Fitness Challenge: Mental Health & Self Improvement

The sun is shining and the day is a little cooler. It’s Tuesday, May 14th and I’m three weeks into my new fitness regime – even though this is my first official week recording progress.

We’re expecting some rain later today. This is really my kind of weather. The sun and I don’t get along well. My European inherited skin just turns pink and then peels. It’s pretty awful. This is one of the main reasons I really love visiting the coast when I go on vacation. Not Mexico. Not Hawaii. But places like Vancouver Island, Victoria, Halifax, and eventually, I will get to St. John’s. PEI is also on my to do list. So is Iceland, Denmark and many, many more places that I’ve never been to.

My Low Point

I went to Montreal two years ago for a music festival. I was there for part of Jazz Fest as well. The city and I did not play well together. Nope. Not at all. I was there for 7 nights and 8 days. It was the week of Canada Day, so downtown Montreal was packed with tourists.

But, the food was amazing. The music and culture was inspiring. The shopping was fun but tres expensive. I met a lot of people at the festival. And I got in a lot of walking.

When I left for Montreal, I thought I was in much better shape than I was. It wasn’t until I hit The Bay, Montreal style, that I realized how big I had let myself get. None of the pants I picked up fit. I had been a size 20 for two years. But I ballooned up to a size 24 and even then – the pants were kinda tight.

I sat on the bench on and cried.

The humidity just made me swell up all over. I spent three days in my dorm room (because I was told staying at a college would be cheaper) and cried. I did a lot of crying that week. I was ashamed of how big I had let myself get. And it didn’t seem to matter what I wore. Nothing fit. Nothing looked good.

My dorm room was awful. The shower was broken so I couldn’t even really have a proper bath to relax and soak my swollen feet. There was no air conditioning. And worse, there was no coffee shop near by.

One afternoon, the humidity was at 99% and I said fuck it. Truly. I walked down to the mall and spent the day underground. I was so happy to have finally found a Tim Horton’s that I spent two hours down there sipping my coffee. Savouring it, as if it were my last cup of java.

Image result for montreal

Getting healthy isn’t just about weight loss, it’s about getting mentally fit too.

This weight-loss challenge isn’t just about getting healthy. It’s more for my mental health than anything. I need this for me. I’m forty-two years old, been single for five years and have really isolated myself from the outside world.

That’s all my doing. I take full responsibility for this. It wasn’t until I realized how many hours I was wasting in front of the computer – not getting any work done. I had lost interest in everything. Even music, which was my first love.

Background

In 2014, my ex and I broke up for the last time. Our relationship had been a very rocky one. It did a lot of damage to me psychologically. He wasn’t abusive per say – but his actions felt emotionally abusive at the end of the day.

My ex would disappear for a few weeks without contact – which eventually I got used to. He blamed his moods on his PTSD from the military. He had a volatile temper. We really brought out the worst in each other. I found that I was clingy and needy – and that’s not who I am at all. He brought that out in me. I often look back and think that he used his PTSD as a crutch. While other soldiers have sought help, he ignored his symptoms for many years until it became too much for him.

I’m actually fiercely independent and have been for many years. So fiercely independent that I am not even sure I could fit someone in my life now.

The last time I saw my ex was the night of my cousin’s wedding in July 2014. I was drunk. Very, drunk. And even though we had stopped seeing each other; I broke the cardinal of drunk texting. Never drunk text the ex. No good will come out of it.

Trust me. Lessons learned. Mistakes were made.

I ducked out of the wedding early because I wasn’t feeling it – the joyful bliss vibe. By the time I got home, he was at my door waiting for me. I was stupid. I let him make the first move. And we had drunken sex. Like I said, lessons learned. Many lessons learned.

Moments after we finished, he proceeded to tell me that I would find the man of my dreams who would give me anything that I wanted. He was finally going into therapy. And he was filing for divorce from his wife. They had been in an open relationship until that point. But I think his marriage was dead long before that – and he knew it deep down.

He just used me as an excuse to go back to therapy and “get his shit together.” I remember thinking that if he used the “it’s me, not you” line I would have lost my shit. But he didn’t. He informed me that his therapist told him he should wait two years before dating. Come to think of it now, “it’s me, not you” would have been easier to hear.

Thanks dude. Thanks very much for that. I appreciate that you recognized that you needed help but I wish you could have done that five years ago when we first hooked up. Thanks for making me see how little I meant to you. I mean that wholeheartedly. I would have walked on water for you.

Depression Mode

I spiraled after that. I went into a deep depression for a few months and all that weight I had worked hard to take off came back. I had gained about 15 pounds before we broke up, but all seventy pounds plus more within six months.

By Christmas 2015, I was at my heaviest weight – 255 pounds.

