av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Recovery, Suicide Prevention, Weight Watchers

Setting goals and the realistic approach

I’ve done a lot of soul searching the past few weeks as I have been recovering from alcoholism and I’ve caught myself setting really strict goals on myself in regards to what I can/cannot do eat/cannot eat, having a diet soda / vs a sugared coke?

I was 380 at my highest weight and I remember that when I was first setting a weight loss goal for myself I entered “150 pounds,” I felt overwhelmed by the number and felt that eating comfort food would help me feel better about getting over my weight and the losses that I expect to see vs reality. I have an ADHD brain and I have a really hard time reading books because my mind doesn’t stop racing so instead I look to Audible books and I’m listening to Oprah’s latest book. Something about Oprah reading brings chills to my soul. I love what I’m hearing so far.

After 15 years of fighting myself with my diet and lifestyle I found my tribe on Weight Watchers and lost 145 pounds. I yo-you’d like no tomorrow. I had huge negative weeklies, and I felt less guilty at the end of the day when I know I had logged all my food like I was suppose to do. Except I came from using paper trackers and now we do it all on our phones. Huzzah! I learned that learning how to loose weight and developed ways to keep it off take time, and patience. My best realistic goal is to STOP putting dates on the weight loss agenda. Dates further complicate your goal. Enjoy the ride, that’s why they call it a lifestyle.

Im 6’4″ and I weigh 235 and according to WW I should get to 205 – 210 for my frame. I accept that. So I’m in the final 20-25 pound range and it’s taking it’s sweet time coming off. I won’t deny that my sweet tooth hasn’t played a role in the lack of fat loss recently however I know what I need to do, and therefore I shall because that’s just what I do.

Making small changes LEAD to BIG results.

One Day At A Time.

Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Nourishing the soul, Recovery, Suicide Prevention

Learning how to love me sober

Choosing to live a life of 100% sobriety is not easy.  In fact, it’s the hardest challenge I have faced in recent years.  I thought losing weight was the hardest thing ever!

Alcohol is available everywhere, just like cigarettes.  You walk to a grocery store and you see stockpiles of liqueur in the middle of the store, and you find cigarettes behind the cashier ready for sale.   The addiction is legit, and if we’re not careful then we can end up in a rut of personal hell where every goal we set for ourselves is plagued with regret and despair because all we wanted to do was drink ourselves to oblivion, or.. death.  Lord knows I did.

The silver lining in this whole sobriety thing is that I no longer want to kill myself sober.  I’ve realized that all of my suicidal ideas that came to me were because of my substance abuse and the number of drugs that were riddled in my blood.    My sponsor and I are working on the 12 steps, and I recently completed working through Step 1 “We admitted we were powerless of alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Let’s think about that for a second.. “that our lives had become unmanageable.”  What does this really mean?  Is this me?  Is my life manageable while I am using drugs and alcohol?  Absolutely NOT!  Addiction was plaguing and ruining every self-positive thing I was trying to do.  I couldn’t do anything right in my life because I wouldn’t quit spending money on things I didn’t need, and my depression and anxiety were all over the map because my medications couldn’t do their job.  I would drink as soon as I walked in the door from work, and I would smoke as soon as I sat down ready to unwind.  I did this 7 days a week 365 days a year.  Yep… Unmanagable for sure.

My sponsor and I met last week to dissect Step 1 and I ended up writing out 8 pages of raw emotions on my spiral bound notebook.  It was a highly emotional experience.

I love who I am becoming.  Stronger EVERY DAY!

One Day At A Time! ❤

34 days clean

Automatic Thoughts, Depression, Recovery, Suicide Prevention

22 days and NEVER shutting the door

Today is 22 days since the last joint I smoked.  I’m beyond thankful for the journey that I have begun.  The peace in my heart is surreal.   The joy on my face is pure.

I white-knuckled being alcohol-free for 2 years, but during those two years, I was abusing marijuana daily.  I thought I was using it for medicinal for my depression, but I fucking kid you not, it was a brutal full-blown addiction that I was spending $500 a month on.   I traded addictions and found zero peace.  I wanted to die when I was using.

Not anymore!  22 days and never shutting the door on the journey.  I’m keeping it open because I want to be reminded of the dark days that I made out alive.

