Extra Weight Gain? Is it Food or Meds? Or What?

I’M UP 5 POUNDS, I FEEL LIKE CRAP, WHAT NOW???

We all know it starts with food – what we eat, how much, frequency, when, etc. Then it goes to activity, water consumption, getting enough sleep, but then it gets murky. In a depression, there’s tons of science about eating more, craving sugary/fatty foods, eating less or not eating. There are tons of factors but many of us end up with extra weight gain and feeling worse about ourselves as we move out of the depression or other episode. Not all, but the “I could care less” during the episode changes pretty quick for me when I look at the scale. The question is: did the depression cause the weight gain or did I gain weight by self medicating with food???? What other factors are in play?

For me, the main culprit has usually been meds. They helped me gain most of the weight, than I helped myself. Took 2 years to titrate (lower dosage) down 1 main culprit and another I was worried about dependency with. Then wham, bad episode, doc ups the “evil weight gain med” and a week later I’m 5 pounds up and feeling like a double failure. The pain of the episode, both mental and physical, pushed me over the edge to self medicate with food. Chicken, egg? The point: the med change helped me so much emotionally I’ve been coming out of the bad funk over the last few days. Have been able to slowly knock the increase back. And the 5 pounds, well with the lower dosage, lots of exercise, cutting back carbs, and increasing protein, not only are they gone, I’m actually back to July/Aug weight.

Lesson: There are so many factors that impact weight gain and loss, but for us on mood meds, they can have a very real impact on our hard work. Some are notorious “weight gainers” and while they help us feel more stable, we look in the mirror and are pretty unhappy with the side effects. What’s critical to remember is that mood stabilization, mental health, and mental safety come first. You can only do so much when you’re in an episode. Once you’re more stable, then you can talk to your doc about the weight issues and what you can safely do to address them. Be good to yourself – hopefully you have a plan in place and support system to call on when needed. If not – DO ONE!!!!! I wouldn’t be here typing away if those two things haven’t been my lifeline for 12 years. Although I’m preaching to many in the choir, hopefully this will shed some light for some others of you.

Huge Shout Out to Sandy Sue for her friendship and amazingly great advice/insight! Hugs!

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Pain, Agony, Bring It On!

Did I mention I’m back in the saddle again?

Whoa boy! Can we say Body Pump class tonight?!?

After no real “exercise” since Thursday (I skipped Fri core class) celebrating a best friends birthday with some amazing ribs and a wonderful cupcake (1 only!) for dessert.

And the best part, thanks to moderation and activity (shopping for wonderful new fridge to be delivered Wed!), didn’t gain anything.

Was very careful with eating today, did some cardio before class, and the evil instructor was rushed and kicked our collective booties. Everything, every muscle is it’s own happy circle of hell.

So tomorrow is either easier hatha or kick my bootie once again at power yoga class. Will flip for it and let you know!

Pain, agony, bring it on!!!

It’s All a Matter of Perspective…

No, duh right?!

Seriously, isn’t it easy to lose that priceless thought process when life throws it’s slings and arrows our way/weigh? When the scale pulls it “evil overlord” prank, we have an argument with someone we care about, the dog gets sick and we’re hit with a big medical bill and we scour the furniture for change to help pay for it, etc.

The Buddha isn’t the first to say that life is suffering. It’s painful to be born, all the most important lessons in life are usually learned the hard way, and I can’t count the times I’ve swallowed lemon juice instead of lemonade. You, too right? But there is a way out of suffering and it’s not some amazing spiritual awakening or giant light bulb over our heads.

I’ve found that no matter how bad the depression is, how hopeless I feel about ____, how worried I am about money, the future, the cost of tea in China, as long as I remember my wife’s advice about perspective, I know I can get through anything. It’s a simple question: Did anyone die or lose a limb? If not, go ahead and cry and get upset, then sit down and breathe. Then either get out pen and paper or call a friend and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re able to get at least the basics of a game plan. This is absolutely not to minimize how tough things can get, just to help put it in perspective.

That includes a slower than planned weight loss, awhol motivation, and getting sick and tired of working out so hard and not seeing hoped for results.

And, as someone who’s been through the “yes” to the perspective question – it’s the hardest to get through, it takes for many a lot of time, and a lot of help and support, but each of us is stronger than we could possibly believe. The kernel of the superhuman capacity to overcome literally anything life throws our way is within all of us.

