Ok, I am going to preface this with a note: This will probably be long. It will be honest and as detailed as I can get. I am looking for honest answers, but please don't yell at me and tell me I am an idiot or anything like that. I don't have the money to go and see a specialist.
I am a 22 year old female. I am 5' 7 3/4" tall and weigh approximately 174 lbs. My highest weight to date is ~181 lbs. I normally fluctuate between 171 - 178 lbs at any give time.
3 years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I had a terrible falling out with my best friend. We lived across the hall from each other and she became best friends with my roommate at the time. It was probably one of the worst years of my life. I spent most of my time at my boyfriend's dorm. I slept there 6 days a week. I was never comfortable in my room, or even my whole dorm. My friend was close with almost everyone in the hall, and so they knew her side of what happened, but not mine. As a result, just walking down the hall was like being at a trial I wasn't going to win. It was awful. (and it turns out we were both wrong and it took us 1.5yrs to figure that out)
At the beginning of that year (before the fall out), I weighed about 145lbs. I had been exercising over the summer, and had had surgery and lost about 8lbs from not being able to eat (tonsils/nose). But when school started and things fell apart, I gained 30lbs within the course of about 3 months. It was an awful and depressing time in my life.
I started seeing a therapist because I was having trouble concentrating on school work. I thought I might have had something similar to ADD (my sister was diagnosed with it the year earlier at ~16 or 17) Turned out I have generalized anxiety disorder (which is not a huge surprise as I grew up with a significant phobia and my anxiety just continued to grow and spread over the years) I was in therapy for a while. She had me meet a nutritionist because I was upset with my weight. I learned a lot from her, and tried changing my diet. Nothing really changed.
The next year I went in to the doctor because for the past 3 years I was having problems with my bowel movements. I was going way more than I would consider normal for myself. When it first started happening, I thought it might be lactose intolerance, so I started taking lactaid and it helped a bit. Once I got to college, it didn't matter what I ate. I had bad gas and multiple bowel movements every day. I was finally fed up with it. I got an unofficial diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and was put on Metamucil to bulk things up and make my bowel movements more regular. It helped a little, but the gas never went away and I would kind of cycle from periods of good days to periods of the old, bad days.
My weight was not changing.
At this same time, I was seeing my doctor for chronic pain in my hips. It never went away. I have bursitis in both of my shoulders and thought it might be the same thing. They took x-rays, the bones in my hips looked fine. They said it's probably bursitis, take 3-4 Ibuprofin 3-4 times a day. Fine.
That didn't last long.
By the beginning of my senior year (this year) my IBS was still a problem, my hips still hurt, my lower back was bothering me, I wasn't sleeping well, and I had basically become tolerant to ibuprofin and gave up on it. No use taking something that can give me heartburn or worse if I take it for long enough if it wasn't doing me any help.
I had decided at this time to get my butt into gear and work out. I started doing cardio a few times a week (swimming and some elliptical) and weight lifting ~3 times a week. It was going well until the weight lifting destroyed my hips. Too much pain. Weight never changed.
At the beginning of October, I got really tired. Exhausted. I could sleep all day. So I went to the doc. They felt my lymph nodes, but they were fine. And since I don't have tonsils, my only complain was the exhaustion. It didn't seem like mono was a match. But they tested for it, along with anemia, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis (which was for the pain more than the exhaustion). Mono came back positive. So I took it easy. I work 2 jobs and am a full time student. I was also in the middle of medical school interviews and such. It was a hectic time. Exercise took a back seat except for the swimming 2x a week (I am in a swimming class). Understandably, weight just kind of hovered.
Semester ends. Over break I start to feel better and by January I was feeling pretty much back to normal (tiredness wise) But about 2 weeks into second semester, the exhaustion came back with a vengance. I was frustrated. And so tired of being tired. So I went in again.
They tested me for low iron, low vitamin D, white cell count, anemia, thyroid, and HIV to name a few. Everything was normal. I was so tired, but there just wasn't a reason why. And I was in pain. Every single day of my life. After much talk and tests, we determined that the reason I am so tired is because I am not sleeping well. And I am not sleeping well because I am in pain. So, what's causing the pain? She brought out the xrays, thought there was a little calcification on one of the bones, but not significant enough to cause me so much pain.
