Okay, so the body is usually the first thing we think about when we say “healthy.” But did you know that the mental and social side of health is just as important as the physical side? Mental health is just as important as physical health and can impact the way you eat, exercise, sleep, and even feel.
Mental health affects all aspects of life—everything from personal relationships to careers, hobbies, education, and even finances. It impacts how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about others, and how we behave. The good news is that mental health does improve over time, and people can and do overcome mental challenges. And you can learn to take charge of your mental health, just like you can with your physical health.
The journey to becoming healthy emotionally, mentally, and physically has been a long and winding road for me. Leading up to my 30th birthday, my health had hit rock bottom.
I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw. I weighed 217 pounds. I was 5’7” and 60% body fat. My body fat percentage was so high that I could actually see my internal organs. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I wasn’t happy with how I looked and how I felt. I didn’t like the way my clothes fit or how I felt in my body.
After being diagnosed with depression, I fixated on food as the source of my mental and emotional distress. I lived by a rule that I could never eat anything I couldn’t see.
Over the past few months, I have opened a can of worms that has been brewing for years. I am not always perfect. I have made bad decisions. I have let things go. I have ignored things. And suddenly, I feel totally out of control.
I didn’t have a clear-cut goal to become a healthier person; I had no desire to become a gym rat or track every calorie I ate obsessively. I just wanted to feel good and healthier, and I never did. I allowed myself to fall into the same rut year after year, never exercising, eating unhealthily, and drinking too much alcohol. But slowly, I began to feel unwell and tired all the time, and this pushed me to the change that I had waited for so long. After my decision to change, I struggled immensely.
But once I understood that my depression was an entirely separate issue from my weight, I decided to change my diet. I started seeing a therapist, and after 10 months of therapy and medication, I finally reached my goal weight. In addition to my therapy, I’ve incorporated various strategies into my daily life that have helped me become healthier mentally and physically.
When I began my journey to becoming healthy both physically and mentally, I had no idea what I was in for. Like many people, I had carried around weight all my life, and after reaching my goal weight, I desired to be healthy inside and out. I wanted to learn everything I could about nutrition and exercise and help others learn the same. But I had no idea how much everything would change for me.
Being healthy mentally means learning to balance your emotions and manage your stress properly. There are many steps you need to take in order to heal and recover from mental illness. Many people who suffer from mental illness and addiction are afraid to admit a need for help. It is normal, but don’t be afraid to reach out for help.