restricting my carb intake to 20 carbs a day. That’s extreme. And is it healthy? I just don’t know. I do know that your body needs some carbs for your brain–for serotonin levels. Your body needs carbs for fuel and energy. Carbs feed your kidneys, brain, muscles, and central nervous system. Does that mean eat a donut? Not really. But maybe IT’S OK TO EAT A SWEET POTATO.

What is Diet Culture?

I unfollowed a lot of the “old” bloggers who are perpetuating this lifestyle. You know the ones, I don’t need to say. But they encourage severe restriction, macro counting, cleanses, living on smoothies instead of eating real food.

I unfollowed a bunch of Keto Instagrams I’ve followed for a long time now. They were becoming redundant and I was honestly sick of the constant before and after photos: the morbidly obese picture next to the gauntly skinny picture with a “I lost 200 pounds in a year on keto!” It was not a healthy space for me.

I felt like I was punishing my body, not seeing results, and living in a cycle of unhealthy behavior. Was it an eating disorder? I don’t know. But it wasn’t good. I decided to change it. No more keto. No more “Bad Foods.” I eat carbs in moderation. I eat everything in moderation. Am I still counting calories? Yes. (Some anti-diet culture stuff says not to do that.) Am I still exercising 5 days a week? Yes. It’s not as punishment for eating “bad” foods but because I feel better when I exercise in some way.

I’ve contributed to diet culture. With this blog. With my story. I don’t necessary think that’s bad, but I did contribute. My story was inspiring to a lot of people and I’m glad. I was not healthy at 255 pounds. But that does not mean I need to KEEP DIETING and keep getting skinnier…the whole “I’ll stop when I get to XXX weight” is not a good cycle to be in. Because, XXX weight, is never good enough.

How to Change Diet Culture

Limit Your Social Media Exposure: Do you follow a lot of diet accounts? Whether it’s keto, weight watchers, intermittent fasting, etc. If the entire focus is on weight loss, being SMALLER, severely restricting calories….is it mentally healthy for you? How do you feel seeing those images all the time? Are they triggering? Unfollow.

Think About What Really Matters. Is it sharing that ice cream cone on a hot summer day with your kids? Creating happy memories and traditions? Or do you deny yourself the ice cream because it’s “Bad” and feel miserable, or deny your kids the experience because you are triggered by sugar, or trying to keep your kids from having sugar? (Sure, sugar is not great, but once in awhile, a treat is ok! And I am very serious when I say I do not want to raise my child to have food issues/body image issues like I had my whole life.)

Don’t Try Fad Diets. I still advocate eating in moderation and exercising and weight loss is part of that. But maybe the fad diets, the severity, the demonizing of food is not.

Hide Your Scale. Some websites recommend throwing it out. I am not throwing out my scale. But I am going to limit the usage to once a month. A check in. But I am not going to obsessively weigh myself.

Follow Body Positive People/Social Media. I found a bunch the last few months that have really helped me mentally.

Freeing

Mentally, I feel better. Right now I am 20 pounds over the weight I want to be. I am a size 12, instead of the 10 I was for a decade (pre pregnancy of course). I catch my reflection in a window or mirror and I still feel deflated and wish I was 20 pounds lighter. But, overall I am coming to peace with all of it.

We have family pizza night now, once or twice a month. We get pizza from a local restaurant that has been hit hard by the pandemic and we want to support them. And it’s fun to have a family pizza night. Logan loves it! We are going to get sushi this weekend and see if Logan will try it. πŸ˜‰

I made zucchini bread last week. I used 1/2 the sugar the recipe called for because I still feel like sugar is not a good thing…but the bread turned out great and it was a nice, healthy dessert. And I didn’t feel guilty eating it.

So that is where I am at these days.

Pandemic 10

How’s everyone doing?

