The weight is dropping off

I always wondered what would happen once the neuroleptics (antipsychotics) were gone. Would my body, fat for so many years, just stay that way? I suspected yes. I somehow figured my body had simply learned to be fat. There are lots of studies on obesity that suggest the body wants to be the weight it is and becomes wired as such and that is why 95% of dieters fail to maintain weight loss. I believe the studies.

I figured I was just like them.

But I guess I’m not. I am fat, after all, because of the meds and really there is no denying it. I was a super thin, active athlete before I started taking meds. I was strong and hard and had incredible stamina for long, hard, bike rides in the hills surrounding the Bay Area. I went to the gym daily too. I hiked, swam, and played tennis. I pretty much did anything athletic that came my way.

So when I got fat on drugs, it was confused by the fact that I couldn’t be athletic in the same way anymore either due to the sedating, butt-kicking effect of the drugs. I stopped exercising because I had no energy. So people (family and friends and therapists and psychiatrists, all) blamed the lack of exercise. They made it MY fault. This was so many years ago people didn’t really know how horribly weight-gaining these drugs are even if people do manage to keep exercising and then there is the fat-phobic nature of our society—those of us who are fat are always at fault, psych meds or not—all it ever takes is a bit of discipline….yeah right.

In any case right now I’m too weak to exercise more than an occasional walk and a bit of stretching and I’ve lost 15 lbs in the last couple of months as I’ve come off the last of the neuroleptics, the drugs most guilty of weight gain…interesting isn’t it?? I haven’t tried to lose and ounce. Hell no, I’m not even exercising.

Fuck everyone who said I was a lazy fat person.

Drugs may sometimes be evil, but more so are all the people who like to blame us for how they make us dysfunctional—physically and emotionally.

Okay…I’m feeling a little residual rage coming up at the moment.

Deep breath and….

Peace out….

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

33 Responses

  1. Is this great news or what? And yes, it is okay to say, “Fuck everyone who thought you were just another fat person.”

    No one has any idea how depressing it is to feel so bad and gain weight–whether you exercise or not. Who knows, you might be taking up badminton soon? Too bad you live so far away!



  2. Mazel Tov with the weight loss.

    Now Daniel needs to take you shopping and buy you new clothes in a glorious new size!

    I have put on almost 100 lbs (96 to be exact) on meds, and have lost 54 of them. I too miss the body I had prior to meds. It was small, lithe and sexy.

    I would love to hike the Appilachian Trail one day. Can I borrow your dog for this?

    And not to confuse you with the other Susan, who has a rocking website, ( and I need to add her to my blog roll ASAP), I will now be Susan the Cat Fix Lady!


  3. Good for you and I agree with the “fuck everyone”. I went through the same thing. I could not lose weight and I exercised, watched what I ate – everything. I stopped the medication and lost 45 pounds almost overnight. I now stay at my ideal weight without even trying! Yes, the drugs cause weight gain and I really believe all the exercise in the world won’t change that!


  4. Deborah

    My weight is up 35 pounds — for 18 years. It was even higher when I was on Paxil/Klonopin/Inderal…about 45 lbs over my previous norm.

    Since dropping Inderal and Serax completely from my diet and reducing my Cymbalta by 25% over the past year, I notice that I am maybe five pounds lighter. And I have enough energy to do a few things again – like walk around my favorite pond, take a spin on my bike…

    My ideal weight is the weight at which I stop worrying about it! I have gone through menopause and have been experiencing the joys of invisibility due to age as well as weight. Very interesting.

    Gianna, I am so glad to hear that your health is returning. I totally relate to the rage about size/looks and meds.


  5. Another one of all these outrageous lies they tell people, that weight gain would be due to a lack of exercise. A friend of mine has experienced nothing but constant weight gain during all her years on (six different, two neuroleptics) psych drugs. Somehow it’s like you can tell that she isn’t “normally” fat, like from overeating, eating junk-food, or not exercising enough. It isn’t fat, it’s water her body stores, because of the drugs. – Maybe that’s why you’re losing weight so fast now that you’re off the neuroleptics. I guess, it’s easier and faster to lose water than fat.

    Personally I’m that “hysterical” about my weight (just call me anorectic 😉 ), I would have gone additionally crazy about a significant weight gain (> 5 lbs) alone (not to mention all the other “side effects”). And then, I guess, I would have qualified for even more drugs…

    How are people supposed to get well, when all that these drugs do is causing them to feel even more miserable, bc of side effects? My friend, once a slim and athletic person like you, Gianna, is devastated. She literally hates herself.


