I know it’s been some time, so I thought I’d better check in with anyone who has been following along. If you have, you know my last post about my weight loss journey was months ago, and it was mainly about my struggle with depression. Since I have been sharing all of this with you from the beginning, I knew it was time for an update. I don’t want you to think I just dropped this, or had given up. I’ve brought you all into this with the purpose of showing you that there are others that understand real-life struggles with losing weight. I want to be completely open about my struggles – all of them. Unfortunately for this portion of the blog, and for me,too, I guess, there hasn’t been much to tell until now. Here’s why:
The struggle with depression has continued. While I have not let this affect directly my determination to lose weight, there is no denying now that it has become a big factor. No, it’s not in the eating/diet department. Or the exercise. It’s the meds. The rest is horrible timing and the struggle with pre-existing conditions. As mentioned in many of my posts, the Type 1 diabetes gets to be a pain in the ass quite often when I try to lose weight. Starting any lower calorie diet, introducing more intense exercise, always results (for me) in lowered blood sugars that actually increase my weight. This happens every time. I know it will, I expect it, it pisses me off, but I get through that until they adjust and then the weight can start coming off. I wasn’t finding that to be as big a factor lately as my thyroid, though. You may remember that this time the loss has been incredibly slow, like REALLY slow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give up. It’s so hard to not see results when you put in the effort. And easy for others to think that you’re just doing something wrong. That doesn’t help.
As my antidepressant dose was increased, the weight loss slowed down even more. I figured it was probably due to the fact that I was seriously struggling with finding time to work out. Taking care of my schmoopies, homeschooling Dax, and working on the blog during the day. Working on the blog again once everybody was in bed until 4 in the morning (seriously, people don’t get what’s involved in this when you’re in the start-up stage). For a few months I had at least one of the kids or myself sick, or my foot cracked open again, so we have been very rarely walking to school. That was my only exercise at times. So, I didn’t associate the stall in weight loss with my increase in meds at all. It’s supposed to be “weight neutral”, so I didn’t suspect it to be a factor. The funny thing is, when you think about how they word that, and then you read up about other people’s experiences, some lose weight, some gain. I guess it evens out to “neutral”? I do know that it had no impact on my appetite either way, so with that not changing I didn’t expect to have any problems.
With limited or no exercise, the weight loss was stalling. Frustrated with that, I focused on just keeping with my weight maintenance calories per day. I found that trying so hard to diet and barely (I mean like a pound every 6 weeks or more) was just making me more depressed and wanting to binge. Weirdly, I was better off at this point just trying to maintain. This worked for a while.
Then I needed to increase the meds again. This depression is really kicking my ass this time. It’s become such a “thing”, and I got such a huge response from my last post about it, that I think I may do something about it totally separate from the weight loss journey. It impacts so many people. Anyway, meds increased, weight on. A lot. Quickly. No changes in food consumption, was already at bare minimum for exercise, blood sugars still running horribly, but more on high side. 20 lbs on in a little over a month. So now I’m 10 up from my starting point. What the #@*% is going on?
I had my doc call in a new type of antidepressant. Even with the increased dosage, I’m not feeling better, and the weight is piling on. As I picked up the new prescription, I asked the pharmacist a simple question. I had been told to take the antidepressant first thing in the morning, which is the same time I take my hypothyroid medication. I asked if there was a chance there was some interference? The only time I’ve ever put on weight at this rate is third trimester, or when thyroid levels are off. His answer? Oh, of course. Your doctor needs to increase your thyroid meds if you’re going to take them at the same time. So, as I started the antidepressant, it started interfering, causing my weight loss to slow. By the time the dosage had been raised twice, I guess I may as well not have been taking my thyroid medication at all! One simple adjustment the doctor could have made. Now summer is almost here, and I had hoped to be well on my way, and at my goal weight by September. Instead I am worse off than when I started.
Almost the worst part? One of the symptoms of low thyroid is depression. Vicious cycle. The more antidepressant I took, the more it interfered with my thyroid medication. The lower my thyroid levels, the more depressed I got. So the more antidepressant I took.
Is there a silver lining in this information? Well, sort of. I wouldn’t need the silver lining if this had been addressed properly from the beginning. But, I insisted that blood work be drawn to test my levels. I had that done yesterday, so I’m still awaiting results. A little side note on thyroid issues: most doctors, including the specialists that deal with thyroid, use “gold standard” numbers. They want certain levels in a certain range and that’s it. Your level may be points off from your natural number, but as long as it’s in the range, they won’t adjust. There are other factors (T3 and T4), that they rarely test, and are still more worried about the other numbers, and these can have a bigger impact on your daily functions. Just like with the diabetes, doctors never fail to piss me off with how hard-headed they are about only addressing “supposed to be norms” instead of individuals. Anyway, as things are now, I fully expect my number to be so far off that they have to adjust.
What will that do? My body can start functioning better again. I should stop gaining weight, and hopefully even be able to lose as much or as fast as my effort allows. (Note that on the proper dosage, the thyroid meds don’t make you lose weight, if anyone was thinking that they have the symptoms, and if they start taking the meds the weight will melt off. Nope.) I will feel less fatigued. I will be less depressed. This is not a miracle cure for that. The depression is/will be still there. This I know. But, the medication I was originally taking with no issues (I realize now) will be able to help without the thyroid working against it. Possibly at a lower dose. The new meds only lasted a day, by the way. I threw up all day and couldn’t keep my eyes open.
Here’s my ideal scenario: The doc increases the thyroid medication, I go back to a lowered dose of the antidepressant, I start losing weight, I have the want and energy to get out of bed and enjoy life again.
If you’re still reading this, maybe you’re needing to hear that somebody else struggles. Maybe you’re looking for a reason why it’s so hard to lose weight. I can’t give that reason to everybody. I guarantee you that at least half the people who read this will completely ignore the medical factors and think I’m just another lazy fatty who’s been making excuses for months. Those are the people who read, not for support, but to feel better about themselves because this is one area of their life where they don’t fail.
I am here to lay it all out there, so those of you trying to your best ability, and are unhappy with your slow, or lack of, results, feel supported. I will not excuse stuffing your face every day and wondering why you’re not losing. I will, however, tell you that if you’re trying everything, truly trying, and getting nowhere, you may need outside help. It may be a weight loss expert (trainer or dietitian) because this is your first attempt and you really don’t know how your body functions. Or, it may take some testing by a doctor to check if everything is functioning properly.
I also, unlike so many others, will tell you I understand when you say it is near impossible to find time to work out. For those who don’t agree with that, they may not realize that sometimes all it takes is that they happen to have one (or 3) less kids, kids are older and more self-sufficient, they work 3 fewer hours a week, have no medical restrictions. I will NEVER tell you to just look at a blog post or weight loss article that shows you how easy it is to work in 20-30 minutes a day to get exercise. Getting up earlier or staying up later isn’t always an option if you’re already getting just a few hours sleep a night. I understand your struggle.
We’re just doing the best we can, right? The most important thing, is that we don’t get so discouraged that we stop trying. It is so tempting for my complete failure so far, and the depression, to have me just give up. I won’t, and I hope you won’t either.
I’ll check back in when I have something to tell. Until then, know that I’m working on it, and wishing you the best of luck in your weight loss journey!
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