At this point you may be wondering the point of all this: easy, if you, like me, took the holiday weekend off from our particular weight loss / activity journeys, no one lost a limb. No beating up ourselves for that 2nd hotdog or excessive use of puff pastry! Once again, get back up and on the elliptical! I’m behind you 100%!

Update for “Beating Up the Shame That Binds Us” Post

THANKS FOR THE WONDERFUL SUPPORT AND COMMENTS ON THE “BEATING THE SHAME THAT BINDS US” POST ON 4/27!

All of your kind words and inspirational stories gave me the strength I needed today to face the rescheduled dentist appointment from hell AND KNOCK IT OUT OF THE PARK!

And as one of you so kindly shared, it turned out to a pale imitation of the first appointment where I got all the initial bad news. It wasn’t bad after all!

First off, the office was beautifully decorated with wonderful artwork and I’m definitely copying their bathroom in a remodel – yes it is that nice. The staff were nice and friendly. But most of all, Dr. Krieger was terrific! He was very, very gentle during the examination and gave me plenty of breaks. But most of all, he was down to earth and put all of my fears to rest immediately. I won’t lose my teeth, they can do the procedure with sedation all in one shot, and the cost was much less than originally proposed. So waiting a few years to address this actually worked out in my favor. Mostly, he took his time and helped me feel at ease.

Best of all: I beat up that dang shame, practiced meditative breathing, DIDN’T HAVE A PANIC ATTACK, and handled the whole thing calmly and rationally. La was there but I asked most of the questions and even dealt with the financial piece. That was victory number 1!

Victory Number 2: dealt with a minor library missing item issue successfully

Victory Number 3: came home to an unexpected check that La was waiting to surprise me with when she got it as well as two wonderful swaps/free items

Lesson Learned/Ing:

Facing a major fear frees up all the headspace the emotion was occupying, opening up room to focus on the positive coming toward you, even if it’s a problem that seems to simply work itself out, a bit of money or other good fortune, and to be GRATEFUL. Not the platitude grateful but the bone deep experience of thankfulness for the simple blessings.

And all the sudden, all that energy we’ve been expending, sometimes without even realizing it, is freed up. I used it to go to a Body Pump Class tonight and kick butt.

So what is that issue you’ve been putting off? Is it something you can work on now? What would it be like to be past it, to feel that sense of relief and freedom and pride in yourself? To breathe without the weight pressing down on your chest. I feel so light inside now. It’s a wonderful thing and I wish it for you as well.

 

Walking for A Cause…Stigma Busting

A Proud Day, An Exciting Day, A Stigma-Busting Day – NAMIWalks 2012, raising money to fight the stigma of mental illness, provide support and services to those in need and their families and support.

Two years ago La and I were a team of 2 walking to support “Bring Change 2 Mind”, Glenn Close‘s non-profit organization inspired by her sister who has bipolar disorder. We raised a measly $200 but it was a start.

Today, we were a proud group of 13 and raised over $1,065. We wore our “Bring Change 2 Mind” t-shirts with pride, three of us with the word “Bipolar” front and center of the front. It was an empowering, hot, and sweaty day and we have wonderful team pictures to prove it. Even more exciting, the event raised almost $100,000 and had 600 walkers!

Best of all, we had two of our best friends walking with us wearing the official BC2M tshirts and all together we went out for breakfast afterward, out in public, stigma-busting in our t-shirts.

And now, we already have exciting plans for next year. My goal is a team of 30 and to raise at least $5,000. It’s a bit of jump from 12 gym classes in a month and losing weight. But it’s another step. And for those with depression, bp, or any other type of challenge, that’s the way of it. Step by step.

So please join me today to celebrate ours and NAMI’s success and reclaiming yet another bit of courage and self respect. It was a proud day for all of us, challenged or not!

Here’s a wonderful PSA by Ron Howard about this wonderful organization and our NAMIWalks efforts:

Beating Up “The Shame That Binds Us”

Thanks for being patient – I took off a few days then spent the next thinking about the best way to present this post. No pretty graphics this time, just some hard truths.

First Off:

Blame it on BP, anxiety, being easily overwhelmed, whatever, the fact is that there have been many, many times in my life that rather than face a problem or challenging situation, I BAILED.

I asked someone else to address a problem or speak for me, cancelled appointments, left an activity, or simply bailed out at the last minute. This left an embarrassed honey, irritiated doctors/professionals, pissed off and disappointed friends, and me sitting on a lot of shame.

