Psychiatry meds

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I'm on R1D7 and feeling amazing! Also reading It Starts With Food which is a great help.  My question is, my daughter (27 yrs) is Bipolar & recovering from drug addiction, she is approximately 50-75 lbs overweight.  She is on bipolar, anxiety, craving meds and she is having difficulty losing weight.  I know the Whole 30 is not about losing weight but could the Whole 30 help her in anyway?  It's very overwhelming in the beginning of the Whole 30 and she is under enough stress as it is but I would really like to help her.  I've just bought her the book It Starts With Food.  Any advice would be great!

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In general whole30 is a healthy way to eat, and eating this way often leads to weight loss for people who need to lose weight. 

She should probably work with her doctors or counselors when making any kind of big changes, to make sure it's not negatively affecting her. 

For now, keep doing your whole30, work on figuring out your food freedom afterwards, and lead by example. When she is ready to make changes in her eating, be there showing her what healthy eating can look like and to answer questions for her.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Margaret, I'm on R4D0. I'm on medication for depression and anxiety and need to lose about 50lbs. The Whole30 isn't helping me to lose weight while I'm on the medication, but it is keeping my mood more stable. I won't say that it's a cure, but it definitely helps. I'm combining it with mindfulness, gratitude, exercise and medication. I do want to get off the medication eventually, especially because of the weight gain. I'm hoping that the combination of mindfulness, exercise, Whole30 and gratitude will do the trick. I am seeing an improvement. The difficult part is reintroduction, because it can be a slippery slope that causes a major relapse into depressive/anxious symptoms. I hope my experience helps your daughter.

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I'm bipolar and avoided meds for 20 years, but have now been taking mine for about 2.5 years (I'll be 40 in November). I'm also a recovering alcoholic (sober 3-Nov-2014) and have a variety of other issues (codependency, forgiveness, etc.) that I work through daily. In my experience with Whole30, it helped that my focus was nowhere near whether or not I would lose weight -- I needed to, but I didn't let myself stress on it and instead focused on just making sure I was eating to template and being mindful of changes.

My "meals and feels" log helped me immensely during round 1 and reintro. It was just a homemade planner insert to track:
-- meals (when, what, and roughly how much I ate of it, including snacks)
-- water (I also noted how much of other stuff I drank, like tea or coffee)
-- medicine (when I took my usual medication, with notes if I needed a pain pill or something for nausea)
-- sleep (when I went to bed, when I got up, and how many hours of sleep total)
-- cycle (when, how heavy, pain level, PMS symptoms, etc.)
-- feels (physical, emotional, and mental changes throughout the day)

Using that, I could look back and try to see patterns in how things affected me, even days later. I could also take it to my doctor, to get his feedback and see if I'd missed something. This helped me determine some foods that were better (or worse) for my mood balance, so I'm able to eat in a way that supports my medication to give me better benefit than when I'm using junk for fuel, and I can adjust when I know hormonal changes could be throwing me a little off my norm.

I did lose some weight (about 3% of my starting weight), but let me re-iterate that losing weight was not my reason for doing this... and it was not my biggest take-away from the experience. What mattered far more than weight loss was the knowledge that changing the food on my plate could actually help me maintain better emotional balance/stability (in conjunction with my medication) and feel better overall.

When I eat this way, I find that I can function better and have more energy to deal with the world (physically, emotionally, and mentally). In general, I feel happier and healthier. I've also experienced more "true energy" (ability to get up and do things I enjoy or need to do, then get some natural rest) and fewer drastic swings, so less "manic energy" (an inner vortex hurtling me forward until I drop from exhaustion) and less "funk" (weighed down; unable to function effectively regardless of the consequences; falling to pieces; etc.).

All that said, remember that Whole30 (like anything else) is definitely a "your mileage may vary" type of thing. What works for me might not work for another person in a similar situation, and what works for them could send me reeling. Do this for you, share your experience with her, and let her know you'll support her if/when she decides that this is a good step for her (which might mean doing it alongside her, so it's not like you're on the outside looking in).

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I’m bipolar and I was hospitalized during my first real attempt at a whole 30. But I wasn’t on enough antidepressants for me and I’d just had a med change before I began. Ultimately in the end when I finally was near to completing a round (I’m on day 27) my moods improved exponentially. Just make sure to get your starchy carbs in every day, and be prepared to adjust meds. 

One thing I’ll say is I’d never recommend this for early sobriety. I’m a former opioid addict, I could NEVER have done this earlier. 

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3 hours ago, Pandora Black said:

One thing I’ll say is I’d never recommend this for early sobriety. ... I could NEVER have done this earlier. 

I have to agree with this. Early in sobriety, regardless of what you're trying to leave behind, a plan this strict is not likely the best idea unless you live in a place that provides only Whole30 meals and restricts access to junk. It's also not a thing to jump into just after med changes (as Pandora mentioned) because time should be given for stabilization first. I'd definitely suggest anyone on meds or working through sobriety speak first with their doctor, therapist, or at least support group before starting this type of journey... and depending on situation, a gradual shift toward full compliance could be a great idea to help acclimate and avoid some of the anxiety that could be involved otherwise.

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