Today I took the last of my weaning-off dosage of Vyvanse, the ADHD/binge eating disorder medication. I started taking Vyvanse in late January/early February. So it’s been about six months.


The first side effect I noticed from Vyvanse was dry mouth, which was obvious in the first day. Since I preach hydration to my massage clients, I figured it was an opportunity to practice what I preach.

Then, in early May, I’m watching Hulu,* and one of their looping commercials is a product that treats dry mouth, which also causes bad breath. Pretty sure I actually gasped, because I had NO idea, and my first thought was: THAT’S FOUR MONTHS OF CLIENTS AND THREE DATES. [whenever a headdesk/facepalm emoji is created, I’ll insert that here.]

I mean, as a massage therapist, I’m all about having mints on me, but this year I’ve been loving the tropical flavor of Tic Tacs (they’re the red/orange/yellow/green ones) so I haven’t even been using my usual Altoids. So I’m horrified and so tempted to randomly email/text every client I’ve seen this year to apologize for my potentially terrible breath. Would that be crazy? I’m afraid that would seem crazy, so I don’t. I just cringe any time I think of any of my clients, double up on my Altoids game, and whisper my little curse** whenever I thought of the guys I’d met before I knew that I probably had serious halitosis.


The second side effect that I noticed and dismissed was that I was running warmer than I usually do. I normally get cold very easily. I always take a sweater into a restaurant or the movies with me. This winter and early spring, I never needed it. Huh, that’s kind of nice actually, okay. I let it go.


The third side effect I noticed and dismissed was that I was way more forgetful than usual. This year, I have left bottles of oil, essential oils, my Fitbit (twice!), and iPad stands*** in various client homes. I’m generally super on top of this sort of thing as it’s just really unprofessional to lose the stuff you need to do your job. I’d also lose track of conversations while in the middle of speaking, leave important things at home, etc. I’d joke with clients about how I was on a new ADHD drug, I was already a space case, it shouldn’t be making that worse.


The fourth side effect I noticed and dismissed was an increase in road rage. As in, I’d find myself overreacting to annoying drivers, yelling myself hoarse, cursing people for way too long. Like I’d be yelling for a good 15 seconds before I realized that I was yelling, I would be bitching about what awful people they were while wondering why I couldn’t just let this go already. But I thought maybe it was just a few over-the-top terrible encounters.


I dismissed all the side effects because I really wanted Vyvanse to work. I mean, it was working. I’ve gotten a lot done this year. I’m actually completing online courses, which is huge in the ADHD world, I’m doubling and hoping to triple my business this year, I am actually blogging here. I didn’t want to stop taking it and lose all the momentum.

I’m also down about eight pounds since May, which is pretty remarkable. It’s not more because I am still trying to manage/destroy the psychological side of why I (re)gain weight. And okay, by the end of the night, when I am most prone to binging, it’s pretty much gone. But still, I wanted to stay on Vyvanse because I’m afraid of regaining/falling back into my previous binging habit without it.

Not gonna lie, I have a couple Facebook friends who have had weight loss surgery, and one who has lost a significant amount by switching to a keto diet and all three have posted body updates recently. While I am happy for them, I’m also a little jealous, and a little sad for me that I am still dealing with this excessive weight. I am being stern with reminding myself though that if I had weight loss surgery or used a radical diet,**** to drop a lot of weight quickly (within a year), I would not be able to maintain that loss if I did not change how my brain works first. Once I am confident in my improved, not-food-based coping methods and my improved what’s-best-for-my-body-even-when-I’m-stressed food choices, I may try something to lose weight faster than the slow and steady that’s been happening this year.


So now it’s summer, I had to start drinking Gatorade at least every other day to keep up with my dry mouth/thirst. Any day over 85, I’m pretty much sweating from the minute I leave my house to the minute I’m back inside. The forgetfulness somewhat abated/mostly showed up in conversations, which is not a good way to make a first impression. Between construction/paving/tourists, I started losing my shit on the road almost daily and realizing that I was just generally on edge all the time.


That last part is what prompted me to email my doctor about getting off of Vyvanse. As bad as everything has been, I feel like maybe I have just generally been more easily irritated all year. I noticed it when dealing with some customer service issues with my clients. Minor issues that I would normally brush off were really getting under my skin. Like, I thought maybe it was just that I’ve been doing this for so long that I expect better, or maybe I was becoming a diva? But I had to bite my tongue a few times, and if we’ve ever met, you know I don’t have a poker face, so I’m wondering if I have maybe been less kind and accommodating than I normally would have been. That makes me a little sad. And tempts me again to contact all my clients since January to apologize but that again seems weird, so I haven’t. Sigh.

