Depression and Weight Issues Have you been diagnosed with depression, are possibly on depression medication, and find it affects your weight loss efforts? Post here for support!

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Old 01-28-2008, 12:12 PM   #1  
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Hi, I just joined 3FC. I'm 43, single mom to 2 great but challenging sons (one has Aspergers Syndrome, other seemed to have inherited my depressive tendencies but is doing well right now.) I am on Effexor for depression. I was plump as a kid, until I started very serious competitive athletics which kept it off through college, but then gained quickly after an unhappy marriage at 22 and I've been overweight ever since. I am about 100 pounds overweight and I have never been able to stay on a diet plan for even 2 weeks and have never lost any significant amount of weight.

I have so many questions. I'm not even sure that this is the right time to try to do anything about my weight because I'm feeling so down on myself. It seems like it's hard for me to find a middle ground where I'm motivated about doing something about my weight....usually I alternate between denial in order to not be upset about it, then I think about it and I get really, really down and in despair about my worthlessness. It's hard for me to face it, and do something real about it. I tend to be a perfectionistic, so I think about following some diet plan exactly, then as soon as I go off the plan, it's all over, I'm a failure, etc and leads to all this negative thinking -- if I'm not eating well, I might as well not exercise and vice versa, etc, etc.

I wonder if people have suggestions for a type of plan to try -- I think the more rigid ones appeal to me in theory because it's black and white, but then like I said, I mess up and that's it.

I am in therapy working on my self-esteem and self-judgmentalism and baby steps and being human in general, but we've had so many other issues to work on, we haven't really gotten to weight. I know it's affecting me so much though.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:45 PM   #2  
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Hi - You're in the right place - you'll find lots of support here!

Instead of trying a complicated 'diet plan,' have you considered simply calorie counting. Check out dailyplate.com or other site where you can track your daily calories online. Enter everything you eat or drink - be absolutely religious about it! This will help a lot, yet it's relatively simple.

Good luck to you!
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:11 PM   #3  
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I'm the the same boat (minus the children part!) so I have no real ideas, but I can tell you what I do since I battle with depression, perfectionism, and no "real" plan.

I'm a calorie counter. I figured up my BMR (the amount of calories you burn just by being alive) and how many calories I eat, and subtracted some. The number will vary, but as long as you subtract some and do more activity (even cleaning house, or walking the dog will work!) then you should lose. I have a hard time following a plan, per se, but as long as my calories are in check and I'm getting some sort of movement in each day (beyond the usual) then I tend to lose.

I hope that helped. if you ever want to chat feel free to PM me. I have a blog if you want to read it the link is under my avatar.
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:11 PM   #4  
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I would recommend not doing anything drastic, it's better to loose 20 lbs over 5 months than to loose 15 in 2 weeks and then regain it and then some. Focus on what is going to be realistic for you. If you cut your calories by 300 calories a day and increase your exercise by 200 calories per day (Which could be walking 2 miles) you will loose a pound a week without changing that much. Also eating better and exercising will help your depression. It is the best antidepressant that there is (and has better results in controlled studies). I would start with writing down everying you eat (no matter what!) and comming up with an amount of calories you can eat per day and not feel extreamly deprived.
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:30 PM   #5  
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Hi TH - Welcome!

I can relate to a lot of what you said. I struggle with depression and my weight - boy do those two just feed off each other. I've been having good success with what I am doing now, and I think the advice the others have given is spot-on.

When I would go on X diet (whichever one), I would always fail, because like you I was all or nothing. The TINIEST bit off plan would completely blow up everything I was trying to do. What has worked for me is working with my doctor, and making healthy changes to my habits. My doc did a health/weight assessment which told me my resting metabolic rate (RMR), and then we created simple daily calory goals based on it. There are calculators on the web that can estimate your RMR or BMR (basal metabolic rate). This tells you how many calories your body processes each day.

Thats it - there are no no-no foods, no gimmicks, no special formulas. The trick was for me in stopping using food as a pleasure/pain device, and simply acknowledging that food is only one thing - a source of energy for my body, Thats it. It has no other power. Wow - once I really got that making healthy choices became so much easier. Would I fill my car with gas that I knew was filled with oily, disgusting sludge that would hurt its engine? No.

I, like the other posters, count my calories. I write down everything I eat, and subtotal it throughout the day so that I know how many calories I have left in my "budget." This helps me plan for dinners out or fun with friends.

