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.

Positive Thinking, Positive Change

I wanted to give an update about a post I wrote about medications and weight over the summer. Read that post for the background but the cliff notes version: I gained 10 pounds on a medication this summer.

I had a choice to make, try a different medication, or just keep going with prozac, which was working very well for my anxiety. I decided to give the buspar a chance per my doctor. I stopped the prozac and switched to the other one. Right off the bat, I was not a fan. It did absolutely nothing for my anxiety. I gave it over a month, waiting with white knuckles for it to finally kick in and start working…and nothing.

I was even having occasional panic attacks, which was not traditionally a component of my anxiety. So that was fun! I talked to my doctor and he increased the dosage. Within a few days of that, I started having really awful side effects. The biggest one was heart palpitations. Like constantly. It took me a few days to realize that the never ending heart palpitations might be because of the meds. I googled it and sure enough, “if you have this side effect, call your doctor immediately”. YAY! 🙁

So I stopped the buspar immediately and within a day or so the side effects were better and mostly gone. That’s the good news. The bad news? I was still in the same boat as I was before.

I went back on a low dose of the prozac and I am trying to manage my anxiety with mindfulness and a relaxation app I downloaded. The one I usually use is Breathe2RelaxI also use the Oak app. I like them and they work pretty well when I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack.

As for the weight I gained this summer…I am making good choices to lose it.

  1. No candy/dessert (which has been very hard with all the Halloween candy that’s EVERYWHERE!) but I am doing well with that so far.
  2. No alcohol Monday-Thursday and on Friday/Saturday nights I can have 1 drink (instead of my usual 2).
  3. Reminding myself it’s ok to be hungry sometimes.
  4. Taking the stairs at work. I go up and down between several floors multiple times a day and I’ve started using the stairs instead. It’s the little things that add up.
  5. I’m still working out my normal 5 days a week with 2 rest days.
  6. I’m counting my calories still but I am trying to actually create a deficit instead of eating back all of the calories in the gym.
  7. Weighing myself once a week. When I was in maintenance mode I was weighing once a month, or even less. If my clothes got tight, then I’d weigh myself, but I basically stuck at the same place.

The first week I lost almost 2 pounds. The second week I lost another pound. Over that weekend I wasn’t feeling 100% so I skipped drinking for the most part. I also didn’t have much of an appetite, so I think that helped jump start things.

As far as the mental aspect, I am doing well. My anxiety is “ok” and I’m feeling super focused on losing the weight. I am finding it easier to resist treats and things that are my downfall, so I think my mind is IN THE GAME on this.

Then Thanksgiving weekend hit–pie, wine, carbs…you know the drill. I didn’t weigh myself for 2 weeks and finally got back on the scale. This weekend I weighed myself after taking a few weeks off from the scale and was happy to see a few more pounds gone! I am now down a total of 7 pounds since October! WOOHOO!

I will keep you posted on my progress.