Friday, October 28, 2011

Dealing with Weight Loss and Stress while in School {Guest Post}


student-stress


Stress in Graduate School Can Be Managed and Reduced
By Anthony Garcia

For anyone who has completed or is currently working through a graduate degree program, you know the immense pressure and stress that can come with grad school. Add in the factor that many graduate students also trying to balance a home life, a career, coursework and research, and the mix can be potentially harmful to your health. Too much work under too much demand causes physical stress to go through the roof.

Unfortunately, we know that high stress has negative consequences for the body. The effects of stress have been repeatedly documented as chronic rises in a body's level of cortisol, a stress hormone, and causes damaging effects. At its most fundamental level, stress triggers the "fight or flight" awareness in the body. When operating at this level of adrenaline and hormone release regularly, the body begins to suffer. It's like running a car engine at the redline RPM level without a break; at some point parts wear down and the engine begins to stall.

Even if you are a stressed out grad student, it is critical for your health to reduce stress. Sleep, maintaining fitness, keeping a good diet, and good time planning can all contribute to reducing graduate school stress.

Sleep is especially important for your ability to perform at a high level consistently and regularly. This is the physical period when the body can heal and regenerate naturally. Getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep should be sufficient time for the body to enter rapid-eye-movement sleep. Under this mode the body and the mind fully relax, enhancing physical recovery from stress and wear during the day. Going with less cuts into this healing time and reduces the body's ability to shut down for recovery. Sleep is controllable, despite deadlines and school demands. If needed, you can ask your doctor for sleep aides or muscle relaxants. Chamomile tea also helps.

Getting enough sleep will make maintaining fitness less work as well. Keeping fit is another important factor in reducing stress, and will help keep the grad school weight gain to a minimum. You don’t need to spend four hours a day running. Just 45 minutes a day of exercise with an elevated heartbeat can significantly boost endurance, stress recovery, cardiovascular improvement, and blood pressure management.

Eating energy high foods and avoiding processed sugars (I know, very difficult) allows the right fuels to go into your body to provide energy. Your mind burns a significant amount of calories when studying, even if physically you're just sitting. Trying as much as possible to eat natural protein, vegetables, and fiber will allow your body to retain its energy level without physical depletion. The opposite will cause your body to protect core functions, making you tired and reducing your ability to study and think properly.

Also, don't forget to take a multi-vitamin supplement and a fiber supplement. The fact is, when rushing around between work and graduate school, or teaching and researching, etc., you may not get all the necessary food you need daily. By including a multi-vitamin and fiber supplement, you fill in those dietary gaps that sometimes get missed. For example, taking B12 has really helped me boost my energy, and Vitamin D helps with mood and energy as well.

Organization is perhaps the most important element for staying as stress-free as possible. Even though a graduate students’ workload is intense, stress usually gets caused by panic and frustration. By cutting down on time issues that cause anxiety, your stress will reduce as well. Blocking out time for study, research, work, personal errands, and rest each day makes the process manageable. The same applies to planning; compartmentalize larger tasks. By planning grocery visits, bedtimes, and going to the gym, and by working and researching in blocks of time, you can significantly reduce your stress in grad school.


Thanks Anthony for such a great guest post!
Peace, Love and Happy Blogging
M

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Flashback Saturday {Changes have been made}

Flashback Saturday




May 2, 2011

funny scale
 
"The best changes often start as single, simple thoughts. Think big, and discover how to make your dreams real."
 
As usual this morning when I got up, after going to to the restroom, it was time to weigh in and see what was going on. I was a bit reluctant to do this considering my emotional weekend and the fact that I checked out of workouts for the weekend. I defiantly expected to either see no loss or a slight gain. Boy was I surprised! Whaaaat …let me get on this thing again. This thing starts with a 1 …ok one more time to make sure. No way…ok lets move it over here and make sure the scale is not just acting funny. (so need a new one mine will read different sometimes depending on if kid or animals have been on it)…Hell yea…ok while its only .4lbs into Onederland that number defiantly started with a 1 and not a 2! Now that’s what I’m talking about! This puts me at just over 5 lbs. lost over the past month. while I would like it to be just a little more than that I am ecstatic to see movement of the downward trend and I defiantly think there has been some muscle gain!
 