  6. They told her, it was – mostly – water. But, well, why would anyone still believe a word of what these people say…?

    Thanks for the link. Looks great. I’ll send it to her right away 🙂


  7. This is the first time I have commented on your blog.

    Just wanted to say that saying swear words to express my depression has been one of the most liberating things I could do to feel less disempowered.

    I say hurray(!) to the your statement there because it is you! It is how you feel! It is one of your truths!

    But then again you know this already it seems and who needs advice from a 20-year old.


  8. Sloopy Cowbell

    No excuses for being fat, say Tories

    Overweight people were told today there are “no excuses” for being obese as the [British] Conservative party launches a new “responsibility” deal on public health.

    The shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley, used a speech to the thinktank Reform, entitled No Excuses, No Nannying, to set out proposals on how the government and business can work together to address problems caused by poor diet, alcohol abuse and lack of exercise.

    “Tell people that biology and the environment cause obesity and they are offered the one thing we have to avoid: an excuse,” he said.

    And these goons are eager to seize power in Britain?? I despair..

    If you scratch beneath the surface, it’s clear that the Tories are completely corrupt before they’ve even taken office..

    The party’s “blame yourself for being fat” policy was drip-fed to them by the junk food industry, with the lobbying spearheaded by Dave Lewis, the chairman of Unilever Foods, a big party donor.

    The junk food industry is keen to woo the Tories to avoid future legislation on toxic food additives and advertising of junk foods on TV.


  9. Sloopy Cowbell

    Great to hear the pounds are falling off now the neuroleptics are no longer poisoning you. You’ve may well have won yourself an extra decade of life or more by quitting anti-psychotic drugs. I’ve heard it said that ten years is the minimum ballpark figure for the toll those drugs can take on life expectancy.

    I was horrified to read the health background to a famous anti-psych campaigner in Britain – Ron Coleman. He spent years on every psychiatric drug imaginable. He’s off all drugs today, and has been for a decade, but his physical health is ruined by psychiatry.

    Neuroleptics have given him type II diabetes which is very poorly controlled, and because of the strain put on his heart from years of chronic drug-induced obesity, he’s also had to have heart bypass surgery.

    Psychiatry and its drugs are so dangerous they are little short of euthanasia.


  10. I had the same issues when I was on Zyprexa. Gained a bunch of weight that everyone got on my case about even though it wasn’t half of what people usually gain on the drug. They’re be half relieved when I told them it was the medication, and half still angry at me about it. Which has made me a bit bitter about the whole issue even though I’ve lost the weight since going off the medication.

    I totally agree that you can be ‘fat’ and healthy. I think the way we define ‘fat’ is seriously skewed by society’s weird attitudes toward weight anyway. The stereotypes that go along with it are awful, and do more damage, most of the time, than the weight itself.


  11. Gianna and Susan,

    I’m in for the badminton….
    So, we’ve got three….
    We only need one more for doubles….

    I say we string a net from north to south across the middle of New Mexico….The South/TX versus the West/CA

    It’s Gianna and me against Susan and ?
    Susan, you need to pick another player….

    Gianna, you cover NC, SC, GA, and FL
    I’ve got TX, LA, MI, and AR

    You need to find another player…
    May I suggest finding someone in either UT, CO, or NM
    You’re gonna have your hands full – covering CA, NV, and AZ….

    So Susan,
    It’s up to you – find a player in the west, and you’re on….

    It’s Gianna and me against you and whoever you chose….

    May the best team win….

    And, we’ll let you serve first ma’am (southern hospitality)….



  12. Gianna,

    Why did I just know you were gonna come up with the “left your heart in San Fransisco” thing….

    How about this – rules of play – we keep the birdie in either CA or TX?

    Well, while you head out to CA to meet up with Susan, I’ll drive out to the Perdanales – there’s a guy out there who I can ask….Don’t know him well, but sure like his music….

    After badminton, maybe you ladies would like to join us both for a round of golf here in TX? –



  13. (((Gianna)))

    My husband is overweight and has been his whole life. His mother is overweight too. So is his brother. It runs in the family, but I’m trying to get him to lose a little bit because he’s at a higher risk for diabetes and it exacerbates his gout. He’s 350 lbs. With his body frame, he’ll never be 185 (I’d be scared to see him that way!) but if we can get him to lose 75-100 lbs, that’d be great. But he often lacks motivation to lose weight and this is the problem.

