Um…Lucy ate the entire pint of talenti dark chocolate gelato in one sitting. Not me!
I never had a significant weight gain until bipolar disorder entered the picture. I was a high school cross country team runner until I blew out my knee playing basketball. I eventually had successful anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery, and learned how to use weight lifting to strengthen the muscles around my knee.
Long before I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder, I worked at a local gym as a front desk attendant. I was responsible for opening the gym weekdays at the grisly hour of 5:30 a.m. and greeting groggy members.
At the front desk I handed out workout towels to the eclectic membership which ranged from the founder of Netflix (before he became a billionaire and built his own gym) to University of California professors, artists, high-tech employees and the homeless.
A year into the job, weary of being known as the “counter girl”, I became certified as an American Council on Exercise personal trainer, which was incredibly challenging. Studying for the certification was as difficult as any university class I took. I cried with relief and joy when I found out I passed my A.C.E. exam! From then on I trained members how to use the equipment, designed their exercise programs, and taught circuit training classes for two years.
My first major weight gain happened six years ago when I was in the thick of bipolar depression; hopeless and deeply depressed.
The semi-smile you see here is the fakey kind…
Not feeling the Christmas spirit!
Our house only has a few mirrors, and they all show how we look from the chest up, so you can imagine how easy it might be to ignore a growing weight problem. “Out of sight, out of mind” rings a bell.
Yet I didn’t totally have my head in the sand about my body. I knew I gained a lot of weight once my Seroquel spider belly popped out and none of my clothes fit.
Two weeks ago I had an epiphany in Target. (Where else? The Vatican???)
Accompanied by my oldest daughter Avonlea, I was in an extremely well-lit changing room trying on dresses in front of Target’s full-length mirror. After one glance at myself, I didn’t recognize the body I saw in the mirror.
It was apparent that if I kept up my habit of eating gelato (and a lot more sweets than that since the Italian Ben Lomond Baking Company opened down the street), my fatigue would worsen and I’d be asking for diabetes along with a host of other maladies.
It was time to stop sabotaging my physical and mental health.
Avonlea reminded me of my success using the free internet program/app Lose It! in which I gradually and safely lost sixty pounds after that Christmas photo was taken.
For the past three weeks I’ve eaten only low-fat, mostly organic, non-GMO-sourced food. I returned to drinking plenty of water – a good idea since I take lithium. I follow these water guidelines to be safe. The better-quality food I now eat doesn’t cost our family a great deal more because there’s a savvy shopper in the family. Craig worked in kitchens for years as a cook to put himself through school. He continues to cook at home and prefers to buy groceries. That’s fine with me!
I’ll be honest with you – I was eating a pint of talenti a night, okay? That volume of gelato adds up calorically and financially.
Can you see why I can’t blame my weight gain on my meds?
I don’t miss my small mountain’s worth of gelato a week – it’s a miracle.
I feel much better, but it’s definitely challenging to sit with my emotions instead of distract myself with food. Reading Geneen Roth’s classic books about compulsive overeating and attending OA meetings once helped me grapple with compulsive overeating. Now I’m lucky to have my therapist to turn to; she’s one of the healthiest people I know.
Once I get out more this summer and face a few social situations, I’ll be tested, but I’ll figure it out.
My goal is to look like this:
Don’t be jealous!
Seriously, if you’re in the same boat as me, consider checking out Lose It! (Forgive me if I sound like an infomercial – I simply like their program, but I don’t work for them.)
You may be wondering where exercise fits in this regime. Well, I plan on returning to what I call my “Dr. Alsuwaidan-style“ exercise very soon.
Ever since my Christmas illness cramped my cardio habit, I dropped my workouts to the wayside. I miss the way they make me feel, especially in terms of alleviating anxiety. So yes, I shall sweat again soon.
In the meantime, let me know if you want to try Lose It! by setting up your profile (it’s easy to do) and “friend” me under my name. I’ll be there to cheer you on.
I’m experienced in encouraging gym members to achieve their goals, so I’d be more than honored to encourage any member of our tribe to feel better.
Lots of love & see you next week,
Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.