Photo by Total Shape on Unsplash
172.5 pounds is where I bottomed out after returning from Africa.
And if I had let the scale finish this morning, it would have read 185 and something. But as soon as I saw the 185, I jumped off the scale and did not let it finish and lock in a weight. After all, if it’s not in writing, it’s not official. Yet my body can tell that it’s real.
It has been nearly three months since we climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
And I had lost 10 pounds reaching the summit. Returning to the states, I developed a stomach bug and quickly lost an additional 5 pounds. My doctor prescribed a few days of antibiotics, which within 24 hours had stopped the problem. And my weight loss stopped.
A week later, I had regained those five pounds.
And my weight has been creeping slowly skyward ever since. I hovered just below 180 for several weeks. This seemed like it was going to be my new set point. But then the wheels came off and according to today’s weigh-in, I added another five pounds. But I keep telling myself that I can lose it when I want to.
And I want to lose weight, to stay below 180 pounds.
I understand that there can be fluctuations in a daily scale reading. And I see that some days I will be higher than I really am. So ordinarily I do not put too much emphasis on one day’s scale reading. I know that if I do it again in a little bit, I will often get a different result. And I’m ok with that. What I am not OK with is reaching 185 pounds in body weight again.
And I am uncomfortable blaming this on my depression.
Surely though, if I didn’t have depression, I would be better equipped to resist nightly temptations. I would not see that it is clearly my nighttime indiscriminate grazing that is packing on the pounds. For example, last night, I came home from work around 10 PM. Driving home, I was thinking I would cut up a small head of Romaine lettuce for dinner. And to add some protein, I would cube some ham and add it to the salad. Topped with a bit of French dressing, this sounded delicious.
Arriving home, I quickly made my dinner, and I plopped on the couch, watching whatever my wife had on the TV.
Very quickly I realized that I had consumed the entire bowl. And I had done this with my usual lightning speed. In another life, I must have been a wolf or coyote. I am adept at eating and running. Even at work, I feel guilty if I sit for even a few minutes and eat something from my lunchbox.
At work, I am a snacker, eating a bit here and there.
I feel driven to keep busy, to stay on my feet, and out on the sales floor. And I feel guilty if I spend more than a few minutes sitting down to eat something. I justify this by telling anyone who notices that I like to eat many small meals while I am working. Sitting down to a large lunch or dinner would make me slow and lethargic afterward. I must be ready for the next issue, whether it is hard, easy, or a combination requiring me to put on my officer of the company hat.
If I sat down and took an actual lunch break, things could go to heck in a handbasket.
Now I see where depression has a hand in my thinking. Suddenly, I remember when my depression had me convinced that if I turned on the radio while I was driving my truck, I would reach home and my house would be engulfed in flames. Because of this unhelpful thinking, it took me months to have the courage to turn on the radio while in my truck.
Now I see the same all-or-nothing, catastrophizing thinking going on about eating.
At work, I have convinced myself that I cannot afford to stop and eat lunch. This could be my depression working to keep me out of balance. After all, if I stop and eat, how will the operation survive? I tell myself it is because I have an MBWA style of management. This stands for managing by walking around. If I sit and eat, I am not doing MBWA. But I am lying to myself when I think in these terms.
I am really saying I am not worth it.
My self-worth is tied up in my title, and my value as a manager and officer of the company. To sit and eat takes away from my brand and my outward appearance. How I am received by others is important to me. If I stop and eat, I am not out there and my brand will suffer. I must have found a sticking point because I am going around in circles saying the same thing.
Back to my dinner last night, finishing my salad, I was only warming up.
Next, it was a large cookie. OK I said, it is just dessert. But then I found the peanut brittle. Shortly after that, it was a bowl of popcorn. And I had blocked out how, since I am working unusually late because of vacations, I had consumed a bag of crème filled cookies before I had left work. Plus, waking up in the middle of the night, I wandered into the kitchen and polished off a handful of red grapes.
Now each event taken by itself is healthy or at least rationalized based on the other things I had eaten yesterday.
But added together, this binge eating after getting home is adding on the pounds. I have said more than once recently that I should be drinking tea at night. However, saying is not the same as doing. I do not think about the tea until I have consumed two or three things beyond supper. And for a while, I was putting supper on a smaller plate. Now I am back to the large dinner plate again. It doesn’t seem fair to blame any part of this on my depression.
So, my reasoning is way off, which could be a part of depression’s unhelpful thinking.
And the guilt I feel could be associated with depression. But what does that matter when it is me who is eating the cookies, the peanut brittle, the popcorn? If I stopped and thought about what I was doing, I hope that I would be making better decisions. Even eating grapes at 3 AM could have been done differently if I had asked better questions.
So, in my mind, the only person I can blame is me, without my depression.
This leads me to investigate the link between my thoughts, actions, and my depression. Am I acting this way because I have depression? Am I really stuck doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result (boy that sounds familiar)? Or is my depression acting up because I am thinking this way? I am off to scientific research to see what they think.
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