    The other problem is that his eating isn’t terribly unhealthy. He watched a guy from The Biggest Loser eat a pound of pasta in a huge salad bowl and said, “Why do I weigh as much as him and not eat as much as him?” It made him pretty angry.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I’m exhausted today.


  14. Duane and Gianna,
    I’m on for this match, but I’ve got to warn you that I’ve been doing all these aerobic exercises in order to have better stamina on the court.

    And if Gianna’s playing with me Duane, than you’re fried. I think she’s truly an athlete at heart. However, if she’s playing on your team, then I’m picking my badminton teacher as my partner. She’s a year younger than I am and a retired volleyball coach.

    You both probably didn’t realize that I’m really competitive–with sports. But, a good sport. And Gianna, you’re welcome to visit any time.

    Duane, I find nothing more boring than golf, but I used to know how to play and will willingly play with you whenever I’m in your neck of the woods in Texas!



  15. Gianna and Susan,

    Looks like Willlie and I may have our hands full…..

    Unless Gianna decides to stay on this side of the net….and keep the game lined up the way it was to begin with….huh?

    These two sound pretty rough Gianna – I may need your help.



  16. That is awesome. My sister takes Saraquin and it gives her an incredible appetitie. She’s trying to diet now. Meds haven’t made me gain weight but I’m only on depression meds.


  17. My daughter gained over 100 lbs on Zyprexa and once that was gone lost the weight practically overnight. It was unbelievable, and as a teenager of course she suffered greatly being made fun of for that weight gain. The pdoc (she fired eventually herself) would tell her to walk and stop drinking soda, just like the Lilly documents said doctors should tell their patients. She did not drink soda and she did walk. The drop of the weight off of Zyprexa is proof enough for me that these meds induce weight gain. I gained weight on Xanax, something ppl don’t talk about, but as I have decreased the dose, the weight is moving down.

    PS– Northwest bad minton enthusiast here! I think we need a bloggers convention with all of us and our readers and commenters!!!

    Wouldn’t that be awesome!?


  18. Gianna,

    My weight increased at its most about 45 pounds which on a 5 foot frame is quite a bit of weight. I carried it for about ten years or so. Basically the length of time I was on the drugs.

    I completely understand about your confusion over your ideal weight and your ambivalence (if this is the right word) about losing the excess weight. I didn’t know, either, what my ideal weight was going to be. I knew what I had weighed all of my adult life prior to the meds and weight gain but didn’t know if I would/could or wanted to get back to that weight. As it turned out, my body naturally found that weight again and I don’t vary more the 3 or 4 pounds in either direction no matter what I eat or do. So, it seems this is where my body wants to be.

    Losing the weight was exciting, gratifying, scary and confusing. People began to notice me more. It was like I lost my invisibility super-power. Some days this was wonderful and truly empowered me. But, if I was depressed, fearful, anxious…I didn’t like that I was no longer invisible. Now that I have healed so much I love being at my old weight. I feel so much better in my own skin and I have more energy, my joints don’t hurt as much and all that stuff. But, I had many mixed feelings along the way about losing weight. Then, once I decided I liked this weight I had many fears that I couldn’t maintain it. But I have, fairly effortlessly.

    Sorry about the book! Hope that answers some of your questions though. You are doing great things. Just take it a day at a time and you will adjust, slowly, but you will adjust. And, maybe slowly is the best way. Easier on the system!



  19. ramithnl

    Okay-time to set it straight. In the past 10 years I gained 100 pounds on a ton of meds for “Bi-Polar”…ism. Ha. I’ve had enouph. I once felt a victum to all the things in my past that made me feel ashamed, introverted, and depressed.
    And then they dope you up so that you don’t act out against this crap. I don’t feel like a victum to all of these toxic emotions and it’s time to get OFF all or most of these meds. When you feel that you have a handle on most of the crap that made you feel bad about yourself you are ready to start parring down on all these stupifying drugs. My only qualification is that I’ve been drugged up for 24 years. I’m almost off Klonopin. I used to be on 6mg. a day.
    Your mind and will to FEEL ALIVE will come back-believe it or not. Never dispair. Never give up. Never say die.


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