This bailing habit started early with faking sick to get out of going to a school where I was one of the “unpopular kids” and treated as such. However, at the same time, I was taking care of my mom and still doing classwork, working, and being fairly responsible. So it was a weird “selective bailing” way of life where I handled things most of the time.

Things got much worse after my illness finally kicked in. I couldn’t handle excess stress, too many people, and pretty much life in general. Sadly, I can’t count the number of times I bailed out on friends, left functions early, and didn’t follow through. In the very back of my mind, hidden but felt, there was a bucket of shame and self-disappointment that was overflowing.

Beating Up that “Shame That Binds Us”:

The good news is that since I have been on disability and the huge stressor of a difficult job has been removed and as I’ve worked on my daily habits, facing my fears, and learning how to better manage my life in general, the incidents of bailing have gone WAY down. I’m much more inclined to try new things like the exercise meetup, the 30 day yoga challenge, and the April “Fit Club” group challenge, as well as revisit activities I have previously bailed on like volunteering, parties, and group functions. You might have seen the post about going to La’s friend’s 50th Birthday Party. Previously a prime “bail activity”, I faced and dealt with a loud party filled with people I didn’t know, and was able to go, stay, and even meet new people successfully.

Well, right on the heels of that success came a major challenge that pulled the shame bucket right front and center. A few years ago I found out that I would need some major, long term, and very expensive dental work. It would include surgery, restoration, many appointments/procedures, and cost about $15,000. I was working at the time and could have addressed it then but what, I got scared and bailed. Then when I went for an annual cleaning to a new dentist about a month ago she hit me with the same bad news plus a lot more. I had a major panic attack in the chair, started crying, but was able to get through the appointment, get all 3 additional dental referrals, and drive home. I even made the first, most important appointment, which was scheduled for this Wednesday.

After 2 days of freaking out before the appointment, I woke up that morning in a fetal position, barely got out of bed, picked up the phone AND BAILED. Making up a “medical emergency”, I cancelled the appointment. BUT I did reschedule it for a month out. It was only when I called La and heard the disappointment in her voice and concern about how the new date would impact her upcoming surgery, that I realized the true disappointment I felt in myself. What made it worse was everything she had done to be able to attend the appointment with me.

Yes the procedures will be scary, painful, and take over a year and half to get through. Yes it will be incredibly expensive, we’re in debt, my income is crap, and I have no idea where the money is coming from. Yes, I’m ashamed that I’m on disability because it means much less money available, that my disability has put us in even more debt, and that I didn’t get this all done when I was working. But this is the first time I felt not only the shame but the disappointment in myself for acting cowardly and avoiding rather than facing something important. And more importantly, recognized and felt the shame for disappointing someone else.

Steps Taken:

After a few hours, a little bit of xanax, and a lot of thought, I finally faced up to the fact that I needed to address this and better sooner than later. La will need me to support her and we have other commitments coming up in the next few weeks, too. I called and rescheduled the appointment for next monday instead of next month. I’m still afraid of what the dentist will say, my stomach is still in knots, and I don’t want to go. But I will go and will find a way to deal with the results of the appointment no matter how upsetting they may be. This time I won’t take the easy way out and I’ll scoop out and throw away some of the shame in that bucket.

Lesson Still Being Learned:

As human beings we’re programmed for “flight or fight” and while that may be obvious in the case of a school yard bully, a tough upcoming presentation at work, or a person with a knife pointed at you, it’s the smaller challenges that can blindside us. Logically some necessary dental work, even with a big price tag, sounds like it would be a no-brainer. You go, have it done, figure out how to pay for it, and get on with life. Unfortunately it’s not so simple when you figure in all the emotional baggage that jumps out to attach itself. What do we do then? There are a couple of coping skills that helped me this time and may help you with challenges you run into.