Pandemic update: Oregon has been slowly opening. My county is in Phase 1. The county I work in, recently applied for phase 1 but we’ve been seeing upticks in coronavirus cases as things open up, as predicted. Less and less people are wearing masks. I still wear my mask when I go to stores and stuff. {shrug}

I am still working from home. We are not sure yet how it will look returning to work, or when it will happen. As I said, we aren’t in Phase 1 yet for work. My employer is talking about plans: staggered schedules, still working from home, doing shifts, 25-50% of staff in the office only, etc etc. Time will tell.

As for me, this year has been hard. Even pre-pandemic. There was some life drama (that I don’t really want to get into here) right after we got back from Hawaii. Which SUCKED and was super stressful. It was about a month and a half of major life stress. It’s been resolved but it screwed up a lot of our life plans going forward. Then covid-19. Then Michael lost his job. Then then then…it feels like it’s been one thing after another.

Last fall I tried to go off my medication to lose some weight. Prozac works well for me, but it’s very much dose dependent. I gained about 15 or so pounds on it at 20mg. It was really frustrating. I went back down to 10mg and tried and struggled and slowly lost some weight. But I was still struggling. Going off the meds turned out to be a bad idea. I went back. My doctor suggested we try 15mg. It worked well for me mentally. In the middle of the pandemic, Michael asked me why I wasn’t freaking out. I said “I’m medicated.” And it was the truth. It was really helping my anxiety a lot. BUT…you guessed it. The weight started ticking up.

So my doctor suggested a try a new drug. He suggested two, the one I ended up trying was Viibryd. I’d never heard of it before. I gave it a try and immediately started having negative side effects. First was the insomnia. I was taking I think 10mg to start. It was like I had shots of espresso. I was amped up during the day–which was NICE because I wasn’t feeling fatigued. But at night? I couldn’t physically close my eyes. I laid in bed like I did shots of coffee right before I laid down. It was brutal. I was also having some mania/hyper focus.

So we cut the dose to 5mg for a few days and I felt better and then went back up to 10mg and the insomnia issues went away. Good, right? Yes. But…then I started having insane hunger. My doctor told me that weight gain was not a side effect of Viibryd. So why was I suddenly so famished?! And it was CARBS and SUGAR. That’s all I wanted. And I felt like the thing in my brain that says YOU ARE FULL was broken.

I started doing googling and found some chat groups talking about it and a lot of people seemed to have a similar side effect: hunger, weight gain. Huh. Ok. I wonder why the claim is no weight gain but so many people are having hunger issues?

So since the beginning of February (I did not gain any weight in Hawaii! MIRACULOUS!) I’ve gained about 10 pounds.

I can’t necessarily blame that all on pandemic. Some was stress eating and drinking at the beginning of the pandemic. But that was just 2 weeks and I then I pulled my shit together. Some of it is not going to the gym. BUT I am still working out 5 days a week the best I can. It’s not the same workout I can do at the gym, but I am doing my best.

It sucks when medication causes your body to just go haywire.

What am I doing?

Doing Low Carb/Keto (not strict keto, but low carb for sure)

Stopped Drinking completely (it’s something I can control calorie wise)

Trying to drink more water (not very good at this yet)

Drinking tea on a regular basis (every night I have some chamomile tea, which is nice)

Working out 5 days a week (it’s a lot of cardio right now, but doing the best I can)

Switched my medication

Not having sweets in the house (Other than atkins brand)

I’ve lost about 3 or 4 pounds in two weeks so far. The new medication I’m trying is Lamictal. A friend took it for years and liked it a lot and said it was “weight neutral” so that is promising. We will see.

My new favorite drink: fake mojito! The previous owner of our house planted mint in the garden and it’s gone nuts (in case you didn’t know, mint is better in a pot or it will take over!). So I am trying to use it up! I do 1 packet of stevia, fresh lime juice, sparkling lime water, mint and ice.

I will do another post in a week or two about the weight and stuff but I wanted to give a quick update on all of this stuff to start out.