S.G. asks from Tempe, AZ on June 29, 2008
Seeking Advice on Handling Depression and Weight Gain
I'm hardly sure where to begin, but I guess my goal in writing this request is to find out whether others have experienced anything similar, and if so, how did you pull yourself out...
I have been under what I would consider a significant amount of stress the past 3 years. I was always fairly fit and stayed at a healthy weight until my 2nd child was about 3 or 4 months old -- after which I ballooned up to 170 pounds (I'm 5'6") and I cannot seem to stop the pounds from coming on. In conjunction with the weight gain, I've experienced mild depression, horrible irritability, and extremely intense food cravings. I've managed to change my extreme eating behaviors (i.e. not binge eating anymore) and I manage to get in a couple of good work outs every week, but I'm still gaining weight. I was diagnosed with estrogen dominance and have noticed that my symptoms from that have gotten much better since I changed my diet and started exercising a little. BUT, as I've said, I'm still gaining weight and still very prone to feeling down and "freaky". My husband believes I'm down because I'm overweight, but I feel so out of control with my emotions -- I honestly don't feel like I can help my mood swings. I really feel that nobody truly understands, but surely others have experienced this. I took some saliva hormone tests that showed I have adrenal fatigue. Eliminating coffee has seemed to also really help. I honestly wonder whether I can ever lose the weight at this point. My family doctor wanted me to take paxil, and my gynecologist prescribed birth control pills. I'm not inclined to follow either of these paths. I am so leery of prescription drugs because the side effects are typically worse than the original symptoms. I thought I could "fix" this all by myself with good vitamin and mineral supplements, a good diet and exercise. I am beginning to wonder if a prescription is the way to go to save my marriage and save my kids from growing up with a freaky mother. There is so much more to this story, but it's probably not worth going any deeper. Does this sound really familiar to anyone? I just don't know how to get myself back.
C.P. answers from Phoenix on July 01, 2008
I went through something similar after the birth of my son. I am 5'6 also and I got all the way up to 190. I was VERY depressed with the weight and with being a new mother. I went to Jenny Craig and really stuck with the diet. I also hit the gym hard. I found it hard to workout at the end of a long day so I actually got hired to teach aerobics. Now I HAVE to go because it is my job. A little over a year later I am 140 (still trying to lose)but proud of my self. I did however have to go on prescription antidepressants for a while to deal with the postpartum depression. I hope this helps--you are not alone! Good Luck!!
D.H. answers from Tucson on July 01, 2008
Do NOT take Paxil, it was the worst experience of my life. The side effects are terrible, the withrawl if awful. Please research it.
S.L. answers from Tucson on July 01, 2008
Sounds familiar . . .There are raw adrenal glandulars out there- try to get the ones from organically raised cows. I take two a day. Have a thyroid function test, and do take that prescription, if there is a deficiency. I would see an endocrinologist for that part, initially. Be careful of your sugar intake, and check for diabetes. Don't put up with anything you shouldn't- there's more to the story, you're saying- I think those things, whatever they are, may be the real problem, tho.
When you believe that you are putting up with so much that you can't deal with it anymore, you can lie on the floor on your stomach, put your face in a pillow, grab your ankles with your hands. Push with your legs, pull with your hands, and scream into your pillow as long as it takes. Don't let anybody watch; it's kind of scarey. You may have some 'moments of truth' about your life.
Calcium/magnesium supplementation helps smooth out the mood swings. Take two with a large glass of water every 20 minutes until you feel yourself 'drop'- those are the directions I was given, and it has worked a treat for a lot of years now. Don't take them within two hours of the thyroid supplemntation. You may wish to read up on fibromyalgia, etc. Make sure your vitamins are pre-natal, and take extra 'B' vitamimins (the stress b's).
In suggesting the birth control pills, tour Dr. is trying to balnce your hormones. They need to be balanced somehow, I think. A lot of things happen when some tiny thing is out of balance.
Sometimes we think that we have to do everything we used to do before the children, that the house has to be the same, and so forth. It doesn't work that way, and your health is the most important thing. Relax; it is OK. You might wish to take a nap when the kids do. Massages are good. Once a week, if you can afford it.
The kind of supplementation I suggested above takes a while to kick in- the cal/mag is quick, but the adrenal and vitamin therapys are slower. You may wish to experiment with St. John's Wort for the depression. Takes a month. Otherwise, go with your Dr. When I finally gave in and took a tranquilizer, I was happier and calmer than I had been for many years. :-) S.
T.H. answers from Santa Fe on July 01, 2008
you may want to get your PCP to do a Thyroid test on you
J.C. answers from Phoenix on July 01, 2008
You ought to check out a new company called Life Sculpting. Their website is www.lifesculpting.biz and if you have some time they have packages that can help get you and your life back on track. There is also a naturopathic physician Dr. Laura Weeshoff who would be able to meet with you and recommend some natural supplements to help you feel better and not so "freaky". Their phone number is ###-###-#### and good luck.