Then she did the pressure point test, which is for fibromyalgia. I had 13/18, and you need a minimum of 11. But fibro is really hard to diagnose. It's basically one of those "if we can't find anything else, call it fibro". So I have a sort of unofficial diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I was put on amitriptyline to help with the pain and sleeping. It helped. For the first time in YEARS my hips do not bother me. And I was sleeping well. And feeling better. I was also told to get orthotics, and the seem to help with the hip pain as well.
That leads me to my current place in life. I am on fluoxitine for anxiety and amitriptyline for pain. I also take a multivitamin every day and a calcium supplement with vitamin D. In January I got Mirena and stopped taking birth control pills. That helped in other ways.
I swim 2x a week for about 40 mins. Now that it's nice I bike for at least 30 mins 1x a week (more if I have time) I am still a full time student and I work two jobs. I am generally conscious of what I eat. I love fruit, especially bananas and try to have mixed veggies at least once a day. I only eat whole grain bread. I make sure to get pleanty of protein in, even if I don't eat meat on a particular day. I get dairy, normally from milk in the morning and yogurt. I read nutrition labels, and while I don't always stick to the serving size, it normally takes me a few weeks to go through any one item (I still have oreos I bought back in February!) I do drink a lot of soda/pop, but only diet. It's my one vice, but better that then smoking or alcohol. I drink rarely. I have gotten into drinking lots of water lately too. I don't eat large meals, and I eat frequently throughout the day. I do have a sweet tooth, and I believe in giving into a craving than depriving yourself because you'll binge later if you don't just have a small treat now.
Over these past 3 years, I have not been able to lose the weight.
I have had a lot of stress. I have had my ups and downs. I try to exercise, but it's painful for me. I cannot run or do high impact stuff. That's why I swim and bike. I have exercise induced asthma. I just don't know what to do anymore. I can't overwhelm myself with exercise every day. I don't have the time. I still struggle with tiredness at times, though not as severely as before. I understand that even with reducing my calories and getting some exercise, it should come off, but probably slower. But I haven't changed at all. Yet my eating habits have changed drastically. 3 years ago I ate out of depression, and the only physical activity I had was walking to class. I eat significantly less now, I eat better breakfasts, less in the evening, and yet NOTHING has changed. Dress/pant sizes don't change either (I know that if I were gaining muscle that may affect the scale). I just can't seem to lose the fat I put on.
So please, if anyone has a story similar to mine or some good advice for me, I would really appreciate it. I am dissatisfied with my body. I want to change. I am going to medical school in the fall. My life is all about stress. I know that exercise is good for fibro, but I just can't do the impact stuff. And once I start that I don't really have a free gym anymore. And I won't have the money to join one, which cuts out swimming and then biking is gone during the winter. Please help. But don't judge and say I am making excuses. I am being honest. I should not feel the way I do at my age. But I do. I just want some hope that I can lose the weight on a schedule like mine, with my conditions. I care about my health. I just don't see any results that would say that I do.
thank you for your time. I appreciate your honesty. Constructive criticism only please
Last edited by Leelee28; 04-17-2009 at 04:41 PM.
Hi. I went through a problem similar to yours. I've always eaten healthy(I'm vegetarian but eat fish) and I love to exercize. I was always a picture of health. Then I turned 26, within 3 monthes I gained 25 lbs along with joint problems. I changed my routine, got to the gym more and followed a stricter diet, nothing, no change. Then 3 years later I got on fluoxetine. It was the best thing to ever happen to me. Within 2-3 monthes I was back down to 115. My dose is 40mg once daily with an extra 10mg the week before my period. Maybe you should try to get your dose raised. Your in med school you must know how seratonin works. Best of luck to you. I hope to hear you've had progress. Oh, check out the book 'The Eat Clean Diet' by Tosca Reno.
I agree with everyone below and most importantly, don't give up - it will happen.
