Weight loss, lockdown and mental health.

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Almost every country in the world has been on lockdown due to rise of Covid-19 to try and keep us safe. I believe this will have an impact on the mental health status of this country and because people's routines have been restricted the majority of people will have gained weight (even though we had more time to exercise and cook food). This is my take on it and a bit of my own experience with the curfew period.

England was put into a lockdown on March 23rd to try and prevent the spread of the Corona Virus. To be honest I lost count of how long the country has been in this quarantine state, but I heard that it's around 14 weeks and with restrictions easing the lockdown looks to be ending.

On March 20th Boris Johnson announced that gyms were to be closed. I moved all of my sessions online and started to do regularly check-ins with clients. Group sessions were done over Zoom, I hosted a few quizzes and even started a film club with my clients.

Dalley sat down trying to recover after tough online session.
Dalley feeling it after a tough home workout session.

Check-In: We call each other over Facebook Messenger discuss how the week has been, what they have done, haven't done and set some new goals/targets for the week coming and have a chat about mental health (we mostly spoke about mental health and Netflix).

I would set myself some goals and targets for the week but in all honesty I hated home workouts. I started off well I was going on two runs a week and three home workouts every week, plus I was eating fairly well.

Gradually the runs stopped and the home workouts were cut down to one a week and that was because I had to lead a class.

I started to stop all of the good habits and eventually bad ones crept in.

I stopped calling friends and family and distanced myself as much as possible from the outside world.

The hangman round of a quiz I hosted. Can you get the answer?
The hangman round of quiz I hosted. Can you get the answer?

I would get my stuff done for developing my business and then I'd watch films or play on the playstation for the rest of the day.

I might not be what people are expecting but I'm just trying to be as honest as possible because I know someone somewhere will be beating themselves up for not living off kale.

When things started easing I stated having daily panic attacks, then more regularly and eventually pretty much hourly panic attacks. I had a mental breakdown and even tried to commit suicide. Things in my life were just too much for me to handle at the time.

Since I have a better understanding of my own mental health and I'm trying to learn how to recognise my own triggers for things to make it worse.

My mental health triggers and characteristics.
My mental health triggers and characteristics.

Another thing that I forgot to mention is how I start my day has a massive influence on my mental health throughout that day. For example some days I would get up and play my playstation first thing, this would be how a bad day would start. Where as I noticed my self talk to be more positive, I would in general feel less anxious about things and the severity of the anxiety would be so much less if did my business tasks for the day.

I started playing football with my best mates from school and some of their mates, we are shockingly sh*t but I absolutely love it and no matter the weather, we're there every Thursday night. The week I tried to commit suicide I was asked to come and play for them and 100% this had an impact and went some way to stopping me from trying again. So the following Monday it gave me something to look forward, the banter is hilarious and it keeps me fit.

I believe one of the things that makes mental health so complicated is a person's perspective on things. One person looks at things and sees a list of problems, situations and obstacles and is ultimately overwhelmed. Another person might look at the same things and sees it differently. If you're struggling mentally it is extremely difficult to have a positive outlook on things.

Over the quarantine period I gained about 0.5-1 stone and put on a lot of fat I was so disgusted with myself and I believe this was one of things that lead to me trying to take my own life. I had never been in such bad shape and was horrified with what I saw in the pictures.

5 weeks ago I started a bit of a regime to try and lose weight and aim to compete in powerlifting some time next year.

I started week 1 with a really simple task 'Start working out again.' Week 2 I added 'eat more fruit and veg, drink more water and I weighed myself.' Week 3 I added calorie counting aimed to track my food on my fitness pal but I was shit with that so I stopped and just maintained week 2's goals. Currently in week 5 my new goals are to swap chocolate milkshakes out for protein shakes, play on the playstation less and have an earlier bedtime.

I don't believe you can change a mindset overnight and what will seem impossible in week 1 will hopefully just appear to be a challenge by week 12.

I have noticed that by taking action on my goals even if it is the slightest bit of action it can change my outlook on the challenge ahead.

Accomplishing one task for a week gave me momentum and confidence for the next weeks challenges.

The more action I took the more possible the task ahead appeared.

My philosophy is "if it isn't sustainable don't bother with it."

In my experience setting an unrealistic goal will only bring about more guilt and self loathing when people realise it isn't sustainable.

If you've never ran or played sports then the day before an ultra-marathon you'd probably feel a little anxious but if you'd been training for it for 20 years then I'd imagine you'd probably be a little less anxious.

I think I should also mention I've rung Mind and have been looking to start counselling.

If you're struggling here are some heplines you could call

Papyrus - 0800 068 4141

Samaritans - 116 123

Saneline - 0300 304 7000

I mentioned in a previous blog that taking positive action on your mental health isn't about stopping depressive or anxious days but instead giving yourself a fighting chance to cope and limit both the frequency of those days and the severity.

I have to take this opportunity to thank one of my business mentors for being there and my girlfriend for being my rock through this.

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