Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fitness 101: Anti-depressants and Weight Gain

So, this was me last March.

This is my good weight. I wasn't too skinny, I was working out and I was probably around 107 pounds.

I know the number on the scale does not and should not matter, but ever since I started on antidepressants, I slowly started feeling like I was gaining weight.

Of course it does not help that the stress of work, and Manila traffic and all my other responsibilities, plus the mood swings I get sometimes from the meds, gives me little to no time to work out regularly.

Before you all start yelling at me, I know I'm not overweight now, but anyone who has been on medication knows where I am coming from, and I hope this also helps people who are on meds for the first time, so they don't panic if they notice some weight gain.

Last I checked a month ago, I was 112 lbs. This is the weight my nutritionist wanted me to be when I was an severely underweight 97 lbs, but for me, that's a 15 lb weight gain in the span of two years. Granted, I needed to gain that weight, it still does not make me feel good about how gross I am feeling physically right now.

Ok, so there are a few reasons why you might be gaining weight while on antidepressants:

1. Your chemicals are balancing out, so yes, you probably enjoy food a lot more.

2. Your appetite is growing- FOR CARBS. I don't know about you but I have this constant craving for anything starchy and bad for me- and I've been eating larger portions than I normally would. Your meds might be spinning your carb cravings to crazy levels.

3. Your metabolism might be slowing down. This plus constant carb cravings. Not a great combination.

4. It might be your specific medication or the combination of your meds. I asked my doctor to switch me from Zoloft to Pristiq- which is not supposed to make you gain that much weight. Oh God, imagine if I didn't switch? When I started on Zoloft, I was drinking a slurpee a day until it started becoming super ridiculous and I had to tell my doctor.

5. If you did not notice it earlier on and have been on meds for 6 months or longer, then you are probably noticing it NOW. It's been 9 months for me, so yes, it is about that time.

The good thing is, you feel better now, and I guess that's all that matters at the moment. I'm getting off my meds in time for my big jump to Paris (Yes, I AM MOVING! ;p) and I'm hoping that being a student again, with more time will allow me a regular work out schedule, despite all the yummy French food. Also, I decided to take the Metro to school, but walk an hour or so home everyday.

So for those who are about to start on or have just started antidepressants, it will benefit you to already switch to a healthier diet and more exercise. To those, who, like me, were skinny and now feel like jello- have no fear, it's still worth the effort to start working out more and stop eating all that junk! The weight loss may not be as fast as what you are used to, but it's better than ballooning to 20 pounds more than your usual weight.

So, there you go. My biggest frustration right now from these damn pills is me feeling like the Marshmallow Man. I know it might seem silly to some, but people on meds..... I heat ya loud and clear!

The plan:

To stop saying yes when my officemates ask me if I want shit food like KFC for lunch. I mean, I won't even lie, even at my healthiest, I loved fast food as much as the next person, but I could totally control my cravings and not have it for months!

To work out everyday for at least 45 minutes. Even if ti means having to wake up mad early again. And since my sleeping has become more normal, that just means that if I want my 8 hours, I need to sleep at 10 PM.

Alcoholic beverages only 2x a month and only wine. 3 glasses MAX. 2 days of the month of my choice.

Drink more water!!!!!!!

Will update this every two weeks to give progress reports.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Asian-style Chicken in Milk

This is my Asian version of Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk. As much as I love the original, I sometimes want something that gives me the same sense of comfort but with flavors closer to my heart. Does that make sense? lol!

Anyway, it's pretty much the same process, just with different ingredients. It's so easy to make and so flavorful. It always makes me eat more rice than usual! Also, I recommend 1.5 cans of coconut milk, but for more sauce, add the last 1/2 can- I think you will want to!


1 whole chicken
2 tablespoons tamarind puree
Optional: 1 tablespoon sinigang mix
Fish sauce and pepper, to taste
two thumb sized pieces of ginger, peeled and chopped into three equal parts
2 whole heads of garlic, peeled
1 stalk lemongrass, bulb part chopped roughly
zest of 1 lime
1.5 cans coconut milk ( 2 if you want more sauce)
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 tablespoon oil
2 tsps coconut syrup or brown sugar
Handful of coriander

How to:

  • Rub tamarind, sinigang mix, patis and pepper on your chicken and leave on for 10 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a dutch oven and fry chicken breast side down for 5 minutes or until skin browns. Flip over and repeat.
  • Turn off heat, and remove oil.
  • Add more fish sauce, pepper, lime zest, garlic, ginger, lemongrass (including leaves) Kaffir lime leaf and coconut milk and coconut syrup or brown sugar
  • Bake in oven, covered at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Remove cover and cook for another 10 minutes until skin browns.
I like serving this with lemongrass rice! Don't forget to add coriander and a little more lime zest when you serve it! Drown your rice in the sauce too!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Mexican-inspired Fish Sandwich

I LOVE Mexican food, and there are days when I really just want the flavors, but don't have time to go out and get tacos, or I'm home late and don't have the right ingredients. A sandwich is always easy to cook and easy to eat, and this is something both my daughter and I can eat with neither of us complaining.

You can take a basic fish sandwich and turn it into something special. In this case, I was craving Mexican, so I took components of a fish taco and turned it into a sandwich, with salsa fresca, shredded cheese, garlic-paprika yogurt aioli and cilantro.



White Fish Fillets ( I used Dory) cut in half, remove ends.
Lime juice
Dash of soy sauce
Pepper, to taste
Panko Bread Crumbs
Shredded Taco Mix Cheese

Salsa Fresca

Lime Juice

Garlic-Paprika Aioli

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cloves garlic
lime juice
paprika, to taste

How to:

  • Marinate your fish in soy sauce, lime juice, pepper and cumin for at least thirty minutes.
  • While  fish is marinating,  Make salsa fresca-chop tomato, onion, cilantro and toss together with lime juice and salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Make Garlic Aioli. Put all ingredients in a food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Add cumin, salt and pepper to panko bread crumbs, Dip fish in flour, then egg and lastly, bread crumbs and fry until cooked through and crispy on the outside.
  • Put the fish filet on bread, add a generous a mount of cheese, and pop in the oven or toaster until melted. Top off with salsa fresca, garlic- paprika aioli and cilantro.
  • Enjoy!