I don’t mind admitting that I’m about 30 pounds overweight. My BMI is high. It’s not as high as it used to be. In the last year I’ve managed to lose 40 pounds. It turns out, according to Science Daily, I have a really good reason for wanting (needing) to lose those last 30 pounds.
Science Daily recently published a study that shows:
…how people respond to treatment for Bipolar Disorder may be influenced by their weight and the overall quality of their diet, including whether they are eating a diet high in foods thought to contribute to general inflammation.
The study found that participants who had a better-quality diet or a lower BMI “showed better response to add-on nutraceutical treatment than did those who reported a low-quality diet […] or who were overweight.” The article goes on to reveal that:
Participants filled in a questionnaire about what they usually eat over the year and researchers calculated a diet quality score, where good diets included a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, whereas poorer-quality diets had more saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and alcohol. These types of diets were then categorised as either anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory based on foods that affect inflammation.
Now, these results will need to be repeated in a larger trial, but what they mean is that treatment for Bipolar Disorder needs to take into account what a person eats and what they weigh.
This research makes sense to me based on my own personal experience. I always feel better when I eat better and take my vitamins. The challenge for me lies in losing weight.
It’s hard to lose weight when you have an eating disorder. Of course the eating disorder always wants to lose weight, but it doesn’t want to do it in a healthy way. It wants to starve the body, abuse diet pills, purge, and over-exercise.
Right now, I’m emerging from a hard purge cycle. I was bingeing and purging every other day and restricting on the days in between. I can still taste the bitterness in my throat, and it’s still hard to eat.
But I do still believe I can successfully diet and lose weight. And I believe it is essential for my mental health to lose weight and lower my BMI.
I just need to be careful. This is my plan to lose weight in a healthy way:
- Set up safeguards
My safeguards are my people. I need to communicate to them what I’m trying to do and the warning signs they need to look for. They need to watch for me hiding purge food. They need to watch for signs of purging and restricting and over-exercising.
It might seem like a lot to ask someone, but the fact is I need help. It’s taken me a long time to admit that I need help. And the people in my life who love me are willing to help me. I just need to ask.
- Follow my gym rules
Gym rules are simple. No more than 30 minutes on cardio machines. No more than an hour total in the gym at any one time. Only one visit to the gym per day.
These rules give me enough time to run on the treadmill or work the elliptical and lift weights.
These rules keep me safe.
- Shut down my negative self talk
Negative self talk is going to happen. I’ve started treating it like annoying pop-up windows. It used to be that I would get caught in all the pop-ups. One after another would open until I couldn’t think of anything else – my mind was so crowded with the negative.
Now I’m learning to click the “X” on those negative pop-up windows. A negative thought opens, I acknowledge it as a negative thought, and I close it.
- Pump up my positive affirmations
Just like I can close my negative thoughts, I can open positive affirmations. The more I open, the more positive my overall outlook becomes. Here are some of my favorites:
- I am a miracle.
- I am beautiful just as I am.
- I am strong.
- I am worthy of love just as I am.
- I am worthy of good things – just as I am.
- Eat on a schedule
This has become a very important point for me. I crave the feeling of hunger like I crave a drink. I don’t understand why yet, but it’s one of the reasons restriction is so hard for me to break free from.
So it’s important for me to eat before I’m hungry. I do best on days when I eat something small every two or three hours.
- Weigh only once a week
This is a hard rule for me to follow. I like to weigh every day. But I’m also trying to break my habit of weighing, so I’m going to try to slowly back away from the scale.
If I follow these rules, I believe I can safely lose weight and put myself in a better position to treat my bipolar. To me this is essential to my recovery. Taking better care of my bipolar disorder means that I will have better control over my addiction issues. If losing a little more weight means my bipolar meds will work better, I’m all for it.