I suffer from all types of mental disorders. I have struggled with depression my whole life, I was addicted to drugs for 8 years and I realized recently that I am a major emotional over-eater. I suppose because I have been so distracted by my other issues, I never really thought about my eating habits. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy eating a great meal? I am now nearly 5 years sober and while clear headed for the most part, still have bouts of depression. I have avoided stepping onto a scale during these sober years. I had a realization a couple of months ago that when I feel bad, instead of drugs, I turn to a gigantic unhealthy meal to make me happy. It hit me real hard.
I just turned 31 and have a family history of heart disease, my father died of a heart attack at 60 and his mother died of one at 52. It is something that runs in my family. When you hit 30 you really begin to look at your mortality. So one day while sitting at my work desk, I got hit with complete motivation to start eating better and exercising. I had always thought about it. I constantly worried about my weight the last 5 years and always told myself I was going to do something about it but never did. This time however, for whatever reason, I knew I meant business.
I remember learning about how important nutrition could be at the fantastic outpatient treatment I went to almost 5 years ago. It was stressed that eating better and exercising will naturally make you feel better. It really is common sense when you think about it. Two months ago I began counting calories and walking a couple of miles before work everyday. I did not want to overextend myself too quickly because I know how I work. If I go from 0-100 too quickly, I will burn out and quit. This is something I heavily recommend for anyone looking to lose weight or just be healthier. Set small achievable goals that will allow for a slow transition into a healthy lifestyle. Just starting to eat like a marathon runner in a day is not the way to approach this!
In two months I have lost almost 20 pounds, and that’s great, but the most important benefit is that I just feel more balanced. My mood is a lot more consistent and good, and my energy levels are very smooth. I just feel better. This journey is no different than my journey of getting sober either. I take it day by day. I don’t think too far into the future and I definitely don’t think I have this thing beat. I have days where I slip. It’s inevitable in my opinion, and I just dust myself off and get back into the swing of things instantly.
I’m sharing this because I know a lot of people who enter recovery from addiction or battle depression and as a result live an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s just easier to be unhealthy but it is also completely detrimental to your well-being. My best advice is to do this: Set an ultimate goal – for me, it was to lose 60 lbs. Now after you do that, set very small achievable goals. Some of mine included exercising 3 times a week, tracking my calories 4 days in a row and stepping on the scale every morning (that one was terrifying.) The power of achieving those small goals is immeasurable. Your body is your temple and you need to take good care of it in order to feel good. Make the decision to stop your unhealthy decisions today. The rewards last forever.
Photo from pixabay – creative commons
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