Depression and Weight Issues - Planning ahead for winter blues




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mars735
06-01-2014, 06:19 PM
I think the term is S.A.D., Seasonal Affective Disorder, or Winter Blues. Whatever it's called, my mood begins to slip around end of August & can get pretty lo by Dec. (I live near San Francisco,CA, 38 latitude). I had a rough time last year and my usual go-to is carbs. I gained 12 lbs last holiday season!

I'm wondering if anyone else deals with SAD and how it affects your weight loss/maintenance journey. Also curious if anyone has tried light therapy--I'm thinking of investing in a good one. Thanks & enjoy the summer daylight! :sunny:


Mrs Snark
06-03-2014, 08:26 AM
I live in Florida, my problem is too MUCH sun. However, we have family & friends who live in Portland, Oregon, and most of them have had a problem with SAD (particularly those who are transplants from Florida to Oregon!).

Most of them have good things to say about the light therapy -- they have special lamps and light boxes in their homes and swear by them. So if I were you I'd definitely take a look at those!

nonameslob
06-03-2014, 09:14 AM
I got hit really hard with seasonal depression last year, way worse than ever before, and it definitely affected my weight. I too thought about getting a sunlight lamp or sunlight bulb, but the information out there was all so confusing about what to actually buy (some of the bulbs apparently say they are "daylight" but may not actually help with S.A.D.?).

I'm glad you posted this...I think it's really smart to be thinking ahead, and maybe I'll take the time to look into it again. I think this year I'll have to hold myself accountable to getting to the gym 3 times a week. Last year I just gave up. I sat on the couch. I ate. And I know that only made how I felt worse. For me it usually starts around September and lingers through until January.


mars735
06-04-2014, 11:44 AM
Thanks Mrs. Snark & nonameslob [Love love love your monikers]! Mrs. S what does too much light do? My friend here uses black out curtains to help her sleep. Interesting about Oregon & adapting from Florida. I used to think I would retire to Alaska, but no way now! Oregon appeals to me but the light issue looms large. I think getting outdoors helps a lot, and also being careful not to overcommit to work, social stuff, etc. Easier said than done. The dilemma for me is if I let myself off the leash with holiday food, I don't want to try to get the pounds off until April, when it's lighter. January is the worst time to reboot a diet, imo!

One reason to plan ahead is that I think prices might go up when SAD season hits.

Sunbox website has great background on SAD and they are also very helpful on the phone. I used their desk lamp 2 yrs ago and it made a real difference. It's a bit large & clunky, and there was a soft electrical buzzing sound so I returned it and they gave me a full refund. I should have kept it, and this is the one I'm thinking of re-buying.

A friend who has bi-polar disorder told me about the smaller, cheaper one on amazon. It works for her and has good reviews. It did nothing for me.


Sunbox desk lamp 190.00 plus tax/ free shipping
http://sunbox.com/product/sunbox-desk-light-white/

Lightphoria on amazon, 69.67 + tax/ free shipping (last fall was only 45.00!)
http://www.amazon.com/Lightphoria-000LUX-Energy-Light-Lamp/dp/B004JF3G08/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401895758&sr=8-2&keywords=sad+light

Munchy
06-04-2014, 12:17 PM
I've been trying to plan ahead for SAD (I have it in the warmer weather) but I have never been prepared for it, so I don't have much advice. Right now sucks for me, but I'm curious about input from others.

I do want to say that in the winter I'm able to make so many low carb and low calorie meals that are hearty: I stick to really hearty soups, chilis, and stews and end up in a very low calorie range.

Mrs Snark
06-04-2014, 12:31 PM
Mrs. S what does too much light do?

