This is how I’ve felt:
But after four years, I might have some answers.
If you’ve been reading for awhile now, you know my history. If not, the CliffsNotes: Lost 110 pounds in my mid-to late-20’s. Kept the weight off for 10+ years. Got pregnant, gained around 30 pounds. Then for 4 years, struggled endlessly to lose the “baby weight.”
Nothing worked. I did Keto and lost 10-15 pounds but it was not sustainable, not healthy for ME, caused some disordered eating thoughts, and honestly, the weight loss stalled. Then I proceeded to gain and lose the same 10 pounds. I tried a lot of different things in that 4 years. I tried what I did “last time” and that didn’t work. I reduced my calories even further (not healthy) and it didn’t work.
I kept talking to my doctors, said I didn’t feel well, I had a lot of things that were just “off” since having a baby. They tested my thyroid too many times to count. Results were always “normal,” even though a ton of my symptoms (not just weight gain) pointed to thyroid conditions.
I recently got referred to another doctor. She is an internal medicine doctor, but has a specialty in weight/diet etc (not a nutritionist/RD). She said that I might be experiencing “insulin resistance” due to the antidepressant/antianxiety medications I take.
She said it’s very common for SSRIs and various mental health medications to cause this. I had NO idea! All those years that I took various meds and saw a ton of weight gain, all those years when I tried to lose weight on medication and it never worked until I stopped medications…and now I might have an answer?? I almost started crying because it felt like a relief. For years of struggling, feeling like no one was listening to me/dismissing my concerns, I felt heard. I had a possible answer.
I tried to find some good articles to link to about this topic, but there isn’t a ton and what’s out there are medical journal articles, so long, lots of science, hard to read for the layperson… LOL But I did find a succinct paragraph from one of the medical articles and here it is:
“In conclusion, we have demonstrated that SSRIs are potential inducers of insulin resistance, acting by directly inhibiting the insulin signaling cascade in β cells. [redacted] Given that SSRIs promote obesity and insulin resistance but inhibit insulin secretion, they might accelerate the transition from an insulin resistant state to overt diabetes.” [source]
My doctor said I’m not diabetic, but it’s a common issue for your hormones and body to just not work the way it should on these medications. She prescribed me a low dose of Metformin.
I started listening to the Food Psych podcast (and wrote about it here) and started to re-evaluate my thoughts and ideas about food, dieting, weight loss, weight gain, body image, fat-phobia, the whole gambit. It has really changed how I feel about weight loss in a lot of ways.
One thing I’ve been thinking about is how naïve I was in my 20’s and early 30’s when I started this blog. I started it to share my story, inspire people, show that you can lose weight and keep it off without extremes or surgery or weight loss drugs. I was successful. It worked for me. But what I didn’t realize then, that I do now, is that it doesn’t always work that way for everyone. People have medical issues, medical conditions, take meds that cause weight gain or make it hard/impossible to lose. People don’t always have access to healthy food (privilege), people don’t always have access to expensive gyms/personal trainers etc. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.
I do not have a real update on the metformin. I have not weighed myself since like October or early November. It was not a healthy cycle for me so I decided to take a break. And the longer it went, the better I felt. I started re-reading “Intuitive Eating” and finding that it resonates with me more now that it did 10 years ago.
So how is the metformin? It’s fine. Zero side effects except for the first few days I started it. Like I said, I haven’t weighed myself so I don’t know numbers. BUT various clothes that used to be a little too tight fit now. I am going to try and use that as a guide instead of the scale. Also? I feel better. I was SO EXHAUSTED for years. And I am finding that metformin has given me more energy, I do not feel run down or exhausted all the time. Now I just have regular pandemic/world ending/stress exhaustion. 😉
Anyone else have experiences on this medication? Would love to hear other stories.
We were just talking about this at book club last night – that merry-go-round of doctor visits trying to find someone who can explain why you don’t feel well. How much the medical community says things are just in your head. SO frustrating! And such a relief when you finally have a possible solution. Good for you to keep asking the questions and not settling for being dismissed. I hope the metformin continues to help you feel better!
It’s frustrating, isn’t? Especially when you don’t feel heard. I don’t know if I will see any significant weight loss but I do feel a lot better.
I take Berberine for insulin resistance. It’s an herb that seems to act like Metformin. I took it consistantly for about a month right before COVID, but then stopped because I thought it wasn’t working. Looking back on it, I realized that it was helping and that I should probably give it another try.
I’m glad that you found a doctor that figured out what was going on. Having a baby really changes our body, inside and out!
Interesting! I have not heard of that herb. I will have to look it up. Yes, having a baby does change things and I never knew how much!
Congratulations on advocating for yourself so persistently. I’m sorry it took so long – and how wonderful you finally got a doctor who listened and found a way to help.
Thank you! I agree