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I'm Bipolar Journal - August 6, 2008

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Updated May 15, 2012

Unique Elements

When my mother was alive, and before she went in to the nursing home, it was just about impossible to control what I ate. Mom bought so much candy that we found stashes in her lingerie drawers after her death. Crackers, cookies — she bought them all, and if it was in the house, I ate it. Now that I am living alone, I have complete control over what comes in to the house. Well, I did save the dark chocolate oranges Mom loved. I eat one or two thin slices to get rid of the bad taste of Lamictal when it dissolves in my mouth or gets caught in my throat. That's it.

None of this would work without my coffee. I drink coffee all day. That 21-calorie serving, which I drink slowly over time, is probably what keeps me from feeling hungry between meals.

Two pounds a month may not sound like a lot, but my doctor is delighted. He pointed out that slow weight loss means you are more likely to keep the weight off. He also told me about a study of two groups getting the exact same counseling and support where one group tracked all calories and exercise and the other didn't. The tracking group lost 5 pounds average. The nontracking group gained an average of 9 pounds.

Difficulties

In June, when my family was here for the Great Cleanup, we ate out for at least one meal every day. Up till that point I had been on a steady two-pound a month loss for nine months. The last two pounds took three months, in spite of the incredible amount of calorie-burning hard work I put in for those two weeks.

All the experts say that when your house is on the market, you should bake cookies just before an open house or a showing to fill the place with a wonderful scent. Problem is, once they are baked, they have to be eaten. If I bake 12 chocolate chip cookies, they are gone in a day or two.

After months of the same breakfast, I got bored with it. Instead of switching to something else, I started just having a second Frappucino for breakfast. Fewer calories. Actually not good. I think the body goes into "protection" mode when it doesn't get regular nutritious food.

Med Changes

It's too soon to tell how the recent changes in my medications are going to affect my weight. My friend who went on Geodon (ziprasidone) lost 30 pounds rather quickly. I started Geodon while titrating down on Seroquel, and the weight loss progress stayed about the same. A week ago we stopped the Seroquel, because I was sleeping 13 to 14 hours a day and feeling fuzzy-headed all day after an increase in Geodon, and I'd also fallen twice. That first day without Seroquel was miserable! Now I've adjusted, though, and am clear-headed again most of the time.

My appetite decreased with Geodon. Even when I'm very hungry, I don't want to stop what I'm doing and eat. Then I start getting nauseated from low blood sugar and then have to grab food fast. Sometimes what I grab ends up being overeating, such as nine sticks of string cheese one evening. Three sticks is a decent snack at 70 calories each (though 40 of those calories are from fat). Nine sticks is 630 calories. (I haven't done that again.)

Bottom Line

I found a way that works for me even while taking Seroquel. One thing that helped was reading about two studies on people who were taking atypical antipsychotics. Both these studies found it was possible to lose weight while taking Seroquel and similar drugs that normally pack on the pounds, and I'm living proof of that.

It's basically calorie counting and doing enough of a simple, rewarding activity to offset extra calories — and avoiding temptation by not having snack food in the house. Strict calorie counting may help someone (even in a more difficult situation than mine) and their snack-addicted family avoid snacks.

I hope my experience is helpful to you.

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