Too much sun makes it hard for me to properly protect my skin. I live on the water and am outside alot (walking, biking, kayaking, boating). I literally grew up on the beaches of Florida -- I was a tan, tan, nut-brown little kid and teenager. And I have had malignant melanoma, the scariest form of skin cancer. :(

Now as an adult, I spend alot of time (most of the time, actually) in hats and long sleeves and coated with sunscreen just to do ordinary things like dog walking and weeding the flower beds.

berryblondeboys
06-04-2014, 03:42 PM
I defintely have SAD. My HUGE weight gain was mostly over this winter as I had it way, way bad this year. In March I finally bought an SAD light (a good one - those little things on the corner of your desk are useless). I am supposed to sit under it for 30 minutes every day, preferably in the morning from September to/thru April. AS WELL as on rainy days or continually cloudy days as even then I notice my mood take a dip south.

So, I have no idea if it works or not as my mood was lifting as there was starting to be more light but at least THIS FALL I will have a light and be prepared. What always happens is that mid February I'm so depressed that I can't do anything to help myself. When I finally bought it, my husband said, "Why did you wait so long to get one?" Of course my comeback was, "Why did you never think to get me one as how will I 'think about it' while I'm depressed?" men! :)

So... the plan is to use it. If it doesn't work and I see myself slipping, I will get on an antidepressant as I cannot keep having these awful winters - NO WAY.

mars735
06-04-2014, 11:00 PM
Too much sun makes it hard for me to properly protect my skin. I live on the water and am outside alot (walking, biking, kayaking, boating). I literally grew up on the beaches of Florida -- I was a tan, tan, nut-brown little kid and teenager. And I have had malignant melanoma, the scariest form of skin cancer. :(

Now as an adult, I spend alot of time (most of the time, actually) in hats and long sleeves and coated with sunscreen just to do ordinary things like dog walking and weeding the flower beds.

Wow I see you mean by too much sun, for sure.

I've been trying to plan ahead for SAD (I have it in the warmer weather) but I have never been prepared for it, so I don't have much advice. Right now sucks for me, but I'm curious about input from others.

I do want to say that in the winter I'm able to make so many low carb and low calorie meals that are hearty: I stick to really hearty soups, chilis, and stews and end up in a very low calorie range.

I've of warm weather SAD and sorry you're having it now. Is it due to too much light? Thanks for the great idea re hearty low carb--that's perfect for me. I really start getting a sense of dread after summer solstice, just knowing the days are going to shorten. I'll be glad to look forward to cooking hearty recipes!

I defintely have SAD. My HUGE weight gain was mostly over this winter as I had it way, way bad this year. In March I finally bought an SAD light (a good one - those little things on the corner of your desk are useless). I am supposed to sit under it for 30 minutes every day, preferably in the morning from September to/thru April. AS WELL as on rainy days or continually cloudy days as even then I notice my mood take a dip south.

So, I have no idea if it works or not as my mood was lifting as there was starting to be more light but at least THIS FALL I will have a light and be prepared. What always happens is that mid February I'm so depressed that I can't do anything to help myself. When I finally bought it, my husband said, "Why did you wait so long to get one?" Of course my comeback was, "Why did you never think to get me one as how will I 'think about it' while I'm depressed?" men! :)

So... the plan is to use it. If it doesn't work and I see myself slipping, I will get on an antidepressant as I cannot keep having these awful winters - NO WAY.
What brand/type of light do you have? Thanks!

Munchy
06-05-2014, 08:36 AM
I've of warm weather SAD and sorry you're having it now. Is it due to too much light? Thanks for the great idea re hearty low carb--that's perfect for me. I really start getting a sense of dread after summer solstice, just knowing the days are going to shorten. I'll be glad to look forward to cooking hearty recipes!

I think it's more related to heat/body image/and just feeling so damn uncomfortable! I think I've had one summer since I was seven years old begin where I didn't freak out because it was coming up. I try to offset it by buying all of these great summer clothes every year, but I just end up with more and more in my closet that I don't wear.

nonameslob
06-05-2014, 08:47 AM
I've been trying to plan ahead for SAD (I have it in the warmer weather) but I have never been prepared for it, so I don't have much advice. Right now sucks for me, but I'm curious about input from others.

I do want to say that in the winter I'm able to make so many low carb and low calorie meals that are hearty: I stick to really hearty soups, chilis, and stews and end up in a very low calorie range.