I hated myself for it. I truly did. I stopped seeing my friends. Other than work, I wasn’t interested in doing anything. I stopped going to weddings and family events because I hated seeing myself in pictures.

For an entire year, I stayed with my dad on the weekends. Not only to help him, but I had also given up on me. My life. I didn’t care anymore. My world became about my dad. Which wasn’t a bad thing. But then we moved him into a home and well. I had more time on my hands.

black and white woman girl sitting

Save for a few close friends, I’ve been pretty anti-social the last couple of years. But now that I’m feeling better, I’m looking to change that. As more weight drops off, I can see the difference. The confidence I lost when in that relationship is starting to come back. I have more energy. I’m able to walk around more. And clothes that were too tight in Montreal – are now almost too loose.

It took a long time – but I dropped nearly twenty pounds in the last year. I really hope to drop at least forty more by September. It’s a realistic goal. I think I can do it. I just need to keep motivated. This blog will help with that.

I still have issues. I still have things I’m working on. But – I’ll get there slowly. I’ve found things to help with self-care along the way. And it’s working. Today – at least, I feel great!

As I mentioned other posts – setting small and realistic goals help me to feel good about myself. Giving myself a time frame to get these things done – is crucial. Otherwise, I will just slack and put it off.

I’m already two months into my makeover. Here’s what I’ve done so far – and here’s what I’m doing next. Makeovers are a great way to boost your confidence and self-esteem. And I think in my case, it’s long overdue.

The Makeover

Now that I’m in my forties, I’ve noticed dark circles around my eyes that make me look much older than I am. The grey is coming in. My hair was getting long and too dry – it added more weight to my face. My migraines were also becoming more violent and more frequent. The lack of sleep also contributed to how I felt and how I looked overall. I looked tired – all the time.

A trip to the dentist back in March proved to be very informative. My dentist noticed that I grind my teeth at night time because my jaw is out of alignment. So, we’ve been working for the last six weeks to fix my teeth. Filling in gaps. Shaving down teeth. Eventually I will need a mouth guard at night time. And maybe, jaw surgery. But I am hoping we can fix the issues without surgery. It’s been a very expensive spring so far.

Three trips to the dentist later, and I’m already noticing the difference. I’ve had one migraine this past month. Just one.

Hair Cut & Refresher

I chopped off my hair and it feels lighter and healthier. It took years off my face. Next week I’ll get a colour to hide the grey. And this week, I’ll be picking up some new makeup and experimenting with different styles for the upcoming wedding. I’m also thinking about having my brows done and possibly getting a manicure. But I’ve already spent $500 on this wedding – and it’s not even mine!

Skin Care

I’ve started massaging my face every night to help with wrinkles and saggy eyes. Tea bags are helpful for reducing puffy eyes and for improving the skin. Two nights ago, I started using a hand massager on my cheeks and what a different it makes. My skin looks so much better today. I want to get a non-surgical eye lift this year and also LED therapy on my skin.

I think I’m worth it. I’ll be broke. But damn. I’m worth it. I’ve been doing research into therapies that you can do from home – and technology has come a long way.

Sleeping

Oh my goodness. Sleep really has made a difference. I’m a life long chronic insomniac. I’m convinced this is from staying up all night as a kid. I used to read all night long. For the last three weeks, I’ve forced myself to go to bed by midnight every night. I slipped up last night. Seven hours of solid sleep makes a huge difference.

Health professionals around the globe agree that eight hours of sleep is important for general health and weight loss. And now I’m understanding why.

close up photography of woman sleeping
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

 

Measuring Progress

My Weight Watchers scale died a few weeks ago. I can’t be bothered to replace the battery. I’ve been meaning to get a new one. But I find I actually am more successful when I don’t rely on the scales to tell me how much I’m failing.

Instead, I use a tape measure. I’ve dropped another inch around the hips! I’m back down to 38″ around the underbust. But my pear shaped body means that I have more weight around my hips.

Here are my current stats:

  • Upper bust: 44″
  • Under bust: 38″
  • Wait’ 41″
  • Hips: 47″ (yikes)
  • Legs: 24″
  • I can’t bring myself to measure my arms. I hate the flab. They’re huge.

Two months ago – this is where I started:

  • Upper bust: 46″
  • Under bust: 42″
  • Waist: 46″
  • Hips: 53″ (at my heaviest)
  • Legs: 27″

So while the scales told me I was failing miserably, the tape measure tells me a different story. I go by the way my clothes fit. They way I feel when I wake up in the morning. How my skin looks. How thick my hair is getting. These are all signs that tell me that I am on the right track.

I feel great today. I’m feeling those positive vibes that I haven’t felt in years – not since I was with my ex. I’m finally regaining that confidence back. And I’m really starting to think about where I want to go for that reward trip in September. I really think a spa week is in order.

I know I’ll meet my goals. I just know it.

Jen

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.