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Depression, exercise, and eating choices

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Depression, exercise, and eating choices

Old 06-18-19, 05:19 AM
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Bikeforumuser0019
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Depression, exercise, and eating choices

Hello everyone.

I've struggled with depression most of my life. I had a situation in childhood with abusive/neglectful parents. I am 35 years old, and I've never really dated or been married because of it. That is to say, whatever I do with my life, I pretty much have to figure it out on my own.

Talking at length about depression is probably outside the scope of this forum (but not necessarily), and not really what I came here to do right now...that is, to start a conversation about my own struggle with ups and downs. But as it relates to my motivation, I think I swing around a whole lot because of it. I can go through times where riding is easy and a delight, and eating the right foods is relatively simple and achievable. But other times, I'm just not motivated to do anything, even brush my teeth, bathe, or clean my home.

I feel like I can't be the only one who lacks motivation and/or tries to comfort myself with food because I am sad. It's not that I lack information about what foods are healthy, or even what exercise I enjoy and excel at. Furthermore, I have lots of good experience with counseling, and I'm just beginning to work with a personal trainer, which I've done in the past for exercise and helps with the motivation part. But, I lost my church of almost 10 years recently, so most of my social support vanished along with that (I am attending a different church now, but naturally it takes time to make new close friends). And, I got a promotion at my job just about 2 years ago..... which is great! But my new job is a lot more stressful. This is also the first time I've been a manager. My boss seems happy with my work, but historically I've tended to be a perfectionist and I don't feel like I'm doing well in this job at all. I guess it's a lot of change all at once, and I feel pretty alone in it all.

Some days are better than others, some days are particularly full of sorrow. On the down days, the idea of getting on a bicycle seems meaningless. I know that exercise helps manage depression just as much, if not more, than meds do. (I took meds for a while but found them unhelpful). But quite frequently I just feel like I don't care enough about my life to be bothered to make good choices. Finding the answer to one's life is a big adventure, and I've been on this adventure long enough now to know there are going to be ups and downs, and that's okay. I just wonder if it feels like the elephant in the room for anyone else as much as I feel it is the elephant in mine.

As a reward for reading this far, here's a picture of a friend's daughter's bike that I'm in the process of cleaning up for her..... I had to special order 14" tires for it, which are coming in to the LBS on Thursday. It only really needed one tube and 2 new tires, but I thought I'd take it apart and put it back together as a learning experience. I am learning a lot and enjoying myself. Also, part of my goal in doing this is to get the kids and their mom excited about going for bike rides, which seems to be working.

Thanks,
Jessica





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Old 06-18-19, 02:30 PM
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Good for you! BF even has a Bloggers section https://www.bikeforums.net/blogger-s-forum/ if you'd like to post about this as a continuing thing. Best wishes, happy cycling!
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Old 06-18-19, 04:05 PM
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I've been through a lot of what you've described, and I can understand how you're feeling. I'm happy to say I feel much much much better today, so don't give up! If there's only one thing I can recommend, it's "keep busy", like what you're doing with the bike. Start with simple, achievable goals, and work your way up from there.

I read a good book a while ago that I highly recommend, give it a try if you can find it. It's called "Hardcore self-help: F**K Depression" by Robert Duff.

Some people find blogging helps them, as @shelbyfv already mentioned. And feel free to reach out if you need to talk!

Happy cycling and be safe!
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Old 06-20-19, 07:54 AM
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Look into the C25K running programs. Yes, I said the "R" word.

Couch to 5K is just that. How to go from getting off the couch to running a 5K Run.

Three times a week, you get out there and run. The first week is just getting out the door and walking & running. This gives your body to adjust and adapt.
Good running shoes and post-run stretching are good things. Go to a sports shoe store to get proper fit and advice for the shoes.

There is something about running. First half mile I always think, this sucks but gets easier after that. I make it a point to run T Th Sat (routine is good).

The night before I set out my running shirts, shorts, socks, shoes; everything is ready to go and gets me into the groove.

I've finished the 5K, still make my neighborhood loop on that day of that distance. Then jump on the bike and do 12 miles (T Th) to 20 miles or more on Saturday/Sunday.