I definitely look forward to seeing some of these recipes...last fall I went off the rails, my depression combined with my food cravings. Ugh!

RE: Your summer seasonal depression, I wish I had input but the causes of yours vs. mine seem entirely different. For me it's truly related to the decrease of sunlight and the sun being lower in the sky, near as I can tell, which makes my brain all wonky. I hope you're able to get through this summer with self-confidence!

Sassyinkpen
06-10-2014, 12:30 PM
I've already been trying to plan how I will handle winter, so I was thrilled to see a thread on here!

I have depression and take antidepressants for it, but it gets even WORSE in the winter, and I have never been able to sustain any weight loss over the winter. A few times in my life I have had significant weight loss and was doing very well until November hit...then everything unraveled and fell apart, and I gained all the weight back and then some.

If I'm going to work hard all summer, I really don't want this to end up like every other time.

I've been making a list of things I can do, including joining some fitness challenges, finding an online support group, do a HUGE amount of pre-meal planning, and possibly look into getting counseling over the winter.

seabiscuit
06-12-2014, 05:53 AM
Hi Mars,

Good for you for planning ahead! Have you read Dorothy Hamill's book? I think it's called A Skating Life. She has SAD too and it's quite an interesting read. I don't have SAD, I have Bipolar but I empathize with what you go through. I find winter to be tough too.

:hug:

mars735
06-15-2014, 08:21 AM
I've already been trying to plan how I will handle winter, so I was thrilled to see a thread on here!

I have depression and take antidepressants for it, but it gets even WORSE in the winter, and I have never been able to sustain any weight loss over the winter. A few times in my life I have had significant weight loss and was doing very well until November hit...then everything unraveled and fell apart, and I gained all the weight back and then some.

If I'm going to work hard all summer, I really don't want this to end up like every other time.

I've been making a list of things I can do, including joining some fitness challenges, finding an online support group, do a HUGE amount of pre-meal planning, and possibly look into getting counseling over the winter.

Sassyinkpen, I suggest considering a SAD light as part of your arsenal. You have some good weapons already, though. Counseling, especially cognitive-based I think, can be a great help to reinforce what you are doing & add some new things, too.

Hi Mars,

Good for you for planning ahead! Have you read Dorothy Hamill's book? I think it's called A Skating Life. She has SAD too and it's quite an interesting read. I don't have SAD, I have Bipolar but I empathize with what you go through. I find winter to be tough too.

:hug:

Thank-you, seabiscuit--your words & book rec. are so appreciated! I have a friend with bipolar & know it is no picnic. I will definitely read this book.

:grouphug:

seagirl
06-15-2014, 08:39 AM
I am on Wellbutrin (which pretty much saved my life) but I can still tell a marked difference in my moods on grey days. I keep a diary and always note the weather so it's easy to trace. I first have to remind myself that it is the weather, and not that my life has suddenly become meaningless. But I think I will talk to my doctor and get a SAD light and also try to find a large piece of artwork that is blue sky and ocean that I can look at, as I think it will help.

mars735
06-15-2014, 08:50 AM
I'm also like that on gray days, seagirl, even though I like them. Love your idea about the artwork.

This is gonna sound nutty, but I've noticed that I enjoy orange & yellow veggies, in particular, navel oranges and butternut squash, esp. during wintertime. It's as if i'm trying to ingest some sunshine :D

The lights work best if you begin them early, not when you are already experiencing SAD. Though, if you are using it for gray days year round, maybe this won't be an issue.

mars735
06-30-2014, 03:34 PM
Summer solstice is over. I just ordered my SAD desk lamp model from Sunbox. I tried it in the past and felt noticeably better. after trialing a cheaper model last year that didn't work for me, I'm going with this one.

mars735
08-27-2014, 12:50 AM
I have this light now (Sunbox desk lamp) but can't use it because I have dry eye. But I turn it on and use it as a light rather than directing it toward my eyes for light therapy). It's really bright and that seems to get me into a happy mood.

flower123
08-29-2014, 09:50 PM
I live in a part of Vermont that is on par with Portland Oregon in the winter. Very little sunlight. But it is snowy and very icy cold. So days are short. And also there is lack of sulight.