Sobriety is changing me inside and out and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Thank you, God, my higher power for giving me the serenity I need to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Suicide Prevention

Chasing my happiness

Magnificent

Aspiring

Remarkable

Kind

Tenacious

Amicable

Yearn

Luminous

Optimist

Retrospective

My name is Mark-Taylor and I am a recovering addict.

I am facing my biggest demons in life head on. Addiction is fierce, but my zest for life will never falter.

Ps while I was away I got a tattoo

Semi colon represents that my story isn’t over while the holy cross shows my commitment to staying alive though Christ, my savior.

I have a purpose to fulfill! I’ve never felt stronger or more clear in my life!

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Debt, Depression, Finances, Suicide Prevention, Technology, Weight Watchers

Feeling Good! It’s October!

Good Goblin Evening to you!

What a reMarkable weekend it’s been for sure!  I think I’ve felt every emotion this weekend and I didn’t lose my crap either.. Well made Mark!  🙂

Let’s break it down:

Friday: Worked out extensively after work, felt depression lurking.  Not sure why.  Lack of clouds?  Not at all, it was a sunny day.   Depression can sometimes hit us for no reason.  Out of the blue sky.  Is something wrong with me?  No, not.

You’re just a different kind of brain. A unique brain that requires a particular type of care and can entirely lead a fulfilling life filled with dreams and desires just like an anyone else.

Saturday: hit the gym especially hard, and it was a terrific upper body workout if I do say so myself!  My shoulders are exploding!  Woot!  I then met up with my buddy for lunch post workout, and we chowed down on some delicious five guys grub.  Man protein is so critical When I left I felt like I ate a cow, which I did. However, I rest assured knowing that I earned that burger and it was every bit delicious as I thought it would be while ordering it!  But I compromised and got a small fry because I don’t need chips.. Just a taste Mark.  You don’t need the whole buffet Mark.  🙂

Sunday: Today I was supposed to hit the gym hard, but during my walk today in Volunteer Park I felt my lower back start to ache. I fired up the FitBod app that I use for bodybuilding and realized my back recovery percentage was at 43% and I knew today should be a rest day because I’ve been pushing myself extra hard lately.  Not because I’m manic, but because I have a goal in mind of who and what I want to be.   There is nothing irrational about that.

So what’s with the depression?  Why do I feel depressed?

Oh! Dave Ramsey arrived!  You received this gift from your parental units who felt that you could use this and learn from it.

Yes.  You’re right.  I became super defensive when I unboxed the material and saw the various elements.  It was new, it was overpowering, and it was causing me high anxiety.  Instead of racing for the vodka I went to the grocery instead and got some junk food to carb load on AKA binge.  That’s my heroine.  Food.

But hey it’s been over two years since my last drink!  That’s pretty groovy, and a HUGE achievement!

It may be October, and on November 4th we’re turning back our clocks back however my motivation and dedication to staying fit and healthy will only charge forward!

Last, the other day on CNN there was an article written about a recent study that well.. I don’t want to give it away.. All I can tell you is it’s eye-opening. 

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ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Suicide Prevention, Technology, Weight Watchers

Routine is key​

In February, shortly after Valentines Day’s this year, my life changed.  The breakup I knew was coming.  It was still winter in Seattle and I really just wanted to curl up into a ball and sleep into eternity because my depression was so thick I couldn’t see more than 2 inches in front of me.  It was a horrible time in my life, and it wasn’t until the following week I had moved out and into my own apt.  My personal sanctuary where I can find my own peace and meditate without fear or distraction.    I just had to remember that after Valentines Day when it was over (after 5 years) that when I quit drinking two years ago, I remember being told to take it one day at a time.

As a bipolar individual, it is incredibly difficult to take life one day at a time when you have a manic episode.  In fact, the world is rushing by you at 12,000 MPH and find it impossible to stop.  You feel invincible, like nothing, and nobody can stop you from anything.  The question that I begged to answer was, how do I prevent this from happening again??? What can I do RIGHT NOW to avoid another repeat hell winter??

Establish your routine:

My mother always told me it takes 21 days to build a habit.  Perfect.  21 days.

So I committed myself to walk to work for 21 days when during the summer months when the weather was clear.  It was so lovely and refreshing, extra steps!   I would bus to my job and then hit up the gym right after and walk home from the gym.  During the summer months, I was averaging close to 20K steps a day.  How cool right?

