While I normally post on mental illness and mental health issues, I also believe that there is a connection between physical health and mental health. I am convinced they affect each other. With this in mind, I wish to share a link to a blog run by Dr. Amy Bates of Kansas City. She is a childhood friend of mine. I take no credit for what she has wrote. But we do agree that what we eat is very important. Psychical and mental health very often influence each other. http://www.theholisticpic.com/blog/
One of the most common side effects of taking antidepressants and anti-psych medications is weight gain. I myself was no exception to this. But now that trend has been reversed. I’ve been working on becoming more active and tracking what I eat since the middle of March 2014. As of early November 2014, I have lost over 55 pounds in this time.
I suppose I ought to go into some of the background of this. In August 2013, it became obvious to me I could not keep going as I was. So I hastily started out trying to lose weight. But I didn’t actually keep track of what I ate, was inconsistent about exercise, and tried to follow a plan that I didn’t specifically tailor to my personal likes and tendencies. That first attempt at losing weight failed. I had to take some time, figure out why it didn’t work, and adjust accordingly. That’s how I spent much of December 2013 and January 2014.
I also talked to my psych nurse about my intentions of losing weight. He and I agreed to switch to two newer medications that didn’t have as much of a tendency to promote weight gain as my previous two medications. It was tough to change medications that had worked well on the mental side of my health. Yet, both my psych nurse and I thought that a wrecked physical health would only ruin my mental health eventually. The change over was a rather slow process that took most of January 2014, all of February and March 2014. It was, as time would show, a change over that was worth it.
Once the weather started to warm up in late March, I made it a point to walk outside for at least 10 minutes per day. That doesn’t sound like much but it was a start to developing good habits. From those beginnings I am now able to do 35 to 40 minutes of physical activity five days per week. I make it a point to take at least one day per week off from exercise merely to allow my body to recover and break up the routine some.
I also track everything that I eat. I do this through a free tracking profile I have on webmd.com. All I had to have to sign up for this was a valid email address. The profile I have tracks calories eaten as well as calories burned through exercises. Another site I used to get some good ideas was trimdownclub.com. It does cost some money through a one time fee. I have looked around online and there are numerous apps that track calories used, calories eaten, etc., and many of these are free apps. I just track everything through my laptop computer as I don’t own a smartphone.
Once I decided I wanted to lose weight, learned my tendencies and how to work accordingly, changed my anti-psych meds to some with less side effects, began building my psychical stamina slowly, tracking everything I eat as well as my exercise, stopped making excuses as to why I couldn’t get healthier, and even quit punishing myself for those inevitable days where I backslide, it became just a matter of running my tailor made program and doing the work. I also do not weigh myself daily. I usually only weigh every four weeks. I do this so as to not get discouraged if the numbers aren’t changing on a day to day basis. I also do not go only by what the numbers on the scale are, I also go off how I personally feel.
I also do not follow any one program completely. I’ve taken advice from many sources, such as Weight Watchers, Trim Down Club, Glycemic Index diets, Paleo diets, as well as my personal preferences. It took several months of research and looking at my own tendencies before I started losing weight to figure out something I thought would work for my personal circumstances. I certainly couldn’t afford some diets or much organic foods as I’m living off Social Security Disability Insurance at the moment. But the facts are I am losing weight while on anti-psych medications and working in the constraints of a very limited budget. It can be done but it does take facing the truth about yourself and knowing your tendencies. Something like this, for the results to last, has to be a complete lifestyle change.