Reader Tells of Her Success with Exercise and ...
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Q:  Reader Tells of Her Success with Exercise and ...

Of course, this is all anecdotal, but when I read the chapters on exercise and metabolic syndrome, I decided to 'put the book down, go to the front door and step outside'. It was 3:30 am. :) 

I began a light walking regimen the next day and in the past 3 1/2 weeks, I've only  missed 1 day because I was down with an bout of Chron's. I carry my pedometer on me at all times. I can walk 2.5 miles just doing housework!! But I still go out walking because getting out is so important for depression! It's completely changed my outlook on life! 

I changed my diet to follow your comments about metabolic syndrome immediately and have lost almost 15 lbs in 3 weeks and I am not 'eating light', I have not been starving, just avoiding simple carbs & making a concerted effort to eat more vegetables, otherwise, I substituted complex carbs for the simple. 

I really have to read those labels because labeling laws in the US allow for quite a bit of deception. I read the total carbs, total sugars and then read the ingredients as well to be sure they're not sneaking something in there. Even if the package says, 'sugar free' or '100% Whole Grain', some have 15 grams of sugar per serving or more! Also, I have to watch the Maltitol, I'm very sensitive to it, especially Russell Stover brand.  

Since about the 2nd day I started walking (can't do more than that because I have a huge midline adominal hernia that's currently inoperable) and changed my eating habits, I have not had a SINGLE episode of hypomania and I was a rapid cycler. I now easily sleep 8 hours, waking up maybe once in a night for a few seconds, if that. 

I am now up to 3-5 miles per day of walking at a moderate pace. I live in South Texas & it's very hot and humid here,  so I drive to the mall to walk early in the mornings and later in the evening, I walk 3 blocks to a strip mall & return all the carts from the parking lot to the correct stores. That usually takes me 30-45 minutes, but it's exercise & I've become very popular with the Target, Office Depot, Ross and PetSmart employees :) 

My therapist has been impressed with my results. I am only about 8 weeks into  therapy, going twice a week at first, now down to once a week. After years & years of going to therapists, becoming suicidal 3 times on anti-drepressants, she is the firts person to diagnose me as Bipolar II. 

I spent 11 months in therapy with a psychologist & psychiatrist in practice together, became suicidal on every AD they gave me & Bipolar II never came up. That was only 6 years ago.  

Two quack MD's have since prescribed AD's for me while I was obviously hypomanic,  never screened me for Bipolar either time.  I took the Lexapro I was given the first time and was suicidal within a few days.  

The 2nd time, I caught it with the pharmacist before I filled it..that doctor had  snuck in a generic of Lexapro on me after I stated in my intake that I could not take anti-depressants (they lost my medical records shortly thereafter).  

My current therapist is 'only' an LCSW, but she has been wonderful and had heard good things about your book, but hadn't read it. I lent it to her when I finished it. 

Because I have been in a very serious financial situation and the only psychiatrists covered by my insurance are currently booking for the end of August, we agreed that we would attempt to control my disorder with diet, exercise & talk therapy. She'll decide later if I'll need mood stabilizers or not, but for the moment, it's working. Meds won't be an option for a few months because I can't afford to see an out of network MD, but for now I feel normal for the first time in at least 10 years. Even if I could afford the $250.00 for a single office visit, I have a choice between cheap meds with tons of side effects or $500.00 a month for the newer, fewer-side effects meds. Not much of a choice. 

For anyone else out there reading this, if I can do it, so can you. I threw away all the sugar-laden products in my fridge and pantry and bought whole grains. Now when I occasionally have a piece of fruit, it tastes as sweet as candy!  

The weight loss is another terrific incentive. How else could I eat 2k calories or  more a day and still be losing 2-3 pounds a week? 

Thank you so much for your book, I would still be suffering through the rapid cycling if I hadn't read it. 

I went to to look up books on metabolic syndrome and there are tons of them! Are there any in particular you recommend? 



Dear Deanna --

Thanks for your note.  Your account will probably inspire others as well.  (At some point, you will probably go through a phase where you are getting less exercise.  Then later, you will probably pick it back up again to your current level or so.  If that happens, don't let this alarm you  In words I have heard attributed to Bill Rogers, winner of the Boston Marathon several times, "you are never in shape.  You are either getting in shape, or getting out of shape". ) Good luck with the process.

Dr. Phelps

Published August, 2008


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