This past week was hard.
I’ve struggled with depression off and on for a decade now, and I began a downward spiral in late 2008 that I have been sometimes inching, sometimes crawling out of for the past year, but when the conditions are right, I get down quickly and have trouble seeing that the sun really is still shining.
I had one of those episodes this week, and I’ll share part of the reason: being alone (not loneliness). I can be toxic to myself sometimes, and when I’m alone, I don’t have anyone to fake it for, and I don’t have anyone to shake me back to reality. I have been working on finding healthy coping strategies, like journaling, but the easiest–and least helpful and least lasting–is eating.
But that’s what got me to 34.9% body fat.
Tuesday night–after a challenging session with Pamela–I started spiraling, though not because of that workout! It was the success I am feeling with her that helped me focus on what I was doing when I felt down, to question my automatic response to the heavy feeling in my heart, and to make a good choice. I cleaned instead of driving to the corner gas station for one of my favorite emotional eating “meals”: a 32 ounce Dr. Pepper and a Tornado (a tortilla filled with pepper jack cheese and deep fried).
Then on Thursday night, after Pamela and I had carefully planned how I would make healthy choices during a night on the town and at a Springfield Cardinals ball game, our carefully laid plans fell apart, one by one. By the time I actually got to eat, it was 8:30, I was starving, and, being at a baseball stadium, I had limited options. I ended up eating brats and fries and a Coke.
But Pamela is having me keep a food journal. I don’t have to count calories or anything, but I need to write down everything that passes my lips. Before, when I would have a couple bad days, days when I felt like I had to make unhealthy choices or days when I didn’t have the emotional or mental strength to make healthy choices, I’d just let go and stop trying for a while. Now, that food journal is keeping me honest. I know that Pamela is going to check to see how many servings of veggies I ate every day. I know she’s going to want to discuss the poor choices I made. And I know that I am not going to want to have to give any excuses.
I love food, and that’s something that has always kept me from changing my eating for the better. But I am seriously unhappy with my body right now, so something has got to give.
And you want to know a secret? This is not too bad. I don’t feel like I’m giving anything up (except maybe Dr. Pepper…) Pamela encourages me to watch my portions and to include more vegetables, since I hardly ever eat them on my own. And that’s it. She hasn’t asked me to eliminate carbs or stop eating red meat. And when I start running and working out, my body craves better food anyway. Funny how that works, huh?
Did you miss one of Linden’s posts? Check out her entire Training with Pamela series.