Friday, March 31, 2017

Movement for the Mind

The Ups and Downs

If I haven't made it clear before, I am overweight. And that is really just a euphemism for obese... to an unhealthy degree. (Not that there is a healthy version of obese.) But I have been changing my diet and sticking to it, as well as hitting the gym. Over time I have learned to enjoy going to the gym more and more. It used to be "ugh, I should go to the gym, but I don't want to." To which my wife would reply, "you should go, because you always feel better afterwards." And it was true. For someone that has difficulty feeling a positive sense of accomplishment, watching the number of calories burned going up really helps my psyche. Of course I realize that it is good for my body, helps create endorphins and other brain chemicals, blah blah blah. Reason doesn't always motivate someone with depression. Depression, and all of it's tendrils, can keep the most reasonable of people from doing things that make nothing but sense, which is one of the big downsides of depression.


I got this diet routine from a doctor in 2014, and it helped me lose over 40 pounds. Then I stopped, and slowly gained back about 30 of it over the next couple of years.  I've been frustrated trying to stick to a routine. Motivation and inertia is what I required. Then one day I decided to do and exercise video, P90x (which isn't the most simple routine), and I could only do about 1/4 of it. It was humiliating. My kids were watching. Between being physically too big and lacking muscle mass to do certain movements, as well as being out of air and requiring loud 'whoofs' to breathe, it was a kick my self esteem. I wanted to cry. But that is what it took. After that I decided something had to be done, for so many reasons. My obesity really does affect my depression, immensely. 

Surprisingly, this gave me motivation instead of sending down a spiral of depression. And one of the ways I deal with the spiral is with food. I decided to go with the 2014 diet and hit the gym as much as I can. It's working, which helps add to the motivation. I am currently down 20 pounds, but have far to go. Knock on wood. 

Trouble with the Treadmill

The treadmill is my bread and butter, poor analogy because it's food, but none-the-less it's what I prefer to do. Hiking is my true love, and the treadmill is the closest I can get to hiking, because it has incline. It can also be exhausting. Being as heavy as I am, at max elevation, and a brisk walking pace puts me at 900-1200 calories per hour, which I love. Like I said, those numbers bolster my ego and help my depression. However, I am a late exerciser. Most of the time, I choose to burn some steam in the afternoon or evening. My wife prefers the morning, and sometimes it is just more convenient for me too. 

What's the big deal? It turns out that if I work out later it really helps my mood, but it seems that after I work out in the morning I have a drop in mood and depression creeps in for a few hours after it. Why? My current explanation is that I just don't eat enough breakfast and burning that many calories stresses my body. But why wouldn't I still get some sort of psychological euphoria for the accomplishment? Hmmmmm. The brain does use a majorly disproportionate amount of energy for it's size. Maybe it just doesn't have the energy to make those 'feel-good' chemicals. I wonder if that is correct. But perhaps later in the day it has more energy and already has some 'feel-goods' from the day. 

A Plan?

I really do not want to be limited by the time of the day. Perhaps I will have a piece of fruit beforehand and see what happens. If that doesn't help, then maybe after. Or maybe it is just a state of mind. I prefer the evening, so I just set myself up for failure, so to speak. I am not much of a morning person, but I prefer to get up very early. That sounds a bit odd, but in my mind, successful people get up and attack the day. The early bird catches the worm, after all. 

I just don't want to sabotage myself and de-motive my desires by believing that exercise will trigger my depression.

Anybody out there have similar issues?

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