Hi J., thank you for putting your story out there. It speaks volumes, and not in a self-pitying or self-absorbed way. I think you have really illustrated a lot of things, including how family forces can affect people environmentally and emotionally, how frustrating it is when nothing makes a difference, and how emotions and weight gain go hand in hand. Antidepressants are a real beotch when it comes to weight gain.
It sounds like you are under a good bit of stress right now, so putting a lot of pressure on yourself in this regard could backfire on you. What would you think about just making a commitment to making healthy choices rather than trying to lose X number of pounds? It takes weeks to develop a habit; maybe by the time you head out to the west coast you can kick it into higher gear when you get settled in? Sometimes in difficult situations, the best goal you can set is to just maintain. Also, making one small change at a time is easier than a complete overhaul, a good thing to keep in mind.
That being said, there are all manner of folks here, and we all succeed at some of our goals and fall flat on others. If you read through the forums, you will definitely see that. A goal doesn't have to be a weight...it can be getting the recommended fiber, or eating four veggies a day, or working out for 30 minutes...a choice, not an outcome. Hopefully you won't still feel like you are failing after digging into these forums. There are definitely going to be things you will succeed at!
Do you have insurance or another option to access a dietician to look at your food and exercise and maybe speculate as to why you didn't see any changes in your current plan? I know that can be expensive, but it's an option.
Hang in there, J., and be gentle with yourself. It didn't happen overnight and it won't go away overnight, but bit by bit you can chip away at it. Pace yourself, be mindful, and come back often to read, contribute, or ask for what you need. Again, I am glad you put your story out there because I think it will hit home for a lot of people.
"If you drop an egg, you don't say, 'Oh, shoot' and drop the other 11, do you?"
-Source unknown, but obviously brilliant
Reached goal 4/16/2010...but kind of afraid to look these days