A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Which came first: the depression or the muffintop?

If you’ve ever been depressed, or out of shape, or more likely…both at the same time, you know hard it is to battle your way back to good health.

I know this struggle all too well.

And make no mistake about it, this is biological warfare, and the enemy knows all my weaknesses.

The enemy, of course, is me.

I don’t know what came first: the depression or the muffintop. Am I depressed because I am so flabby and tired all the time, or am I so flabby and tired all the time because I’m depressed?

It’s a classic Catch-22 for sure.

Seems like the older I get, the harder it is to step off the Unhealthy-Choices-Merry-Go-Round. And there are paradoxes everywhere I turn.

1.) I know I’d have more motivation to do something productive if I got off my ass and exercised, but I’m not motivated enough to get off my ass and exercise in the first place.

2.) I bought a bottle of St. John’s Wort because I heard it is good for brain function and “mood boosting,” but I can’t remember to take it every day.

3.) I know I’d feel better if I ate healthier foods, but I crave such unhealthy things like sugar, fat, and alcohol. I eat crap, then (surprise!) I feel like crap, so I seek out crappy comforting foods. Cue the shame spiral.

4.) It is a known fact that the brain requires a certain amount of water each day to function. Yet I reach for another cup of coffee or a soda when I feel sluggish. And then later in the day I rejoice when I realize it’s a quarter to wine o’clock.

5.) Alcohol is categorized as a depressant, but every time I try to quit drinking I just feel more depressed.

Does any of this ring a bell? God, I hope so, because I would hate to feel like I’m alone in this.​

I’ve long suspected that if I could just make one small change, the rest of the keys to better health would slowly start to line up like a row of dominoes, eagerly awaiting a chain reaction.

But where to begin? Which small healthy change should I make first?

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to deliberate this for long. The Christian season of Lent began a few weeks ago and I chose to give up my favorite vice: WINE.

Ain’t going to lie…it’s been brutal so far. And the fact that my depression has worsened instead of improved leads me to believe that my daily wine habit isn’t as harmless as I thought it was.

Now the real question is: will 40 days of abstaining from wine be enough to set me on a healthier course or is a more permanent change in my future?

Only time will tell.

Originally published by In the Powder Room, March 13, 2012. 


  1. Lady Estrogen

    You make me work.

    I may forgive you.

  2. By Word of Mouth Musings

    Okay, so now I am counting my fingers to see if you will still be on the wagon in OH …
    I know this vicious circle well, its somewhat rounded, like my middle and my *ss!

  3. Kris the Colts Fan

    Iris, I understand. I identify. And I’m going through something similar. Praying for you sister.

  4. JD @ Honest Mom

    I think you know I struggle with similar stuff. I made small changes gradually and have tried a few different antidepressants and it’s made a huge difference.

    I hate hate hate going to the gym. I do not have the willpower to make myself go. So I signed up for small-group personal training 2x a week and just that has made a GIANT difference in my muffin top! Do you have anything like that near you – training just for women? If it’s an appointment in your calendar maybe you’ll feel like you HAVE TO go – that’s how I feel.

    And OMG, I could never ever ever give up my nightly glass of wine. In fact, one of the three reasons I switched antidepressants was b/c just a half glass of wine made me sleepy and drugged feeling. And girlfriend, I can’t be without my single glass of wine. I just can’t. 🙂

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