Exercise and nature help with depression. Setting and sticking to a routine help. If I didn't have four dogs telling me, "I got to pee" some mornings I would never have gotten out of bed. Years of SSRI helped when I was at my lowest point, but today just having my exercise and running partner (Golden Retriever) then go biking is my best medicine.
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Old 06-22-19, 05:01 PM
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One book that has helped me is Eight Weeks to Optimal Health by Andrew Weil. He promotes the Mediterranean diet and has you do something small each week. It is also more than just diet.
Welcome and good luck.
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Old 06-30-19, 06:15 PM
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Hi Jessica, your post rings a lot of bells with me. I struggle to get out on the bike even though I know the benefits. The most important thing is that you get out cycling especially in them down days when it's hardest. These are the days you need it most.

I found that a cycling buddy is the by far the best motivator for me to get me out on the bike. While I might not want to go out I will force myself to so as not to let my friend down. Saying that I moved from my hometown and I don't have many friends that like to cycle these days. I'd join a club locally but I want to get fit first! Catch 22

I do have a dog now who is motivation enough to get out playing and walking. I might take her out cycling before long. She is still a bit young though and a bit 'daft'.

The thing is though to get out everyday if you can. Some days you might not feel like it but even 5 minutes on the bike will do wonders for the head.

Well done on fixing up your friends kids bike! It looks fantastic. I hope it gives them many years of memories
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Old 07-22-20, 07:57 AM
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I had the same problem, the solution was a doctor and reading books.In my case exercises didn’t help me with my depression. I wanted just to stay at home and sleep. My husband ordered an antidepressant on this trusted website. I consulted with my family doctor and he said that I’ll not have side effects. I received professional support from a friendly team. I am happy with their work and products. If you still have trouble with it, you can look through this site for more info.



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Old 07-23-20, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by linnefaulk View Post
One book that has helped me is Eight Weeks to Optimal Health by Andrew Weil. He promotes the Mediterranean diet and has you do something small each week. It is also more than just diet.
Welcome and good luck.
I liked that book. I never made it through all the steps, but it really seemed to help. I still have many of the habits that came from that book.
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Old 07-23-20, 02:52 PM
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Before I retired, I think my dogs kept me going. I'm not suggesting you get a dog, but dogs became 100% of my life outside of work. I trained and competed in a lot of different activities. They aren't lawn ornaments, or pillow dogs. If it wasn't dog related and I couldn't bring my dog, I didn't go. Even though I'm retired and don't have spare change for competing anymore, they are still my reason for getting out of bed in the morning and staying healthy. So, I guess what I'm saying is, maybe there needs to be a reason? I don't know. I have been through some terrible depression in my past. It lasted a years. I have a feeling without my guys, I might just go back there. But they sure take up a lot of time. That's why I only started riding again after I retired. I hope you find your reason to get out of bed.

(The 2 end dogs are Dutch Shepherds and the 2 center dogs are Belgian Shepherds. )
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Old 07-23-20, 06:39 PM
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Hello...

Good post. Struck some notes for me. I am not in your position, but I have been in past and understand it. I will say this. Wellness is circular. The more you are the more you want to be, the more you are.

The motivation I find when I do not want to go for a ride or a swim (and soon the "R"-word) is that that is precisely the moment I NEED to go. And coming off it I always feel so much better than when I went out. It is simply science/fact that exercise makes you feel better both mentally and physically. Push through the lack of motivation. Let that itself be the motivation and eventually you will condition yourself to go when you most need it.

Cleaning house and brushing teeth will follow.

I love the bike. You are a pretty good wrench it seems. An observation here. I tend to have both a strong left brain and strong right brain. Almost everything I do leads me eventually to the technical side. Photography is an art. Yet it is also strongly technical. Love that kind of stuff.

I love to ride; but I also love to wrench. It keep me interested and it is a treat for me and adds to my motivation and interest in this sport. Feed that in yourself. Find a way to make some money at it if you can, or just enjoy it. Find bikes that people leave for the taking, clean them up and sell them or give them away to the right people/organizations. Sometimes taking care of others is the best motivation to take care of yourself. Anyway, you have a talent. Develop that in a way you see fit. This will bring purpose to what you are doing.

