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.

Diet Changes

It’s been awhile since I talked about medication and anxiety, etc. Here are a few posts to give some background:

Medications and Weight – the brief history of starting prozac because of my postpartum anxiety.

Positive Thinking, Positive Change – The post where I talk about gaining 10 pounds when I increased the dosage of prozac and trying a different medication.

Keto Background – The post where I decided to try the keto diet in order to lose the weight.

What was so frustrating about gaining 10 pounds on prozac last year was that I was still working out. I was still counting my calories. I did some research and it seems like prozac in particular, changes the metabolism in your brain. There are some theories that it might cause insulin resistance, as well. I read through a bunch of online medical journals and reports and articles. Some of which I understood–a lot was over my head. But there was definitely evidence of prozac causing weird shifts in your metabolism and WHAT you crave.

I know that when I increased the dosage from the minimal I was craving sugar and carbs like mad. I went back down to 10mg and the cravings decreased. I went on the keto diet and lost some weight in the beginning and then the weight loss stopped.

“It has been observed that Prozac and weight gain go hand in hand, especially in women.  (source)”

Ugh!

I mean, none of this is news to me, really. I’ve had a history of depression my whole life and I’ve tried a bunch of different medications over 20+ years. I had bad experiences with Paxil, Effexor (40 pound weight gain), Celexa (15 pound gain), Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin (the best one,that never caused weight gain). I know that antidepressants can cause weight gain. Which is why I try and be more diligent–keep counting my calories and keep working out.

I’ve been doing okay lately with my anxiety and at my last therapy session my doctor “cleared” me of having a “clinical mental health issue.” They don’t say cured. 😉 I’m not cured, I will always struggle with anxiety, but I am using the tools I learned to try and manage it. Which is why I thought maybe it’s time to stop the prozac, see how I manage without it and HOPEFULLY finally lose the weight.

It’s been pretty frustrating this year that I didn’t lose a lot of weight doing the keto diet. Especially following a bunch of keto people on Instagram and seeing drastic weight changes for people doing the diet. It felt like my body adapted really quickly to doing keto and then just STOPPED losing weight. No matter what I did. It wasn’t even a slow weight loss…it just stopped.

It takes about a month for prozac to be completely out of my system. But I’m ready to try and see if it helps me with weight loss. It’s been a struggle the last few months to stay committed to keto when I’m not seeing results.

Finally, you might want to check out this podcast about metabolism. It was really interesting and informative!