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It's January – Let's Diet! Tuesday January 14, 2014

If we have had any exposure to media at all in the last two weeks it will not have escaped our attention that the whole of our society is obsessed with weight issues. Standing in the queue at the newsagents it seemed that every single women's magazine featured either an article on how to lose 5lb by Friday or a woman who lost 7stone last year. There was one crafting magazine which featured crocheting doilies – but I'm sure they were FAT doilies who really wanted to be slim doilies in 2014 too! We are obsessed indeed.

For those of us with depression these messages are not just annoying, but can be dangerous. While for some of us depression is an appetite suppressant and we lose weight while we are ill, for many more of us, we gain weight for a number of reasons.

The first and most obvious reason is that some of the drugs used to treat depression have weight gain as a side effect. If we need the relief the drugs provide, then the weight is the lesser evil.

One of the frequent but not well known symptoms of depression is the feeling of exhaustion it brings. When we are tired our brain tells us to eat so we have some energy. It would like some energy quickly please, so carbohydrates are the logical choice. Therefore we crave the carbs. But we're still exhausted – too exhausted to run around doing our normal amount of exercise, so we end up consuming far more calories than we use and thus gain weight.

If we are carrying too much weight (medically speaking), should we worry? Should we jump aboard the dieting train (or exercise bicycle) and pour our money into the coffers of the weight loss industry?

You can probably guess my answer to that one. I love the approach that Sandra Aamodt, Neuroscientist and science writer, suggests in her TED talk on Why Dieting Doesn't Usually Work:

If you don't have time to listen to the whole thing, then skip to eight minutes into the talk and see that just carrying around a few extra pounds is not as life-threatening as the diet industry wants you to believe.

The best advice is the same as the Moodscope team give time after time: eat a good diet with lots of fruit and veg and protein, drink loads of water (and go easy on the alcohol), get at least some exercise if you can.

And don't let the media persuade you to add points to that guilty card.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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PWD Tue, Jan 14th 2014 @ 7:42am

Great post and makes a lot of sense, I would also second the bit about drink LOTS of water I find when feeling down I do not drink enough ,and dehydration makes you feel even worse if that is possible.


Diana Tue, Jan 14th 2014 @ 7:43am

Well - have mercy ! " loads of water " sounds like a sentence to me - there are possible alternatives :
Soups, stews, natural fruit juices, also stewed fruits - preferably not too much
sugar in the latter ! Any OTHER SUGGESTIONS ? ( I mean other than alcohol )

Anonymous Tue, Jan 14th 2014 @ 8:03am

Chamomile tea - I love it and many other non caffeinated brews

Ida Tue, Jan 14th 2014 @ 10:35am

Have your own realistic goals & target, is my advice. No one is perfect but we all have our own brilliance and intelligence. Work on those positive traits and you will be fine. No need to succumb to society's pressure - it will make you feel worse!

Tere Tue, Jan 14th 2014 @ 11:46am

Truly, this is my answer. I don't like WATER, either. Only I know I have to drink it (as will be noted below, there's a reason!). Water is so boring, boring, boring. When I'm in school, I don't have ready access to it. So, I take along a water bottle (some days when I'll be there a long while I take two). I add APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. I do truly love the taste, although others have said it is an acquired taste, but I loved Scotch when I drank (never too much, but never ever now!) and I can heat hot peppers for breakfast, but I loved it. I add enough to make the water kinda yellow. The color I need my urine to be, actually. However, this is NOT just the apple cider vinegar you buy at the grocery, unless you shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. I have to get mine from Amazon (even with the shipping, it's still cheaper than GNC!). I personally use Bragg's, but anything with the "mother", the yeast in it will do. Yes, I get funny looks from other students. Yes, I get funny looks from my professors. But I think my liver and kidneys thank me. I usually have at least 6 ounces in the 46 ounces of water I drink a day. I am not affiliated with any ACV producer at all, just a customer who tried everything and came up with that. My doctors don't think anything about it, when I tell them I like the taste.

