Exercise and Depression

It’s been a little over a week since I started tracking what I eat and exercising every day.  It took some adjusting but I am finding myself eating less and getting more physical activity after only one week.  It was cool enough today I was able to walk outside after dinner.  I’m still out of shape compared to where I was one year ago but I am making progress.  I definitely got rusty and out of practice during the weeks I was limited because of my back.  I’m beginning to get back on track with my exercise again.  It feels like an uphill battle as I have been forced to be inactive since late spring.  But I have won battles like this before and I can do so again.

I’m beginning to spend more time outside of the complex again.  I chatted with some of my neighbors this afternoon while avoiding the grouches.  It can be kind of tough avoiding grouchy people in the tight quarters my complex offers but it can be done.

Some things I have found myself doing these last several days is avoiding sugar and eating more vegetables.  I still get cravings for carbohydrates but I have met this need by adding more rice to my diet.  I cook most of my own meals and I have found I feel more clear and less depressed on days I don’t eat lots of wheat or fast food.  I still like the occasional delivery pizza but I have found I’m not as weighed down and bloated if I order the thin crust pizza as opposed to traditional.  I still get upset stomach and feelings of lethargy when I eat lots of breads or pastas.  So I wouldn’t be much fun dining at a high end Italian restaurant 🙂  I haven’t had much soda pop over the last several days.  I think I’ve had only two diet sodas in the last ten days.  I still get caffeine in the form of coffee and iced tea.  I guess caffeine is one of my guilty vices.  But I do feel mentally less irritable and less sluggish on days I don’t drink soda pop, even diet soda pop.  I really can’t drink too much regular soda pop because of too much sugar.  I do like Mexican Coca Cola when I go to Mexican restaurants though.  But that is only a rare treat.

I have spent most of the summer more inactive than I would have liked.  As a result I have gained some weight and lost a lot of my stamina.  But things are starting to come back after a week of exercise and better diet.

 

Not Holding ‘Traditional’ Employment, Losing Weight, and Changes

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It’s been at least two and half years since I last held a traditional job of any kind.  No doubt some would argue that since I have a good amount of intelligence, I have no reason not to be doing some kind of job.  I’m sure that some look upon me with disdain because I’m on Disability Insurance for a condition that they don’t understand, let alone acknowledge it’s existence.  At this point in my life and development I don’t hold this against anyone.  I’ve come to accept, without any degree of resentment, that some aren’t going to grasp why I decided to opt out of traditional employment.

I absolutely intend to go back into the workforce at some point in the future.  But, at this point and time in my life, I believe it far more important for myself to lose weight and get back into good health before I rejoin the workforce. As of this writing, I have lost at least 60 pounds since the middle of March 2014.  I still have a long way to go before I hit my final health and weight goal.  With my body build being what it is (short legs, short arms, large body, very thick bones, and more muscled than average) I doubt I’ll be able to finish a marathon even when I make final goal.  But I can certainly be healthy even with the natural framework I have.  I think that anyone can if they make the efforts to be more conscious about what they eat, what they do for exercise, and know themselves well enough to plan around their strengths and weaknesses.

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Sadly, when I worked I wasn’t able to lose weight.  This was even with doing jobs like janitorial and factory work where I had to keep moving at all times.  Whatever I burned off from these jobs I consumed back from the course of not tracking what I ate.  I wasn’t conscious about what I ate.  Since I usually came hold tired and worn out, as a result of carrying so much weight and working physical jobs, I made no efforts to exercise when I wasn’t at my place of employment.  And thus a vicious cycle of unhealthiness, fatigue from work, and depression plus anxiety from being out of shape enough I couldn’t do what I wanted in my hours away from the job was going on during the years I held even part time employment.  Serious changes were needed to break this cycle.

After I left my last paying job, I set out to attempt to get healthier.  I read many books on dieting, exercise, nutrition, motivation, and mental health.  I also decided to take a very long and completely honest assessment of my strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies.  I liked much of what I was able to uncover (my intelligence, my ability for keeping accurate records, attention to details, ability to adapt quickly, ability to learn quickly, etc.).  I also didn’t like much of what I found about my drawbacks (tend to be discouraged in the day to day work, often not keeping attention on the larger picture, tendencies to distraction, tendencies to attempt too many projects at once, tendency to get discouraged when not able to see progress, etc.).  I decided rather than trying to improve my deficits, I would instead develop my natural strengths enough to negate my weaknesses.

I decided I wanted to lose weight in the summer of 2013.  I didn’t seriously start losing weight and getting healthier until April 2014.  That is when I started tracking everything I ate.  Just as vital, I tracked all exercises I did.  I wanted to not only know what was going in my body,  I was also interested in what I was doing too.  Over a period of a few weeks, I noticed my activity was increasing while my consumption was decreasing.  Stretch that over several months, my consumption is still decreasing and my activity is not only increasing, but is getting easier to do.  I’m embarrassed to admit this, but on the day I decided without a doubt I was going to get to a set goal weight, in my case 225 pounds, on or before a set date in time, this date was March 17, 2019.  I picked March 17, 2019 only because it was exactly five years from the date when I decided I was ready to set out on the long journey to good health.

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By March 2014, I had done an inventory of my strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.  I also had a working knowledge of several different types of diet programs (such as Weight Watchers, South Beach, Paleo-Diets, Glycemic Index Diets, etc.).  I had stated, and written down, my intentions of losing weight and getting healthy by stating an exact weight I wanted to be at and gave myself a set time period to do this work.  I knew I enjoyed walking, whether it’s in a park or in the old downtown of my hometown.  So walking became a major element in my exercise program.  I also decided I would track what I ate and what exercises I did every day.  If this sounds like a lot of work, it is a lot of work.  It took almost fifteen years to get as unhealthy as I was.  I wasn’t going to get back to good health rushing into a program without doing some planning.  No one builds anything that lasts, it doesn’t matter if it’s a dog house or the new World Trade Center building in New York, without sitting down and making some plans.  Taking the time to evaluate what you have to work with and making plans accordingly is the key to any undertaking, not just getting into good health.

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