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I have gained 25 pounds over the last year due to a combination of PCOS, dad's declining health and being in graduate school. I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers but wonder if I need something more due to the PCOS. I can't stand the way I look, shopping isn't fun anymore, and I am starting to worry about my own health. any like minded people out there? would love any suggestions. Thanks.

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Thanks so much. I'm going through the same. Been a care giver to first my mom and now my dad though he is in long term care now I still visit at least 3 times a week and my phone is never off . Some days he calls 12 times a day, so it's not like I'm getting a break. I'm tired a lot, lack sleep and I'm just too tired to eat and I'm still putting on weight. But there are lots of answers here that make sense and I hope to follow them. Caregiver be kind to yourself first or you are no good to anyone else.
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I am in a similar situation. Looking after Dad, gained so much weight; I had to get my knee drained etc. I have decided it's like when you are on a plane..."you put the oxygen mask on yourself first"! So I exercise everyday for an hour away from my Dad! I pay for someone to come! You must do the same!
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I gained 30 plus pounds over the last 2.5 years. Hated looking in the mirror. During that time I had severe depression and spent most of my time drugged and sitting. After much therapy and ECT, I am off almost all meds, eating healthy....no sugar, no high carb foods and exercise everyday, I am slowly losing the extra baggage. I like the idea of not eating after 7. Think I will attempt doing that.
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Quiet as it's kept, many of us were always emotional eaters. I found that although I was not a morning person, there were a couple of hours in the AM that I could sneak out without concern for my mother's wellbeing. I religiously either went walking with a friend or to the YMCA (where I maintained unused membership). I didn't really lose weight but I believe it helped keep some of the stress at bay & my body felt stronger. When mom needed an attendent because she couldn't be left alone at all, I took that opportunity to get out & walk. With or without my walking buddy.
Remember, put on your life jacket first!
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Yes! For me it's a combination of stress eating, having less time to shop and prepare good meals for myself, and the lack of time for exercise. I know that I *should* do these things but it's very hard. The emotional stress of what's going on makes it more difficult to take care of myself but factors into the equation as poor sleep, high cortisol, etc. It seriously going to take a Herculean act to get myself back on track. Maybe starting on one piece of those things at a time is a good idea. Yes, to the caregiver "weight loss challenge!" Or the caregiver "take good care of yourself too challenge."
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Oh yes I have gained weight during this. I eat for comfort, but it sure isn' t comforting what I see in the mirror. Good tips on here. I am gonna stop the bingeing. Hugs
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Oh geesz! I can relate to all of you.

Mom has been living with us for a year and a half. Keeping weight on her and liquids in her are at the top of the list of things we are trying to do. Sooo... we buy and eat a lot of cream pies and of course to be encouraging to her I eat pie with her. That however does not explain the 5 lb bag of Chocolate Peanut Butter cups I keep next to my bed. No... these are just for me, they have been my replacement medicine instead of tranquilizers or using a whole lot of alcohol to cope with my feelings toward her, and the changes that have taken place in my life over the last year and a half.

Well, "any port in a storm" as they say.

We all need to be kind to ourselves. We are all coping the best we know how.
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I recently got so in home assistance to help me take care of my dad. I lost 10 pounds in a month after doing this. Also the MD put my Dad on a sleeper so he does not get up every hour on the hour waking me. Letting go of control, asking for and accepting help have been good changes for me so far.
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I'm up 16 pounds in the last 2 years, since caregiving for my husband. I'm a Jazzercise instructor, so getting enough exercise is not the issue. A recent blood test showed that my cortisol (stress hormone) is through the roof. It's causing a condition called Adrenal Fatigue, which causes weight gain. I just started seeing a doctor who specializes in integrative medicine and he gave me an adrenal tonic to see if the level goes down. Stress has kicked off bouts of diverticulitis as well. We all have serious stress; the problem is how to deal with it without ruining our own health.
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I too gained about 30 lbs from the stress of caregiving. Cortisol levels are way off and I just cannot relax with this in my face 24/7 . Not one bit happy about it either. I have now lost 10 lbs since October, but boy is it slow going. Trying to lay off the chocolate and I have started taking a supplement meant to help lower stress and cortisol. I did not gain anything at all during the holidays so I guess that is a small victory. I noticed that when we got away for a few weeks in October, even though we were eating all meals in restaurants, I was still able to drop pounds so I am sure it is stress causing the problem.
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Hi Miasmom, I have a puppy I named Mia! :-)

I think we get running to much and have to make something fast to eat, and those choices usually aren't the best for our bodies long term. Or in my case I will not have time to eat all day, then over indulge at night since I'm starved, and go to bed too soon after eating since I'm exhausted.