Until FALL hits like a rainstorm and you just don’t want to walk 2 miles uphill soaked.  So I compensated after the gym and took the bus home, so therefore I didn’t get as many steps.  Rather than feeling lazy about not getting enough steps, I increased my loads at the gym and found new exercises to continue to challenge and push me.  When I did this it told me two things 1.) You can still get just as much benefit as you were if you commit to just a bit longer at the gym.  Do 15 minutes more and then bus home.  Remember, PUSH yourself.  If you want to quit, think about your why.  Think about why you signed up for this.

Now it’s fall, and I’ve gone from 17K steps daily July 2018 to 13K steps Sept 2018.

Is my bipolar mind obsessing over it?  Not today. :). Instead, I’m looking at it this way.  I work my butt off at the gym, and I am driving home results.  I’m proud of my efforts, and I’m making sure that I treat my body right nutritionally to make sure that I’m getting the optimum nutrition I need for a healthy life.  I remember about what I learned after I quit drinking.  One Day at a time.

21 days to start a habit.  Unfortunately, it’s a habit.  Good/Bad depends on you and the choices that you make.

Btw today was my weigh in day on WW, and I lost another five lbs.

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12 months now.. down 85 and counting!  If you are on WW, find my Connect home @av8r007

Live your best life!

Mark

 

 

Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Nourishing the soul, Suicide Prevention, Weight Watchers

Dear Lynn, I’ve got your back!

Dear Lynn,

Last Thursday I had posted a vlog in which I asked my followers on WWConnect (@av8r007) what you struggled with in life, and I chose your question for today’s video as well as I wanted to include a note of gratitude to you for opening up and being vulnerable with the community. You wrote: “Struggling with depression. 45 years, never found a med that helped, just muscled through and distracted enough to be ok. Going through a bad patch again and wish there were some new drugs around.”

Lynn, my friend you are loved and you are worth it.  I’ve been on anti-depressants and antipsychotics to treat my own bipolar/anxiety disorder and have found to have the same path as you. My psychiatrist has had me on numerous drugs all thought to treat the same, but no matter what happened, it just got worse. It never got better. It turns out though that it wasn’t the medications that were preventing me from being happy; it was the physical barriers that were standing in my way. I had to play leapfrog and skip right over them because life is short.

You have one mission in life, and that is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself. The issue with depression is self-love can be incredibly difficult to find. I don’t know what struggles your facing personally; however, I do identify wholeheartedly with your struggles, and I want you to know three things in closing.

1.) Jesus loves you just the way you are

2.) You are worth it! Believe it! The tribe does!

3.) Take your meds everyday.  Even if you feel perfectly fine.

Cheers to you and your success in life,

Mark

Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Suicide Prevention, Technology, Weight Watchers

Binge eating and how I’m beating the hell out of it.

Depression is rotten.  It is a rotten disorder that often haunts me with food indulgences and lack of responsibility in portion control and accurately tracking my points on Weight Watchers.  I wonder why I do things the way I do sometimes however for binge eating I am rather curious how my thoughts form that give myself permission to indulge in XYZ?

I work out a ton.  I am proud of that.  What kills me though is when I do binge I feel like I am ruining my efforts at the gym.  I feel like I’m purposely sabotaging myself by consuming candy at the movie theatre or eating a pint of Halo Top on my bed while watching Black Mirror on Netflix.  What is it that causes me to do this?

For me I believe it comes down to two things:

Am I eating any aspartame?

Where is my Weight Watchers app?  Have I checked into Connect today?

Since giving up Diet Coke four weeks ago I have witnessed sensational changes in my appearance and my outlook is better.  I definitely look less bloated in tight muscle shirts and I like that.  🙂 A lot.  My muscles are definitely growing during sleep.    I’m just learning to be patient and learning everything in time.  I often remind myself it’s not a race, or a marathon Mark so slow down!  I hope I have many many years left on Earth and I want to enjoy my bipolar life.  I want to continue to spread awareness on mental health to everyone I encounter.

“Hi! Is everything ok?”

Just ask.

 

Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Suicide Prevention, Technology, Weight Watchers

Discounting the good times

Good Evening!

