When I was in my early 20s, I weighed 155 pounds. I fit into everything I wanted to fit into and had no body image issues. Now I’m 30 and I’m 216. What happened? Well, I have a few things I like to blame it on. Before we go any further, I should mention I’m 5’11.
The main culprit in my mind is the meds I’m on. Zoloft in particular. Because of my severe anxiety I need it to function. When I was 155 I was on paxil but I was also barely eating because the anxiety was so out of control. I would eat very rarely and mostly drank juice to keep me alive. Unhealthy I know, but at least I looked good. I have used Dr Google and according to him it can cause weight gain but it can also cause weight loss. Everything gives me a different answer. Some say it alters the way your body handles carbs and can make you crave them like crazy. Others say it can cause appetite loss and weight loss. After talking with my doctor today, she said it can cause weight gain. I guess I believe the person that went to med school right? One of the problems is that I can’t even really remember when I started the Zoloft so it’s hard to pin down the start of the problem.
Also between 155 me and 216 me, lies a terrible relationship. One that stressed me out so much I started eating three chocolate bars a night. Living across from a 24 hour convenience store didn’t help. Don’t even get me started on the 24 hour coffee shop that made frapps to die for. I would go there at 1 am to get a decaf frapp. I know what you’re thinking, “well fuck Shannon, there’s your problem”! You may be right, but after that behavior I only gained about 10 or so pounds. After that relationship we left the area and I was no longer across the street from a 24 hour store and a 24 hour coffee shop. That didn’t stop the weight gain though. When I moved on from that relationship, I was what I thought was “fat”. My skin tight clothes started to show things that weren’t there before. My stomach grew and my thigh circumference doubled. I had no idea what I was in for.
Now in the new place, the eating continued. There was a store but it was down the street. That didn’t stop me from going to get chips, chocolate, pop, etc. I ate all the time. All night. I couldn’t stay out of the kitchen. I was bored, depressed, anxious and eating was all I had. As mentioned above, I like to think that Zoloft spurred the appetite increase but I am also trying to avoid excuses. But what if it’s the truth? SSRIs can cause weight gain, that’s a real thing. Right? Right?!
Fast forward to now. The 216 pound version of Shannon. Clothes don’t fit right even when they are in my size. I feel heavy and sluggish. I have low iron which doesn’t help. I have tried counting calories. I even signed up for Weight Watchers. All to no avail. The weight will not come off. Maybe I’m not being strict enough with myself, maybe I am still finding excuses. I will be honest, I’m scared of over correcting. I don’t want to become so fixated on food and calories that it turns into anorexia or something worse. I feel like I keep trying and I lose maybe two pounds and then it comes back.
I see a lot out there now about body positivity. Feeling good in your own skin and being proud of every roll and every chin. There are more and more body positive role models out there that are supposed to make girls like me feel better. They don’t. I feel like I am doing something bad by being this weight. It makes everything harder. And if it is my Zoloft, does that mean I have to choose between mental health and physical health? Would I rather be a nervous, depressed wreck that is skinny or a kind of calm, kind of happy fat girl. I don’t know why I let it get to me so much, but it does. Until next time.