I don’t write much about weight here. I’d like to think it’s because weight is not a big part of my life, but that is a lie. The truth is weight is the elephant in the room always, keeping me from getting the help I desperately need. So really, there is nothing else affecting me more right now except depression and infertility.

But weight is not a part of my day to day, not like it used to be anyway. Weight and body issues were MY LIFE (literally, my life in its entirety) for so many years–most of a decade really. I rarely speak of it here because I hate to relive that horrible time but I will say that when my medicine (the stuff I can’t take right now) cured me of my body and food issues I was given a new lease on life, one I intend to never take for granted.

Now I have a pretty great relationship with food. Sure, I don’t eat as well as I should–I don’t get nearly enough fruits and veggies–but I also eat when I’m hungry, I eat reasonable meals and don’t pine for more. When I have a craving I satisfy it. I don’t track what I eat, formally or informally. I don’t count calories. Heck, I don’t even know how many calories most of the things I eat contain.

There was a time in life where I could recite how many calories were in every one of the hundreds of foods I ate on a daily basis. Every single one, down to the last measure of potential energy. I could also eye a serving pretty darn accurately.

I used to spend HOURS exercising. There were years when two days in a week without exercise were considered unforgivable sins. I can’t tell you how many issues of Shape and Health and Fitness I devoured on the Precors at the gym. I can’t tell you how many times my weight dipped to my target number and then ballooned to something unconscionable.

Now I’ve put all that behind me. It’s just not a part of my life. And for that I’m INCREDIBLY grateful.

Now I have healthy relationships with food. I eat when I’m hungry. No food are off limits and I don’t stress about eating out or enjoying dessert. I get exercise when it makes me feel good (though I do think more aerobic exercise would be good for me because endorphins help manage my depression and mood swings) and despite getting a lot less of it I still feel strong and proud of my body (most of the time).

Being off my medication makes my relationship with food and weight a little more precarious. I have to be just a smidgen more aware of what I eat and when. I have to remind myself not to snack so much, or not serve myself such a big portion, but mostly things are pretty comfortable.

Still, it’s a balance and can be a delicate one. Going off my medication I slowly gained five pounds, which honestly didn’t bother me. I could still wear my clothes well and felt good in my body. Moving into our new house–where I walk a lot less than before–coupled with two consecutive months of illness, brought me up another five pounds. Now my clothes aren’t fitting all that well. There are pants I avoid because they are so tight. I’ve been wearing a lot more dresses with leggings to stay warm (and to cover my forest-like lower legs). Already, I’m not happy with how I look and not comfortable with how I feel.

As anyone who’s read me in the past few months knows, I’m combatting a pretty significant depression and I have been for a while. While trying to conceive I have only one weapon in my medicinal arsenal–Zo.loft. I took that SSRI when I was pregnant and I gained a TON of weight, like twice the highest recommended amount. I also gained a lot of weight on Pro.zac (another SSRI) when I was in high school. Neither drug (and I believe all SSRIs) were very effective for me. (I now believe that is because I don’t suffer from generalized clinical depression but from Bi.Polar II.)

I have a prescription for Zo.loft. In fact, I’ve already filled it. But I refuse to take it because I can’t stand the thought of gaining more weight. Weight gain makes me depressed. I don’t see how taking something that will almost certainly cause weight gain is a good idea. And yet, it is the only idea and I don’t know if I’m being totally irresponsible in disregarding it.

I like to think that my weight and body issues have disappeared, but that isn’t the case. Not at all. I’ve managed to banish them to a degree, but the fear of them is still there, ever present, ready to take hold of me at any moment. Taking hold of me now–maybe standing silently with a gun to my head feeding me dialogue so no one will realize I’m being held hostage.

I can’t stand the thought of going back to the way I was, of morphing back into the calorie counting, obsessive exerciser of my late teens and early to mid twenties. I REFUSE to become her again. And I don’t know if I’m strong enough to fight her off when anti-depressants are causing me to gain weight.

So there is it, the elephant in the room, the HUGE issue I’ve skirted around, completely failed to address. It felt disingenuous that I wasn’t saying more about it, that I wasn’t voicing my concerns about the decision I’m making, every single day, when I choose depression over weight gain.

Is it really the lesser of the two evils? I honestly think so, but who knows? Maybe that’s just my fear feeding me lines again, holding the nuzzle of a gun to my head, telling me what to say.

5 responses

  1. very brave and honest post, K. Body image issues are so difficult as women and I think it’s a reoccurring theme in our lives (unfortunately).
    A lot of those issues we healed from in our younger years rear their ugly heads like no other when dealing with infertility, and you have an extra layer of complexity and a lot of history that makes it even more difficult. I’m sorry and I’m sending you hugs and support.

  2. I wonder if it’s a matter of control … depression is something you will never necessarily be able to control (because it’s hormonal) … where food intake IS something you can control because you have a healthy relationship with it? And that if worse comes to worse you will lose weight you’ve gained with a medication simply because you’ll continue to practice the lifestyle you’ve learned is healthy? I don’t know how weight gain with Zoloft works, so that’s total speculation.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I too have struggled with weight gain and loss over the years. This past year I was especially frustrated as I am still trying to lose the last 5 – 10 lbs. of my pre-pregnancy/IVF weight and can’t seem to shake it. I know what I need to do to make it happen, but need to do a better job prioritizing too. I also think I am getting older and my metabolism may be slowing down, among other things. Anyway, thank you for sharing. I am sorry that at this time in your life you have to choose between one or the other, when both can be so hard to deal with. (((HUGS)))

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