My doc also put me on an anti-depressant, which is helping me with my depression. I couldn't treat one without treating the other.

One last suggestion I would offer is this, although I can't tell from your post if it will be all that useful: let go of your memories of what you were like when you were thin, and all the times you tried and failed to lose weight. Those are not today. Practice compassion for who you are now, and commit to doing the work you need to do today to make yourself healthy and happy. Don't try to do tomorrow's work, or the next days, or think about the sports you used to be able to do. I used to be quite fit and at the time was an avid runner. Because I held on to my internalized memories of that old me, the current me never seemed to measure up. If I'd exercise and get winded walking I'd do a lot of negative self-talk about how worthless I was and how much better I was when I used to be athletic. All this did was create deep hurts that have taken me years to work through. Would I love to be as thin as I once was? Sure. Would being thinner make me the person I was back then? No. That me is gone, and I am trying to be the best me I can right now.

Good luck! You are most certainly in the right place. The people on this board are some of the greatest people in the world.
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Old 01-28-2008, 09:07 PM   #6  
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Thank you all so much for the support and advice. I can tell already that you all "get me" more than my sisters and friends who have never experienced those internal struggles. It's great to feel like you understand that "all or nothing" feeling and how self-defeating, but powerful it can be. I know I need to think of this as a process and a journey and learning as I go.

I will look into some of the websites for calorie counting that I've seen mentioned and think about a strategy. I know exercise does really help me, but as Me_Amarie stated, I get into that same "what's the point if I can't do this much" mindset. Argh! I did go to the pool after I wrote the message above and swam for 30+ minutes (crying the whole time -- I had to stop and empty out my goggles every few laps!) and although it didn't seem to help at the time, I definitely felt calmer later.

Again, thanks, and I hope to "talk" to you all a lot. I know that will be another step towards success -- not dropping off here when I do have struggles and feel like it's all over, but stay connected even then.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:32 PM   #7  
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I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say I hope we hear from you often. If you'd like, you should stop by the Weekly Thread and say hi Its a nice little place to get to know the folks on here and share our struggles.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:25 PM   #8  
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Boy, is it easy to relate with your posting! Depression/over-eating/weight problems -- they just seem to go together, don't they? If we could ever get in control of our DEPRESSION, then hopefully the other two areas could be dealt with.
You've made such a great start, by entering therapy. I wish I had done that -- thirty years ago. Hang in there!
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:26 PM   #9  
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I've struggled with depression for most of my life. I have it under control now, but having a relapse is always in the back of my mind. I guess I'm trying to say, I feel your pain and I understand.

Personally, I wasn't able to really focus my weight until I was feeling better about myself. I had to be "ready" to really go at it gung-ho, but I was able to make healthy changes (baby steps) that helped a lot while I was struggling.

I would suggest you start by drinking lots of water, taking a multi-vitamin, and eating healthy whole foods. I've found in my research that many vitamins can contribute to depression if you are deficient. Especially vitamin D!

Also, you may want to ask your doctor if you should be taking an omega-3 supplement along with your meds. My doctor showed me a study that had to do with omega-3s helping with depression and bi-polar disorder along with other disorders. I won't go a day without taking my omega-3s! I swear it's the main reason I'm able to fully function.

As far as exercise, why not start going for walks? I find it helps clear my mind and I'm getting some exercise in. You don't have to immediately go to the gym. Any extra movement is helpful and the fresh air and sunlight might be helpful too.

When I did lose the weight I calorie counted too! I really think it's the best way because nothing is off limits as long as you work it in your day. And, if you have a high calorie day you can cut back the next few days to compensate. I like to look at weekly averages and not just days. It helps me put a high calorie day in perspective.

Welcome! You'll get lots of support and good advice at this site! It's been very helpful for me and everyone is wonderful on here!
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:20 PM   #10  
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I agree with zenor. Fighting the depression is a big part of fighting the weight gain. And of course, weight loss and depression go hand in hand, since gaining weight or simply not losing can exacerbate depression and feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. I've suffered from depression since puberty but I wasn't diagnosed until I went to college, so I went down the stereotypical road of the eating disorder in high school. Of course, that just added a new out of control element to my life, and the fact that I'm a stress eater made that a roller coaster of misery. My metabolism is still recovering, as well as my basic hunger mechanism, even six years later!
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