Health & Wellbeing

My weight gain epiphany

Why I put on weight and What I plan to do about it

In the last 2 years, I have gained 4 stone in weight which is 25.4 KG for those who work in kilograms. 56 lbs for those in-lbs, And now it’s time to do something bout it.

I have always been curvey. I’m not naturally very slim, but I do try to keep active and healthy. 

In around Feb 2018 I suffered from depression and anxiety I have prescribed an antidepressant, to treat it.

I’ve suffered from both of these on and off since I was 15 and they tend to come and go. But I usually manage to maintain it well with diet, exercise, mindfulness and CBT but every so often, if I’m not careful, it can increase to an unmanageable level.

Towards the end of the winter, I began to regress into a depressed mood and needed to take tablets to ‘realign’. During this time I developed what I would call definite eating disorder. 

I thought it was just an additional effect to the depression that had quietly snuck back up on me. It was very intense quite quickly this time around and although I’d dealt with it quickly all of a sudden all I could think about was food – Sugar rich foods mostly.

Secret Eating

 I started off in a mindset of “ I’m depressed so I’ll eat what I want.”

I began to secret eating, then I tried to lose weight after putting on another stone. It was then that I noticed it had become a real problem.
As soon as I tried to reduce my calories and sugar intake, I felt like I was losing my mind. 

It is almost impossible to explain.
I sort of, felt like when you fall in love and they’re not interested and They’re all you can think about day and night.
It hurts and it’s scary because you don’t know how to get rid of the thoughts or how to control them and when it will stop. 

I tried to go sugar-free . Focussing on cutting out all of my refined sugar and unnecessary foods Ie caffeine, saturated fat, processed food. I’ve done a Sugar detox this a number of times. It sort of helps to eliminate those cravings for sweet things and reprogramme your body back to healthy living. However this time it didn’t work. It just made me feel even more like I was losing my mind and the cravings were agonising. 

I then decided to join the slimming world. But became extremely anxious about going to the meetings. I was failing miserably. A few times I sat there fighting back tears. Especially tough because Ella, my 5-year-old, went with me. (I did, however, notice that the daughter of the slimmers world host was largely overweight. She was always carrying a massive bag of sweets and one day gave Ella a giant cola bottle the same size as Ella’s leg to eat during the session) 

I tried everything

One day I decided not to go, I went to the shop and bought 4 chocolate bars, threw them in the bin and went to Slimmers World and cried my heart out to the poor women who led it. Although I remember she was very understanding, she went tried with the though love which just made me feel even more hopeless. ( Luckily Ella wasn’t with me that time, thank god) 

I gave up on slimming world and tried weight watchers. Which is something that has always worked for me in the past? I began to have such extreme anxiety when going to the classes. I just couldn’t bear it so that went out of the window too. 

After that, I was eating mostly sugar all day, every day. I was eating 3 healthy meals a day as I always do, but when the kids were out of sight I was buying cake and chocolate. I was feeling as though I couldn’t eat it quick enough. Even panic when I ran out.

If I had 4 chocolate bars while I was eating the 1st one I would feel nervous about what I would do when there was no more left. I knew I shouldn’t get more but it took all my strength not to . and sometimes I just gave in and got more. 

It was an odd feeling like my mind went completely blank.
My body would be moving but my craving was controlling me completely. My brain was disengaged and did not click back on until all of the food was gone. 

Most nights I cried myself to sleep vowing I wouldn’t do this again tomorrow. As soon as that craving fogged over my capacity for good decisions and my body went into complete autopilot. 

It’s all I could think about

I’ve driven to the supermarket after dropping the kids at school and put £50 worth of cake, biscuits or chocolate on my credit card, and finished it the same day. I did try to make myself sick a few times but nothing seemed to come out and then luckily I would sort of snap out of it. 

If there was no sweet food in the house I was making things like toast. Covered in butter, Jam and peanut butter, Honey, and I would have around 6 pieces of toast. Not just one. If I tried to have one I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it until I’d had loads. 

I was massively concerned about the effect this was having on my kids too. 

My children were worried about my health

Even though I tried to hide it as much as I could, Ella told me she thought I was getting so fat, I might actually explode.
This was really funny until I saw the genuine concern on her face. She has mentioned it a few times since. We’ve always talked a lot about health so watching me change so dramatically must have been confusing and worrying. 

