I always thought of myself as a “worrier.” I would stay up late at night, even as a child, while my brain would run through wild scenarios of things that could go wrong. As I got older, the worries became much more intense. I thought I managed it all ok…..until the birth of my first child.
As soon as she was born, and we got home from the hospital, I remember feeling like there was a huge heavy boulder sitting on my chest. A boulder that felt like paralyzing fear and paranoia that she would stop breathing. There was no reason for it – Juliana was born completely healthy. However, I was convinced she might die…every minute of every day. It was the scariest thing I have ever felt, and I quickly realized I had PPD. I got help through therapy and leaning on some very good friends.
I was able to overcome my PPD, but that anxiety never really went away. Being a new mom kept me busy and I thought I was managing everything ok. I was surviving – but I wasn’t thriving. Six months before my 40th birthday, I decided I needed a lifestyle change. I wanted to walk into the next decade of my life feeling better than I ever….which meant I had to deal with the shit getting in my way. I had to overcome my anxiety.
Fitness and Wellness
When my littlest turned two, I went to a plastic surgeon in California. I was still exhausted and carrying that last bit of baby weight that I could not lose after the second baby. It was starting to depress me because I had always had a small waist – but I still couldn’t fit into my old jeans two years later. I asked him for liposuction.
What he said to me legitimately changed my life. He explained that liposuction was a serious procedure – and I didn’t need it. (Was he seriously turning me away?) He said I only had a small amount of weight to lose which could easily be done through weight training and a good diet and handed me a phone number of a personal trainer. I was beyond shocked. But, working in the medical field for 15 years, I knew that doctors generally do know best so….I made an appt with her the next week and my journey to health and wellness truly began.
I started weight training 3 times a week and was instantly addicted. I loved the way she pushed me, I loved how hard it was but how good it felt afterwards. I found myself looking forward to the pain and the burn and the sore feeling the next day The mental challenge that it took to finish that last set was the perfect push I need to gain mental strength too.
I have been working with a trainer for a few years and it’s some of the best money I spend on myself.
You can’t out train a bad diet y’all. Healthy eating is essential and the most important thing you can do for your health in my opinion. It’s hard! It requires making good decisions all day long. That is why you need a system – a lifestyle.
I started intermittent fasting a few years ago, on accident quite frankly. I would pick my kids up from school and they would be starving at 4pm. So I started giving them a small snack in the car and would get them started on homework, and I would cook dinner. The three of us would eat at 5pm since my husband was traveling most days during the week. I didn’t eat again after dinner – and would just go to bed early. I did this about 5 times a week and I really started to see the weight fall off.
Fashion to Feel Good
I have always known how the way I dress affects my emotional state. When I was a new mom and not able to fit into my clothes, I would drown myself in sweatpants and oversized tees. I prioritized comfort and utility over style. Both of my kids had serious reflux too….so anything I wore had 100% chance of having spit up on it at some point every day.
I had given up my successful career in pharmaceutical sales to raise my babies. When my post-pardum set in, had to change so many things about my life to try and beat the blues.
I knew that getting dressed, more thoughtfully, could help my depression. Maybe that might sound vapid to some – but I really believe the saying is true “if you look good….you feel good.” Diving back into fashion helped me combat my anxiety.
I noticed that as I started working out, and the weight dropped off, I could slide into those old jeans again and put on some killer heels…..and feel confident again.
The third and maybe most critical and important thing I did for myself was to find an amazing therapist. Even though I have an amazing family and incredible friends that I can always turn to and talk to, there’s nothing like talking to someone who’s completely objective. I feel so grateful that I can afford this resource…it has been vital for me to heal and find myself again.
Jennifer is able to see things from a different standpoint and she totally calls me out on my BS. But more importantly, she gives me specific tactics to combat my stress and anxiety. I have had so many conversations with her lately….and walk away every time learning something new about myself.
In our last session, she and I talked about forgiveness. (Y’all I suck at that.) She told me about this quote…..”To forgive is to set a prisoner free……only to realize that prisoner was ME.” This blew my mind. She showed me that holding onto past hurts, grudges, bad memories…was just punishing myself. When you let go and forgive others, you really free yourself and your mind.
She has also encouraged me to meditate. I’m not great at it (I’m a mom, I’m supposed to juggle 1000 things at all times…..how am I supposed to clear my mind….what??) Anyway, I’m really trying! I have tried a few meditation apps like Headspace and thought it was helpful. I am loving the positive mind Youtube videos by Dr. Joe Dispenza too. You should check him out……
Regardless of what’s giving you anxiety or what you’re personally struggling with, please know that you’re not alone. I hope that hearing my story can inspire you to reach out to someone you love or ask for help if you need it. Head over and follow me on Instagram @ donnatryba for more fitness, fashion and motivation.
Looking for more fitness and fashion inspiration! Head to Instagram and follow me @donnatryba – I post more tips there along with motivational stories too! Click the pics below to shop this post!
Sending air hugs and much love from downtown Austin, Texas. xo, dt