I used to work out quite a bit at home, have bike, elliptical, weight bench in a little room with a small flat screen. I've gotten away from it, and am going to make my own time to do it again starting very soon. The elliptical sure does tone the body and burn calories, had great success using it in the past and doesn't tear up my joints like other equipment. I got a cheap version at a sports box store several years back to make sure I'd use it. I wore the thing out so then stepped up to a pretty nice one. You might want to go try a few that are set up in stores and see what you think. The 1st one I got was at a Dick's Sporting goods store, wasn't much, ($300 range), was pretty decent little machine for the $. I set a time in the a.m. and guarded that time, made those close to me aware of it, then didn't answer phone then. I made sure I did it at least 4 days per week. Had to start slow at 1st, but then built up to longer times and higher resistance settings. I stretch out slowly before to avoid injury. Actually got to look forward to that time, and enjoy it.

I also "used to" make out a menu for the week, build a grocery list off that, then not buy anything extra at the store. Found it just took a little more planning, rather than just grab whatever and go. But with a plan you can cook fresh veggies and meat in larger amounts, boiled eggs and such, then have them handy in the fridge on days you're short on time rather than microwaving something "processed". For me when I am doing that and then it something processed or sweet it tastes AWFUL. ;-)
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I, too, find myself in many of your posts. I moved both my parents 1000+ miles to an ALF in my small community 18 months ago. I had been a long-distance caregiver to dealing with daily issues and visits.

I could literally feel myself gaining weight due to stress-eating. When my dad passed a year ago, i felt slightly less stress. Last April i had major surgery that included a hysterectomy. My mom's health continued to decline throughout the summer; she passed in October.

I am happy to say the day-to-day stresses of caregiving have subsided, and I'm left with 30 extra pounds! I want to be motivated and long to fit into my clothes again. I'm wondering how much is menopause and how much is just being lazy. Haha. My husband and I are trying to eat 'cleaner' for health reasons. Good health and strength to all in 2015.
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I have slowly lost weight since caring for my parents over the past 2 years. To lose weight, I simply thought about it until it became an obsession. (This is a strategy that has worked for me in the past in other areas--like paying off a house early, certain jobs I have wanted, and so on.)

Remember the book, Growing Up Brady, written by Barry Williams of the Brady Bunch? Early in the book he recalls wishing as a small child that he could be an actor but not having a clue how to accomplish it. He wrote that he was at a neighborhood party with his parents where actor Peter Graves from Mission Impossible (the TV series) was in attendance. At some point during the party, young Barry walked up to Peter Graves and asked him how he became an actor. He wrote that Peter Graves thought for a moment and then looked down at little Barry and said something to the effect of: Well, Barry, I just thought about it.

That's the whole point--if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to find a way to make THAT more attractive to you than excessive eating. To get there, just start daydreaming about what your life will be like once you've lost the weight--the smaller-sized clothes you'll be able to get into, the events you'll want to go to instead of dreading because of how you look, and so on. KEEP visualizing and daydreaming until losing the weight eventually becomes an OBSESSION. Dream about how you'll feel with the weight off and the things you'll be able to do and enjoy. Make your dreams SO REAL that it's like it's already happened. If you're not to that point, just keep trying until you find your key reason for losing weight--something that will keep you motivated enough to accomplish it.

Once you've turned your weight loss into an OBSESSION, you'll automatically develop the weight-loss strategy that will work for you. You'll notice that people responding to your post have mentioned DOZENS of different ways to lose weight. There is no ONE way that works for everyone. Everybody has to figure out what they can and cannot live with, in terms of reducing the amount of food consumed in a typical day.

Myself, these days I can't live without snacking in the evenings. But I'm able to reduce my calories in the evening by substituting lettuce salads, carrot sticks and stuff like that for the potato chips, ice cream, or candy bars I used to grab. I've also reduced my breakfast size. But typically I eat a pretty big lunch--and anything I want, even fattening desserts now and then. For other people, this might not work at all. When I'm stressed, I find other ways to deal with it instead of eating more than I should. Like go to the Y or take a walk outside or call somebody. Or do more daydreaming.

There's (almost) always a way, if you want something bad enough.
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I just want to add that it has been proven that lack of sleep contributes to weight gain. Oh I wish it were easier for caregivers to take care of themselves! The demands are so heavy, the rewards are so few and there isn't enough of you to go around. I gained 50 pounds caring for my paralyzed husband over a period of 20 years. He passed almost 2 years ago and I am still trying to cure the bad habits I acquired while dealing with the stress...mainly eating fast food because I didn't have time or energy to prepare healthy meals for myself. I am working on learning to take care of myself again, which includes meal prep and buying lots of healthy greens and drinking protein shakes, all of which I like. God bless and good luck and don't be too hard on yourself.
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I see myself in most of the posts. I have gained close to 40 lbs in the last year taking care of my dad. He just entered an assisted living facility and I continue to eat, probably more than before. He is not happy and I feel guilty ..... so I eat.
Like the OP I do not even look like my. I have gone from a small to a large/extra large in just a year. Maybe supporting each other in this forum would help. Thanks everyone! It is always nice not to feel alone... whether it is weight or caregiving.
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Everyone has their own theory about weight loss and nutrition, but I just can't completely cut out some of my favorite foods. Moderation is best for me.