You are very self aware. That is a rare and it is a good thing. Use it. Be kind to yourself... get on that bike and ride...

Best wishes,

woof!
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Old 07-26-20, 04:10 PM
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Wishing you the best Jessica! hope all is well with you.

JAG
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Old 07-27-20, 06:04 AM
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Hi! Thanks for sharing the post and picture of the awesome bike. I've dealt with depression since childhood as well, although I've not sought treatment for it. (I've seriously considered it but fear it make life even more complicated). Anyway, I've been a lot better in the last year or so, and I believe a lot of that is due to switching to a healthy, long-term sustainable diet, losing weight, and being more active (including bike riding). I've also used creative outlets to help manage depression throughout my life, mostly playing musical instruments and writing.

Finding the right diet for me was a key point. For instance I tried keto for four months in late 2018, but it really didn't work for me. The most frightening aspect was losing my ability to control my depression. I switched to a Mediterranean style diet in February, 2019, which has worked very well. Also, I keep a log in which I write down moods, cravings, and anything that strikes me as well as calories/food. That helped me see what I do well with and what I do not.

The better diet also helps me have the energy and outlook to go for a bike ride or hike. Sometimes getting out takes some convincing on bad days, but I almost always start feeling better once I do. It also helps keep me from sliding into old, bad habits like sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of nachos.

While my depression still lingers the bad times are less severe and further apart.

Finally, there was a moment a few weeks ago when I was riding, looked at the trail, the sky, the clouds, and all the green. I stopped for a moment, looked around to take it all in, and was glad I was still alive.
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Old 07-28-20, 05:02 AM
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I confronted my wife who has been cheating on me, and after a week of hell, (no sleeping, eating very little, drinking myself to sleep, dealing with ptsd etc.) I just opened up about living with depression for almost 30 years now(I'm 35). I finally am starting to get help and so look forward to it. I avoided relationships all my life as well, There use to be such an ease with my wife. I had so many great feelings and time together was amazing until the I do's came, attitude towards me changed and I shut down. I do not argue, I run and hide. Arguing triggers ptsd from my childhood.

I found cycling about 8 months ago now. I'm down over 30lbs and just keep the mentality that I need to ride I can feel it when I don't ride. I started as a way to commute home as it was faster on a bike then public transit, now I can ride 11 miles with my daughters to and from work. For years I have eaten health as I have worked in kitchens all my life, there is access and knowledge for healthy choices, I haven't always felt my size, even at 296, I could hike a mountain faster then the average skinny person and be ready to go for more. I believe that is diet related. I have always felt amazing after hiking and being out in nature.

The feeling and rush I get on a bike is close to second to none as I had other ways before to cope with my depression, I find a bike the most lasting effects. Especially in all this covid, and now into week 2 of my wife issues.

My dad is an auto mechanic and I never had interest into cars, but I love working on bikes as I have 4 now. There is something very therapeutic about working on a bike.
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Old 08-23-20, 04:50 AM
  #14  
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once I have come to the idea that I am what I eat. never really could start doing exercises if I ate smth bad you know...
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Old 08-24-20, 08:00 PM
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I feel you Jessica. Depression sucks. Going to bed and saying I think I will ride tomorrow and then not riding the next day because you cannot fathom going outside and be near other people. It is not good. Heck I had an incident a while back where I broke down completely and spent time on the floor of a completely dark bathroom just not able to move.

A lot of people love to say riding a bike is the best medicine blah blah blah...but they are not therapists, they are not qualified to dispense advice like that. More than likely they are happy people who aren't depressed and don't understand it at all and just think the world is peachy all the time or they get a little bummed out and they ride their bike and feel better. That is all well and good but it won't cure depression and probably for a lot of people neither will drugs (and for some maybe). What we need is a mental health professional to walk us through this and that can be a tough move to make. Exercise and healthy eating are awesome choices and will certainly help a little but they don't cure actual real depression.