This may not sound great but amytriptiline does cause weight gain and overeating. I put on a number of kgs when I was on it and couldn't lose them until I stopped it. It is great for sleeping and pain management though. I also suffer anxiety and the weight gain that amytriptiline caused was worse than the not sleeping and added pain for me. I know that this doesn't help but there are other tricyclic antidepressants out there that aren't as bad. Unfortunately weight gain is the most common side effect apart from tiredness - which is why we take it. When I was on it I really had to cut my calories and even my dr warned me about this and said that I'd need to be very careful. Sucks huh.
I do hope you find something that works and that someone here can help.
I had talked to my doc once about trying new meds, mainly for sexual purposes and weight problems, and he said that those were not good reasons to switch if something was working. Luckily, I was on Lexapro, which has no generics, and it was too expensive for me. So I got put on fluoxitine. That helped with the sex, idk about weight. I'm on 20mg of that, and then 20mg of amitriptyline for pain and sleep. I don't know if I can get put on to something else. It really does help though, so I'm kind of afraid to go off of it
I decided to start using a calorie tracker online. I had been doing it last year, but stopped. Now I am trying again. I hate counting calories, but once I get in the system, it shouldn't be too bad. I know i'll never be able to keep a written food journal. I'd give that up so fast. But i'm online enough that i don't really have an excuse for not just updating what I eat throughout the day.
It's always amazing how quickly those calories add up!
Hopefully things will start to change. I'd like to drop maybe 5 or 10 lbs within the next month. (I'm going to Mexico at the end of May!) Think it's possible?
Topamax is an experimental treatment for Fibro and pain, but it knocks the weight off like you wouldn't believe. It is an anti-convulsant, but is also used for migraines, binge eating and mood disorders. I am a grad student, so the cognitive side effects can be a bit disabling, but worth it, imo. Ask your doc to try it. I would never use amytriptiline. It is a weight gain nightmare. Also, I see you making excuses for what you eat, a little of this, a little of that... Diet sodas really do cause weight gain despite having no technical calories. They cause a surge in your insulin levels. Stop drinking them now and you will lose some weight. Buy some high quality, expensive chocolate, maybe Vahlrona and keep it in a drawer, eating one small piece at a special time each day, like a ritualistic treat for yourself at night. Start drinking water with freshly squeezed lemon as a soda replacement for 2 weeks and cut out all sweets for that time except for the chocolate and report back here and tell us if you have lost from just these two small changes. I bet you will have dropped 5 pounds.
I hope you are able to feel better and have the success you are wanting! I know it's so tough, and as other mentioned, just don't give up! I've found that stress/anxiety/depression does crazy things to our bodies. I'm always so tired because I'm naturally more of an anxious person. I took antidepressants in the past for depression and anxiety and felt miserable on them because they made me even more tired and I put on some weight even after just a few months and only drinking protein shakes to try to avoid the weight gain (it was ridiculous!). After carelessly getting into a fender bender for not being alert enough on those pills, I decided to give them up.
Unfortunately, with a stressful lifestyle, it's impossible to feel calm and happy all the time. I just try my best! I work out often and eat more natural foods and less prepared foods. I also limit my carbs because I typically gain weight around my middle and know that eating lower carb helps me keep my stomach flatter. I also was a student not too long ago and worked different part time jobs and often would not have time to eat dinner because I had to go straight from work to night classes until 10pm. I hated that! Just do what you can and fit in exercise whenever possible. I choose to give up a little bit of sleep to exercise because if I don't exercise, I feel way too anxious and grouchy and stressed. Also, exercise boosts my energy and I feel sluggish if I don't get to the gym. I'm often tired after work, but I feel better when I work out and wake up once I start moving.
I wonder if some of the stomach issues mentioned are more of a result from anxiety/stress rather than a medical issue. I understand that schedules can be tricky, but be sure to fit in a few minutes here and there for time you can just relax and spend doing something YOU enjoy. You need it! I used to work on the weekends too as a student and had to give up that job because I didn't have time to even to my homework assignments and often got home way after midnight from work. After that, I tried to make my schedule a little simpler and tried to not get home late too many times during the week so I have time to unwind for a few minutes (and now I do that on the weekends!). The stress hormone cortisol can cause weight gain!
