It’s been a very interesting few months.
In July, I had a whole thing happen that made me feel like I wanted to make my whole blog private. I took that time as an opportunity to step away from weekly weigh ins, hard core tracking, and other business. I’d come off of a tremendously anxious year, the worst anxiety I’d ever experienced, and it was summer, and I thought that maybe all this tracking and counting and numbering was exacerbating my anxiety. I felt, maybe, that it was time to switch gears to something milder, softer, less crazy-making.
Someone — some kind someone — posted a response to my decision that more or less said, “Hey, why are you stopping what works for you?” That someone turned out to be right. Turns out that the tracking is actually a sign that I’m on it. Turns out that not tracking is a sign that I’m in some kind of deep, bad denial about what’s going on.
And what was going on was this: depression and anxiety.
This summer was rough for me. I was worn out from a stressful year and had recently broken up with someone I really liked. I had weeks of freedom ahead of me (summer break, I’m a teacher), but it turns out that I’m not so good with abundant, empty time. In fact, I was bored, lonely, depressed, and still anxious. Even seeing friends in the evening wasn’t enough, because I’d spend hours and hours during the day on my own. Hours, by the way, that went to Wikipedia rabbit holes and weird, intense obsessions with historical minutiae and Youtube videos. I dated a little but didn’t click with anyone in particular (to be honest, some of the dates were nightmarish).
Then I went to Australia to visit my sister, which turned out to be the boost I needed. I came home feeling better. And finally willing to see what I was going through.
Side note for all you depression and anxiety folks: isn’t it funny how you can think you know what your depression and/or anxiety looks like, and be sure that the next time it happens (since it always happens again), you’ll know this time. You’ll know it and be able to recognize it right away. And then, of course, inevitably, you don’t. Or at least not as fast as you think you should. I was depressed for four months before I clued in.
Cluing in meant getting help. Therapy, and yes, medication. Both are going well.
What hasn’t been going well is taking care of my body. Since the start of the school year, I’ve been running at full tilt. This is probably because I’ve signed on for way too many projects on top of my already full work load. I take home work every night. Oh, and I stay late, too, because I’m assistant directing the fall play. Which basically means that I’m at work for 10+ hours, I go home and work for another couple of hours (I can’t think/process after 8 pm, so I have to get all my work done by then), and then I do things that make me sane: socialize, relax, cook, whatever. But what I don’t do is exercise (it’s been ages). And what I also don’t do is pay attention to what I’m eating.
I’m not binge-eating. That hasn’t been happening, really. I’m just not eating well. I skip breakfast on the regular. I’m eating too much sugar and starch and not nearly enough plants. I drink way, way too much coffee. Some days I eat a lot and other days, I even forget to eat. (Today, for example, I had toast and a bagel with cream cheese in the morning and then at 5 pm realized I’d completely forgotten about lunch.) I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone and cardio fitness. I’ve certainly gained fat, too. I don’t know how much, because I haven’t been weighing in, but my clothes are tighter and I just feel puffy. I’d guess I’m around 170 right now, maybe even more.
But it’s more than that, it’s more than just feeling puffy and putting on 15 pounds. I’m sort of a mess. I’ve been getting tension headaches for the first time in my life. I experienced what might have been a migraine a week or so ago (it involved a terrible, pulsing pain right behind my eyeball and then all over my head, sensitivity to light, and vomiting, so that was fun). I have a low, weird cough. My tongue feels funny. I’m not sleeping well.
I know that the thing that will really help is kicking back into gear. Tracking what I eat, sticking to a calorie goal for the day (that just works for me), eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, not eating out, avoiding sugar, cutting back on coffee, getting plenty of exercise and sleep. That’s what needs to happen. And it hasn’t been.
The other thing that works for me is blogging. It just does. I lost over 100 pounds and this blog captured most of it. It was there for the many slumps, plateaus, and regains I experienced. I’m serious when I say it was instrumental in my success. I can’t help but acknowledge that it really should be, even needs to be, part of my process now.
Not long ago, I tried to get back in gear, and I got about 18 days in or so. Not bad! Not bad until I stopped and didn’t post for like a month. And now that I’m feeling ready to be back and committed, I’m anxious about the same thing happening again. Letting my two readers down. Suddenly disappearing. I even considered writing a bunch of posts, publishing them under “private,” and then turning them public when I was sure I was on the right track. But I realize, of course, that there’s always going to be slumps and problems and right tracks turning into wrong tracks. I can’t wait for things to feel perfect because they’re never going to be.
So. I’m back.
I want to commit to something feasible. What’s feasible for me right now is tracking daily on My Fitness Pal (profile here, if you’re interesting), exercising at least a couple of times a week, and blogging here at least a couple of times a week: a weigh in Saturday mornings (just like I’ve been doing for nearly four years now) and a mid-week post or two to talk about progress or all the feels. Basically, back to business.
And hopefully, with luck and grit and just pushing myself, the business will stay back.