V.C. answers from Albuquerque on July 01, 2008
My heart goes out to meet you - I've been dealing with difficult to manage endocrine problems for years, after a particularly difficult birth. After years of feeling crazy, moody and unable to sleep more than 3 or 4 hours a night, a thyroid test finally showed up a little out of the normal range. Further testing revealed my thyroid gland is not functioning at all, but has a very large tumor (benign) that is causing hyperthyroidism. It's a big deal and a big mess, and as serious as it is, it still took years to get an accurate diagnosis. Thyroid problems can be like that, and the thyroid gland affects your body's metabolism. Low thyroid function is a possible reason you cannot lose weight.
I would suggest seeing a very skilled endocrinologist, especially since you have already diagnosed endocrine issues like the estrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue. In my experience, the endocrine system is delicately balanced, and though the problem may be one issue, it will affect the endocrine system as a whole. In my case my thyroid tumor caused adrenal fatigue and hypoglycemia, but neither of these two problems were the "real" problem.
I would eliminate all stimulants and depressants from your diet for a good long time (think months to years). Including caffeine, chocolate, sugar, and alcohol. In fact simplify your diet as much as possible, eating as many whole foods as you can, and eat less than you generally do. This is not a weight loss strategy, but rather a way to help your body eliminate toxins and excesses of the endocrine system. Although, it should help with the weight loss goals, too. I've had a lot of success modulating mood swings with a period of taking in very simple food (homemade chicken broth with brown rice, plain toast, yogurt) for a day or two to cleanse my system, and drinking a good amount of herbal tea made from a variety of roots, especially licorice, wild yam, burdock and dandelion roots. These roots have the properties of balancing out hormone production and toning the endocrine system, and they have been the best thing I've found for dealing with the mood swings. You may want to consult with a good herbalist, or a Chinese doctor, for an herbal blend that suits your particular situation.
All the best to you as you sort out this difficult situation. I agree with you that prescription meds like antidepressants are not the way to go. I tried these once, and it made my problems worse, and more difficult to sort out. Birth control pills will effect your endocrine system, and might be helpful or might not. They may cloud the real issue, and make it more difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. Work with a good endocrinologist and a good herbalist - insist that they do a thyroid function test, and any other testing that seems reasonable, plan on allowing some time for this to resolve, but don't give up!!
A.S. answers from Phoenix on July 01, 2008
I've read all the responses to your post,and just wanted to support you. Get that thyroid checked, girl! And don't underestimate the everyday stresses you deal with. My kids are the same age as yours, and it is WORK. Plus, I see that you work professionally in your home, so I bet you don't get a whole lot of me time. My husband is a personal trainer, and I asked him about the adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is caused by stress. It's the fight or flight response in overdrive, and your body is whupped. So, tell your husband that the weight gain is indicative of your depression, not the overriding cause of it. By the way, I still haven't lost my weight, either, so I understand that part of it. It's hard to feel good, especially in this heat, when you aren't comfortable in your body. You are not a freak. You have just reached your limit and now it's time for some changes. And, lets face it, it is hard to make changes when your kids are this young. You have to enlist the aid of your husband. You need to be a priority right now and he's gonna have to pick up some slack so that you can focus on yourself. Keep up with your medical investigations. Get to the gym more than twice a week, even if it's just to sit in the sauna or the whirlpool. Yoga has always been a great centering exercise for me, because it focuses me not only on my physical being, but my spiritual being as well. You need some renewal. I also agree with the woman who encouraged you to have some girl time. Okay, I have to cut it short because my boy child is demanding some momma time. If you want to contact me to chat, I'd love that. Be proactive, my friend. You're worth it!
T.M. answers from Las Cruces on July 02, 2008
When I was nursing my daughter, I lost 20 pounds and was back to my pre-motherhood weight. After three kids, I was feeling great. But after I stopped breastfeeding, I gained all the weight back and I was still eating right and going to the gym. My cousin introduced me to Advocare. They are a company that specializes in natural weight loss, and physical fitness. And they do it all with natural vitamins and minerals and protiens that your body needs to function at its best. Their products consist of weight loss, muscle gain, mood stabilizers, ect. and they are tailored for your specific goals; whether it be fitness, weight loss, maintaining your weight, active lifestyle, ect. They are all developed through a science/medical advisory board so they're products are safe and proven through dr's. I invite you to browse the website and click on the products so you can see what they are made of and how they can help you feel and look your best. I also encourage you to incorporate these supplements even if your dr. recommends medical treatment. These products are so safe, they are recommended for use in pregnancy to help the expectant mom maintain her own levels of nourishment while nourishing the growing fetus.
K.D. answers from Phoenix on July 01, 2008
I have had success with using bio-identical natural progesterone cream. I had the estrogen dominence and I was also prescribed birth control pills. I did use them and it did work. For one month. I then found the cream, and it has been working for me for one month now.
I have read the books by John Lee, MD, and they have helped me. He also has a website (johnleemd.com).
I hope it helps and you are able to feel better soon.
S.L. answers from Tucson on July 01, 2008
it sounds to me like you could use a good detox and internal cleanse - if you are interested in some excellent SAFE all-natural herbal products that will help reverse ALL your symptoms - including the weight-gain/food cravings and depression/mood swings - feel free to contact me