Generally speaking, I don’t really get full up very often. I have always been a bit of a bottomless pit.

My tummy

The feeling of not eating enough can make me feel anxious. 

I have always struggled with portion control. Generally, I really have to think about what I am putting on my plate.

Even if I do happen to get full, it will be something like an Indian curry or chip shop chips. It takes very little time for me to have space to eat again. 

What I realised was that it was not just that my depression had caused the eating disorder. But that the Tablets I was taking for the depression. It was working for my anxiety and depression but the urge to eat and cravings for sugar and carbs were unbearable and constant.

trapped in my own body

I felt like I was trapped in my own body and mind.

I was fearful of my own inability to control it.

It took me around 1 year and 9 months to realize that it may have been the tablets. I saw a clip on tv about depression that led me to look into it. When I thought back I noticed that I have been on this particular medication a few times before. Starting with postnatal depression after I had my son in 2010. And every time I have gained weight. My GP prescribed the medication and advised me that I may just have one of those brains that don’t produce enough of the hormone to stay emotionally level.

It may be the case that I will need to take them forever.

However, after the realisation that it may be causing this eating issue
I was so unhappy with my weight. It was still increasing and couldn’t even get to a stage where it stopped going up.
It was clear I needed to try and see if it was this. I wasn’t 100% sure it was still just a theory at this stage.

Time to make a change

So I made the decision to begin to wean myself off of the tablets. I had to do this very slowly and carefully. 

Please Don’t think that if you’ve been advised to take an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication by your doctor you will immediately put on weight. I know at least 4 people on this particular tablet and out of all of us I am the ONLY one to have been affected in this way.

Also, there are many different types of medications available, so if one isn’t working you can go back to your Gp to try another one. Which effectively is what I may need to do at some point. )

I began to reduce them in November and slowly decreased them through to January. I would have done it even slower but I got the flu in Jan and ended up missing a few so stopped there. 

My brain

The Difference I feel is immense.

It’s like an enormous dark cloud has been lifted and I can think clearly again. 

I am always going to be a foodie, I am always going to love cake. I am always going to have a few extra lb’s and I’m fine with that – in fact, it’s what makes me … ME!  Now I do not feel the overwhelming urge to binge eat. I’m in complete control. I can make conscious decisions about food.

Now I’m left with 4+ stone to get rid of. Daunting!

I have a strong urge to justify myself

When I bump into anyone I haven’t seen for a while or the last time I saw them was – 4 stone ago, I have an overwhelming urge to explain that – “I was on tablets and them made me put on weight and I am trying to lose weight and I promised Ella so I have to and if I write it in my blog it will give me motivation and I didn’t mean to put on that much weight but I didn’t realise it was the pills and I know it seems like a lot of weight but hopefully now I can lose it” ……… but that would be ridiculous so I do find I try to avoid them. 

Not enough support for eating disorders

It did, however, make it apparent that there is very little help out there for eating disorders. Unless you are really at the point of real severity or becoming extremely ill, I found no one would help. Most professionals looked at me as though I was being a diva or whining because I don’t look like a supermodel. Which is what I told one professional after a consultation. 

It seems a shame that you’re not entitled to help until it’s almost too late.

The consultant asked me if I knew why I was struggling. When I said I didn’t know she told me that most people know and if I didn’t know then there was nothing she could do. 

The effect of my weight gain was overriding the effect of the medication

I read books and searched online, tried everything the doctor suggested. It all seemed to make it worse. I was failing so miserably even with all the information in front of me that it just made me feel like a failure. 

Luckily Now I have realised what my issue was and I have begun to resolve it. 

I am currently at the heaviest I have ever been in my life, including when I was pregnant, and it sucks. It is uncomfortable and I feel unhealthy and my self-esteem is taking a real battering. 

I have found exercising extremely difficult.

I have always done a medium amount of regular exercise to control anxiety symptoms and keep fit and healthy. Now I am so heavy it is really difficult. It hurts. I struggle to bend down and jump up.

I am starting off really light because at the moment I am still finding it very difficult to do a full work out. So I have started walking the children to school at least 3 to 4 times a week and doing parts of workout’s rather than the whole thing and building up. Jo wick’s absolutely beginner work out has been a lifesaver. After the first time, I was in agony but after a week I can do it easily and I’m working up from there. 


Natalie Faye xxx


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