*The title of this post was taken from the Jane’s Addiction song of the same name*
Note: I have intentionally changed the name of my client to Jane for privacy purposes.
Late last year, Jane came in to to talk about joining up at RevFit. She had some mutual friends who were already clients and they were happy with their results. It’s my understanding that Jane had some apprehension because she was somewhat self conscious about form and exercising in front of others.
When we sat down to discuss health history and goals, Jane said, somewhat in jest, that she would be a handful. She had a history of medications and behaviors that at least alluded to why her weight had steadily escalated. Fortunately, Jane’s husband was excited that she made the step to come see me.
Medications can be a strange obstacle. I tend to see a little bit of everything too. Medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, anti-anxiety, poor sleep, attention deficit disorder, birth control, thyroid dysfunction and more. Sometimes, the medication itself may not be the issue but the combination of one medication with another can make weight loss difficult. Not only that, but some medications have been known to affect hunger signals.
Imagine for a moment being overweight and depressed with high blood pressure (with a potential link between the three.) Your blood pressure medicine seems to be doing the trick but your anti-depressant medication leaves you in a state of never feeling hungry so you continue to raid the fridge. Next thing you know, your weight continues to go up which fuels the depression and the high blood pressure. Now, your doctor is tempted to raise your dosages on both of your medications to help control the emotions and keep your blood pressure down. Notice a cycle?
There was a similar thing happening with Jane. Because I am nowhere near a doctor or a pharmacologist, I will normally suggest to a client that perhaps their weight gain (or struggle to lose weight) is affected by their medication(s). Typically a follow-up with the doctor can unveil things that may not have been immediately apparent.
So, the medications were one obstacle. The other was Jane’s social life. You see, Jane has a bit of a stressful job and she and her husband have a large circle of friends they often hang out with. When she gets done with work, and definitely on the weekends, she and her husband will generally cut loose and go nuts. So Jane and I talked about what other things she could change in her diet so that she didn’t have to restrict too much on the weekends.
Over the next couple of months, Jane would tell me about all of the baby steps she was taking to get her diet in order. Each time we would step on the scale, the weight kept creeping up. We would chat about what more could be done but I could tell that mentally, she just wasn’t there yet.
One evening during one of her sessions, I asked Jane if she would mind that I reach out to her husband. I really wanted to see what more could be done to keep her on track and get her focused on her goals. Since her husband had expressed his excitement when she started, I was hoping he would be able to help me help her.
Jane was okay with it so I connected with her husband to express some of my concerns. Fortunately, he was on board but he also knew that the weekends were when things appeared to get out of hand the most.
When Jane came back in, she mentioned that she had a doctor’s appointment coming up and asked if there was anything that she should talk to her doctor about regarding medication. I told her some of my concerns and we agreed that maybe solving some of the dosage questions could bridge the gap with weight loss.
The next morning, I drafted a letter for Jane to give to her doctor. She never asked me to do it, I just wanted to write something simply from my perspective in efforts to get the doctor on the same page and to hopefully open up some doors of communication so that Jane could start seeing the results she was paying for.
I sent the letter to Jane and said “You don’t have to take this to your doctor if you don’t want. I wrote it because I genuinely care that you get to where you want to be. If this letter helps, I’m happy to have written it.”
Jane did take the letter to her doctor and he did mention some places where medication could have been taking her down the wrong road. He referenced a diet that he thought Jane might want to consider and gave her the option of either following his food plan or following the one she and I had discussed.
Jane and I discussed both options and while she wasn’t sure she could restrict to the level of her doctor’s food plan she still wasn’t quite ready to change her lifestyle either.
Until last week.
Jane came in for one of her sessions and she said “I’m going to try a week.”
“A week of what?” I asked.
“A week of not drinking. I would try for a month but I think that would be too hard for me. So, I’m going to try and not drink for a week.”
“Ok!” I said, “Give it a try and let’s see what happens. Worst case, if you happen to drink before the week is up, try and minimize the damage. If one night gets crazy, get back on track the next day and try again. Just don’t beat yourself up and let one night turn into two or three on the same path.”
The good news? Jane made it almost one full week without drinking.
The better news? When she did drink, she kept it to a minimum and called it a night.
The best news? For the first time since she started, Jane’s effort over that one week showed on the scale. She finally lost weight.
The great thing about Jane’s story is not that there was some secret solution. The medication was a piece of the puzzle but not a silver bullet. Jane made a conscious decision of her own accord to change what she felt was the most damaging aspect of her diet.
In my mind, perhaps one week of sobriety was too challenging. In 12-step programs, the motto is “one day at a time.” However, I applaud Jane’s attempt to right the ship. I know what she is capable of when she puts her mind to it. I believe that when (not if) she fully commits to her progress, she’ll be able to find the perfect balance between the crazy weekends and the not-so-crazy weeks. Does she have to adhere to total sobriety to see the progress she wants? Not necessarily. But the fact that she was rewarded on the scale when she dedicated herself to the change for a handful of days is promising.
For you, maybe drinking isn’t the issue. Maybe it’s a food that you crave or over-consume. All that matters is that you can diagnose the issue and come up with a plan to solve it.
I know in Jane’s case, it was really awesome to see the glimmer when she saw the weight come down.
Now it’s a matter of stringing together a sustainable plan to keep seeing those numbers come down.
And if Jane says she can do it, I’ll believe her.
And just in case, you’re wondering, Jane’s not pictured below. These are just some of our awesome RevLadies after their workout. 🙂