What did the study find?
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Being overweight is quite a challenge for mentally ill patients who are trying hard to turn their life around for the better. But there is hope. Weight gain can be prevented through special diet and through physical activity.
A lot of us bipolars know how tough it can be for us to lose our extra weight while we are on our prescribed medications. From running marathons and taking the stairs at office, to eating less food, we usually try it all. But I keep hearing many stories of patients with bipolar disorder who are suffering from poor body image and almost losing faith in themselves because nothing seems to work.
I have been in the deep end of the pool myself, and I know what each one of you might be feeling right now. But we all need to keep hope. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published results of a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, which stated that people with bipolar disorders can certainly lose weight and keep themselves physically fit with a new lifestyle intervention program.
People with mental illnesses experience 3 times higher death rate comparing to the overall population. Obesity easily leads to serious medical conditions like cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Why are bipolars usually overweight? Because they often live a sedentary lifestyle. Add to this the fact that bipolar disorder medications increase appetite in people, and we have a problem in our hands that is almost unsolvable.
One of the reasons medicine has not solved this issue is because very few studies have been focused on patients with bipolar disorders. The aforementioned research started out by identifying the factors that make weight loss difficult in bipolar patients. Some of the factors located are:. Daumit decided to solve most of these challenges by bringing nutritionists and gym coaches to areas where bipolar patients already frequent, like their psychiatric rehabilitation centers.
In this study, there were about participants—all under three psychotropic medications which cause weight gain. They were split into 2 groups. One group, the control, received the usual weight loss approach which is simple information on nutrition and physical activity aspects.
The other group attended a more intensive program, for the same time. This program included individual weight loss classes three times a week. This group aimed at meeting certain goals, like reducing caloric intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. Participants of the intensive weight loss program lost 7 pounds more weight. The results of the study stressed on the importance of maintaining a lifestyle intervention program like Nutrisystem or Bistro MD, which help in weight loss.
The Nutrisystem weight loss program provides pre-packed meals which are full of good carbs that have low glycemic index.
It encourages consumption of plenty of vegetables that help people to maintain a happy and active life. Similarly Bistro MD—a program created by Dr. Cederquist—brings healthy food right to your door.