Well, what an exciting day it was!  Where should I start?  Ah yes, oversleeping!  Never a good idea on a Monday!  Would I call in that I overslept and I’d be in shortly and take the next bus, or do I need to take a Lyft and get there on time?  By the time I wake up I’m really not ready to make any big decisions until I at least get the opportunity to choose happiness before my feet hit the floor.  I needed to take a Lyft, so I called one up and I got to work on time, despite oversleeping.  Victory for me, yet it was a casual $10 fare which I didn’t really expect that I would be forking over first thing Monday AM before my morning coffee.  What can you do though?  You have 2 minutes to decide your method of transport and you have places to be!

As I’m heading down the stairs to fetch my ride, I am finding that I am in a self-destructive mood in terms of remembering some of the highlights that I experienced over my long weekend and discounting them because I was feeling pissed off, but I didn’t know why yet.  I got to go on a date which was really lovely and I saw Mission Impossible yesterday and it was terrific.  It was an excellent weekend however as soon as I sat down in my Lyft I felt the happiness start to slide over and misery began to push me over and slide me off my chair.  Misery loves company.  I didn’t allow myself more than 30 seconds until I ate so much over the weekend, but I also worked my butt off at the gym… Why do I feel so angry?  What did I do that I don’t know about?  Something is wrong.  I can’t choose happiness.  Why can’t I prefer happiness?  This isn’t right.  Something is off.

… the weigh in?

I weighed in this AM before I left the apartment and I gained 4.6 lbs over the weekend.  Did this set me off for a self-destructive AM mood?  Credible.  I wasn’t wearing my glasses when I weighed in today either so I couldn’t see what it was telling me, I figured my phone would just tell me I was the same (Withings Body Cardio Scale) which measures your stats to your mobile.   I’m up 4.6 pounds yet!  What the fork is that about?  4.6 is a lot. AH OK… Now we now why Mark is off… Now to be fair, I do lift heavy weights, but with bodybuilding, you have to eat an immense amount of protein, and for 6’4″ 220 I need to eat 276g of protein a day.

Finding 276g of protein a day can be tricky, however, I am finding clever ways to make it work.  I am sticking to my WW Freestyle foods which give me the most bang for my point.  Chicken is zero, and unlimited but I still portion it because I am tracking my macronutrients in a separate app because WW doesn’t allow you to see your protein grams.  I have yet to reach 276g of protein daily.   I have met 250g as my farthest. You have to be careful though about your protein sources.  I can’t eat junk food.  That’s not Freestyle.  That’s burnout and zero results.

For dietary choices, I’ve switched to Egg Beaters because it’s 0 fat, o cholesterol, and all the protein because it’s egg whites.  I have 1 cup of Egg Beaters every morning scrambled which is 0 points on Freestyle and that comes out to about 24g of protein which is the same as 4 whole eggs.  I try to take in 40-50G of protein at every intake meal.  For breakfast, it’s usually the eggs and a 12-15G protein yogurt like Chobani or alike.  Watch the sugar on the yogurts though…   Like I said I’m smart.  I know I can always do a better job but I’m making it work and that’s all that matters.

I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

Depression can’t win me over.

Not even in the dead of winter can I be robbed of the joy for I am worthy.

 

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Finances, Suicide Prevention, Weight Watchers

Depression can piss off!

Hey there Folks!

What a beautiful Saturday it is in Seattle!  I woke up this morning after feeling pretty sour going to bed last night due to a mixed bag of emotional distress.  Mostly about my ex, my past drinking addiction, and my commitment to maintaining my sobriety above all us.

Instead of waking up and turning on the TV as I typically do, I looked at my watch and said ‘I need to prioritize my day.’  If I sit here and do nothing except wallow in my self-misery then I’m going to start binging more than I already have on junk food, and worse I’ll just sneak farther away into depression and when depression gets really bad it can trigger a manic episode and that is the last thing I want to have to happen.  I will do whatever it takes to prevent a manic/mania incident from forming and lashing out.

I grabbed a protein shake and I headed to the gym.  For all the anger that I have in this world, nothing feels better than to bottle it up and let it explode on the barbell.  For every time I complete a rep of 10 bicep curls with every breath I can see the demon leaving me.  With every push up I can feel the demon trying to sit on my back and push me down, but I say Piss off Depression, you’re not welcome here.  You never were.

I am fearless.  Depression does not own me.  Depression does not control me.  The demon will never win.  Jesus Christ is on my side and that’s the way is gonna be!