My Fitness Journey

Having a Rough Time, to be Honest

I got sick, then I got better. One would think I would be ready to jump back in with gusto, but the truth of the matter is…I’m having a hard time. I’m feeling low energy, unmotivated, and kind of…depressed.

This happens to me when I stop exercising for a while. It’s happened before so I know exactly what’s going on, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I tell myself I’m going to go walking at lunch or running after work or to CrossFit class…but when the time comes, I just feel like a flattened pancake and it seems physically impossible to drag myself out the door and into a workout. I just want to lay there and watch mindless noise on Netflix and order a pizza and although intellectually I know I’ll regret this decision, it just doesn’t seem to matter when I’m in the moment.

It’s more than a motivation problem. It’s depression. It’s momentum. And for those who have never felt this way, I can’t even begin to describe to you how strong those feelings can be.

History has told me that when I do manage to finally break my slump and keep a routine going for several weeks, I tend to do well. I start to look forward to it and enjoy the process, but history also tells me that when I’m low…I’m LOW, and it’s not going to be easy to get out of it.

I’ve heard all the advice out there, so I’m not looking for, “just take that first step” or “It will get easier.” I’m certainly not looking for “It will feel sooooo good” or “you just have to make it a habit.”

I know. I know these things. I’ve actually been incredibly interested in health and exercise science for the past ten years. I’ve read nerdy books about optimal nutrition and I regularly monitor workout routines. I’ve taken so many fitness classes. I’ve counted calories. I’ve counted macros. I’ve tried paleo, Whole30, and Zone. I’ve been a vegetarian. I’ve been a vegan. I’ve been a dedicated distance runner and a passionate yogi. I’ve done it all, and I know precisely what works and what doesn’t work for my body.

What I don’t know is how to get out of this slump and actually go do the things that I know work for me. I need willpower…but when I say willpower, it sounds like it’s a mere matter of wanting to eat cupcakes and watch Seinfeld reruns rather than eat healthy food and work out. That’s not it. My problem is an intense, paralyzing feeling of anxiety that keeps me glued to my chair and an accompanying depression that sends me reaching for another slice of pizza. It’s the resulting guilt that makes me more anxious, and more depressed, and the spiral goes down and down.

I’ve dealt with these things for my whole life. I know who I am, and I know that someday I’ll come out of it. There will come a day when I go out and go for a jog and a habit starts to form. I’ll feel particularly motivated one Sunday afternoon and meal prep for the whole week. It will happen, but in the meantime…I’m paralyzed.

I don’t want to be paralyzed, but I am.

Will I exercise tonight? I can’t promise that I will. Will I prepare and pack a healthy lunch for tomorrow? I can’t promise that either. The one thing that I can promise is that I will keep trying. Each new day I will wake up and give it my best shot. I will strive to be a healthier, happier me every day. I will fight depression, likely every day for the rest of my life. It’s just who I am and the hand I have been dealt in life. It is what it is. But I won’t give up. I promise.

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