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.

 

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First Day Back Exercising

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Today was the first day I did any real exercise since I threw out my back six weeks ago.  I can tell I have gotten real rusty and out of shape in the six weeks I spent mending my back.  I walked for only ten minutes, enough to get the blood moving but that’s about all.  I’m not sore from walking but I can tell I am out of practice.  It is quite hot in my hometown as late July and August are always the hottest times of the year.  I’m still not quite adjusted to the heat as I haven’t been outside much while my back was mending.  And it was quite a cool and wet spring this year, so I was used to exercising indoors this spring.

I’m going to start lifting arm weights again.  I’ll start that tonight.  It has been kind of an odd tradition for me to lift arm weights and do stretching while watching Star Trek reruns. A friend of mine got me started on that last summer.  I’m most of the way through Season 3 of Star Trek: Enterprise.  But when my back was healing I didn’t lift any arm weights or do much for stretching.  I’m sure I’m going to be just as rusty with the weights as I was the walking.  I’ll have to use the light weights for a couple weeks until I’m back to normal.

I also starting tracking what I eat again.  I got discouraged for the last few months and was lazy about tracking.  I was especially lazy when I couldn’t exercise outdoors and then after I hurt my back.  Before I hurt my back I had some unexplained foot pain that limited my walking for over two weeks.  So I haven’t been able to exercise hardly at all since the weather warmed up.  And I had to exercise indoors this spring because it was chilly and rainy almost every day.

When I was at my psych doctor last time, I had gained twenty pounds since the start of the year.  That was one month ago.  I’m sure I’ve gain some more as I was not exercising because of my back.  But my back is good again.  I can sleep in a regular bed again after weeks in a recliner.  I get more sleep in a regular bed but I fall asleep faster in my recliner.  I can’t figure that one out.

Because of my back pain and lack of activity I’ve been more depressed and irritable than usual.  I’m sorry I don’t make a very good patient.  But in the handful of times I’ve been in a hospital I make it a point to never get irritable with the nurses and doctors.  I force myself to be on good behavior I suppose.  When I’m healing on my own I can be more short tempered and depressed than usual.  I got angry with two of my best friends over a week ago.  I’m still embarrassed about that.  One of these friends I got mad at I hadn’t ever had an argument with and we’ve been friends for fifteen years.  Another was my best friend from high school and we have raised our voices to each other only a handful of times, mostly when I was in the grip of a mental breakdown.  I’m embarrassed I let those things happen.  I grew up in a family where we rarely yelled at each other and never had instances where we stopped talking to people.  We may not talk to each other every day but we will drop everyone for one of our own in crisis.  Even my extended family is like this to each other.

I’ve mended from my back issues, finally.  It was one of the longest six week stretches I was ever part of.  I’m beginning to exercise again.  I’m starting to socialize again.  I’m beginning to track what I eat again.  I haven’t yet got my blinds fixed but that is coming.  I might even get new carpet by summer’s end.  After months when almost nothing seemed to go right I think I’m starting to turn the corner.  Maybe things will start to get better.