I don’t want to snap at clients or alienate anyone (even if they are terrible drivers ;)), so I knew Vyvanse had to go.


Thing is, aside from the dry mouth, none of my side effects are on the official list. There’s irritability but my rage is way beyond that. There’s an increase in heart rate but according to my Fitbit, my heart rate is lower than it was before I started taking it, so maybe my heart is slower but my blood is slightly boiling which is why I am overheating? The forgetfulness has nothing I can remotely stretch to relate to it. Thankfully, on other unofficial sites, I can find other people who have had similar/the same issues.


Honestly, aside from Vyvanse, the only thing I’ve regularly incorporated into my daily diet this year is Vitamin D.***** So it can only be from that.

I do think Vyanse is helpful and it’s a good drug. It’s just not a sustainable one for me. :\

While I could have minor withdrawl symptoms over the next few days, I am looking forward to cooler, calmer, less forgetful, hydrating-because-I-wanna-not-because-I’m-always-parched days. 🙂




*I watch the Daily Show the following day on Hulu, otherwise I wouldn’t bother with it. The streaming is terrible and the commercials are redundant.

**My curse is “remember the good,” which is how I curse everyone I go out with who I’ve ever thought about a second or third time. There is no denying that I have my awkward moments or that some of my jokes fall flat, so I prefer that I’m remembered by all the moments I was graceful, cute, charming, funny, and other pleasant adjectives.

***My iPad stand is the IKEA $1.99 version. When I discovered it, I bought 5 because I figured I’d leave that somewhere. This is the one thing I don’t sweat losing, especially since I live <5 miles from IKEA.

****While sure, keto can be sustainable on its own, it’s still a radical diet change for most people. Let’s not debate nuances.

*****Okay, so in addition to having super low blood pressure all the time, I also had very abnormally low levels of Vitamin D. I’m super pale and avoid the sun like it can burn me and give me cancer, because that is exactly what it does and can do. I’m happy with my supplements.

On weight.

In my adult life, I have primarily vacillated between two ends of a 30-pound spectrum. And while even at the low end of my weight spectrum, I am still overweight. I have worked with trainers, I have tried all the diets. I have done 5Ks, a half-marathon, P90X, bootcamp-style gym class, custom designed training plans, yoga, Pilates, and there was a year when I walked at least 10 miles every week. That’s when my weight reached its ultimate low point (10mi/wk), which I have not seen since. Basically, despite all my weight, I’ve never not had some sort of athletic pursuit in my life.

The highest my weight has ever been was just recently, November 2015-January 2016. It was ten pounds north of the high end of my weight spectrum. Very uncomfortable and more than a little frightening.

Let me explain.  So the last big athletic thing I did was work with a remote trainer* who designed weight lifting programs and monthly diets for me starting in May 2014. Over the course of our time together, the trainer introduced intermittent fasting and cheat days followed by fasting days. The end of our contract coordinated with that holiday season so I was doing more cheating-fasting combos then probably recommended.

Sometime in January 2015, I noticed that I never felt full. Like, ever, at all. I was chronically starving. It was insane. I could sit down, eat a full meal, feel physically full and still feel like I needed to eat. There were times I felt like I was literally full to the esophageal sphincter, which is very uncomfortable, and I’d still want more food. It was kind of horrifying actually. So over twitter, in February, I asked my trainer about it (I deleted half the conversation because I was embarrassed to admit most of what I said, and my recent ex-roommate had a penchant for twitter trolling/stalking and that’s definitely not ammo I wanted him to have so that’s the night that I also switched my twitter to private). The end of the advice that he gave me to try 5-HTP (it made me sleepy :\) and to do longer fasting periods.

The most helpful thing with that was eating more whole foods, less sugar (part of the massive hunger waves was specific desires for as many calories as possible, so that’s a lot of junk food). I slowly developed satiety sensations again.

Still, my weight continued to increase. In July I wrote in my LiveJournal that I was going to go to the doctors in January when I had health insurance again,*** because I didn’t understand why my body was doing the opposite of what it should be doing. In November, I wrote about how uncomfortable I was in my body at this size.

While I addressed my concern over my weight, I can’t find anywhere I may have noted when I figured out that I had developed a binge eating habit. I mean, sure, yeah, I emotionally eat during breakups and have had those “oh, girl, I get you” conversations with grocery store cashiers on a monthly basis, but I don’t think I truly had seriously disordered eating until last year. I’m certain it was between July and November that I finally figured out that I was gaining weight because I’d eat candy and donuts and cookies several times a week. Usually, I’d stop at 7-11 after my last client on my way home. Sometimes I’d just pick up extra food while at the grocery store. To be clear, I didn’t make this connection sooner because these were not conscious, well-thought out decisions to buy and eat several thousand calories worth of junk food several times per week.

