Living With Bipolar II: Fighting for Nutrition

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • Here are my feelings about cooking:


    1. It's boring.

    2. It takes too long.

    3. It's silly to take half an hour or more to prepare food that's gone in 15 minutes.

    4. I'm not very good at it.

    5. Cooking for one is really boring.


    The answer to #3, of course, is to make dishes that provide leftovers, and sometimes I do. I can make a nice mild chili, a good hamburger stroganoff sauce, glorious alfredo sauce, and a few other items that provide extra meals. I even bought a slow cooker, but I was afraid of it and put it somewhere and now I can't find it. Never even took it out of the box.


    Why am I talking about this? Because eating sensible and nutritious meals is necessary to people with bipolar disorder, and yet our moods can interfere with getting a proper diet. For me, both depression and hypomania make me frustrated with the time it takes to make and eat a decent meal.

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    When I'm severely depressed, I just don't want to be bothered with cooking. Not only that, but during depression I really crave sweets because they are comfort food. The other day when I felt physically horrible and mentally drained, I hate three double Three Musketeers bars and two Chunky bars. In one afternoon and evening.


    This is doubly a problem because like so many bipolars, I have diabetes thanks to my meds. Out of control blood sugar can cause or significantly add to depression.


    When I'm feeling decent or hypomanic, I'm so involved with whatever I'm doing that I just don't want to stop and take the time to fix a meal. Just as when I'm depressed, I want to grab whatever's handy. Sometimes it's a whole can of condensed soup (3.5 servings). More often it's just a bottle of mocha Frappucino.


    Well, guess what. You can't lose weight on a bad diet like that. Your body feels deprived of nutrients and hangs onto every ounce. So here I sit, 50 pounds overweight from meds and getting nowhere with reducing - and making myself feel mentally sluggish to boot.


    It's a truism that you find time to do the things you really want to do. I really want to lose weight, don't I? Well, apparently not enough, because if I did I'd DO something about it.


    Are you in this same boat? Where eating right is just too much work? What galls me is that I did lose 33 pounds a few years ago by eating sensibly, so I not only know it's possible, I know how to do it. For breakfast every day I ate a bowl of Kashi Go-Lean Crunch (has a decent amount of protein) with Dole Fruit Naturals peach chunks. A bit high-carb, but nutritious all the same. Lunch was flexible and the largest meal of the day. I tried to keep it high protein. My afternoon snack was a Frappucino, and dinner was an apple with peanut butter.


    It worked. I lost 2-3 pounds a month. But then two things happened: (1) the sameness got to me, and (2) I got horribly stressed by what was going on in my life. The weight loss stopped, I gained back 13 pounds, and my diet went to hell - and has remained there ever since.


    I have to do something. My first step is working with the schedule I've been talking about recently by adding "cook" to one day a week. That means making one of those dishes that will last me for several meals.


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    I now have on hand enough (perfectly) boiled chicken for two more sandwiches, enough tomatoes for three grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, and a salmon loaf worth three meals, along with a partly eaten batch of apple cinnamon muffins. This should get me through several days if I have an apple and 4 ounces of jack cheese for dinner.


    Will this work? We'll see. In the meantime, add a comment to tell what you do to fight the "I don't want to take the time to eat right" syndrome.



Published On: February 07, 2012