Depression And Weight Gain
by Ryan Pereira
Going back to August 2014 I had just got back from a training camp in Thailand. My experience in Phuket was phenomenal to say the least and probably the best training I’d ever been through. I almost felt like a new human being when I got back and everything seemed to be perfect until one day when I was performing a circuit and I felt a niggle in my knee. As far as I know and I can recollect, I don’t remember having any issue with my joints or ligaments. At camp I’d go on for 100 bodyweight lunges without any pain or discomfort but this session at home felt a little awkward. You may think I’m lying when I say this but I immediately sensed this was not a muscle/ligament related issue but there was something more to it. For me it was that dreaded month of November wherein I had become prone to falling ill for the past 3-4 years. I showered and my impulse led me to go online after I showered and read for symptoms for the weakness in my joints. It quickly struck me that these symptoms were leading to Dengue, yes Dengue ! At first I thought I was over thinking this situation and should approach a physiotherapist to have my knee assessed the next day but within no time my worst fears struck me and I was down with a mild temperature. The moment that happened, it affirmed my belief that it was Dengue though I still had to go and get my self tested for the same. My mom almost rubbished my claim when I told her what my gut feeling was and said that I should get myself tested and avoid self diagnosis, which was right on her part. The very next morning, I headed out to go and get myself tested only to find out my tests turned to be positive.
What followed that were the countless shots of papaya leaf juice to increase my platelet count and the innumerable number of antibiotics to fight the illness. It took me almost 2 weeks to be declared free from dengue before I could try and live my normal life again. What dengue did to me was weaken me unlike never before, both physically and emotionally. Things changed almost immediately and I’d wake up with joint pains. My knees,shoulders,elbows and not to forget my fingers and toes would be in excruciating pain after just waking up. For someone like me, who’d almost jump off his bed to go get myself some coffee as soon as soon as I woke up, I had become slow in my movement and was left reeling in pain even 15-20 minutes after waking up.
My overall recovery from it was very slow and that only led to me becoming weaker by the day. 6 months on, I’d become very negative in my approach,gained a lot weight (approximately 12 Kilos) and became extremely lazy. I dipped further into depression by losing my interest in work and life in general which lead to me slacking physically,emotionally and from a career stand point. In a field dominated by your fitness levels and the way you look, I lost the confidence that I once had and became comfortable with where I was and complacent in my actions. My friends and family started noticing the difference and even questioned me regarding the same but I avoided those questions by always having an excuse for my physical condition and mental approach. I would prefer to run away from reality by avoiding conversations about the same and became ignorant to my actual problems. I found comfort in running away from discussions related to my weight gain and started finding comfort in food (THE WORST DECISION) that only made things worse. All the so called running way and finding comfort in food only led to my weight gain and the feeling of it’s me against the world cropped up. The only upside to this downside was that I don’t drink or smoke, never did and so never resorted to means that would take me further down the hole. I had reached a classic case of not practising what I preach and in my case it was living a healthy and happy lifestyle, free from stress.
Then came a point, wherein I decided to pick myself up and fight those demons. That’s where I decided to start up this blog and help people not just by educating them about exercise and nutrition but by also having conversations about our mindset and the way we think . I realised the only person who could help me get out of this was myself. I started opening up more around my friends and family which did made me feel lighter in my heart and my mind. The support and affection from them in these tough times was humbling and overwhelming at the same time. I started focussing on what I wanted instead of what I didn’t want. I saw an instant change in my approach towards life and started feeling happier in whatever activity I was associated with. I started pushing myself physically and emotionally by challenging myself with circuits just like I used to. Though my progress has been slow ever since I’ve started pushing myself. I realised any progress is encouraging right now. It’s been a while since I’ve started or restarted my journey to living a fit and happy life but nonetheless it is a start that I will convert into being happy and living in the moment.
The intention behind this post is to share my experience with what depression can do to you and what could only make it worse. Realise one thing, your body is all that you have. That’s where you live and that’s why you need to take good care of it. What also struck me is that you create your own aura. You’re going to attract positive only if you give out the same. I’m not asking you to perform a good deed. Just by the power of releasing a positive thought into the universe is what could turn things around for you. As preachy as I sound, I’m witnessing it as I type this article out. Focusing on what you want rather than focusing on what you don’t want changes everything. Release all your thoughts into the universe and practise gratitude for whatever little or abundant you may possess.
My advice to someone going through a situation of depression and weight gain is plain and simple.
Don’t focus on what you don’t want. Affirm it to yourself and release a thought stating what you want instead.
Find comfort in sharing your experience instead on keeping that thought within yourself. Call up the first person that comes to your mind if you’re going through something at this or just go meet them in person. Sharing what you’re going through with a close friend/family member would bring you a perspective that you were being blind to due to your situation.
Indulge yourself with some form of movement. Make exercise more like a way to release your tensions and have fun while it. It could be attending a dance class,yoga,swimming,cycling or a plain run in the park or in the open spaces available to you. Doing what you love only makes you more consistent and regular with exercise. So don’t restrict yourself to a gym. There’s a lot more to experience when you get out.
Eat all that nature has blessed us with. It won’t be bad for you, I promise ! Though stay away from foods that would be processed and cooked in an undesirable condition.
We ALL have those days when we’d like to indulge in junk or just have a sweet tooth and would try to reach out for that cupcake and when that happens, have one. It won’t kill you. Also, that urge is completely normal so stop overthinking.
Most of our problems are manifested in our minds. So stop burdening yourself with thinking that way. It drains out the energy and often leads to you becoming lazy. Go for walk, plug in some music and forget about those worries.
YOU are responsible for every situation you get yourself into. It’s a result of your decision making and thought process. Have a positive approach? I’m not saying just think positive all the time. See it happen in your head, visualise it. The “greats” think differently, the greats see things differently. They have a different world view. They approach life in a totally different way. Even when the tables are turned against them and things aren’t going their way. So chin up and keep moving forward.
Finally, practise gratitude ! Be grateful for all that you have. Even if it seems insufficient. You need to grateful for your life to receive more from it. So, things may have not been going your way and you feel dejected and lost but the mere thought of gratitude would make you focus on what you want rather than what you don’t need.
Don’t be afraid. We all go though it 🙂
Remember, Life is an opportunity and not an obligation. Change your mindset and see how things turn in your favour. You won’t regret it.
P.S. I will be posting my progress from time to time on the blog and my social media accounts.
March 22, 2016
February 19, 2016