In my research on binge eating, I noticed that the medication recommended for binge eating is also a medication for ADHD, which I was originally diagnosed with in 1999, but have had my entire life. There is also some correlation between binge eating and ADHD (impulsivity, mindless activity, hyperfocus).  So after getting health insurance again, I went and jumped through all the hoops to get on this medication.

It is mostly a super expensive appetite suppressant. So lately I have been thinking about how I will probably need to be on an appetite suppressant for the rest of my life. It’s probably the only way I will ever lose weight again, it’s probably the only way I will ever maintain any weight loss.

Because I have realized that this isn’t the first time I have regained all the weight I’ve lost. I’ve lost these 30 pounds probably at least 5 times in my adult life. It always comes back because I cannot deal with the incessant hunger that nags at me when I reach the low end of my weight spectrum.

And then today, all over Facebook is this article, After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight. Despite the clickbait title, despite the first part of the article being about a sample size of six people, it actually addresses these exact things.

“What was surprising was what a coordinated effect it is,” Dr. Proietto said. “The body puts multiple mechanisms in place to get you back to your weight. The only way to maintain weight loss is to be hungry all the time. We desperately need agents that will suppress hunger and that are safe with long-term use.”

This is me, this is what I’ve been thinking about. I like the medication that I’m on, but it’s expensive, and maybe just taking some form of appetite suppressant from the drug store would be just as effective. Is it safe to use appetite suppressants for the rest of my life? Is this one of those things where I just don’t care because I prefer to not be ravenously hungry all the time? Probably.

Then, there is also this, from earlier in the same article:

It has to do with resting metabolism, which determines how many calories a person burns when at rest. When the show began, the contestants, though hugely overweight, had normal metabolisms for their size, meaning they were burning a normal number of calories for people of their weight. When it ended, their metabolisms had slowed radically and their bodies were not burning enough calories to maintain their thinner sizes.

Researchers knew that just about anyone who deliberately loses weight — even if they start at a normal weight or even underweight — will have a slower metabolism when the diet ends. So they were not surprised to see that “The Biggest Loser” contestants had slow metabolisms when the show ended.

What shocked the researchers was what happened next: As the years went by and the numbers on the scale climbed, the contestants’ metabolisms did not recover. They became even slower, and the pounds kept piling on. It was as if their bodies were intensifying their effort to pull the contestants back to their original weight.

Since I’ve gained and lost these 30 pounds (and some of their friends) over and over again, I confess to being concerned about the speed of my metabolism. Some of the contestants have to eat 450-800 calories less than someone of an identical size and age because anything more than that will just turn to fat. If this is a thyroid hormone test, then I’m fine; that’s one of the things my doctor had tested when I had my physical earlier this year. If it’s something else, I should explore that more.

I love this article because it makes me feel less crazy about the things I’ve been thinking about my body. And by less crazy, I mean exactly spot on. I hate this article because these are not comforting facts and it sucks that there is only so much you can do with a body that is so insistent on getting its weight back, and I really don’t want to struggle with my weight for the entire remainder of my life. Overall, still, 9/10, definitely recommend that everyone reads it.

Oh, and I’ve lost the overage and am just under the high end of my weight spectrum (specifically, I’ve lost about 13 of the 40 pounds I gained from my 2014 low). I’m eating less thanks to modern medicine, and eating a spinach based salad to help my allergies as daily as possible (probably a separate post). I’m not currently working out (also a whole other post), but I do really miss it.




* Why a remote trainer? Because the in-person personal trainers I’d directly hired have all hit on me, which as an overweight person is quite the mindfuck, given how most of society thinks that I am literally too fat to live.** This remote trainer lives on the other end of the country and is happily married. He seemed like a safe choice.

** True story: when I got a physical a couple months ago, the nurse gave me this dismissive look and snarkily said, “oh, your blood pressure is going to be high, isn’t it?” I rolled my eyes and replied that the last time I’d gone to the doctor it was because my blood pressure was too low. She actually checked my blood pressure twice and verbally confirmed with me that 90/60 is normal for me. Yeah, despite my physical baggage, I’m stupidly healthy in every other way (so long as I don’t have to stand up too quickly).

*** I didn’t have health insurance in 2015 because I adhd’d my way out of it. Ironically. Only having one time per year to sign up is not awesome for those of us who are terrible with deadlines due to how our brains are wired. But hey, welcome to 2016, where I have health insurance AND ADHD medication. 😀