Hi Hayley!

SO long story short, I had a breakdown brought on from work stress 3 years ago. I ended up being diagnosed with Bipolar. I'm completely fine now and doing very well on the medication. The only kicker is that the meds have contributed to a ton of weight gain (50 pounds to be exact.) It's honestly been so awful, I feel like I'm not even myself anymore. I used to weigh about 140 lbs max and I'm 5'7". So as I'm sure you can imagine my body has completely changed. On top of that I've been diagnosed as Hypothyroid. 

I'm switching to a new antipsychotic and my thyroid should be stabilizing any day now. But obviously these things take time. In the meantime I try to eat healthy 90% of the time. Protein, veggies, meat, fish, nuts and healthy fats. My workouts now consist of spin classes 3 times a week and weights 2 times a week. I'm obsessed with spin classes, I find weights super boring. These workouts used to work for me, but now I'm wondering if I need to overhaul my system and try something new? 

Any help would be so greatly appreciated! I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall. I also should note that I booked a naturopath appointment for this weekend as I'm desperate for alternatives.  

Thanks Hayley!



I am not an expert on antipsychotics but when I was researching antianxiety medications for myself, a lot of the reading I did stressed possible weight gain as a side effect but it was attributed to lifestyle changes, such as a lack of motivation to exercise while the body gets used to the medication or an increase in food intake. The slow thyroid may be the contributing factor here. Sounds like you have a positive outlook and you are doing everything you can to manage. 

My first piece of advice for you, which I have stressed often on this site, is to forget who you used to be and embrace who you are. We get so stuck on living in the past rather than in the moment. You used to be 140 lbs and now you’re not, but you’ve also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a slow thyroid and you’re on a few medications. Your reality has changed which means your expectations and goals might need to change with it. I am not saying you won’t ever get back to 140lbs, but at the moment that goal can be quite daunting and discouraging.  

What you are doing now for your health (exercising, eating healthy and seeing a naturopath as well as staying on top of your medication) is perfect. Hang here for a while and focus on how good eating right and staying healthy makes you feel. Weight loss should come if you are consistent with sweating and putting good foods into your body. Keep a journal and after each workout write down one thing you are proud of accomplishing during that workout. Maybe you tried a harder spin class that day, or you pushed hard through a set that you normally give up on. When we get lost in the big picture we forget to acknowledge the steps that it takes to get there. Focusing on the small steps will keep you motivated and focused.

In regards to weight training being boring, I am with you on that. I was just chatting about this with my best friend this weekend. She loves a barbell workout.  loves squats, barbells presses, deadlifts, etc. I would rather stick pins in my eyes. I love core, functional movements, yoga, Pilates, and yes…burpees.  All the burpees. You need to find a way to strength train that you love. Maybe you try power or flow yoga or a bar class or a HIIT class. Maybe you’ll love CrossFit, or a boot camp. I don’t think it is the act of weight training that you don’t like but it is the lack of enthusiasm and energy when doing weights alone.  If classes don’t fit in your schedule then download a training app (there are dozens to choose from but my favourite is the Nike Training Club), put on some beats and get sweaty. If you still absolutely can’t stand it then add in another spin class and compromise with one weight session a week.

Set a goal of trying one new thing a month as there are countless ways to move and sweat. Maybe you’ll find another activity that you love as much as spinning. Fitness is for life and it needs to evolve and change like everything else so don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut. Keep focusing on feeling good, strong and being grateful that you have a body that you love to move and that loves to move you.