What was different about this past month, and especially this past weekend. Even with all the emotions I had going on I allowed myself to feel them, cry if I needed to and work through them. I didn’t use food to hide behind. Reading Geneen Roth’s book, “When Food is Love” (I know, I know, I have already mentioned this a few times) seriously changed me. While sometime It does take more thought and effort I am truly able to do mindful/intuitive eating. If I really really want something, I have it. The lack of guilt for having it does amazing things. I don’t feel the need to consume all I can, I have some and move on. Craving gone.
 
Ok, now to own up to what didn’t happen this weekend. On Thursday I tweeted that I was wrapping up my April #gothedist, finishing my last 4 miles. Well diabetes had other plans. I had taken my daughter with me to the park to scooter along but forgotten to turn her temporary basal on so she had a low. This meant I only got 2 miles in. Determined to get my 4 we headed just down the street to the gym to get the last 2 in. Things were going great I was kicking butt and taking names on the elliptical. I was already nice and warmed up having just done 2 miles outside so I was going a little harder than I normally do. Cut to my scheduled blood sugar check…78. This put a halt to things. I treated and considered waiting till it came back up high enough to get that last 3/4 of a mile in but decided that was a bad idea. Between my low and my daughters low I was out of fast acting carbs should I need to treat another low for either of us. This meant it was not safe even If I waited a little bit, for either of us. I figured I would just get that last little bit in Friday or Saturday. It didn’t happen, with finals my emotions go the best of me. I do a lot of walking at school so at first I just added in that .7 that I was missing to my #gothedist, I have since taken it back out. I have to own that deficit.
 
While no one would have been the wiser, I knew and that was not being honest with myself. I put in a total of   66 miles cumulatively in April so I will live with not having that last .7 miles. Half of those were only walk/run/elliptical the rest were a combination of bike and a little swimming. I can live with those numbers.
 
What has changed for you since you started your journey to a healthy lifestyle?
 
Peace, Love and Happy Blogging
M

Friday, October 14, 2011

Managing Life and a Blog {Guest Post}


Tuesday night after an awesome #fitblog chat I was doing my daily blog hop. I stumbled upon a post so great I just had to share, in fact it was so great I sent Katy a message immediately asking her if she would like to do a guest post here on Life Off the D List!  Sometimes life can get so overwhelming that blogging tends to get pushed to the back burner, here are some great tips not only for blogging but for balancing priorities in life period.

Hi everyone, my name is Katy and I blog at The Singing Runner!

katy-the-singing-runner

I am so excited that Misty has allowed me to share the following post with you, which I originally posted on October 11, 2011. I have been blogging for just over a year now and I love it! However, it can be very time consuming and it wasn't until recently that I figured out how to balance blogging with my everyday life. I hope you enjoy the tips and find them useful!

How I Balance- Blogging

October 11, 2011

Let’s face it- we are all busy people! Between work and/or school, family, social obligations, exercise, and blogging, it can be difficult to balance everything.
I often get asked how I balance everything- school, sorority commitments, graduate school prep, exercise, etc, and still have time to blog. My answer- time management!
Admittedly, my time management skills were awful until last semester! This may come as a surprise since I am an organized person, but I often bite off more than I can chew.
However, taking 21 credits last semester (never again) changes everything. I had a lot on my plate and wanted to accomplish a lot, so I had to shift around my priorities.
It wasn’t pretty, but I had success- and I was still able to blog!
Here are my tricks and tips on how I am able to fulfill all of my obligations and still blog daily!
1) Schedule Your Week: Every Sunday, I plan out what I am going to write each day of the week. I put it as a “sticky note” on my computer for reference throughout the week.
 
