Antidepressants are supposed to help us feel better about ourselves mentally and physically, but in a way they hurt our view of our body. Many antidepressants add extra pounds and can make you hungry. Not only do antidepressants add weight, but binge eating when you’re down also puts on extra pounds. How do you feel better if you’re hungry and adding extra pounds when you take your medication? How do you like yourself when you can’t control your eating when you’re down? How do you get healthier mentally and physically?
I have been struggling with my weight and my self-esteem for a long time. Over the years I put on a lot of extra pounds. My psychiatrist gave me a diet plan to help fight the weight gain my antidepressants caused and I was excited at first. I tried to keep to the plan, and at each visit my psychiatrist weighed me. I lost a few pounds, but I lost interest. Eating unhealthier when I was stressed and down became too easy. I got into a habit of eating junk food at night and snacking in between meals. It’s so easy to eat junk food when your emotions are running wild.
I put those pounds back on along with extra ones. I went from being one hundred and seventy to two hundred and thirty three. My round belly popped out and I began wearing elastic pants and double extra-large shirts. This also made it hard for me to look at myself in the mirror without disgust. I hated myself even more.
I kept saying to my husband, “I’m fat and ugly.”
He looked into my eyes. “Don’t put yourself down. You’re not ugly and you’re just overweight.”
I wanted to believe him, but I felt ugly and fat inside and out. I didn’t like myself, but I didn’t have the willpower to change it. Instead I just kept shoving food in my mouth, and sitting in front of the television. It wasn’t until the doctor said I was close to getting diabetes that I decided to do something about it. I mean I did try to work out with a friend for a little bit after I recovered from cancer, but gave up. A diagnosis of prediabetes woke up my determination.
As you have been reading in previous blog posts, I have been working hard on losing weight and eating healthier. It has been a trial and error process. I hurt in places where I didn’t know there were muscles. I keep pushing myself and resisting the junk food. Instead of snacking on chips and candy at night, I’ve been eating fruit. I’ve cut down my portions, and I’m drinking lots of water even though it’s making me pee a lot.
I didn’t think I could do this until I was smacked in the face with the possibility of getting another illness. Now I’m doing it. I have been doing this for four weeks so far and I have lost five pounds. I keep pushing myself. I wonder if I can keep up this lifestyle, and then I remind myself I have to. I can’t give up on losing weight and being healthier, because it is helping me physically and mentally.
At work a customer said to me, “You look like you’re losing weight.”
I couldn’t help but feel the light shine from my soul. I smiled and said, “I have lost weight. I’m working hard at it.”
“You look good,” the customer replied.
For the first time in a while, I feel good inside and out. It’s been a while since I’ve been happy with myself. I have a long ways to go to get below two hundred pounds, but I am already proud of how far I have come. All the pain, the cravings, and the giving up of foods I like are worth it. I am losing weight. I couldn’t be happier with myself.
My friend Cheryl is also trying to lose weight and we keep telling each other we can’t wait until we have “bikini bodies.” I have no breasts to hold up a bikini top, but it is a goal I am going to reach for. I am already starting to feel healthier physically and mentally.
Don’t let mental illness and antidepressants take away your self-esteem. Yes, the medication puts on weight, and yes it’s easier to eat unhealthy when you’re feeling down, but it doesn’t make you feel good. Get off the couch and do some exercises, even if it’s just walking around your neighborhood. Replace that chocolate cake with an orange. When you’re down, binge eat on healthy foods, cut down on your portions, and get off that couch and get moving.
It’s up to you to change your ways so you’ll like yourself more. You can be healthier mentally and physically. Make eating healthier and exercising part of your recovery plan. Don’t put it off like I did. Push yourself. You can do it.
I won’t give up on my quest to be healthier. It’s helping me feel better about myself, and that helps me run with pride in the light of recovery.