Someone once told me to shine a flashlight on the area people think of as their third eye. I think its part of "energy medicine" involving meridians ( chinese medicine) and such. I cannot remember the exact system it helps. Thymus?? Anyway, it had something to do with SAD, from which I suffer.

Also, getting through the whole holidays thing is greusome for me. Takes me weeks in January to recover from it all. When I used to eat and cook what I wanted, I looked forward to the wonderful cooking and eating aspects of the holidays. But I no longer cook or endulge in such lovely foods. So that adds to the depression for sure. This year will be expecially challenging being the first christmas without my brother. Finally, living in a very cold climate means windows closed. Thats a bit hard during those dark days of winter.

GlamourGirl827
08-30-2014, 12:29 PM
I've already been trying to plan how I will handle winter, so I was thrilled to see a thread on here!

I have depression and take antidepressants for it, but it gets even WORSE in the winter, and I have never been able to sustain any weight loss over the winter. A few times in my life I have had significant weight loss and was doing very well until November hit...then everything unraveled and fell apart, and I gained all the weight back and then some.

If I'm going to work hard all summer, I really don't want this to end up like every other time.

I've been making a list of things I can do, including joining some fitness challenges, finding an online support group, do a HUGE amount of pre-meal planning, and possibly look into getting counseling over the winter.

You took the words right out of my mouth!

Looking back, I had dealt with SAD since my teen years but only began to realize what was going on in recent years. (I'm in my 30s).

My SAD does not hit until right after Christmas. I feel like the holidays really have a positive impact on my mental state, and I am truly excited for each one (Halloween, THanksgiving, Christmas).

But with in a day after Christmas is over, it hits me. This HUGE let down. I will say I notice that my physical energy starts to decrease around November, so exercise seems to taper off, but the full blown depression doesn't hit until Dec 26th.

I start to feel a bit better around April/May, but like clock work every year I put on weight during that SAD time.

Its not just my weight though! If I look back over my life (and still currently) the spring is when I typically have a history of changing jobs, starting new projects, making and achieving new goals, starting a class, or initiating new friendships, joining clubs etc. Then as the fall comes to an end, that's when I have a history of dropping out of classes, failing to maintain new friendships, not going out as much. Weight gain and loss are just one little piece of the puzzle.

For those that are going to use the light, I would love to see a follow up thread. I have thought about getting one but I worry it will not work.

Maybe we can start a support thread for SAD that runs until spring? It would be nice to have a place to check in with those that understand. Its so crippling to know once a year all my energy/motivation etc is just going to disappear. I start to get nervous about the week before Christmas every year. :(

mars735
08-30-2014, 09:08 PM
I live in a part of Vermont that is on par with Portland Oregon in the winter. Very little sunlight. But it is snowy and very icy cold. So days are short. And also there is lack of sulight.

Someone once told me to shine a flashlight on the area people think of as their third eye. I think its part of "energy medicine" involving meridians ( chinese medicine) and such. I cannot remember the exact system it helps. Thymus?? Anyway, it had something to do with SAD, from which I suffer.

Also, getting through the whole holidays thing is greusome for me. Takes me weeks in January to recover from it all. When I used to eat and cook what I wanted, I looked forward to the wonderful cooking and eating aspects of the holidays. But I no longer cook or endulge in such lovely foods. So that adds to the depression for sure. This year will be expecially challenging being the first christmas without my brother. Finally, living in a very cold climate means windows closed. Thats a bit hard during those dark days of winter.

Flower, I'm sad to read about losing your brother :hug: Thanks for the flashlight idea. I will definitely try it out. Vermont is dark! One thing I love on the dark mornings is the space to meditate, which i don't enjoy once it's light. Have you tried a SAD light?


