The weight gain and loss connection with depression

When I graduated college, I was a healthy weight. I’ve never been a skinny girl, even when I played field hockey years ago, because of how my body is built. I have hips and curves and thick bones. Not to mention I’m from an Italian family. We like to eat. But I was healthy and thin for how my body is built when I was 22 years old.

And then I met my ex-boyfriend. Our four-year relationship was a tumultuous at best. We were wrong for each other. Very, very wrong. Our friends would make bets on how long before we would argue during an evening out.

I lost who I was during the four years we were together as I slowly slipped into what would become my first real battle with depression. I let him mold me into what he wanted me to be. My response was to eat, feeding my depression. Part of it was that I was comforting myself. Part of it was I adapted my ex’s lethargic, no activity lifestyle. It was easier to sit on the couch with a bag of potato chips than it was to argue that we should go for a walk or really do anything. I remember the one time I convinced him we should go for a walk, we made it one block before he started demanding we should go home.

Since he and I broke up, it’s been a battle to lose the weight, and it’s not an insignificant amount. I gained somewhere between 75 and 100 pounds. I was not a healthy weight when our relationship ended. Some of it came off immediately after we broke up because I went back to my old life. I was going to the gym, being active and I wasn’t sitting on the couch eating. Plus the months after he and I broke up was when I started working on my depression issues for the first time, and that helped with the weight loss. But the “Jeff Weight” has lingered for a long time.

It’s been 10 years since he and I broke up, and I still get upset when I see myself in the mirror each morning. And it’s really stupid for me to beat myself up at this point because I am the thinnest I’ve been in a long time. In fact, I’m probably thinner than I was when Jeff and I started dating.

I worked real hard by going to the gym and trying to eat healthier. I finally said last summer after gaining and losing the same 10 pounds for months I would try Weight Watchers. It’s been wonderful for me because I’ve lost 30-40 pounds.

And I shouldn’t be beating myself up when I can fit into dresses I haven’t worn in almost 10 years and, in some cases, are even slightly too big.

The problem is my weight issues have shifted to other areas of my body than they were 10 years ago, so that’s upsetting. The other issue is I’ve gained back some of the weight I loss, which frustrates and upsets me. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to cause some unease. I don’t want to slip back after all my hard work.

I learned the last time I saw my psychiatrist that one of the side effects of Zoloft is it can affect your appetite. My appetite had been fine for the first few months I was on Zoloft. But that changed after we upped my dosage to 75 milligrams (where I remain) a few months ago. It was right after Easter in April that I felt my appetite truly get out of whack. I wanted to blame my return to the gym, but that couldn’t have been it since I had been regularly visiting the gym since January. So I asked my doctor at the beginning of June when I saw the scale starting to creep up, and she confirmed my suspicions about the side effect.

Mind you it’s not like I eat garbage. I eat fresh vegetables and fruit. I don’t cook with a lot of heavy sauces. I rarely if ever eat fast food. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in a fast food restaurant since January. French fries, which is a comfort food for me, is a treat. I still eat chocolate, but I limit how much I have. I’m just still hungry after I eat. I find myself reaching for seconds when I hadn’t done that for months.

My doctor says the side effect should eventually go away, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed my appetite stabilizes. I also know I should get back to being strict with my Weight Watchers point counting. I had gotten lax because of how much I work out. The massive amounts of activity points I earn meant I was always within my allotment each week. It’s just a matter of getting the drive and motivation again to be strict.

But the best news is my old trainer has returned to my gym, and we found a cost-effective way for me to see her. I won’t get to see her as often as I used to, but I will get to see her and that’s the best news. She knows how to motivate me and she knows how to push me just far enough. I’ll be in pain, but I’ll be in a good kind of pain.

But the bigger need is for me to stop beating myself up when I look in the mirror. Body image issues are never healthy for anyone, and I need to love the skin I’m in and be comfortable with myself. I always thought I was, but not when I’m getting dressed and see myself in the mirror. I need to change that.


About Jen

Jen is a social media producer and a local journalist at heart. When not trying to take over the journalism world she writes, takes lots of photos and roots on her beloved New York Rangers and Mets.


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