Sunday, June 7, 2015

New Beginning, Part 2

On January 2, 2015 I wrote my first post in my first blog, When I look back at that first post, I cannot believe the person I used to be. More importantly, I cannot believe the physical and mental changes I have experienced in the past 6 months.

To recap, from around October 2014-January 2015 I was battling severe anxiety and depression. I had been struggling with anxiety for over 6 years, but it had gotten to be at it’s worst in late 2014. To try and describe just how bad my issues with anxiety had gotten- I was experiencing regular heart palpitations that absolutely terrified me, I had tachycardia which is a fancy term for saying my resting heart rate was way too fast, and I constantly worried that my health and life were in danger. All of these problems made it very difficult for me to focus on my “regular” life. I was panicking about having panic attacks, which caused me to have more panic attacks. I was living in a constant state of fear, just hoping to make it to the next day. When Tim and I realized just how bad things had gotten and how it was effecting my health, we decided I would take a medical leave from work. Now, I had been dealing with anxiety for a LONG time. In my mind I thought taking a few weeks off work would “fix me”.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. It took me months to begin showing any improvement. It was extremely discouraging, and left me feeling very depressed. I was upset I wasn’t contributing financially to our household, although Tim always assured me we were fine. After a month of being on medical leave, Tim and I made the decision for me to permanently leave my job so I could “get healthy”. Leaving my job was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had really come to love my job, and they were willing to keep working with me, but I knew I needed to focus on myself in order for this to ever improve long term.

Obviously these problems didn’t occur overnight. There was an underlying reason I was struggling with anxiety, my health, my weight, and my happiness.

I have always been a strong believer in the power of exercise and food, although I didn't always know how to implement their power. When I was younger I used to be very fit and physically active, but never really paid much attention to what i fueled my body with.

When I went to college and after losing someone very close to me, I fell completely off the deep end. I became very aware and paranoid of death. I started eating a lot to distract and comfort my mind. I also started drinking alcohol more than I ever had to numb my pain that I could not deal with.

Within a few months of that unhealthy lifestyle, I had my first panic attack. I had no idea at the time food and alcohol could be contributing to the panic. Hell I didn't even know what was wrong with me or what a panic attack was. My lack of knowledge led me to continue my new unhealthy habits. I ate horrible food at all hours of the day, consumed too much alcohol, and even took up smoking cigarettes. These habits were my way of “dealing” with the pain and grief I was going through.

To be quite honest, I don’t know how my current husband, Tim, stayed with me at that time. Our relationship was still somewhat new, and I was turning into a train wreck (although I think I hid it pretty well). I don’t think he even realized that I was doing these things because I was in pain because quite frankly, I didn’t either. By the grace of God, Tim has stood by my side through everything. He has been there by my side to comfort me from the very first time it happened.

I realized soon that “fixing” myself was going to take much more than a couple weeks off work. I really needed to deal with the terrible things I went through and also nurse my body back to health. I saw a therapist, I did meditation and yoga, practiced deep breathing, read self improvement books, completely changed my diet, and exercised myself into the ground.

I had tried to lose weight countless times, always failing. I always felt deprived, miserable, and unhappy when I was “dieting”. In December 2014, I began doing the work out program T25 and made a New Years resolution to lose weight, become healthier, and be happier by my wedding in May. At the time I honestly kind of thought I was just bull shitting myself like any other time I said I wanted to lose weight. But starting January 1st, I hit the ground running and never looked back.

I had been extremely secretive about my issues with anxiety. Tim and my mom knew from the get go, because I was scared I didn't know what was happening to me. Other than that, I tried to hide it from anyone I came in contact with. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my best friends what was going on with me until years after it began happening. I was extremely embarrassed by it and slowly began to isolate myself from a lot of people.

I say this because if you understand how secretive I had been about this and how embarrassing it has been for me, you will know how difficult it has been for me to share it. However, right before the new year I saw one of my friends from high school began a blog. I was inspired by it and love writing, so I had the idea to “share my story”. I thought to myself numerous times, “if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will”. The next day on January 2, I wrote my first post and I haven't looked back.

The amount of support and love I received after sharing my story astounded me. As scary as a anxiety disorder is, I didn’t feel as alone anymore. The blog and support from others helped push me and kept me accountable. I ended up completing Insanity Max 30 (the hardest workouts I’ve ever done), started running again, switched my diet to a mostly paleo lifestyle, and I completed the Whole 30. I also lost a lot of weight and inches off my body.

I still struggle with anxiety, but not nearly as bad. I have really bad attacks when my diet is off. It’s still scary, but it’s easier to deal with. One of the biggest things I struggle with now is driving. I have had A LOT of panic attacks in the car, and it has kind of just become a trigger for me. Even being in the car stresses me out. I was certain the plane ride (my FIRST plane ride) to our honeymoon was going to be sheer panic, but I was actually fine- which goes to show how far I’ve come.

Ever since I started seeing results in my weight loss and health goals, I have been wanting to do something more with it. I have always loved sports since I was young, and being healthy is something I am now truly passionate about. I have educated myself tremendously on food and how it effects our mind and bodies. I have grown to absolutely love the paleo lifestyle. While I continue on my journey to health and happiness, I am hoping to help others do the same. I know that the majority of overweight and obese people out there have deep reasons as to how they ended up that way. The journey starts with exercise and food, but it goes way beyond that. That’s why in this blog, The Plate and Beyond, I hope to inspire others to dig deep in their minds and truly transform their lives. Exercise and food will only get you so far on this journey, but it takes a strong mind to maintain it and love your body enough to take care of it.

In addition to the blog I have decided with the help of a good friend to become a Beachbody Coach to help others attain their fitness and nutrition goals. I also recently enrolled in a program to receive a Nutritional Therapist certification.

My hope is to help others with the tools that helped me reach my goals. If you are interested in speaking to me more about your goals, my story, or whatever- please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for reading.

In Health & Happiness,
Jessica Ozimok

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