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Of course the topics can change as inspiration sparks, but it saves me the hassle of figuring out something to write every single day.
2) Keep A List Of Potential Topics: I know I’m not the only blogger who does this, but I like to keep a list of topics to write about in the future. I’ll admit it, I am constantly thinking about topics to blog about and when something sparks my interest, it goes on “the list.”
 
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Whenever I can not think of something to write about, I pull from the list and voila! I have something to write about! :)
3) Budget Your Time: This came as I blogged more and more, but when I first started blogging, it took me forever to compose a post. For some of my more picture heavy posts, it could take me up to two hours to write, edit, and post! Now that I have been blogging for almost a year, I have become more comfortable with my writing style and can plow through posts in less than an hour.
On weekdays, I give myself an hour to write a post- and no more. Most of the time, I don’t even take an hour. On weekends, I give myself a little more time. I think of the time I spend blogging as “me time” and my time to decompress and relax before bed.
4) Plan Ahead: This can sort of go with #1, but when I know that I have a busy week ahead, I will pre-write posts on the weekend for the following week. This alleviates the stress of writing during the week when I don’t have the time to. I also LOVE guest posts and welcome them at any time. (Hint, hint. ;) )
5) Blog To Live, Don’t Live To Blog (Have Balance): When I started blogging, I would stress out if I didn’t blog one day! I thought that I needed to have a post everyday even if it was of poor content/ quality.
Life happens and we ALL understand that blogging (for most of us) is not our full time job. I do not hold it against a person if they don’t post one day and I hope that people don’t hold it against me if I miss a day. I love to blog because it is an outlet for me, and I have only missed a handful of days in the 363 days I have been blogging, and when I have missed, it has been for good reason (travel, life, etc).
 
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I think that it can be easy to let blogging take over our lives (I’ve definitely been there!), but it is more important to live life outside of the blog, verses blogging our lives away. We want to share our lives with our readers, but we won’t have anything to share if we are at the computer 24/ 7! ;)
These tips are simple, but they have allowed me to keep a balance with school, exercise, a social life (even if it is limited) and blogging. I know that as my life gets even crazier over the next few months, these tips will allow me to relax and continue blogging for the long haul!
How do you balance blogging with your everyday tasks? Do you have any tips to add?
 
If you have any questions feel free to come by my blog and say "hi", send me a tweet, or post on my Facebook page!
 
 
A big thanks to Katy for letting me share the awesomeness that is this blog post with all of you here on Life Off the D List! Make sure to check out her blog!
 
Peace, Love and Happy Blogging
M

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Words to live by



Today as I was taking a break from studying I read this on Facebook from the wonderful Chalene Johnson. These words really were what I needed to read today and struck a cord with me so I thought I would share them for all those who don't follow her.  

I hope they can inspire and motivate you like they did me!


Ok back to studying :-/


Peace, Love and Happy Blogging
M

Time to stop resisting arrest

 

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Lately I feel like I am fighting against everything that is good for me. I know that these things will make me succeed and make me feel better as a whole, but yet I still resist. While not as bad as last year this time and most certainly not as bad as this spring I am feeling the funk that is October for me. I hate this, October used to be my favorite month. Now it is just a reminder of what I don’t have, you see October is when I lost my grandmother but also when both my Parents birthdays are. It’s also about the time that the stress of school really seems to set in for fall semester. I feel like all I do or want to do lately is have a case of the oh poor me’s and sit on  my pity pot.

 

Am I doing everything I need to to take care of me, nope. I think the biggest thing is I'm not writing. For me this keeps me accountable. Even when I’m supper busy I still need to make time for this. The more I write and get things out of my head the easier it is to keep the depression monster at bay. While I have made lot’s of progress from where I was six months ago I still have to fight against the darkness that is Major Depressive Disorder. Lately I feel old habits creeping back in, I feel myself withdrawing within myself. I will NOT accept this withdrawal this go round. I’m fighting back with a vengeance. As September came to a close and the stress of school pilled up I felt the change start. The difference is now I recognize it and can choose to do something about it. Depression for me plays a big part in this journey, this is why I so firmly believe in treating both sides of the coin. This is not just about the physical side but also the mental or emotional side. There is a reason we are the way we are, something happened to make us this way. The challenge is in figuring out what that was and overcoming it. I can’t say I have gotten it completely figured out but I’m working on it. For many our weight is not just because we ate to much, it is our shield. If I’m fat xyz cant hurt me. If I’m hurting food can make me feel better. Really though it’s just an excuse to hide and not deal with problems. For me, it’s time to deal.

