Sisyphus

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.

The Weight Gain

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I wanted to write a post about how I’m feeling because, after all, this was a blog about gaining and losing weight and addressing body image is important to me. Read these two recent posts about the topic of weight gain and pregnancy:

Let’s Talk About Weight

Body Changes During Pregnancy

For the last few months I’ve been handling the weight gain pretty well. It was slow in the first trimester, most of the second trimester it was steady but not extreme. Then around 26 weeks I had a big jump. Even though everything I read said this was normal around that time period, it was kind of devastating. I was shocked to see an 8 pound difference from last doctor appointment. 8 pounds in one month?!

After talking to some friends that had had babies and reading that this jump was normal, I was able to talk myself down a bit and not beat myself up about the weight gain. After all, I had been staying consistent with my fitness (working out 5 days a week) and I was still counting my calories and 85% of the time I was staying within the range my doctor suggested.

Then at 27 weeks the bump POPPED. It wasn’t a cute little bump anymore, it was a “wow there’s definitely a baby in there” bump. It’s crazy to see a drastic change in just one week. Where did that big bump come from?!?

Once I was in the third trimester and the weight was consistently climbing and the baby was getting bigger, I was struggling. A lot. I’d have good days and I’d have bad days. It was hard to see my body changing in such a major way. It was HARD not to compare those changes to the OLD body I used to have. I kept trying to remind myself that this is pregnancy, I was gaining weight for a healthy baby, not because I was obese.

Those old memories were hard to shake, though.

It was hard not to focus on the number.  It was hard not to feel like I was back at my 25 year old self when I was obese. At my highest weight I was 255 pounds or so.

What’s hard to ignore is just HOW HARD I WORKED to lose that 110 pounds. It took nearly 2 years of hard work, daily effort, diligence and focus to lose the weight. So seeing the number on the scale tick up and up felt like a failure to that success.

It’s difficult to articulate just how it feels. Because logically I know it’s ok. My doctor isn’t concerned with my rate of weight gain. Everything has come back normal, right on target, baby is healthy. I’m happy I am able to stay active and workout, even if I am modifying a lot of activities. That has definitely helped my body image, self-esteem and just general mood. Working out gives me a boost of happy feelings and that’s good. So if I can still workout, feel good and I know logically that things are normal and ok, why do I get bummed out when I see my body getting bigger??

comparison

It’s been said before many times but it’s really true. Comparison is the thief of joy. It is SO HARD not to compare yourself to other pregnant ladies. I’ll see them at the gym and it looks like they are further along then I am, yet they are all stick thin with a basketball belly. You know the type. They don’t seem to be gaining weight in other parts of their bodies…like I am…and I compare myself. Then I feel badly and then I shame myself for comparing myself and it’s a vicious cycle.

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It’s weird not having ANY control over your body changes. Something that happened when I lost 110 pounds was that I realized I was in control of my body and I COULD lose weight. Then when I spent 6+ years maintaining that weight loss, I was still in control. I could make decisions on what I ate and I made good decisions most of the time and was successful. Then all of a sudden, I was no longer in control of what happened to my body, even though I was still TRYING to be in control of it. Letting that go has been a struggle for me — I am not good at giving up control.

What sucks is the comments I get from other people. People who either think they are being charming or funny, but are not. Just don’t. Never make judgmental comments, even “joking” about a pregnant woman’s body.

I was looking through some Facebook posts recently and saw some photos of myself from last year and the year before–when I was feeling down about having gained 10 pounds or so. My first thought was, Damn, I was so much skinnier! Then I thought, why didn’t I realize it at the time? PERSPECTIVE.

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I came across this article: The Dirty Little Secret About Pregnancy Weight Gain and was a little uneasy…expecting it to be gimmicky or a waste of time but reading through it, it really spoke to me. It was more about finding perspective, and not the judge-y article I was expecting. Here is a tidbit from that article:

“According to experts, these are the main concerns:

  1. You’ll be more uncomfortable with all that extra weight to haul around.
  2. You could develop gestational diabetes.
  3. You might have high blood pressure, which can lead to scary complications.
  4. Your baby could be big, making labor more difficult and possibly leading to a C-section.
  5. You’ll have your work cut out for you to lose more weight after the baby’s born.

For me personally, I have no signs of gestational diabetes, my blood pressure is consistently low, and my baby’s growth is right on track.

Leaving only concerns number 1 and 5, which are really just about my own convenience. After talking to my midwife and reading up on the risks, I’m not concerned about my “high” pregnancy weight gain.”

It was kind of an eye-opening DUH moment for me. Perspective. I do not have gestational diabetes. My baby is not measuring extra large, my blood pressure is normal and I’m not having any other issues. On top of that, I am counting my calories per my doctor’s instructions and I’ve been exercising pretty much the same throughout. Those are all positives! So what if my body is gaining a little bit more than I was hoping? All signs are pointing to healthy–isn’t that the most important part?

I have no idea how much I weigh at this moment. Once I got to the middle of the third trimester I stopped looking at the doctor’s office. I didn’t need to know how much weight I was gaining because really…this pregnancy has shown me that it’s out of my control and feeling badly about myself isn’t going to be a positive thing at this stage in the game. Besides, I’m almost to the end. Why do I need to know right now? Maybe my focus needs to be on other things for these last few weeks.

So I’m not weighing myself, I’m still working out when I can, doing what I can, counting my calories and eating healthy, and LETTING IT GO. My mind is now focused on the baby and not the weight, even if I do have a “bad” day. I can’t wait for him to be here and I’m happy my body is doing so well as he grows.

How am I feeling now?

At 35 weeks I am finding that I care less about the weight gain. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been to the doctor in a few weeks and I don’t know how much I weigh…ignorance is bliss? But I’m honestly feeling pretty good about my body right now. I feel like I’m in the homestretch and just generally feeling happy with my body these days!

If you’ve had kids, how did you feel about the weight gain?