  • Write It Down: Write down the situation, different ways you can handle it, help and resources you may need to do so, and any pros/cons, and most importantly, what will happen if you don’t face and deal with it. Then put it down for a day if you can. When you pick it back up and read over it, you may find things to add and realize it is something you can deal with.
  • Get a Second Opinion: Either using your written notes or not, talk over the situation with a trusted partner or friend to get an objective perspective. Not only will you feel better, there’s a good chance they’ll have additional ideas and suggestions on how to handle it. It will also ease the anxiety.
  • Practice Radical Acceptance: This is the most basic but the most difficult of all. It is just what it says: eliminating all the self talk and any emotional connections, say to yourself that you accept the need to meet this challenge. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, want to do it, and that it might not be scary, even terrifying. It is simply accepting the reality of the situation. Talk about liberating! Once you let all the attachment fall away, it frees you up to do what needs to be done.
  • Act: Once you’ve done all the preliminary stuff and figured out your game plan, act on that first step. Whether it’s making that important phone call, talking to that person, or going online to do research funding or other necessary factors, DO IT. I’m sure you’re well aware of the relief after doing that first step. Everything after that becomes easier and less stressful because you proved to yourself you could start the process.
  • Acknowledge Your Victory: Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, especially since all of us have trouble facing challenges, too! Whether they are small or large, it’s scary and it takes fortitude to face and oversome them.
  • Celebrate Your Success: This is especially important if you have practiced avoidance in the past. Whether you win or lose, succeed or fail, whatever the outcome, take time out to celebrate the fact that you had the courage to try. 99% of success is just showing up – and you did – so do something special for yourself and take that credit!

Monday is D-Day for me and I will do a follow-up post to let you know how things turn out. Meanwhile, tomorrow is our NAMIWalk 2012, for our local National Alliance of Mental Illness. I’m the team captain for the “Bring Change 2 Mind” Team (Glenn Close’s organization) and we are proud to have 10 walkers this year (from only 2 the last walk) and have raised almost $1,000 (versus $200 last time). We have plans to really step it up next year but are very proud to have done this well. Yet another challenge faced and conquered!!

Please feel free to share ways you have coped with difficult challenges in your life as well as challenges met and conquered. Great way to celebrate your success!

** ADDITIONS:

After re-reading this post, wanted to add two items.

  1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE – all of us feel shame and struggle with vulnerability and facing our fears. With failure and self-judgement. Having the courage to share those feelings makes us more rather than less.
  2. ACTION ITEM – Brene Brown is a researcher on shame and vulnerability and gave two amazing TED talks on the subjects. Please take a little time to check out her page (below) and watch the two videos featured on the right hand side. They are powerful, inspiring, and give much better answers than what you’ve read here.

Brene Brown’s TED Talks on Vulnerabiltity and Shame

New Day, New Challenge Met

Another Day, Another Challenge Met, Another Perceived Limit Overcome!

Flashback 2 years ago:

I was so paralyzed by anxiety and panic attacks I could barely drive and had trouble spending time with friends or going out for any length of time.

I could do only minimal errands and that was only by listening to my iPod turned up, running in and running out. Get-togethers were very hard because I’d have to know how many people were going to be there to mentally prepare and if there were more, unexpected ones, I usually had to leave. For the most part, La went to social events alone and her friends and coworkers doubted my actual existence.

Today/Tonight:

After not enough sleep, an exhausting workout in the morning, and a too short nap, I went with La to the 50th birthday party of one of her friends/past coworkers – at a place I had never been, where I only knew about 4 people of the 40 plus folks there! I introduced myself first, talked to people I didn’t know, sat and chatted with two of our friends, all with only a brief period of low grade anxiety. THIS WAS A HUGE CHALLENGE MET!!!

I’ve been battling anxiety for almost 10 years now and I’ve had to leave (read: lost) 3 jobs and a lot of friends because of the meds, episodes, and general inability to function from daily, sometimes hourly panic attacks.

From daily anxiety it’s now once a month maybe and “normal” situational anticipatory anxiety (i.e. a new gym class, new restaurant, new friendships).

All I can do is express incredible gratitude to the amazing people who helped me get here, inspiring, supporting, and just plain love. Money, fame, success, all of those mean nothing without someone else to share them with. Thank you universe, for the blessings I have in my life and thank you those who read this blog for your support, amazing comments, and just being out there!

More inspiration and excitement tomorrow – sending out love and thanks through “space”!

An Email Worth A Million Dollars

Seeing What’s Right In Front of Us:

One of the major keys to success in any endeavor is the people who help us along the way. And realizing that sometimes we are getting support that we’re not even aware of from people that we may not know, or know well, or find out that we really didn’t know at all. Find out in a very good way.

I got an email today that floored me – actually 2 of them – and the gratitude and love are simply overwhelming. In the past I’ve let friendships and other important relationships lapse in neglect, not appreciating the incredible people right in front of me, cheering me on in their own ways. Ways that it has taken me awhile to fully appreciate, that I took for granted or simply didn’t see.