 

Lately I find myself missing being someone’s someone. I miss having someone to come home to, to share my day with. I miss the little daily things like fixing dinner or going to the store. I miss sharing my hopes, dreams and fears. It’s not so much a dating thing but just a personal contact thing, yes I would like to have someone to spend my life with but this is more about contact period. Between where I live and my schedule I often find myself feeling very secluded. While I have lots of family around they all stay very busy as well and I don’t get the chance speak to them, much less see them. While I have some awesome friends most live thirty minuets to hours away, to states away. I miss being a wife, a daughter, a friend. While I think It would help tremendously to move closer to friends or even just back in town period (instead of living in the sticks…aka the middle of nowhere in the country) Due to the fact that I’m still in school this is not something that can change anytime soon. I have to learn to reach out when I need to.

 

It’s time to get off my ass, stop resisting arrest and do what I need to do to take care of me. What dos this mean? Well it means I need to make sure I get enough sleep, eat right, get some exercise in, make sure I have adequate study time as well as fun time. This means planning. This means putting me first and remembering that its ok to do that! This means using my time wisely and not procrastinating ( which I am the queen of). It’s time to fight for me and what I need, even if it means I’m fighting with myself. It’s time to remember I deserve this and I’m worth it.  It’s time to remember I CAN do this!

 

What keeps you going? What do you need to do to take care of you? Do you ever put you first?

 

Peace, Love and Happy Blogging

M

Saturday, October 8, 2011

{Flashback Saturdays} A Run and a Cup O' Tea

 Flashback Saturday

A Run and a Cup O' Tea
 October 9, 2010

"In absence of clearly defined goals, 
we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia."
Author Unknown
 
my run
 I have been working on this post in my head for a few days, Life has just been full to the brim the past few days. This has been a pretty great week except for yesterday and Today(which is now also yesterday lol) with the allergies or cold or whatever it is creeping back.  This frustrates me to no end! I just dont get it..I quit smoking 5 months ago, im working out now, eating healthier taking vitamins and I even got not just a flu but also a pneumonia shot this year for the first time...is the pollen really just that bad here in North Carolina?!?

Ok..on to the good stuff! I set some new goals for this week in my last post ...and I have to say I have done quite well so far this week. I have tracked my food all week and have not gone over my calorie goal for the day, I have most certainly drank my water and i have walked at least 20 minuets each day. The one thing i havent done is have a hot date with Gym, but I have a really good excuse. Excuse you say, but didn't you throw out that damn excuse book? Why yes I did, however I think this one deserves an exception..wait for it...here it comes...are you ready...I started 5k training and have been doing this from home. See I told you it was a good one!

While im doing a 5k on the 23ed of this month it is actually a walk not a run. I still want to be able to do a 5k..half marathon...full marathon. The program I am doing is from Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone by Juilia Jones who is there guest podcaster expert runner. (im not linking directly to Julia's page because, well its in Italian). Its an 8week program that is easily designed so you can go at your own pace but should be up to doing a 5k by the end.
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so excited to get started!
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Ok i seriously look like something is wrong with me here
haha taking pictures while running is not easy
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THIS is how good it made me feel all day!
(THIS could be addicting for sure!)
I was so proud of myself doing this(can you tell) and I felt amazing all day after! I had so much more energy than I normally do, which again makes me ask"why do I fight this so much it always makes me feel so much better???" Thats the problem of getting into and out of a routine, once I get started I'm generally OK but it's the getting started I just fight tooth and nail. Being one of the worlds best procrastinators doesn't help matters either!  Where I was sick and did prettymuch nothing that week I spent the whole next week bitching to myself and procrastinating about getting started again, but this made me feel so good after I was excited to do it again the next day. The problem with this is once again I started feeling poorly that afternoon, but not to bad, I still was just not feeling it to much the next morning. Remembering how good it made me feel the day before I was quite upset I wasn't feeling good, but I was determined I was getting out there! Off I went, I tried I really did but just didnt have but about half of it in me(better than none right). I was a little disappointed but glad I still got out there and did something.

