On Anxiety, Motivation, and Feeling Comfortable In My Own Skin

So, recently I realized I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. While I’m aware I’ll probably never ever ever be my high school and college weight of 120 lbs again (nor do I think I would I want to be – I feel like more of an adult with some curves on me and my frame just really isn’t built to be that tiny), and that even at my current weight I’d still be considered “thinnish” by national averages – the last year I have really ballooned in size to a point where I’m starting to feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

It started last year when my anxiety got really bad. In recent years I have become a comfort eater, and a retreater. Part of this has to do with how I originally reacted the first time my anxiety problem reared its ugly head in college. At the time I threw myself into work and working out while basically not eating more than a bird because my stomach was so upset all the time from worrying (my anxiety journey is a long, personal story – maybe someday I’ll be comfortable enough in my bloggy persona to share it in detail here, because anxiety is a bitch and nobody should feel like they’re the only one struggling).

I worked very hard to brake those coping habits once I realized that honestly, they were just making me sicker. Once I got back home and started grad school, I was pretty successful. However, that success has kind of gone TOO far at this point. Now in times of high anxiety I find comfort in food, and well, giving myself time to breathe. Mainly by escaping into video games or fiction.

And that was GREAT when I was 22, constantly stressed because of grad school and then feeling in over my head teaching, and my metabolism was running at top speed. Not only did it help me manage my anxiety, but it helped me manage this very new stress load without burning out.

However, as it turns out these are not great coping mechanisms to have when you’re 28, getting older, and your metabolism isn’t what it used to be. When my anxiety got bad again last year, I found myself eating more, being far more sedentary in my down-time, and as a result, gaining both weight and inches.

And since then it’s become sort of this horrible self-feeding cycle. The bigger I get, the more uncomfortable I feel in my clothes. The more uncomfortable I feel in my clothes, the worse I feel. The worse I feel, the more I want to just sit and eat. The more I sit and eat, the bigger I get. The bigger I get the worse I feel. The worse I feel, the worse my anxiety gets. The worse my anxiety gets… you get the idea.

And as you can probably tell because of the quietness around here, this cycle has an immense impact on my productivity during my free time. I just don’t feel creative when I feel awful about myself. I have a thousand amazing ideas – everything from cooking, to decorating, to pysanky (I can’t believe I haven’t picked up a kitska yet this year), to embroidery… but I just can’t seem to motivate myself to get off the couch, put down the controller, and DO THEM because I just feel shitty about everything.

And working out? Pshhhh, fat chance.

But I think I hit a breaking point yesterday. I was getting dressed for work, and had an “oh shit” moment when I realized exactly how limited my wardrobe has become. I went to put on what was always my go to “I’m bloated, but still wanna look good” sweater – and I didn’t like the way it fit.

My shirt that is supposed to look great on me even when I’m having a big day was too tight. I feel like shit physically, I feel like I LOOK like shit (even though I know that that’s me being too hard on myself and I actually don’t)… It’s definitely time to change something.

And so I turn to you, blogosphere. I’ve resolved to do SOMETHING physical every day, just to get me feeling better. With you all as my witnesses.

But I also need ideas. I will eventually start running again, but I have to get into some sort of basic shape (other than couch blob) before I start again so I don’t hurt myself and so I enjoy the run enough to actually make it a habit again.

What are your favorite at-home workouts? Videos? Has anybody used this Daily Burn service I keep seeing commercials for on Hulu? Is it worth it? What about the FitBit? Have any of you recently (or not so recently) had a similar “must-get-fit” experience? How did you do it?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated, and hopefully you can all help keep me accountable as I embark on this journey to once more feel comfortable in my own body – and to get my creative mojo back!

Operation: Finish the Afghan

Progress So Far

So I have this afghan. It’s been half-done since somewhere around 2008. Maybe 2009. I started it as a graduation gift for my college roommate, but as it continued to linger and linger and linger, and as years and years passed since both of our graduations that original purpose became moot.

And now it’s 2015. I’m three years away from a 10 year college reunion (which I will probably not go to, since I didn’t know anyone I graduated with – I graduated a year early). And still the afghan remains. Unfinished. Languishing in a green milk-style storage carton behind our couch.

Yarn in the box

The time has come. It’s time to be done with it.

And I’m going to pretend its for a much nobler reason than the fact that I need the storage container for sweaters. I’m going to pretend it’s in the interest of finishing what I started – committing to a project and seeing it through. Being a woman of my word.

You’ll help me keep up that illusion, right?

Right?

Langishing in box