Mind and Body Fitness – Introduction
Mind and body fitness.
Which do you tackle first when you want to get fit?
Do you tackle your eating habits or do you confront the mental habits that are steering you wrong?
After spending many years struggling with both depression and obesity, I have concluded, at least as of now, that the most important factor to get under your control for mind-body fitness, is your food.
Food for Mind and Body Fitness?
I will explain why.
Many times, our depression can be caused by circumstances that are just not under our control, for example by the actions or inactions of others.
There is absolutely nothing you can do to force another person to think or act in a way that is comfortable for you.
On the other hand, the food that you eat is literally as powerful as any drug that you take over the counter or with a prescription.
Perhaps not in the short term, but definitely in the long term.
Your food, you should and do have total control over your food.
Nobody else is force-feeding you.
Once I started to get control over my food, once I started to feed my body more nourishing food, I noticed how my thinking started to change.
My belief is that I was feeding my brain, my body, and my cells, the nutrition that it needs to function effectively.
I am confident that I function at a more optimal level when dinner was spinach and salmon, than when it is M&M’s and a hot dog.
Is it obvious?
Not obvious enough, because many people that struggle with depression, what do they do?
They go to their shrink or their MD or to their social worker and engage in talk therapy, sometimes for hours, months, and even years.
Does that change the essential facts on the ground that they are depressed about?
What can they do to feel better?
Oh, for that there is a slew of medications that can tranquilize the despondent soul.
Medications like Effexor, Klonapin, Prozac, Neurontin, Seroquel, too many to mention.
These medications typically leave you feeling drugged with numerous side effects.
And people who are in the pit of depression prefer that to their obsessive thinking on whatever events and circumstances are driving their guilt and discomfort with themselves.
No question that food acts as a tranquilizer as well.
Perhaps not everyone can relate, but for those of us who are familiar with the junk food high, the high after some pepperidge farm chocolate chip cookies or a big bowl of pasta, it is similar to the drugged state, at least for a certain amount of time.
There is a calm, a euphoria, a medicated state, just from having good old processed junk food.
Discovery of Mind-Body Fitness
I discovered, that once I started to fuel my body properly, over time my mind-body fitness felt healed.
The better I ate, and the harder I worked out, the calmer I became.
The panic attacks and thrashing for answers subsided, the anxiety over events that I could not control dissipated, and the depression over the loss of love and the pain of rejection started to dim in the light of feeling better, feeling stronger.
Did I take meds years ago?
Was I prescribed medications to ‘treat’ depression?
Did they help?
If you call losing your career and family help, then you can say yes.
But I do not.
Can I pin all of the responsibility on these medications?
You might say, no, everything that occurred was my fault, my responsibility.
I agree in principle, that the bottom line is that I am responsible for what happens in my life.
However, I am sure that the medications that I was being fed under the guise of helping to alleviate depression or the vague purpose of taking the ‘edge’ off, did me no good.
The first time that I took Zoloft, I couldn’t sleep for three days.
Neither in the day nor at night.
Could that help me with my job?
I think not.
The times when I was using Prozac and Effexor, I remember being so tranquilized, that I had no reaction when my boss at work would tell me that there was a major crisis.
In the past, when I had my ‘edge’, I was all over any customer problems with our products, from morning till night, even for weeks, until they were addressed.
Did taking the edge off, turning me into a zombie, under the pretense of having me absorb the traumas that were raining down on me, did they help me in my career?
At night I would have nightmares.
In the morning, I would wake up with the bed soaked under me from sweating, as if I was swimming in a pool of fear.
One afternoon, while under another cocktail of medications, back in 2003, I remember walking past a mirror in my apartment and noticing that I was hearing a conversation.
When I glanced, I saw that it was my reflection speaking to me.
That was it for me, I stopped taking those meds immediately, even against medical advice, because I could not handle the side effects.
Do I wish, that ten years ago, someone would take me under their wing and say “Rich, feed your body real food, do some hard workouts, I promise you that your tortured mind will heal”?
I sure do, and that is why I started this Hashi Mashi Fitness Blog, not because I think the goal of life is to lose weight, or have a flat stomach, or look ten or twenty years younger.
The goal of life is the ability to live, to enjoy the freedoms that you have, the friends and family that you love, to give to others, and most importantly, to be grateful for what you have.
Because that gratitude always leads to feeling happier.
If even one person who is suffering from depression, who is contemplating ending their life, who is obsessing over traumas over which you have no control; if even one starts to:
- eat real food,
- move and workout,
I am confident that there is a very good chance that you will improve your mind-body fitness more than those drugs will ever make you feel.
You might even save yourself from losing your career due to overmedication.
The Panacea to Depression?
Is this simple description the panacea to the world’s ills?
I am just talking about the individual.
The person who is suffering in their mind and trying to alleviate that pain with either sedatives or processed foods, and cannot understand why it does not seem to work.
All the drugs and food do is tranquilize you, and when you wake up, you are still faced with confronting your demons.
So, there is another way, there is a way where you make your best effort, the strongest attempt to feed your body well and to physically move against the opposition, like weights, and stop the mental exertion of trying to change the reality.
The sky is blue, do not exhaust yourself wondering why it is not purple.
It is not and never will be.
Start to focus on changing yourself.
Stop focusing on changing others.
Get control over yourself.
Your mind and your thoughts will thank you for it.
Change your body, change your mind, change your thoughts, change your feelings, change your experience of life, and once you are feeling better, you will be of greater service to yourself and others.
I am not in a perfect place, but I am a work in progress, and grateful for where I have gotten up to this point.
And I hope that sharing this simple, yet elusive treasure with others, will be of benefit to those who are seeking answers for mind-body fitness.
What is your opinion?
How to best treat depression, with meds, food, and working out?
Do you have your own story to share about improving your mind and body fitness?
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