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Milestone 1: Down 50 LBS

In February of this year, I made a goal to lose 50 lbs. After a lot of hard work and determination, I’ve finally met my goal! 🎉 I’m so excited to have met this first milestone in my weight loss journey!

Weight Loss Journey

I’ve wanted to lose weight for a while, but I’d had a hard time. As I said in the post Rising from the Ashes, my weight loss has been like a yo-yo, up and down, never losing more than 40 lbs. at a time for at least the past 15 years. I’ve tried almost everything I can think of to lose weight:

  • Counting calories
  • Eating “healthy”
  • Juice fasting
  • Boot-camp style exercising

With every single “diet” above, I was always starving, it didn’t feel like a lifestyle change, and I felt like I was missing out. After only a few months, I couldn’t keep it up and I’d revert back to my old ways. I’d gain the weight back and then some. Or, something catastrophic would happen, like when my mom passed away. When that happened, I couldn’t deal with weight loss on top of my grief. My depression worsened because I gained more weight than I ever had. It was definitely one of the lowest times of my life.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Even though weight loss was in the back of my mind at the beginning of this year, I was still too depressed to start doing anything about it. However, I had a lot of health problems. I was sick every other week and constantly going to the doctor because of these illnesses.

My doctor is a superman. I love him to death. It’s thanks to him I’m where I’m at today. He helped me find antidepressants that work. He also suggested I try a low-carb high-fat diet because it may help my Fibromyalgia, depression, and other health issues. Plus, a positive byproduct is weight loss without counting calories.

Low-Carb High-Fat Lifestyle (Ketogenic Diet)

When my doctor told me about this diet, it seemed a little backwards. I know in recent years experts have said not to avoid good fat. But, I’ve never heard anyone say to consume mostly fats. Paleo is low carb, but it’s high protein, so it’s not quite ketogenic.

I eat 80% fat (any fat except trans), 15% protein, and 5% carbs a day. With a 2,000-calorie diet, that means 178 g of fat, 75 g of protein, and 25 g of carbs. 25 g of carbs isn’t a lot, especially for someone like me who basically lived off of carbs.

At first it was rough. I missed breads so much, SO much! But now I don’t crave them at all. I still miss fruit, but after I lose the weight I want/need to, I can increase my carb intake to somewhere between 25 and 100 g. This’ll let me add some fruits and potatoes into my diet. Until then, I’m happy where I’m at.

I’m never hungry, I often go without eating because fat is so satiating, I love the food I eat, and I still eat a ton of veggies. I just choose low-carb veggies (e.g. spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce). In fact, I eat a ton of salads and the best part is I can eat almost all the full-fat salad dressings I want as long as they don’t contain sugar.

I’m so glad my doctor recommended this lifestyle to me. I feel like it’s sustainable, something I’ve never felt before. I can’t wait for next year so I can set my next weight loss goal!

Exercising

Diet isn’t the only thing I’ve been working on. I live a pretty sedentary life. I work a desk job and I’m not very active when I get home. Because I weigh so much and I have Fibromyalgia, I don’t have a lot of motivation to get out and exercise. For the past couple of months, however, I’ve started walking at least a mile a few times a week to help my body, joints, and feet get used to moving again. As I lose more weight, I’ll add in more exercise, including weight lifting. I’m just taking this step a little slower and doing what I feel like I can handle.

🥂 Anyway, here’s to a successful weight loss journey!

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Depression, Antidepressants, and SAD, Oh My!

About two months ago, I realized something significant. My antidepressants are actually working. Am I always happy? No. Am I even happy most of the time? I guess it depends on how you define happy. But, to be honest, that’s not what depression is really about. Depression is about not being able to cope with stresses in life. It’s about shutting down when life gets too hard to deal with. It’s about brain chemistry and not being able to enjoy the simplest of pleasures.

I have a very stressful job. I think about quitting almost daily. Some days, like any other job, are worse than others. When my antidepressants weren’t working, I’d “cope” with my stress as a result of my job and my depression in very unhealthy ways, like:

  • Burning through my PTO (paid time off) like there’s a hole in my pocket
  • Having a ton of Fibromyalgia flareups
  • Overeating
  • Over sleeping
  • Procrastinating my to do list at work
  • Being extremely irritable and grumpy
  • Being anti-social
  • Sitting on the couch doing nothing while I’m at home
  • Going into victim

I know my medication is working because even though I’m still extremely stressed and I’m not always happy, I’m not depressed like I have been in the past. And, I’ve realized I can cope with the stress in healthy ways. Sure, I’d still love to quit my job if a better opportunity presented itself. But, until then I know I can survive.

When I’m in a good place, I:

  • No longer burn through my PTO, which is nice because I can actually take vacations
  • Take 5-minute walks to breathe when I realize I need a break
  • Don’t procrastinate and just get the job done
  • Stick to my diet (lifestyle change) and take care of my physical health, which in turn allows me to take care of my mental health
  • Exercise to release endorphins

Seasonal Affective Disorder

My only concern is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), something else I’ve been diagnosed with. SAD affects me during the winter when it’s dark before I go to work and dark before I come home. I’ve never been in as good of a place as I am in right now before with medication and I don’t know how it works or will work with SAD. I can already feel SAD affecting me. Or, today I started wondering if I’m beginning to fall into its clutches. I’m not sure if I’m just tired, bored, and stressed (remember HALT BS?) or becoming depressed. They often feel the same to me in the beginning.

I had hoped my medication was going to keep SAD away this year, but SAD may be too strong for my meds. I just don’t know since it’s only seasonal. If I do fall into SAD’s clutches, I hope once it starts getting lighter again and SAD eventually goes away, I can go right back to being in a better place.

SAD be damned. I’ll get through this. I always do. I’ll just remember that everything is better in the spring. 😉

I’m glad I’ve been able to see how awesome it is to feel “normal” since I haven’t felt normal for more than half my life. I hope my antidepressants continue to work so I can keep feeling normal and keep coping with life in healthy ways.