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How I Beat Depression

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How I Beat Depression

As an emergency medicine nurse, I often took care of patients that were battling depression. I also nursed many suicidal patients, most of those attempts were cries for help. Unfortunately, several patients succeeded in committing suicide. As a child I witnessed a cousin, the mother of a childhood friend and a neighbor all have nervous breakdowns. I found that in our community it was taboo to talk openly about depression and mental illness.  

This is sad, because there is not a person alive that has not experienced depression in some way shape or form. The Scientific American reports up to 3 in 10 of adult Americans suffer from depression. However, on a positive note, they also report that adults who averaged 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 200 minutes of walking every week experienced more energy, socialized more, felt better emotionally, and weren’t as limited by depression. Simply put, if you suffer from depression or anxiety talk to professional if needed, but you can be proactive by working out and getting mentally and physically fit! Exercise is the most under-used anti-depressant!  

Fitness is how I beat depression! In 2007 I was severely depressed. I didn’t realize it until I couldn’t fit my clothes any longer. I was literally hiding under my nursing scrubs. I ate myself from a size 4 to a size 8-10. January 2008, I decided to join a 6-week bootcamp. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Something clicked in that short time and I can honestly say exercise changed my life. Right before my eyes my body and my mind transformed. It was like I had been given a second chance. My outlook on the world, the people around me, and my physical body changed completely. It wasn’t long until I was addicted to the endorphins. I started to see results, which was even more addictive. Then low and behold my mindset changed. The way I viewed myself and my emotional wellbeing evolved. I can’t quite put into words how exactly this happened, all I know is I felt like I did when I was a kid running track and cheering. I wanted to feel that way all the time which became my reason to keep going and 10 years later I never looked back.  

 

These are my 4 Steps to Beating Depression with Fitness:  

1. Write down your WHY  

“How do you stay so motivated?” I literally get asked this daily. “I wish I had the determination and motivation you have”. I relate this as my road to recovery. I first asked myself when the last time was I was truly happy with myself inside and out. I then searched for pictures of myself during that time. (I wanted pictures of me because although I find other people inspiring, I know I will never be them). I remind myself daily, that there is no one else like me, and that I shouldn’t ever compare myself to others. I posted my photos pretty much everywhere! Those pictures made me feel good inside and smile often. I then wrote down goals whenever I thought of them, it was an ongoing list that still exists today. Writing down your goals and putting them somewhere you can see reminds you of what you’re working towards, it was a daily reminder of why I started, and why I keep going.  

2. Progress over Perfection  

“Strive for progress not perfection” is a major motto I live by. Since the very start of my journey, all I wanted to do was become a better version of myself. I wanted to become healthy and happy, and live a normal life. Progress is the only thing you should work towards. Beating your personal best  

times, beating your old self. However, the way I tracked my progress was different. I didn’t track my results by a scale. I tracked my mental progress by how my mind changed and how negative thoughts no longer controlled my life. Having this effect on my mind, helped me transform my body. I tracked my physical progress by the clothes I could get back into. I could see and feel the changes after exercising, which again brought on endorphins and gave me a natural high about life.  

3. You are what you eat  

In this life changing journey, I learnt SO much about food, and what each bit of food did to my mind and body. A lot of highly processed foods can trigger depression and anxiety, making them worse. After eating burgers and fries and ice-cream from a fast food restaurant, how do you feel? Lazy, Lethargic? For most people, these foods cause a negative effect. Consuming foods like this daily also eventually shows in your physical appearance. I used to eat bad, highly processed foods and drinks on a regular basis…Y’all that sweet tea had a hold on me. Eating poorly made me feel worse about myself. However, once I started feeding myself nutritious foods, both my appearance and mood changed. Instantly you have more energy; you’re more alert and alive! You will never get that after eating fast foods/highly processed foods, which goes to show “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”.  

4. Inspire others  

After finishing my first 6 week bootcamp the owner asked me to start training people. I was honored. I didn’t receive any pay; I was just so excited about how I felt that I wanted everyone to experience the same happiness. I realized it was not a happiness anyone could give you, you had to search deep, put in the work and stay committed to YOU! As I started to help transform lives, people started to tell me how much they appreciated me, how I saved their life or how I helped them come off medication. Let me tell you the feeling you experience when someone says these things to you is unreal. It motivated me to keep going, to continue striving for progress, and to inspire more people. Everyone needs something to keep them inspired, so I continue to write my newsletter, hit the stage, create new workouts and be my best me all to remind other people that too can make progress, make a change and ultimately beat depression.  

I hope my story helps others who are struggling. Try Fitness today, step out of your comfort zone, 

get on the exercise band wagon and make a positive change to overcoming your depression. Being healthy truly is NO MESS!  

 

Our next 6-week bootcamp starts January 4th, register now. Don’t want to join alone, gift a bootcamp to a loved one, friend or co-worker.  

 


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