One day a week, I will eat just about what I want. (I no longer really enjoy foods that are terrible for you though. I can't stand to eat pizza anymore.) The other days of the week, I just eat what is good for my body. I actually love fruits and vegetables anyway. When I daydream about a dish, it's usually, a Greek salad or grilled salmon.

My problem has never been huge meals, but night snacking. That's my problem. I've had to cut that out though. If I have a snack, I have to keep it early and limit it to cottage cheese, fruit or nuts.
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I lost weight when I went vegan & gluten free. I've fallen off the wagon and gained 20 of the 25 pounds back on with the additional stress of preparing meals the way my mother will eat them. My husband doesn't help with bringing home a liter of wine every night. I finally put my foot down about the wine because it lowers my resistance to the snack foods. I'm working at getting back on the dairy free wagon. When I leave it off, my energy is better, my skin is clear and I lose weight. My mother has milk for dinner every night and likes a scrambled egg & biscuit for breakfast. It's hard to prepare that kind of food along with southern cooking and keep off the weight. For me, raw and sprouted worked best.
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Recently I realized that my mind has slipped into a state of thinking about how much food I can fit into a day. Guess that's what they mean by living to eat rather than eating to live. So now when the urge comes to pig out, I talk back to this bad habit, saying NO! I choose health instead. Good food choices have to be made moment by moment, every moment, for all time. When the thinking is healthy, the body will carry through on those positive ideas. God bless.
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Funny you mention that. UGGG its terrible, and the self loathing is not good either. I binged watched every documentary I could find on bad eating. "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead", "Food,Inc", "Sweet Misery", you get the idea. Stopped keeping the junk in the house. Loaded the fridge with fruit and veggies. My favorite thing so far has been "Do Yoga with Me", designed for real beginners and seniors. Its free on the web. I do a session and feel like I've had a massage. Good luck to us all fighting to slodge thru this struggle.
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I have gained a lot of weight through 6.5 years of caregiving for both of my parents. I am an emotional eater and I found myself in a trance in the pantry after a day with my parents. It was somewhere that I could finally indulge without hurting anyone but myself. I ate myself into a state of numbness after the stress, emotion, abuse, etc. of the day. I had to be patient and calm and think of everything all the time, but I could come home and fill all the holes with food and not think of anything. The diet advice people are posting is good, but for me, I had to get my head straight first.
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Think of it as a life-style change, not a diet. I have reduced or eliminated many foods from my food choices. Mostly sugars, dairy - I love cheese :( - gluten. Our meals consist of a lot of vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, couscous & proteins. I am the care taker for my mother who has decided that she doesn't like meat anymore. So I am incorporating beans, legumes into her diet as well. She LOVES anything sweet. I try to keep sweets at a minimum for her. Also, we see a chiropractor on a regular basis and he recommends to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. That is a tough one for me, but I try. I don't totally deny myself from what I want to eat, but when I do eat the foods I have eliminated, I can tell the difference in how my body feels. Usually not good, sluggish & weighed down. With the New Year, its time to get back on track for everyone in our house. :)
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Dear Miasmom1,
I have gained 35lbs over a year and half while caring for my Alzheimer mom. I've always been a healthy eater and it wasn't til she went to a home a few months ago before her passing , I realized what it was.
Because she could be up at night - anywhere from midnight til 4ish - I stayed up with her for the most part -dozing off here and there. But while awake I found my great de-stresser was "comfort" foods. I could down a half gallon ice cream in no time at 2 o'clock am. Sometimes I baked and called it my "baking therapy" - of course there was much to gain 'negatively' eating what I baked.
When I stopped fitting my clothes, I just bought bigger ones. I had no social life and spent all my free time cleaning and learning more on how to best care for mom.
I hope none of this sounds like resentment. I am blessed to have had the chance to care for her before she left this place. My only regret is that I wish I had a plan set prior to care giving so I would not have to look to food for comfort.
So you are probably wondering where this leads to. My dear caregiver, the answer is to NOT BUY the comfort foods. If it is not readily available, you cannot consume it. My thinking is my will power is while shopping.
I agree with previous post regarding those lose weight fast programs. That's only more stress and an invitation for a let down when you don't stay on task.
Stay away from carbs and sugars and drink plenty of water. And if all possible - make it a point to do a little walking and get some fresh air on a regular basis. I was not concerned bout my appearance as with my health.
I pray you find the means to free yourself of some of the stress, taking a bit of time for you. It is well known that the caregiver can become sicker than the patient, so take care of you ASAP.
Blessings for a new year and a new you.
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Yes, have gained but not totally my fault. My 114 lb father loves sweets and then wants to share with me. Then I am bored caring for him when he sleeps a good part of day. I live in same home so I cook sweets for him and I eat. Menopause has no helped. New rule no carbs after 6 pm
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I agree menopause, the stress of mom's death last year and dad moving in and now AL plus the issues with my vision have not helped my waistline. I just got back from the gym I try for 4 days/week. One sort of good thing is since I had my cataract surgery whatever they had in IV as a pain suppressor has decreased my habit of having wine or beer every day. I used to have a couple glasses (smaller size) of wine daily or beer depending on mood but that has pretty much vanished. This time of year with the weather Is my big weight gain period and I think I will be ok.
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I'm trying to get myself back in shape again. It's hard to worry about things like weight until it's out of control especially when you are worried about something else more important IE your loved one's health. I was running from hospital, to rehab back to hospital again between my mom when she had her surgery and my grandma when she fell. Of course when you are in a hospital or in rehab, all you do is sit and sit some more. That's not the healthiest of life style when you come home so hungry and stuff yourself full just because you missed a meal or two during the day. I find that eating small snacks throughout the day that are healthy helps. Drinking tons of water. I take a water pitcher and place it in the fridge and use a straw cup with water and keep refilling it. When I find the urge to snack because I'm in a stressful point of the day or cleaning up after a mess or frustrated, I drink water. I munch on carrots, celery, raisins, or anything else small but something I can eat a few of without eating 4000 calories of chips. Fruit is awesome. If you can't stand the taste of pure fruit, try things like yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit if you like those things.

