Eats, December 7: Am I SAD?

A Note on Irvingia: I’m going to post my observations on my Irvingia testing as comments to the Irvingia Field Reports page onward and see how that works. This way, the blog doen’t get entirely taken over by the topic, and people who are interested in Irvignia know where to go – and the folks who could care less don’t need to be botheredIf you are taking Irvingia and would like to let readers know of your experience, please post there.

I started my eating with a cup of the Crock pot pork and tomatoes, followed up by a cup of the celery stir fry. This was about 12:30. Hungry again around 4pm, I had some ham and two slices of low carb bread.

Still more thirsty than usual, I guzzled down 2 glasses of seltzer splashed over some 4c drink mix. I don’t mix up the stuff all at once, but I store it in an old prescription bottle and add a dash here and there when I want it. 

This saves room in the fridge, and avoids my 2-year old from seeing it, wanting some, and spilling it all over the white couch, where the neon red of the dye they use in the stuff necessitates pulling off the slipcover and washing it – again.

In the evening I had wine & pasta, a cookie, Stilton cheese, pork rinds, and some Greek toast with my daughter. 

The scale reports 212.0 – an impressive increase in just a few short days. 

If you look at these results, based on what I ate, it would make sense that I don’t lose any weight – but to gain so much?

If I look back a year, the EXACT same weight gain occured at the same time – in December 07, I shot up to 215, then worked my way back down.

I did a search on ‘seasonal weight gain’ – and got a lot of links for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Great. I don’t WANT a friggin disorder, especially one that seems like a disorder exclusively for hypochondriacs. I’m a guy – I want my disorders to have clearly defined symptoms – like a limb ripped off, or sky-high blood pressure.

These can be objectively measured, actions taken (limb reattached, blood pressure brought under control through medication), and objectively measured again to determine if the action was a success. It’s a guy thing.

With this disorder, you sit in front of a light, and ‘feel better’ – nothing objectively measureable. 

But…it really irks me that these symptoms from an article on the Clevland Clinic website seem to overlay where I’m at right now:

People who suffer from SAD have many of the common signs of depression: Sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in their usual activities, withdrawal from social activities, and inability to concentrate. They often have symptoms such as extreme fatigue and lack of energy, increased need for sleep, craving for carbohydrates, and increased appetite and weight gain.

Symptoms of winter SAD include:
  • Fatigue
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Decreased levels of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Increase in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased desire to be alone

Now – a person has to be wary of what I’ve heard called ‘First year medical students disease’. This is where medical students start reading about diseases and their symptoms, overlay a vague set of symptoms on their complaints, and scare themselves silly that they are gonna die from a given disease.

It’s easy – here – play along: next time you have a headache, what if it not just muscle tension, but rather bacterial spinal menningitis

Taking that into consideration, might there be something to SAD? Might it explain a number of things going on?

And more importantly, might a stupid light fix it?

4 thoughts on “Eats, December 7: Am I SAD?

  1. Do the light therapy. What’s the worst that could happen?

    I live practically in the tropics and I still need my SAD light on cloudy days and all winter long due to the short days. Of course, I also have to take anti-depressants, but some of us just hit the genetic lottery. If taking a pill and sitting in front of a light allow me to be functional for 16 hours per day, I think it’s a small price to pay.

    How much sleep do you get? I think part of your fatigue is because you’re not sleeping enough. Just my two kopecks.

  2. Light therapy works if that is your problem. The thing is that there is a continuum of “light deficiency.” It’s not SAD or nothing.

    One of the more interesting aspect of light therapy is that it can help you sleep better, because it’s basically normalizing your serotonin levels. Some people do best with 15-20 minutes in front of a bright light in the morning. For others, 20 minutes at night works better. You just need to experiment.

    And not just any bright light will do. It really does work better with a light specifically designed for light therapy.

    If you need light, there’s not much else that will work. Some friends of mine moved up to the Pacific Northwest a couple of years ago, and the first winter was hell for them. they both found themselves to be tired and a little depressed, and they had never experienced that before. I suggested getting a light, and it made all the difference.

    The other thing that research has shown about SAD is that in some cases, vitamin D will also help. But it has to be in the higher range: 2500-5000 mg/day or so. But that’s what’s being recommended by researchers anyway, for all sorts of reasons.

    As the commenter above said, it’s worth a try. And you could be amazed at the difference it will make.

  3. I am originally from the Los Angeles area. I moved up to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (100 miles south of the Canadian border) and lived there for 10 years. SAD was very real to me. I needed to get on anti-depressants in order to get through college.

    While light therapy helped, I do much better living down south. I now live in Saint George, Utah. Our weather is very close to Las Vegas weather (we are 125 miles north). Needless to say, I am now off of anti-depressants.

    I read/heard somewhere that anyone who lives north of Atlanta does not get enough sun.

    And as far as vitamin D, I believe it is suppose to be D3.

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