Okay my mad lovelies, I’ve been gone for a while and for that I’m truly sorry. I really had to recuperate after the holidays, which passed in a blur of travel, food, and family. It was fun and all, but really fucking stressful. Every year I resolve to do Christmas differently, and every year I sort of repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Regardless, I’m back and this post is a little late but as they say: better late than never. I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions this week.
I know, I know, we’re not supposed to make these pesky things anymore. And we’re especially not supposed to make ones about weight loss. It’s cliched. It’s overdone. It’s plain dumb. Right?
Well fuck that.
I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.
I’ve sort of talked about my weight in an off hand way, but I’m going to get to real talk now. Since I began taking Seroquel over 8 years ago, I have gained about 30 pounds. That’s almost 4 pounds a year. Now, unlike some meds that cause the extra pounds to literally show up over night (I’m looking at you Zyprexa) my weight gain sort of creeped up slowly, year after year. But it’s not just about weight. I was officially diagnosed with an under active thyroid this year because of Seroquel (add another medication to the list). The drug is also to blame for my bad cholesterol levels rising (another side effect).
The first ten pounds happened after my first hospitalization and when I started taking 150 mg of Seroquel. Ten pounds go by practically unnoticed. Sure my jeans were a little snug, but I was generally the same shape as I always had been.
The next ten pounds came on after my Seroquel was increased to 300 mg, post another two week hospitalization, and a three month in-patient treatment program.
Somewhere between finishing my MA, deciding not to do my PhD, getting married, and working in the restaurant industry I gained another ten pounds. I have now stayed at this weight, more or less, for the past 6 years. But I can guarantee you if my Seroquel was increased again I would gain at least another ten pounds. (And as an FYI: I’m not calling myself fat. I’m not. I’m just heavier than I used to be).
I know as a feminist I should be saying I love myself, including my cellulite, because body positivity. I should be shouting riots, not diets in the street. I should be telling the diet industry that they can go fuck themselves (and they can).
But the reality is, I’m uncomfortable in my skin.
My brand of feminism believes that you should be comfortable in your skin and if you’re not, make a change. And I’m not just talking about your body. If you don’t like your job, your partner, your friends, make a fucking change. Don’t sit around crying about it. That’s not productive. Life is too short to feel stuck.
I’m not losing weight because I want to look like Gisele Bundchen (her diet is scary folks!) because it’s her job to look like that. I’m not doing it because a relative mistakenly thought I was pregnant (they were old, they get a pass). I’m not doing it because Oprah is selling me my “best body” this year (because, fuck the diet industry).
I’m doing it because I want to do it and if you don’t want to do it, that’s cool.
Just don’t judge me.
Now let’s come back to the New Year’s resolution bit. It’s not like I had some epiphany on January 1st. I’ve been looking at myself for a while now wondering how I got here. Maybe it was the whole turning thirty thing. I don’t know. Making a New Year’s resolution to eat better and work out more just made sense.
It also made sense because as of January 1st I officially started coming off of Seroquel. I was complaining about the weight gain and my thyroid issue to my psychiatrist and she said: “Well, clearly you don’t tolerate Seroquel well. Why are you still on it? It’s not helping your mood.”
Because no one ever gave me a fucking choice.
It was Seroquel or bust. Deal with the weight gain because it moderately helps your mood. She didn’t buy into that logic.
Instead she said: “If you’re uncomfortable with your weight, that’s not good for your mood. It’s not about vanity, but about your mental health.”
(Side bar: I’m not condoning coming off of Seroquel because you feel like you ate too many cookies over Christmas. I had already begun a new regimen of medication — Saphris and Lamictal — before even considering stopping my medication. And even after agreeing with my psychiatrist to stop Seroquel, we are SLOWLY weening me off of it and btw the side effects are BRUTAL but that’s another post).
And so now, it’s the second week of January and I’m down 3 pounds. And yeah, I know that coming off of Seroquel won’t be the magic cure all to my weight problems. Like I said, I’m watching what I eat and hitting the gym, but I can do that. I can control those things. What I can’t control is how my body reacts to medication and it took a good doctor to point that out to me.