What does it take to make a positive change? What are the steps to truly make change happen in your life? What makes positive change happen?
This is a story about how I am working on making a positive change. I have been battling depression and anxiety for almost ten years now. With that, I get social anxiety and would not deem myself as a “people person.” I am the type of person that would rather be by myself listening to music or playing video games.
What I learned, though, is that this has been a huge reason why my mental health has been able to consume me over the years.
When I am doing nothing, my mind is always racing. I will imagine my future, what I would do in a dangerous scenario, then cycle back into thinking about my past.
There is nothing that I am ashamed of with my past, by the way, but there are events that have taken their toll on me, and that toll sent me crashing down to rock bottom in November of 2018.
Let me share a back story of how I got there
Up until my last year or so of high school, I did not realize that I was suffering from depression or anxiety. I thought what I was going through was normal. Always feeling like people are judging you, nervous when people started talking to you, anxious during an exam, and that sinking feeling of worthlessness.
I thought all of those were normal feelings. I did not realize this until I had a minor panic attack during an English exam. I felt my throat closing, and because I did not want to make a scene, I just put my head down on my desk and focused on my breathing. I was able to calm myself down, but at that moment, I realized that I had issues that needed to be fixed.
I did some counseling with somebody before I started college, and he helped me with improving my self-confidence and other aspects of my life.
The techniques he taught me helped me when I got nervous during an exam – I still get nervous, just not to the point where I would have a panic attack again. Anyways, what I learned after my first year of college is that my issues stemmed from me.
I started dating somebody, she was a fantastic person, and I do not blame any of my issues on her. I fell hard in love; she was everything I ever dreamed of and more. I was happy, anxiety was low, depression was nonexistent, and then my world crashed down on me very quickly.
I injured my shoulder, and would eventually need surgery, lost both of my jobs, and my relationship had to end because of factors she or I could not control.
This sent me spiraling back into the hole I tried for so long to get out from. That all happened in four months. Fast forward six months to November 2018, and you can include me losing my dog to cancer. He was my best friend since I was nine, and losing him crushed me. That loss tipped me into rock bottom.
From all of that, I learned one thing; my happiness depended on others. Since I lost the things that made me the happiest, I became even more depressed, and when I get depressed, I eat, a lot.
During my relationship, I went from 205 lbs down to 175 lbs. After my relationship, I not only gained back the 30 lbs that I lost but gained almost 15 more on top of that. I skyrocketed up to 218 lbs at my heaviest.
My happiness turned from my relationship and my dog to food. And as Fat Bastard said in Austin Powers,”I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.” What I once thought was a funny scene in a movie, very quickly became my reality. And I had to change that. I had to make a positive change.
It is in Your Moments of Decisions That Your Destiny is Shaped
I had shoulder surgery on July 30th, 2019, and after that, I promised myself I was going to make a change.
I wanted to get out of the cycle that consumed me for so long, and I wanted my happiness to depend on myself finally, not others.
On September 5th, 2019 (just over one-month post-op), I bought a gym membership and started going to the gym with my friend.
I was not able to do any lifting, so I focused on cardio and doing leg exercises. At the start, all I wanted to do was get myself into a rhythm, so by the time I was able to work out, I would be committed to the gym.
From September to January 21st, I lost six lbs. Yes, I lost weight, but I was nowhere close to where I wanted to be, and it was because of my eating habits. I was still eating garbage, and so I finally made a change.
I focused on something called TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). What that shows you is how many calories you can eat to maintain your weight and by eating less than what your maintenance is, you will lose weight.
You can estimate your energy expenditure for a specific activity by using an online activity calculator, like the one provided by the American Council on Exercise. Online calculators also allow you to calculate your calories burned per day with the same formulas that are used in clinical settings.
I have been doing that for almost three months now, and I have lost just under forty lbs in that time. I went from 206 lbs down to 168 lbs and still have some work to do, but I am slowly starting to become happy with myself.
Over Time, Small Positive Changes Can Make a Big Difference in Your Health and Wellbeing
The difference between the two smiles in the photos below is the first one says, “I’m fine,” but the second one says, “I’m proud of myself.”
Now I want to help others by sharing my story, and hopefully, it will give them the jump to make the change in their lives they have always wanted.
It does not need to be a weight loss challenge, maybe it is going back to school or something else, but I just want my story to inspire others to make that positive change.
If anybody ever needs help or motivation, get in touch with me, I will always be happy to help!