Fighting the Good Fight: My Battle With Anxiety

I am celebrating an anniversary today. Six months ago today, I decided to take control of my life.

On March 12, 2016, I was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life, 223 lbs. I was suffering from constant pain from sciatica, which created a daily need for some kind of painkiller, be it an over the counter med like Aleve or something stronger that could knock me out.

What I wasn’t sharing – panic attacks that used to plague me for years had returned. Driving around this little island made me feel claustrophobic; like I couldn’t run away. I chalked up most of my feelings to homesickness, but the bulk of the truth was staring at me in the mirror.

I was sick. Overweight. Over-medicated. Physically weak.

At my heaviest.

At my heaviest.

I have always been an advocate of celebrating the body you have and not tearing yourself down. Though I’m not ashamed of the weight I gained, I was worried that the weight I had put on was destroying my body. Things I used to do rather easily (like climbing stairs) would leave me out of breath. I was more tired than usual.

But what I failed to see until that day in March was, my panicky feelings were tied to my body crying for help. Though I was put on an anti anxiety medication, I still struggled with leaving our house, worried that a panic attack might happen. That’s the worst part – the “what if” I have an attack?

I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I decided to get serious.

Before I "got it." Medication only helps so far.

Before I “got it.” Medication only helps so far.

To be clear: I am not advocating that anti anxiety/antidepressants are bad. However, through my experience, using medication alone to deal with anxiety was not enough. I had to make big changes to my diet and get physically strong. I needed to push through discomfort in order to make changes. Not only from a physical standpoint, but I needed to confront issues with myself. Meditation and seeing a therapist helped to quiet my ever-racing mind.

Today, I am positive that my body does not respond well to sugars and processed foods. Whenever I have given myself a treat and eat something with more sugar, my joints hurt the next day. I feel lethargic and also more prone to insomnia. So, I will eat a much smaller amount to avoid the side effects.

As I write this, I am 28 pounds lighter. My medication has been adjusted and I’m sleeping better.

Feeling so much better!

Feeling so much better!

My message is this: Anxiety and depression are very real. It’s not just feeling anxious or blue. I “white knuckled” through a lot of the anxiety for a long time, or I would try to distract myself by throwing myself into a lot of projects so I wouldn’t have to deal with my issues.

I know that I will need to continue to work out, eat well, and monitor my stress to keep the panic attacks and depressive episodes at bay.

The Hubby has been amazing through my journey. I really don’t think I could have got on a good path to wellness without his support. I love him with all my heart!

Love of my life!

Love of my life!

If you are struggling with anxiety and/or depression, don’t be afraid to get help. You’re not weak for doing so! It means you want to live a better life, and you deserve that.

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo, Melanie.

 

 

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Beyond What’s On the Scale

Hello Lovelies!

As you are aware, I am on a quest to reclaim my fitness. The truth is, there is no “magic trick” to losing weight. It’s hard work and watching what you eat, plain and simple. However, there’s a lot more to the story than numbers on a scale. I thought I’d share with you all what I’ve gained (and lost!) during these past 30 days:

  1. Eating REAL food makes a big difference! I didn’t realize just how much processed food I was eating until I began paying attention to my diet. I’ve dumped a lot of canned and frozen veggies from my diet and added in a bunch of fresh veggies and fruit. Watching the kind of starchy carbs (and how much I eat) has made a difference in my calorie intake. I feel a lot less sluggish and have more energy.
  2. Fitness Apps keep me on track. What did we do before smartphones? A lot of math and calorie burning guesswork! There’s a number of fitness apps out there, but the ones I use every day is My Fitness Pal and FitBit. What I really love about My Fitness Pal is that I put in my goal weight and it automatically figures out how many calories I need a day based on my activity level. It also can get all the nutrition info on any food with a barcode! I’ve also found it has the food info on LOTS of dishes served in restaurant chains. FitBit keeps me motivated and tracks my steps/exercise, and that info is linked to My Fitness Pal, which figures out how many calories I’ve burned! Yay!
  3. No Excuses. I decided that exercise MUST come first with me before doing anything else. To reach my goals, I do at least 30 minutes of heart pumping exercise 4-5 times a week, switching between cardio and strength training. I’ve rediscovered my inner athlete, regained flexibility and strength, and my endurance is so much better!
    A good sweat is good for the soul!

    A good sweat is good for the soul!

    I am a BEAST!

    I am a BEAST!

     

  4. Planning ahead is EVERYTHING! One of the bad habits I had was letting myself get too hungry, then I’d reach for the quickest food possible (and it was usually something processed or fast food). Now I make sure to eat 4-5 small meals a day to keep my blood sugar up and the food is low calorie and nutritious.
  5. Giving Myself a Break. I love food. I love celebrating good times with friends. To keep my sanity and stay on course, I allow myself one “cheat” meal a week. For example, last Saturday I enjoyed an 8 oz steak and mashed potatoes with friends. That is my indulgence until next Saturday. I also let my body rest the day after a harder workout.
  6. Rewards are Necessary. When I lost my first five lbs., I treated myself to a pair of pretty sandals. Then, when I realized I’d lost 8″ off my body last week, I got some “new to me” things from the local Airman’s Attic. When I meet a goal, I am sure to give myself a reward to stay motivated!
"New" wrap top, purse and earrings!

“New” wrap top, purse and earrings!

Purple earring

Can't believe this was FREE!

Can’t believe this was FREE!

Most of all…I am happier. Feeling lighter and having more energy has made all the difference with my depression issues. I hope to be 30 lbs. lighter by September, but I’m looking at this experience as a marathon, not a sprint, and to live my life this way for good.

Until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo, Melanie.

 

Change of Season = Change of Mind

Hello lovelies,

Believe it or not, fall is almost here (though in Guam, it just means a little less rain!). Like many of you, I enjoy checking out all the September issues of Vogue, Marie Claire, and Glamour. Seeing the runway shows on YouTube is as close as most of us will get to being at a show, and I’m glad for that technology!

But I want to share with you something I’ve been dealing with lately.

 

Dress, Kenzie.

Dress, Kenzie.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling very sluggish and dealing with low energy. At first I chalked it up to an inconsistent sleep schedule, so even after going to bed/getting up at regular hours, I still felt draggy and lacking motivation.

Kenzie 1

Was I depressed? I didn’t think so. Though I’ve been missing friends and family, my job and my husband bring me joy. I had to look at something else.

I’m neglecting my body.

Shoes, Just Fab.

Shoes, Just Fab.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still very much about body acceptance. I believe in loving who you are, right at this moment. I still love who I am, and my curves. However, I cannot deny that my body needs more exercise, more greens. I don’t need to be a certain size to be happy. I just want more energy. I also don’t want to be diagnosed with diabetes, which is a reality for someone who is overweight.

So, I am taking this a step at a time. No crazy diet or intense workouts here.

Kenzie 3

But I’m still rocking my outfits, no matter what! I believe in living loud, so what’s louder than red?

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xoxo, Melanie.