How I got here.
This weekend, I’m officially eight weeks out from the show and I’m feeling really great. Nope, my life is not perfect and everything is not going exactly the way I want it, but despite it all, I feel better than ever! I think most of it has to do with getting regular exercise and eating a quality whole food diet. I really do.
I was thinking about this time of my life last year. Honestly, I was a wreck. Unless you knew me well you might not have known but inside I was hurting and struggling with some severe depression due to some circumstances outside my control and faulty wiring in my brain. The thing with the faulty wiring is that I’ve learned over the years, through some intense therapy and hard work, that I can function really well IF I take care of myself. But this takes some serious discipline, a skill I greatly lack. For some, reason last year I wouldn’t take care of myself. I was eating crap all the time and I started to slack on my exercising. Unfortunately, this is a bad cycle and it’s hard to break, even when your not depressed but I think if your depressed it’s even harder. Because you know going to the gym will help your depression but since your depressed you can’t find the motivation to care. So as the months wore on, I felt worse and worse and eventually quit exercising all together and was eating crap all the time. My depression started to compound with a series of disappointing news. And then a friend who I had confided in used personal information to betray and hurt me. Although, my friend had given plenty of warning signs, the emotional pain sent me deeper into one of my worst bouts of depression. And after a few months I wasn’t sure who I had become. I was angry at my friend. I was angry with God for not “fixing” my brain. I was angry at the housing market. (I still am.) I was angry with my body. But most of all I was angry at myself. One day I tried to pull on a pair of jeans that I had worked really hard to fit into after I had my kids but they wouldn’t button. I had to go out to the Goodwill box and get an old pair of jeans that I was planning on giving away because they were, at one time, too big. This was a very painful moment for me. I know weight shouldn’t matter so much and it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. And I believe that. I REALLY DO but the reality is we live in a culture that values beauty and for most people fat is not considered beautiful. I tried to tell myself that what I looked like didn’t matter. But the truth was, to me, it did.
It was time to get honest with myself and my choices. There were a lot of disappoints and hurt surrounding those months but I had chosen to console myself with food and apathy. I had chosen to abandon who I really was and what I believed was a healthy lifestyle. I was choosing to be angry instead of looking to the root of my problems. I had to make a choice. Was I going to continue to console my feelings with food and get sadder and fatter or was I going to face my feelings? I decided I would start small and get back to the gym a few times a week. And I started watching my food. I decided to quit eating sugar. Within days I started to feel better. A few months later and a few pounds lighter I decided I needed more motivation if I was going to get in the best shape of my life. So I set a date to compete in a figure competition. And now a few months later, a year after one of my worst bouts of depression began, I feel like a new person. I knew cleaning up my diet and working my butt off in the gym would…well…shrink my butt. What I didn’t know was that this would end up being much more than a battle with fat. But it became a fight to dig up some of my old “moxie” that had been buried under hurt, self-doubt and depression.
If you struggle with depression and are reading this, I want you to know that I and many others know what you are going through. And as cliche as it may sound, it’s imperative, if you are not taking care of the basics, i.e., getting regular exercise and eating well, that you start to do so. Don’t wait. Start small. Start today. Most people can improve their depression if they take care of the basics and after you take care of the basics you’ll be amazed at how great you can feel. I’m not a doctor or psychologist by any means but as a fellow person, a friend, who has struggled with depression off and on, I’ve noticed a HUGE correlation with my mental well-being and my food and exercise habits. When I’m taking care of myself my body responds by taking care of me. Not that a healthy diet and exercise will solve EVERYTHING. It won’t but it sure can make a enormous difference.
Wow. I sat down intending to write about how excited I was to see 120 pounds on Evil Scale but realized that what I’m truly excited about is how great I feel due the the healthy lifestyle choices I’ve been committed to the last 6 months. And I want you to know that no matter where you are on your journey that you’re awesome (yes I still say “awesome”) and that great things are ahead.
Hugs & High Fives
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