Are you Tired, Depressed and Overweight?
Three health symptoms which are common amongst many people throughout the world, the three often go hand in hand together - Tiredness, Depression and Overweight.
Attacking The Problems
There may well be deep reasons for your present physical and mental health state, but you will not be able to address them unless you choose a distinct point of attack.
Reading this may not exactly cheer you up, since you think you have tried a good many points of attack in the years past - you have tried various diets and given them up again since they made you feel hungry, dizzy and not quite present in your life, or since they simply were time consuming and tedious, making you think of nothing but your meals. The end result was that you gained even more weight. Your depressed state of mind took you to the doctor’s office, where you got some medication prescribed, and you feel perhaps a little better, but the medication has made you even hungrier, and on top of that you don't sleep very well any longer (SSRI preparates frequently have that side effect). Not sleeping makes you even more tired, and being more tired makes your body crave easy energy in the form of food - and not very good food at that, since the energy most easily processed comes from sugary meals, white bread and other fast carbohydrates. In short, you feel you are on a downwards slide that will probably end in serious obesity, diabetes and heart failure, if in fact you don't go completely insane before that...
But there is something so easy you can do that you probably won't believe it at first: you can start walking. In our modern society we have become more and more sedentary. We sit at our jobs (first we commute to them sitting in our cars or on buses and trains), we sit in front of the TV in the evenings, we sit in front of our computers and we sit when we enjoy ourselves looking at others performing sports, music or drama. We invite friends over to sit and talk, often over food or snacks, and when we communicate with family and friends far away we sit somewhere with the telephone glued to our ears. In short, we spend the best part of our lives on our buttocks, when we are not lying down trying to sleep.
Change this, and very many other things in your life will change as well! Over time you will loose weight without dieting. Your body will burn calories while walking, of course, but it will also develop muscles. And muscles burn fat, even when you are resting. Your energy level will increase and things that today require a major effort on your part will become easier. You will sleep better and you will not crave sugar in the same way as you do today - another help in loosing weight. The risk of developing diabetes will drop together with your blood pressure. Plus, you get oxygen into your system and the activity releases some nice substances called endomorphines into your bloodstream, making you feel good. Feeling better will eventually allow you to get to grips with the more serious issues underlying your overeating, listlessness and feeling low, if such issues there are. Sometimes the perceived problems get much more manageable with a happier state of mind, and you may even find that you are not as depressed as you thought! A word of caution, however - if you are on medication and taking anti-depressants you should never stop medicating without consulting your physician! And if you have some serious health issues you should check with your doctor how much walking you can do! Otherwise - just get your ass off the sofa and put one foot in front of the other.
How much is good for you? Well, if you are a thorough couch potato you may start as low as 15 minutes a day, walking to the store, following your kids to school, getting off the bus two stops earlier on your way to work.. Once you feel this is no problem (takes about a week or two) you increase your walking by another 15 minutes. Go on like this until you take a walk of one hour daily, and two to three hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sounds boring? Listen to your favorite music while walking, or to an exciting audio book, and the time passes more quickly than you thought possible. Pick up your mobile phone and make all those calls you should have made a long time ago while taking your walk. Or take your camera and make your exercise into a photo safari, documenting life in your neighborhood or the change of the seasons. Getting a pedometer is fun - you can measure the amount of steps taken, the calories burnt, and the distance you walked and challenge yourself or a friend to new heights. Take your spouse, you kid or your best friend along, and after the walk you can enjoy a cup of coffee, a bun and some sitting down and chatting with a clear conscience!
Do you need some equipment? Not really. Good walking shoes are a must of course, aching feet and blisters take the fun out of the nicest tour. Get help at a store specializing in walking and running shoes, and be prepared to spend a bit of money - but the shoes will last you at least two years. When setting out for a really long walk, take water or a sports drink with you, and have an extra sweater, socks, gloves, and a scarf handy in a small backpack in winter. Paper tissues to blow your nose and wipe your eyes if there is a wind may be a good thing.
So, what are you waiting for? There is no better day than today to get started!