Probably the best thing about becoming serious about both my emotional and physical recovery and health is beginning to see the areas of social neglect – not calling close friends, cancelling out on activities at the last minute, not taking an interest in the lives of the people who matter most. I feel like absolute crap about that but am doing something about it. Starting to call or email loved ones and friends regularly, arranging social activities, telling them how special they are and how much I care about them.

Lesson Learned/Learning:

Being a great spouse, family member, and friend is probably the most important honor in our lives. Money, success, fame, all those come and go. Telling the people that matter how much you care, all the time because they won’t get tired of hearing it, that’s what lasts. And though some of these people will come and go in our lives, the impact they make stays with us.

Getting more emotionally stable, losing weight, writing, all of those things have been incredible. The fruits of working on and improving relationships, that has been precious. Thank all of you who have stuck by me in this blog. Maybe you only read it once in awhile, or leave a comment or two, but I am seriously thankful you’re out there. Sending all of you love and gratitude.

~Lara~

Celebration Time, C’mon!

You’re Invited to the “Virtual 1 Year Celebration” of my Weight Loss Journey!

Please join me for a bit to enjoy virtual cake, virtual ice cream, virtual balloons and party favors, and, my favorite, virtual martinis and cosmos, to celebrate my 1 Year Weight Loss/Life Transformation Anniversary!

First, thank all of you for your support during this amazing, challenging, and oh so rewarding time. You have helped me so much with your following, comments, and encouragement “on the weigh”. And if I can do this, and keep working toward the main goal of losing the rest and then maintaining/thriving for a lifetime, then so can you!

A Quick Recap:

Here’s a very quick recap of the positive changes from the start point to today.

1 Year Ago – April 14, 2011

  • Weight: 278.8 pounds
  • Classification: Morbidly Obese
  • Clothing Size: 28 Women’s, 3X Women’s
  • Activity Level: Sedentary (butt glued to couch!)
  • Social Life: Almost non-existent, rarely left the house, isolated
  • Diet: Awful – high in sugar, fat, salt, fast food, bad carbs, very little fruits/veggies
  • Cholesterol: High in all the Bad Ones
  • Blood Sugar: Pre-Diabetic (in the danger zone)
  • Mood: 3-4 full episodes a month, depressed most of the time – A MESS
  • Sleep: 12-16 hours / night

A picture is worth a thousand words:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY – April 14, 2012

  • Weight: 205.2 pounds (74 almost 75 Pound Loss!!!)
  • Classification: Moderately Overweight
  • Clothing Size: 16-18 Women’s, XL/1X Women’s
  • Activity Level: ACTIVE (4 sessions at Gym, 1 Hatha Yoga Class, 1 Exercise Meet-Up – every week!)
  • Social Life: out at the gym, friends at yoga, weekly motivational/exercise/social meet-up, out and about almost daily, blog/email/even talk on phone – Huge!
  • Diet: 160 degree change – mostly lean meats, chicken, fish, veggies, fruit, good carbs/grains, still struggle with fast food and sugar/fat bombs but major change
  • Cholesterol: All in Normal Range
  • Blood Sugar: Normal Range
  • Mood: 1-2 episodes a month, managing depression, snap out much more quickly
  • Sleep: 8-10 hours / night

A picture is worth a thousand words:

(And that’s from 2 months ago! But the changes are about 10 pounds down so it’s close enough.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I can do it, coming from being barely able to walk a block or climb a flight of stairs, sick and tired all the time, and chronically depressed – So Can You!

So let’s Celebrate wherever we are in our own “Weight Loss Journey’s” and be proud of our accomplishments, every big and every little, one of them. I would love to hear your stories in “Comments” and to see pics of your “before” and “now”s. Celebrating is more fun when we do it together!

Here’s to staying on track, meeting our goals, and thriving, a little bit every day “along the weigh”!

GeekChic Corner: Examining the Relationship Between Mood Recovery and Exercise

GeekChic Corner:

After “Mood Charting” for almost 3 years and observing the positive impact physical activity has had in helping me get through bipolar and depressive episodes, I’m still plagued by nagging questions.

The Questions:

Even with the data/research proving that exercise has a direct correlation with alieviating the severity and duration of depressive symptoms, and we even know how it works, what is the “magic bullet”?

