A few days ago I had a Fat-And-Ugly Attack, which means a moment (or an hour, an afternoon, or a couple days, or even sometimes a couple weeks) where I am really unhappy with my weight/body shape/hair cut or color/acne/insert-random-looks-related-insecurity here. Now, over the last 6 months I’ve really bought into all that cognitive behavioral therapy I’ve been paying to receive for going-on three years, and started preempting and battling these “attacks” with positive affirmations out the wazoo – but it really wasn’t until this last week that I realized how well they actually work and how much easier it is for me to push through those feelings of insecurity and bring my mood back up. I realized, holy moly, I actually am super comfortable in my skin these days. I might actually like myself. I am finally, finally!!, working on weight loss from a place of love and health instead of hate and punishment. I move my body on a daily basis in ways I thoroughly enjoy and because it makes my brain feel good; I watch my portions and casually track calories because my body feels better when I’m not overeating or overindulging in sweets and other high-fat foods. As a result of these things I am slowly losing some pounds. But I realized, even if I don’t lose a bunch of weight, that’s okay. I’m still really happy being me and I like the way I look a majority of the time – and, really, am finding so much more worth in spending time with friends and family discussing thoughts and ideas instead of focusing on what my body looks like all the time. I think that’s really about the best thing a person could ask for after years of struggling with nasty self-hate spirals.
On another positive note: I upped my Vitamin D intake a couple weeks ago and it seems to be really helping me manage my SAD. Between that and my commitment to 2-3 short outdoor walks during the day on work days, I’m very hopeful that this fall and winter will be a bit more manageable than the last few years. This, coupled with my positive affirmations, should be a big help in keeping up with my diet and exercise through the colder, darker months. November through late-February/early-March has always been a huge roadblock for me when it comes to successful weight loss. During these months I’m tired, I’m angry, I’m depressed. I want to hide under blankets and drink a lot of alcohol and feel sorry for myself which almost always leads me to minor binge episodes, a complete lack of motivation to exercise, and, consequently, weight gain – or, at the very least, plateau. That gain or stall then further fuels my feelings of hopelessness (just one more thing to add to my list of failures!) and so the cycle continues. But this year, I have implementation intentions… just a fancy way of saying I have a plan to avoid failure. I’ve already spoken to my mother-in-law about using her treadmill in the afternoons and/or evenings when the weather is either too cold or rainy/snowy to walk or run outdoors, I’ve begun implementing a strength training routine that I’m enjoying and look forward to doing a couple times during each week, and I have a YouTube playlist filled with various yoga, dance fitness, and low-impact cardio videos to fill in the blanks around outdoor cardio and strength training. Earlier this year I purchased a goal planner and am dedicated to using it to track my workouts, mood, and sleep and it’s been a big help in keeping me focused on my end goals. And speaking of sleep… I believe this will be my secret weapon in battling my fall/winter depression. I’ve been really dedicated to hitting my sleep goals as many nights each week as possible and I’ve become really conscious of how not getting enough sleep effects my emotional well-being. I’ve even had times I’ve been able to curb random sadness or irritability just by recognizing I didn’t sleep enough and promising myself an earlier bedtime or even a short nap when possible.
A lot of what I’m doing right now is basic self-care, but feels like a huge step for me. There have been many times over the last couple of years where I’ve felt like it would be absolutely impossible for me to ever get to this place. This is not to say I don’t still have days where I struggle (see above Fat-And-Ugly Attack) and where I’m just not great at using the tools available to me, days where I sort of wallow in the self-pity – but those days are becoming fewer and provide great perspective in helping me recognize the good days and appreciating them even more.
This update is a little drawn out and self-congratulatory, but, f*ck it, I deserve it!