I have mentioned my bipolar disorder in past Friday Fitness and Weight Loss updates, but I haven’t fully explained how mood disorders, and some of their medications, can affect weight loss efforts. Of course not everyone with bipolar disorder has the same struggles or successes, but there are tendencies that do seem common. I’d like to reflect on this in this update. As usual, I will also share this week’s results.
Week 13 weight change: – 1.4 lbs ( – 0.64 kg)
Total weight loss to date (over 13 weeks): – 9.6 lbs ( – 4.4 kg)
Week’s exercise (above & beyond): This past week, my physical activity was much increased. I didn’t track it every day, mostly because I was hyper focused on other things. I was out of the house frequently doing a lot of walking and talking. When I was home, I had days where I accomplished much bigger projects than usual, like staining most of the deck in high heat and humidity, cooking and cleaning up a storm, and sleeping a lot less because my brain was extra activated. I was just plain quicker at everything than usual. At times, you could see me dancing in my living room, and even in my car. In a sense, it was like my body and mind were going “Vroom, Vroom!”
The speediness I describe above resulted from mild mood elevation that lasted about five days, ending on Wednesday. In bipolar disorder, it is called hypomania, a mild to moderate mania below the point many call “full blown” mania. Increases in energy and distractability are both common symptoms. I also felt a wee bit euphoric at times, and super irritable others, behaving a bit impulsively on occasion. Though sometimes hypomania or mania can lead me to eat too much, other times I completely forget to eat. When I experience various levels of depression or episodes combining elements of mania or anxiety with depression, I almost always struggle to diet, and even sometimes binge eat. Motivation is a big issue, as is a tendency to “self-medicate”.
When I have a normal stable mood and normal energy, my diet efforts usually go well, if I am mindful of my eating. However, just like people without mood disorders, I have days when I just don’t care, am stressed, or just plain tired or too tempted by things. It’s interesting to see how my weight changes correlate well with my moods. It’s also interesting how my hormonal changes, just before and in early stages of menstruation, can affect my eating. That’s also common for most all women! Isn’t it?
Some medications for mood disorders, like bipolar disorder, can increase appetite. Others cause sedation, which often affects motivation, even without depression. Picking/obtaining the right foods and being willing/able to take the time to prepare them can be part of the struggle. When weight loss is super slow or next to impossible, and exercise seems to yield little progress (if you can do any), it can get mighty discouraging. For some on such medications, weight gain brings about hopelessness or exacerbates it.
One of the medications I take is generally considered weight unfriendly. Such medications can be more “unfriendly” to some than others. It does challenge me, but doesn’t always get the best of me. Those following my updates have seen my good weeks and bad weeks. After 13 weeks of dieting, I’m still working towards my 10-pound weight loss milestone. But I’m proud of my progress. I’ve lost weight I gained during vacation, and as of today, I weigh less than I have in a few years. Yes, my weight only decreased fewer than two pounds since Week 3 (with gains and losses, and gains), but I’m moving forward. Writing these updates helps me continue. You know the following saying:
“After you fall down, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.”
Interim goals: First, I’m going to pat myself on the back for losing 1.4 pounds this week. Excellent! Yay, me! Second, I’m going to remember the quote above and repeat it to myself if I slip backwards again, which I probably will from time to time. I have only 0.4 pounds to lose to hit my 10-pound loss mark. I am going to get there, even if it’s at a turtle’s pace.
A few days ago, I posted my recipe for a diet-friendly version of Beef Stroganoff. It is a comparatively low guilt entrée that tastes like an indulgence. Sometimes you’ve got to eat something beyond salads and chicken breasts. Not that they aren’t good, too. Check out my recipe here.
To read about the weight loss plan and tools I chose for this effort, click My Fitness and Weight Loss Plan Described. You can also read my very first post introducing this effort at Long haul healthy weight and fitness efforts – creation of a Friday post series.