  • How soon (time-based) after depressive symptoms are noted does an individual need to do some sort of physical activity to benefit?
  • What type of activity is most effective?
  • Is more than 1 type of activity (a combination) more effective than a singular?
  • What duration and frequency of activity is needed to significantly decrease symptoms?
  • Does the duration and/or frequency change depending on severity of symptoms? (This seems obvious, but is it?)
  • Does the type of activity need to change when addressing unipolar versus bipolar versus situational depression?
  • Is physical activity more effective than other activities such as meditation, consuming large amounts of sugar/fat/carbs, or a talk therapy session?
  • And the big one – what is the percentage decrease in symptoms on a time-scale? – OR – how long does it take after performing an activity to start feeling better?

Why this has moved to the top of the “obsession bucket list” is this week’s episode, a situational depression resulting from pretty bad news at Wed’s dentist appointment. It was bad news that will have hard core financial impact and instead of facing it and problem solving, I went to bed for almost 2 days. I did not go to the gym, I went to B’s Cupcakes and Chik-Fil-A (a company I’m boycotting!) and watched bad B vampire movies. Once again, instead of facing it, I went the distraction route.

Let’s stop there for a moment – over the 6 months since I started this blog, there have been a number of posts focusing on “falling off the wagon” due to mood issues. And during this period, I have also been exercising or doing some type of physical activity 2-5 times/week. Has all this working out actually helped since I seem to write about struggling so often? I took a look at the mood chart during this period and what I have noticed are these “real life” results:

  • improved consistency of sleep – down to 9-10 hours/night versus 12-14 prior to activity change (March 2011 versus March 2012)
  • decreased number of episodes and shorter duration (same as above)
  • MAJOR – significant decrease in anxiety and irritability – from 25 incidents in March 2011 to 1 !!!! in March 2012.

The biggest change has been in the area of situational depression recovery. In January 2011, we found out La’s job was moving to another city. And with a very small decision window as to whether to stay/move or leave/look for another job. The good news: La was able to do consulting for a few months and actually found a better job, closer, and for the same salary in just 2 months. HOWEVER, I still had 19 separate episodes during that timeframe.

A little over a year later, I learned that we’re looking at possibly around $20,000 in dental work or I may lose a number of key teeth plus significant bone loss which means I may lose them anyway and pay even more. At the age of 42 – thanks grandma and mom for passing that gene down! However, I have had only 1 episode so far surrounding this situation! As I have not yet called to make the periodontist appointment or additional two appointments for dental surgery and a possible root canal, more may be on the way. So, at this point, the number and duration of future episodes are my main concern and what actions I can do now to fend them off.

Why the “Questions” Are Important:

Both situations have 1 thing in common – they were high on the life-impacting scale and are time delimited. The question now is: we know that physical activity can help decrease or even prevent episodes as I deal with this dental situation, but how much, how often, and for how long? Dental issues versus job loss may seem quite different but 8 months of impacted income versus 2+ years and $20K are similar in my “freak out” scale.?- will my current schedule of 1 yoga class and 3-4 days of 40-50 minute gym sessions per week be enough to help me cope with the upcoming appointments, the financial hit, and stress of the actual dental work without meltdown after meltdown? Does it need to be more? Or do I need different combinations of activity?

The Answer:

I have absolutely no idea BUT I am going to find out. This will be aided considerably by some of the side benefits of increased activity. There has been a significant decrease in the frequency and duration of whining, pity parties, and general self absorbtion. I bounce back quicker from adversity, wallow for shorter periods of time, can more easily navigate social situations, and am a better partner/friend. (This has been seconded by my honey!) That’s also thanks in part to this blog – looking for ideas that help others as well as myself has played a huge role in dragging me out of my own head and back into the world. Thanks so much everyone – you have truly been a transformational force!! But I can’t discount the mood stabilizing benefits of exercise (or my honey’s “go to yoga” mantra when I won’t get off the couch after a few days).

The Challenge:

Finding the answers to the questions, the magic bullet that will help not only me, but others, deal with life changing and traumatic situations. Figuring out the most effective “prescription” depending on the severity of the situation and getting the social support that may be necessary to “take the exercise pill”.

Action:

During the coming months I will create and use a special spreadsheet to track the relationship between stressors, episodes, and exercise to see if I can find any significant correlates. And I will also do the work of more intense technical research. Then I will report the findings back to you, backed by both personal and empirical data – what the amateur and the pros have discovered.

For the geek in you, pretty exciting stuff! Especially if it yields results that we can all use to help more effectively cope with life’s ups and downs. Stay tuned, I’ll be updating you periodically with findings!