It's not so much of a diet as just making healthier choices and you will find once you cut the food out of your diet, you really don't crave it as much anymore. It's easy to say that when you're on the other end of the fence but trust me, I cut sodas out of my diet a few years ago. I don't want them anymore. I never liked how I felt on them to begin with and now I prefer juice or water. Same with chips, I eat veggie sticks instead which are much healthier and still have that crisp that chips have. Also we dragged the treadmill into the living room where my grandma is. We have her facing away from it so she's not staying at me while I'm walking but I have it in the room with her so that if she needs me I'm right there still but am able to get in my walking. I find the sound of the treadmill will put her to sleep so I find I'm able to get a good 30 minute walk in without worrying about her.

If you need support let us know. Perhaps you should start a new discussion so everyone can chip in and tell each other how we are doing so we can feel encouraged.
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Also from personal experience, do something now before it's too late. Once health issues set in it is a lot more difficult. Find new 'made over' light recipes for your favorite foods. Use low fat cheeses in cooking. If you snack eat low calorie and eat more fruits and vegetables. Walking is a good exercise and most everyone can do it. Start out slow, then work your way up to increase the time you walk. Make small changes at first so it won't be such a shock. It's all about your mindset. You want to make changes you have to change your habits. Keep a food diary with everything you eat and drink along with the times. This will help you to keep track of what your intake is and you will see where you need to make changes. Do you have a friend that also wants to lose a few pounds or become more fit? Do it together-it's more fun. You have a busy life and stress can cause all sorts of problems. Learn new ways to deal with the stress. Look for a caregiver support group or find some in home assistance for your dad. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging or Bureau of Senior Services for caregiving info. Visualize the new you and how much better you will look and feel! You Can Do It! Weight watchers is a good support group, utilize it. Here's to a healthier you(:
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Yes! I have gained weight and am now the heaviest I have been in my life. I think it is the stress and also not eating on my own schedule. I used food to distract my dad at times. Couple that with not exercising and that all adds up to out of control weight!

I have got to start exercising and losing weight. I just went to the doctor today and was shocked at the scales... I was afraid to weigh myself all this time but I knew I was gaining weight.

Anyone up for the caregiver weight loss challenge???? ... lol
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Counting calories, lots of fruits and veggies and a walk every day-even a short one, has helped me in the past. I'm on the verge of being fabulous again!
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So... I gained about 25 lbs from 2.5 years of caregiving a person I don't like, and only at arm's length for most of that time. I've just shed it by using an app called fitness pal which is simply an easy way of logging your food consumption! The app has calorie counts for all sorts of recipes - I stopped eating Whole Foods chicken salad when I saw exactly how good it is, calorie wise! I lost the weight by logging everything that went into my mouth and stopping when the register went to 1300. Done. Water after that time. I added a fitbit clip this fall, and having the extra calories allowed for my exercise has caused me to fudge a bit and add back 5. Not supposed to work that way!! :) Best wishes for a smaller future!
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Beer, pretzels and menopause! Oh, and tater tots! My fabulous granddaughter is having trouble fitting onto my non-existent lap! And our exercise machine is a clothing rack-think I will blame the hubby for that one. BTW, he is out getting ice cream right now!
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