Tere Tue, Jan 14th 2014 @ 11:58am

No one else has mentioned this so I will. The worst part about having the extra weight because of medications is that your doctors will say you are overweight and need to lose it. They lose sight of the fact that it is the very medication they have their prescription form out to write for us that is causing the gain. I loved my previous PCP (he retired in April and wouldn't let me come with him, dang it!) because he was like a beach ball -- as round as he was tall. He started in on me ONCE and I poked him and I said, "you don't say anything to me, and I won't say anything to you, ok?" Luckily he has a sense of humor and he laughed and for the next seven years never said a word, even when I ballooned up to more than 200 pounds. I've lost 30 of that (took myself off Ativan because of financial reasons and DO NOT EVER DO THAT because it is an awful way to go!). My new PCP says: lose weight. I don't like her a bit, and not only because of that. My therapist says to let it go, but dang it, when THEY are responsible for us gaining the weight by prescribing medication that may help us they need to be more forgiving. Plus, that's all she says: lose weight. ARRRGH. I know if I slap her I'll be in worse trouble, so I usually just hightail it out of there. Except once when my Tegretol levels were high and I was dizzy and fell and she literally made her assistant get a wheelchair and wheel me over to the ER. I tried to tell her the problem, but she was having none of it. NINE hours later I was released. I had missed my next Tegretol dose, so I was fine. My neurologist and I have realized that this is all I have to do when I get like that: miss a dose or two. Never more than two, I learned that the hard way, too.

Basically, what I'm getting down to is these dang doctors need to look at us as a WHOLE person, not just someone sitting in their office with their BMI in front of them. My previous doctor never ever made any comment about my weight, because he knew why I was like that -- when I first started seeing him, I weighed exactly my weight. As my medications piled up due to my injury, he knew why I gained. That and my poking him in his round large tummy.

It truly is no one's business why anyone is overweight (and those companies that won't hire the overweight are just plain stupid!) except yours and your doctor's, if they care. My visiting nurse, my husband, and my family know why I'm FAT (50 pounds overweight when you are 5'0" is a lot) so it is no one else's business. It is up to us to remember that. We have enough trouble with ill health to worry about that!

Julia Tue, Jan 14th 2014 @ 2:46pm

Your blog is full of really sensible advice Mary. I think carbohydrates which contain fibre should also be added to your list of healthy foods to eat in moderation. Carbs are a dirty word nowadays in some literature promoting a healthy diet but are essential to for health and wellbeing. Wholemeal bread, pasta and potatoes are all good sources of fibre and should be included in our daily diet with salad. A naturopath told me this years ago and it's proved excellent advice.

Ben Thu, Jan 16th 2014 @ 3:10pm

The UK government appears to have won the war on smokers and declared war on obesity. Much like the war on terrorism, the strategy appears to be to attack the obese rather than combat the root causes that have created the problem. I have diabetes and I'm obese so I'm like a member of the Taliban. The media and government would have the public believe that I'm a slob, lazy and a drain on resources, there is an inference that people like me are bleeding the NHS dry.
For me the reality is as very well described above, years of undiagnosed depression and self harm have kept me indoors and comfort eating, all the while feeling ugly and unwanted because of my size, in turn feeling worse and eating more, a cycle of weight gain that I ignored by working 60-70 hour weeks.
I'm taking mirtazapine, which has turned my appetite into something like the cookie monster, but with the the support of my counsellor and GP I've come to realise that my weight doesn't define me, in fact I've accepted my weight instead of dwelling on it and I'm now focussing on getting me better. I've changed my diet to just fresh meat, fish, fruit and veg with limited bread, potato, rice and pasta plenty of water and a half hour walking each day and suddenly my diabetes is under better control and I've lost 7lb.. No real effort just dropping the comfort food and sleeping properly and going for a walk.
The media and government need to understand that a campaign of scapegoating and oversimplification will only make things worse for many obese people who already have low self esteem, in my case the advice of eat less calories didn't work because of the underlying mental health issues.
In the end losing weight is about healthy mind as well as body.

Daren Sat, Jan 18th 2014 @ 4:20pm

I agree. The entire "War on..." paradigm is lacking. That said, attacking symptoms rather than causes is also lacking.

platinum hcg drops Tue, Jan 21st 2014 @ 3:19pm

I hate January only eat and do nothing don`t have a job in this period and wow eat eat eat

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