I also use a calorie tracker. I wish I could mention which one because it's awesome, but I know it's against policy. I also check my protein and carbs on there too so I can make sure I'm in a healthy range for the day (my carbs tend to be on the lower side, protein on the higher, but still all in range). If you don't have access to it or don't keep up with it, aim to have about 300-400 calories for each meal and a couple of smaller snacks in between. You should end up between 1200-1500 on that plan. Of course, alter how much you eat at each meal to fit your own caloric needs. I just try to keep similar estimates for each meal to make it simpler. I hope using the counter helps!
Good luck and I hope things get better for you and easier! Keep us updated on how everything goes
I have been in your shoes. So much of your story redembles my life. I was 120 lbs. after my divorce. I kept the weight off for about 5 years. I then took an anti-depressant that caused me to gain 40 lbs. I was devistated. A Few months ago I decided I'd had enough. I signed up for a weight loss program in my town. I began to lose slowly on a 1300 calorie diet. I wasn't losing fast enough. So, I tried a product called Releana. It is sublingual drops that I take 2x per day. I am alsoo on a VLCD of 500 calories per day. The Releana makes you not hungry, so 500 cal is enough. You are told not to exercise while on Releana, outside of walking 30 min per day or so. This product eats away at your Adipose tissue and causes you to lose fat and inches quickly. You can feasibly lose a pound or so per day. The trick is that you have to follow the diet 100%. No cheating. If you cheat, you will not lose weight. * removed * Hope this helps.
Last edited by hb-mod; 04-25-2009 at 09:24 AM.
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So last week I decided to start tracking my calories online. I put in my goal (2lbs/week) and my current weight, height, etc. It also asked for my regular activity level, and I put moderate since I walk a lot during the day between classes. It calculated that I should eat about 1800 (i think it's 1811 to be exact) calories/day. I can track my exercise and it calculates approximately how many calories I've burned, and then it gives me a net calories for the day. So I can in theory eat more. I've been on it for a week and have been really faithful to it. I track everything, watch what I eat, and exercise everyday. I do a lot of biking or walking, and swim 2x a week. I drink at least 64oz of water a day (usually more) and have cut back on soda to about 1 a day.
Now, I know that it's only been a week.... but NOTHING has changed. My weight is the same, as well as my chest, waist, and hip measurements. I am kind of discouraged. I know when I did WW years ago, I lost like 5lbs in the first week!
One thing that I am struggling with is the calories. I am wondering if I am not getting enough. I eat somewhere between 1200 and 1800 calories a day, depending on what I am doing. However, my net calories almost never go aboce 1200. Should I be eating more? I know that if you don't eat enough, your body tries to conserve fat. I get in this mode that I don't want to eat over my allotted 1800, even if I've exercised and netted like 1100. Could this be my problem? I'm so afraid to eat too much! I'm really into this, but I'm afraid I'm doing something wrong.
Also, with all the medication stuff - I never gained weight when I was put on anything. I just maintained my same weight. I realize now that I have been eating more than I thought I was, but not like 2500 calories a day or anything like that. But still, more than what I should be in order to lose weight.
I am afraid to talk to my doc about med changes because a) I dont' have an official fibro diagnosis, and b) i've gotten the response before that weight issues are not a good enough reason to switch meds if they are working. (even though I have two different docs for the two different meds)
I might try and contact her and see what she thinks. I'm only on 20mg of amitriptyline, which isn't much at all. So I don't know what to do or think about it.
I'm just frustrated! (and I know it's "only been a week") but I have made pretty significant changes and see not even like a pound! help?!
I think losing weight really needs both exercise and a balanced meal. Seems like you like eating a lot of high calorie food and not exercising enough due to pain. Does it hurt when you walk? If not, I would say try to walk as much as you can through out the day. If you can't exercise much then unfortunately you need to cut down on those high calorie food. Like instead of oreos, you should be eating crackers without sweet and salt. Or you can buy those 100 calorie pkg where they are sweet but there aren't alot of them in the bag. I know that not eating sweets, fast food, red meat ice cream, cakes, and all those yummy food is EXTREMELY HARD. but if you don't exercise you shouldn't be eating all these high calorie food. And you shouldn't be drinking soda either since your not exercising much. One last thing make sure you have an empty stomache before you go to bed.
I know I have repeating this a lot but the truth is "You can only eat high calorie food if you are able to BURN them off by the time you go to bed at night."