Nutrition Is Vital for My Mental Health
My mental health is deeply connected to how well I take care of my body
I have been struggling with depression as far back as I can remember. I also have been clean and sober for nearly five years. The state of my mental health has been up and down for many of those years. I also have struggled with my weight since high school; I still have flashbacks of my high school baseball coach calling me fat in front of the whole team. Since then I have obsessed about my weight and health constantly, it takes up most of the thinking throughout my day. It makes this new journey I have been taking recently even sweeter and is something I want everyone with the same struggles I have/had to experience.
I recently was talking to my mom about what she was like at my age, which is 31. For my whole life my mom has been a model citizen as far as fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I have never seen her eat a single slice of pizza, which is completely mind blowing to me. When talking about her at a younger age however she painted a different portrait. Around her late 20s, she too struggled with depression and weight issues. She hated how antidepressants made her feel and wanted to find a different avenue to help balance her out.
When she was 29 she quit cigarettes and completely committed to a healthy lifestyle and said it changed her life. She calls going to the gym her 'medication' and said her mental health improved significantly after just a few months of consistency. It makes sense too, exercise naturally creates endorphins that overall improve your mood. There is plenty of science behind it that I won't get into now, but nutrition and exercise can work wonders on your depression if you are suffering.
This completely inspired me, and the past six weeks I have lost 17 pounds and feel better than I have in years. It has also significantly helped me deal with my sobriety which is always my top priority. I have tried to lose weight plenty of times before but got an app that I paid for (that's important) that keeps me accountable and allows me to track all my calories and tell me how many I have. I also just walk a few miles around where I live before work and it sets an incredible tone for my day where I can be productive and happy.
I've made a lot of realizations this past month and a half and the biggest one is how much I used food to make me feel good when I was not having a good day. When you begin to track the amount of food you eat it can be completely eye opening. Eating in excess is especially counteractive because you only feel good while eating, and then afterwards you feel terrible and remorseful.
I can feel myself starting to make the same connection my mom made about her lifestyle and mental health. I have an excitement in me that I haven't felt since I initially got sober and I am excited because I know I am taking care of myself finally. It's hard to explain but I just feel more balanced and sorted out mentally. For the past 15 years I had obsessed about my weight and depression and the lack of proper attention I would give it. Now I address it every day, one day at a time, one pound at a time. I can't wait to see where I go from here. I hope to continue this journey for the rest of my life and help anyone else with the same issues I've had in any possible way.