I started by talking with a friend who does it for a living but have since not moved forward on it. I don't know why, maybe just ego or maybe I am just scared. Granted I said a lot here but I am semi-anonymous-ish so I can sort of hide a little.

Anyway I will stop being such a damn bummer and say glad you are fixing up the bike. Hopefully I can get all my projects done and maybe sell some stuff as well and do some more riding!
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Old 09-22-20, 07:52 AM
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Hey man, your post touched my heart and stirred some sad stuff in me. Heres my story, Im 70 years old tomorrow. Had a childhood where I thought I was not loved, like I was the black sheep, the unwanted one. My mother had a history to make me believe Im not genetically my "fathers" son. no real resemblance to anyone in my family. I was recently told, "You are a cuckoo", we all know what cuckoos do? At aged 14 I was sexually abused by a 35 year old woman for 2 years. Daily abuse, multiple times. Family knew nothing of this. Anyway, I limped emotionally through my teen years and at 19 met a very special woman, she soothed my soul, made me feel whoile again.....We had 3 kids, life was good for me at last, I felt I had worth, that I was normal..... In 2005 after 34 years of marriage, the love of my life passed away after she lost a 3 month fight against cancer that she could never win. I was devastated, my 2 older kids were grown, our youngest was 14, lost without her mother. I was totally utterly full of grief. The only reason I didnt jump off a bridge was my kids. I didnt shower for days, or brush my teeth, couldnt sleep in the bedroom, couldnt even go in there. I was a lost, broked soul, I just hung onto life by a thread. I gained 150, food was my drug of choice. This went on for 5 years then I turned a corner, I wne to Weight watchers, lost 150lbs partially due to getting back on my bike. Life was good again, diid some charity rides for cancer research.
I went to a fundraiser one day, started talking to a wonderful woman, she was a doctor, an oncologist, we talked, and we talked, and we talked, we never stopped talking.........We have now been married for 2 years, we have 5 kids between us, 6 grandkids and life is GOOD!!!!!!! I never ever ever thought I would be happy again. I was lucky, I found unconditional love twice in my life. These beautiful women saved me. Im whole now, Im happy, just now and then I go to this dark side of my soul and hide in my emotional cave but 99.99% of my life is good. This tale is not like your life but my point is life is vgood, wehen its so dark, so painful, so pointless, remember it will get better. My heart goes out to you my friend. Never give up and there is help out there, even on here there is help.
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Old 09-22-20, 08:19 AM
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Incredibly powerful and courageous post! Many of us have our demons, some of us don't even know why we have them. I have struggled with overeating most of my life and it took a session with a therapist who hypnotized me to be able to recollect my traumatic event as a child and helped me to deal with the depression, and overeating that I struggled with. We all deal with it differently, for me it took a complete lifestyle change, but being able to cope with my trauma helped me to understand why I wanted to fill my body with all the delicious food that always seemed to surround me. Getting on my bicycle was also, and IS also very therapeutic for me. I still struggle with cravings and I still want to fill my emptiness with food, but I find a way not to. For what its worth, relationships may or may not be the answer; I am twice divorced. I have fallen off the wagon probably hundreds of times in the past five years, but I always get back on the horse the very next day, I do not use it as an excuse to give up, or give in.

Hang in there, be strong, be aware, but most of all, never give up!

