I’m finally on the upswing from a really long bout of depression. I went off my meds for a few months, thinking I could cope on my own, and I was so wrong. People say, “just exercise and eat right, get enough of the right nutrients and you will feel better.” And sometimes that works, for some people, but for me and many others the depression makes it so hard to do all of those things that I know would make me feel better. It’s one of those things that you can’t understand until you’ve gone through it. I love the way Stephen Fry explained it once. The bouts are like a rainy day, you can pretend it’s sunny, but that won’t change the fact that it’s raining, and sometimes all you can do is remind yourself that someday the sun will shine again.
That was a little backstory, now onto what this post is really about…
During the last two months of this bout I began having trouble with my shoulder once again, so my workouts decreased a lot. You’d think that I’d focus on eating healthier when I can’t workout as much, but for me I feel crappy when I can’t workout and I just spiral instead of doing the sensible thing. So I’ve gained 6 pounds since October (not the worst thing in the world.) But what really bothers me is that I feel sooo weak! I’m completely out of shape and it feels like I’m starting from square one. Honestly I feel like I hit a peak in the fall of 2014. I came close to feeling that good a few months ago when I was doing P90X3 but I’ve never quite gotten to that same level since my shoulder issues started.
February 2014/October 2014
Also 2015 was not a good year for my eating. It could possibly be that I’m just reflecting on the last few months of the year where I was off my meds and couldn’t pull things together enough to consistently meal plan and eat at home more. But 2014 was way better as far as nutrition is concerned.
As I think about how bad things have gotten and work hard to get back on track, one of the biggest struggles is knowing how far I had come when I was at my best. Knowing that you have all that hard work ahead of you again can be a little disheartening. We have this image in our head of a steady improvement all in the same direction, up, and when the reality of the ups and downs of progress hits you, it’s not easy to deal with. So for me, I have to come to grips with the fact that I am not as strong as I once was. I’ll have to use lighter weights than I might have before. I might need to modify moves that I could once do full out. I need to test where I am, and then go from there. When I try to push myself as hard as I did before I just risk injuring myself more.
It might be hard to feel like I’m starting over, but I have to remind myself that this is a lifelong journey and things won’t always go the way I want them to. So in 2016, I want to make nutrition my primary focus. The workouts will be secondary, and I actually think I need to make it a goal not to overdo it, but to still work hard in every workout. I swing from one end to another, and this feeling of how much strength I’ve lost makes me feel like I need to ramp up my workouts. But what will really help me regain my strength is time and consistency, not doubling and tripling the amount of time I spend working out. I start to let the workouts takeover my days, and that’s not the lifestyle I really want for myself.
So my message to you is that, backsliding will inevitably happen, due to injuries, a busy period in your life, any big transition you might experience. Not giving up on the lifestyle and results you want is what really counts. Having something to work toward is great, but the work is what is really important, not the “end” result. Because there really is no “end” when it comes to health and fitness, this is a lifelong journey.