Happy birthday, NeonZ! It's a new year and a good time for you to LOVE YOURSELF and take care of you.
I'm an academic too, and I identified with the dissertation/deskbound/need to exercise recounted in your blog (although the diss was a while back for me). Your small steps sound really reasonable; are you also talking to a therapist about depression issues? (There is a forum on 3FC, as you probably know, for Chicks dealing w/depression.) The whole food/comfort/love thing can be overwhelming. Fortunately, on here we have each other : )