To Sally (not her real name), who wrote to me recently about her 100-pound weight gain after being given antidepressant medications for fibromyalgia, the recent study carried out by a group from the Massachusetts General Hospital will come as a surprise.
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If weight-loss programs advertised on television were to be believed, then it is obvious that the best way to get people to lose weight and keep it off is to eat commercially available, calorie-controlled packaged meals and snacks.
Dieting may be the traditional method for losing weight. Yet more and more obese individuals are giving up counting calories and measuring their food and instead are turning to surgery. Advances in bariatric surgery over the past 10 or so years has made possible a relatively short, simple operation to turn the pouch-like stomach into a skinny sleeve that holds no more than 2 to 7 ounces of food.
Good news: By now even mental health care givers know what their patients have known for years. Most drugs taken to relieve the symptoms of mental illness cause weight gain. Bad news: There are probably more places to buy larger size clothing than weight-loss programs specifically designed to remove the pounds the medications added to your body.
My generally friendly and calm neighbor was heard complaining about the number of dogs in our building. His comments seem strange, seeing that he once had a dog himself and was often seen petting the dogs of other owners. “Be tolerant of him,” whispered another neighbor. “He just stopped drinking and has the bad mood that goes along with alcohol withdrawal.”
The woman who came to see me for weight loss, let’s call her Ann, was about 40 pounds overweight and frustrated, in her words, by, “…a lifetime of weight loss followed by weight gain.” Her problem, she thought, was that when she felt hungry she liked to eat protein because it filled her up. But then she still wanted to eat carbohydrates even though she was full from the protein.
“I hate winter. It’s not just the ice, the shoveling, too many snow days, and long traffic-congested commutes. What I really hate is that my PMS becomes unbearable. From November to April, I dread those days before my period comes because I turn into Attila the Hun!“ So stated a weight-loss client of mine. She is not alone.
As the sun begins an earlier dip into evening darkness at this time of year, our mood and mental energy seem to dip with it. Known as the afternoon slump (or the brain-dead zone), most of us feel a stronger urge to be in bed with a pillow over our heads than to continue with our work obligations for another few hours.
Fatigue seems to be as ubiquitous as complaints about the weather. But it is especially prevalent during the holidays for obvious and not so obvious reasons. The obvious: buying, wrapping and sending presents, food shopping and preparation, decorating the house, travel or hosting guests, and so forth.
Adherents of high-protein/low-or no-carbohydrate diets have, to some extent, hijacked the discussion of whether we should still be eating carbohydrates. Indeed, for some militant followers, carbs are seen as leading only to brain and body decay, and are to be avoided at all costs. Well, maybe it is time to reconsider this attitude.
How many times have we said this to ourselves or others as we plan lunch or dinner? (Very few people are in the mood for anything except more sleep in the morning). Sometimes the “mood” for a particular type of ethnic cooking or a prime piece of beef is heightened because the meal is celebratory, or a respite between bouts of unrelenting work or home meal preparation.