Best wishes and good luck!
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Old 09-23-20, 11:14 AM
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Hey Robalero, therapeutic thread this one. We all have our demons, some of us bury them, some dont. Its just nice to know that we can open our hearts a little on this site, who would have thought it?
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Old 09-23-20, 01:27 PM
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I wish we all knew how the OP is doing? Sad thing is that she has not been on this forum since July 2019 shortly after she posted this
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Old 09-23-20, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by banjaboy View Post
Hey man, your post touched my heart and stirred some sad stuff in me. Heres my story, Im 70 years old tomorrow. Had a childhood where I thought I was not loved, like I was the black sheep, the unwanted one. My mother had a history to make me believe Im not genetically my "fathers" son. no real resemblance to anyone in my family. I was recently told, "You are a cuckoo", we all know what cuckoos do? At aged 14 I was sexually abused by a 35 year old woman for 2 years. Daily abuse, multiple times. Family knew nothing of this. Anyway, I limped emotionally through my teen years and at 19 met a very special woman, she soothed my soul, made me feel whoile again.....We had 3 kids, life was good for me at last, I felt I had worth, that I was normal..... In 2005 after 34 years of marriage, the love of my life passed away after she lost a 3 month fight against cancer that she could never win. I was devastated, my 2 older kids were grown, our youngest was 14, lost without her mother. I was totally utterly full of grief. The only reason I didnt jump off a bridge was my kids. I didnt shower for days, or brush my teeth, couldnt sleep in the bedroom, couldnt even go in there. I was a lost, broked soul, I just hung onto life by a thread. I gained 150, food was my drug of choice. This went on for 5 years then I turned a corner, I wne to Weight watchers, lost 150lbs partially due to getting back on my bike. Life was good again, diid some charity rides for cancer research.
I went to a fundraiser one day, started talking to a wonderful woman, she was a doctor, an oncologist, we talked, and we talked, and we talked, we never stopped talking.........We have now been married for 2 years, we have 5 kids between us, 6 grandkids and life is GOOD!!!!!!! I never ever ever thought I would be happy again. I was lucky, I found unconditional love twice in my life. These beautiful women saved me. Im whole now, Im happy, just now and then I go to this dark side of my soul and hide in my emotional cave but 99.99% of my life is good. This tale is not like your life but my point is life is vgood, wehen its so dark, so painful, so pointless, remember it will get better. My heart goes out to you my friend. Never give up and there is help out there, even on here there is help.
Sending big hugs!!!! And Happy Happy Birthday!!!!! I hope your day has been awesome!!!
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Old 09-23-20, 01:45 PM
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You are most definitely not alone in your struggles. I too have been struggling with depression. About 9 months ago I started seeing a therapist and we both came to the conclusion that I have probably been depressed for years. I had a 35 year career where I ended up in the top job at the top firm in my business. That last position I held for 10 years but then lost it at the end of 2016. I have yet to find something to replace it. Losing the job sent me into a spiral. I gained more weight than I already had. I was not exercising. My relationship with my wife suffered. I thought that this extra time would give me plenty of reason to get out on the bike and achieve some goals I had set for myself, particularly climbing this one particular hill twice in a loop. I haven't made it up once yet this season. I go several weeks of riding regularly, 3 times a week. Then it tapers to two and quickly to one, then none. I understand the lack of motivation to do simple and necessary things like bath or brush teeth. Why bother if I'm not going out. I'd go to parties at my neighbors houses only to leave after a short time because I don't feel comfortable. And I definitely eat to drown my sorrows. That happens late at night while I'm binge watching something by myself. I just saw an psychiatrist at the urging of my therpist and she put me on Lexapro. I started it Monday and hope that it just gives me more motivation to do all the things you mention so I can be more healthy and feel more alive and productive. And my main goal is to find a job. I need the motivation to fix my resume which has clearly been lacking since I never hear from those I submit it to. It is truly a daily struggle. In my case I expect things could actually get worse before they get better as my wife now wants a divorce after 27 years of marriage. Almost 30 if you count the years before we got married. I still hope that maybe I can do something to fix that situation, although my therapist thinks I put too much hope in that happening. He may be right. We just have to keep on keepin' on.
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Old 09-24-20, 07:35 AM
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banjaboy
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Hey MntnMan, you opened your heart buddy, amazing how this thread has opened up some dark closets. along with Covid and the other stresses of life its tough man! You have taken the first step, getting help, you recognize you have a problem. Its just so easy to syuff our faces with food to give us temporary relief from the pain and hurt. Skinny people have their drug too, ours just happens to show on our body. Fat shaming is the last taboo that people can mock, joke, hurt us with and not be shouted down. Race, sexual orientation, every other "thing" is taboo, being overweight, its not ctuel to mock, to hold against someone. Yes, okay unless you are overweight. I feel for you man, my heart is sad for you but we can all beat this, hold this together. Its sad your wife wants out but if she is hurting you, let her go, life goes on, lots of people out there who will love you and cherish you man!!!!!
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