For those that are going to use the light, I would love to see a follow up thread. I have thought about getting one but I worry it will not work.

Maybe we can start a support thread for SAD that runs until spring? It would be nice to have a place to check in with those that understand. Its so crippling to know once a year all my energy/motivation etc is just going to disappear. I start to get nervous about the week before Christmas every year. :(

Good idea!

Re SAD light, Sunbox offers a 30 day money back trial. 2 years ago, I returned it and got a full refund. You might be out the shipping cost though. there is a cheaper one on Amazon that my friend swore by, and she has major depression. Her doc recommends it to everyone and it's quite popular. Didn't do anything for me--not sure why not.

Here's the info I posted a few months ago; the Lightphoria is the cheaper one. Off season it was 45.00 and during late fall went up to 67.00. The thing is that they work best if begun early, before SAD is in full swing.

I've had years when I didn't have SAD & I think the difference was that I managed to get outdoors a lot. Easier to do in moderate climate, for sure.

Sunbox desk lamp 190.00 plus tax/ free shipping
http://sunbox.com/product/sunbox-desk-light-white/

Lightphoria on amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Lightphoria-00...ords=sad+light

nonameslob
09-09-2014, 09:01 AM
I finally bought a light box. I really didn't have a lot of extra cash so I bought a $35 one from Amazon. It has good reviews, so I figure it's worth a shot. I can already feel that cloak of darkness creeping up. I hate it. It should be here Wednesday. I can't wait to give it a try!

mars - how is yours working for you, even with the dry eye problem?

I think I will also need to set better goals for myself for the winter months as far as going to the gym. And I need to make myself accountable for those goals. I gradually find myself sinking deeper into the couch and the next thing I know it's been weeks since I've worked out, yet I know working out helps my mood. Must stay on top of it this year. I'm looking forward to having this thread, at the very least, to motivate me.

mars735
09-09-2014, 11:06 AM
Hi nonamslob Isn't that couch tempting as fall approaches? I have the same tendency. The years I didn't have SAD were the years I was involved in volunteer work that required me to be out hiking the beach regularly. Of course working less helped!

Anyhow, good luck with your light box. Right now I am compromising until I see the eye specialist tomorrow. I turn it on while using the computer in the am, but don't direct the ight towrds my eyes. I swear i feel better just with the amazingly bright light. I'm energy-conscious so always make breakfast in the dark--how nutty is that????

Anyhow, your light should come with directions. Usually you start gradually and build up the time to about 20 minutes, best first thing in the morning. It can interfere with sleep if you do it in the evening.

It's worth taking a tape measure to have it at a constant distance, and using a timer. Unless it says other wise, you don't have to look right into the light, but it should be directed toward your eyes. It shouldn't cause redness or eye irritation.

Keep us posted! Your other resolutions should be effective as well--I think I'd better try those too. Inertia is oh so powerful!

I've also read that eating some carbs in the evening can help your brain make serotonin while you sleep. It's that potato diet book, and also Ideal protein now recommends evening carb. I'm following this cautiously using things like butternut squash, maybe an apple or some beans. I've also added omega 3 suppplements and 2 oz avocado every day. I feel it's helping.

Wow, I have a lot on my mind around this topic! I try to wrap my mind around the dark. I get up very early. Now I go out and look up at the night sky, listen to the owl who has moved in for the winter, maybe meditate or spend a few moments observing my breath.

Commitments for the coming months are not to get crazy busy during the holidays. Maybe that's a thread: resolutions to mitigate winter blues?

nonameslob
09-09-2014, 11:27 AM
Thanks for all your thoughts and tips. I am thinking in the morning once I get to the office will work well. I wake up less than an hour before I get to the office. I don't have the will to get up earlier just to sit in front of a light at home, so hopefully it will still work if I wait an hour after waking! I don't usually have an issue falling to sleep but I will remember the carbs if I start having a problem when I use the light.

I'm so glad it is working for you so far. I think it would be good to keep this discussion going, especially with our little resolutions.