I have a bad habit of trying to make huge changes all at once. Of course, at some point, I’ll miss one of the pieces of this huge change, get discouraged, and just stop everything. This has happened so many times over the years that I’ve lost count. Honestly, given this trend of mine, I’m surprised that I finished college. So this time, I’m trying to do things differently.
Each week I only want to accomplish one small thing. This week I wanted to get up the first time my alarm went off and stay up all day without a nap. Even if I did nothing all day but sit on the couch and watch HGTV, I would consider this a success. I accomplished a lot this week, but I was only able to stay up once. So I’ll try again next week.
The plan is to do this every week, adding one new small thing after I’ve made it through a week doing the previous thing every day. So if I can make it through next week without napping, the week after I’ll try to take a shower every day. And so on.
It sort of feels ridiculous to think that I’m having to break this into baby steps, but I guess that’s what happens when you spiral into a bad depression. And I don’t want to do what I always do, pile it all on me at once so I stress over getting every step done, then freaking out and going back to doing nothing. This is what happened the last time I really tried to lose weight.
I was obsessive. Big surprise, coming from the former bulimic. But I was spending almost every waking hour thinking about weight loss. It’s all I talked about. When I was working, in the back of my head I was trying to plan out my next week’s meals in such a way that I would be full on 1200 calories (though honestly, it was often less). I was exercising for hours a day, typically taking a six-mile walk, coming home and doing yoga, then topping it off with an exercise DVD. Anytime I was with family, I was talking about fitness and healthy diet, super foods and the greatest new app. I couldn’t go out to eat without first scouring the menu online to be sure what I could have, then planning out my order exactly. It wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t sustainable. But I did lose 45 pounds.
Around this time my marriage was ending, so I had the depression going along with that. First I missed an exercise day because I didn’t feel up to it. Then I had some junk food because it had been so long. And then it spiraled. I gained all the weight back. And then some.
I know my weight is one aspect of my depression, and that it is definitely a symptom of my depression, but I am well aware that losing the weight won’t cure my depression. And I feel like that is a huge personal growth for me, because that has not always been the case. But maybe, if adding one little thing a week like I’m planning works, that’ll get taken care of too.
My tentative plan (with no clear idea as to what order they will be added in) is to work in each of the following activities:
- No napping
- No spending (in addition to bills and groceries)
- Shower every day
- Exercise every day (planning on starting with yoga for a while, then maybe working up from there)
- Do a little cleaning every day
- Call a family member each day (I have a big enough family that it’ll take me a week to make a rotation)
We’ll see how this works. I feel like they all have the potential of easing my depression aside from the last one. Calling certain members of my family could definitely trigger me. I mean, I’m not worried about my grandparents or my brother, but my parents… No one can send me spiraling faster than mom. But I carry so much guilt over not calling my family. More over not calling my grandparents than not calling my parents. I feel like some of the reason I don’t call them is because on some level I hold them as complicit in my abuse. I mean, they didn’t know the extent of what was going on, but they knew mom was very emotionally abusive. Hell, she screamed at both my grandmothers and made them cry on several occasions. They could have gotten us out of there. They probably should have. So maybe I should work on that some in the meantime, leave calling everyone until last. I mean, it could be a while.