Not going to lie, lately the number I’m seeing on the scale is distressing me. I’m currently about ten pounds higher than I was when I was diagnosed with bipolar and subsequently started on meds. I guess ten pounds in two years isn’t anything to complain about, but it’s pretty depressing to attempt to put on your favorite jeans and find you can’t get them past your thighs. Sigh. Having fibromyalgia means I’m limited in what I can do to keep myself in shape. My rheumatologist advised I shy away from high impact exercises, so my time as a runner seems to have come to an end. I do plan to pull out my bicycle now that the weather is better and I’m back into yoga and pilates.
There’s a moderately well-known saying that you cannot exercise off a bad diet. My diet, once really great at the time of my food allergy diagnosis, has slid into fatty comfort foods, super unhealthy convenience foods and too much candy. So, I’ve committed to improving my diet. Part of this includes adding a (gluten free) protein powder into my diet. No, I’m not trying to have huge muscles, but I have read several interesting articles regarding the use of protein powder as a successful treatment for fibromyalgia. And honestly, if I have a protein shake for breakfast rather than sugary cereal, that’s an improvement. Obviously, this is taking a lot of dedication and preparation. I’ve always seen food as a reward, as a comfort. I am an emotional eater, with a tendency to binge eat when I’m manic. Fortunately, I haven’t had a binge eating episode recently, but I definitely needed to look at my relationship with food. So re-vamping my diet and nutritional choices was long overdue. I also invested in a FitBit, which has been a great help. The app allows you to create a food diary, which is essential for me to lose weight. I also set an alarm on it to remind me to take my medications. You also can track sleep, calories burned and so on. It’s definitely worth the price, I find it to be motivating.
In addition to increasing my exercise and improving my food intake, I’m also researching alternative medicines, specifically ayurvedic medications. I have a wonderful co-worker who hails from Chennai and she introduced me to meditation (and the amazing Sattva app) as well as suggesting some ayurvedic herbs I might want to incorporate into my medication regimen. **please note, although I work in a hospital, I am NOT a doctor. I cannot recommend you take any supplements, please check with your doctor/psychiatrist as many herbs can interfere with medications.** My psychiatrist changed my antidepressant a few months ago, after a particularly bad depression plagued with suicidal thoughts. So, here’s the list of medications I am on, as well as the ayurvedic herbs and vitamins I use, as well:
- Depakote DR 250 mg twice a day
- Fluvoxamine 50 mg at bedtime
- Gabapentin 300 mg three times a day
- Trileptal 150 mg every morning
- Relpax 40 mg as needed for migraine
- Vitamin B Complex every evening
- Ashwagandha 2 capsules twice a day
- Turmeric 1 capsule twice a day
- Tulsi (Holy Basil) 2 capsules twice a day
I get all my ayurvedic herbs from OrganicIndiaUSA.com. You can also find Organic India products on Amazon, usually for a few dollars less. I do recommend visiting the Organic India site, you can read a lot about ayurvedic medicine there. I’ve been meditating with the Sattva app almost nightly. I find it’s really helping my sleep, and I have also noticed I can shut the negative dialogue off in my head a little bit more. It’s not completely gone, but it’s not so loud, which is definitely an improvement. So, am I turning into a hippie? Maybe, but truth be told, I always was one.
It’s going to be a long road to reach a sort of peace with my weight and body issues. I had a great period of confidence several months ago, and then I started noticing how tight my waistband felt on my scrubs, how sluggish I felt. I understand that a scale cannot measure my worth as a human, and fortunately I have some great friends who are supporting me and also making healthy changes in their own lives, as well. So much has to do with the ridiculous standards of beauty set forth by society, of our homogenizing beauty to blond hair, blue eyes, tan skin and a size 00.
Are there things you’re doing, either diet, medicine or exercise wise to help your conditions/disease/general well-being? I’d love to hear all about them, so tell us what’s going on with you in the comments!