As the day went on I kept feeling worse and worse so I decided to take Thursday as a rest day and apparently yesterday as well and am living on hot tea again. Feeling quite horrible still yesterday afternoon/evening I had this idea occur to me out of nowhere...of all these weeks of feeling like crud off and on the one week I felt better I had used the carefresh bedding for the piggies cage. A few weeks ago when i went to get more bedding for our guinea pigs I decided to try the pine since it was so much less expensive than the carefresh we had been using, and thinking back I have been sick pretty much ever since! One would think having allergy testing done with all those needles about 10 years ago it would occur to me that I was told then I was allergic to pine and maybe, just maybe pine bedding inside the house would be a very, very bad idea. Not me though I saw sale and thought hey lets give that a whirl.  LESSON LEARNED! Almost immediately after taking it out I started feeling better!
Peppermint, Pumpernickel, Princess and Marshmellow 
Being diabetic and doing things out of the norm in your life always brings up challenges. Yes I can still do anything, be anything, eat anything ..it just takes some work sometimes. (lap swimming was really fun to figure out, not) Usually when I have my dates with Gym I need some carbs working and a little less insulin and also sip on gatoraid while im doing cardio to make sure my BG's stay stable. Apparently though my body knows the difference between running on a piece of gym equipment and running outside so this is going to require some tweaking so im not fighting post run hi's all day. Another problem with running outside and being diabetic is what do do with all my gear. On top of the cell phone and mp3 player I also have to have on me a meter and some sort of fast acting carb in case i need to treat a low. I'm thinking a Spibelt would work good for this so if anyone knows anyone feel free to tell them to send me one lol(preferably the double haha).

Ok I do believe I have rambled on enough and I have to get a certain little someone ready for a costume birthday party here shortly and run some errands so I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday. Lets see if tomorrow there is any effect on Mr. Scales opponion of all my activities this week.

Peace, Love and Happy Blogging
M

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Back Burner


bigstockphoto_steaming_tea_

Lately I feel like Life Off the D list has been put on the back burner, and honestly it has. I know I keep saying this but this semester at school is so crazy with this anatomy class I’m taking. It’s not just about the blog itself though, it feels like my entire healthiness journey has been put on the back burner. What’s that you say, “But aren't you taking a swimming class?”, why yes indeed I am. That swimming class is the one thing that is saving me right now. Without it there would have been no healthy anything all the month of September.

September was a rough month for me. I was getting back in the swing of things and adjusting to my new schedule. I am busier now that I have been the past few semesters which doesn't leave much time for anything else. This is exactly the reason I took the swimming class, I saw this possibility coming. While school is my number one priority, besides my daughter, my health runs a close second. September brought on some old habits that I thought were gone for good. September reminded me that this is work and it is forever, there are no quick fixes. It’s so easy when life gets crazy or throws us a curve ball to just let our priorities shift and put things on the back burner. Especially the things we may not always want to do like go to the gym or fix something healthy to eat instead of something quick and easy(and usually supper duper bad for you). These are precisely the times when we need to maintain our focus on our goals. Admittedly, most of my healthiness journey goals went right out the window this past month or so. All that is changing though and its time to get this show back on the road!


This blog, #gothedist and people like the Fat to Fit Pack (#f2fpack) are my accountability. I am holding myself accountable again with these and I challenge each of you to find some way or person to hold yourself accountable for October. Set goals, phone a friend, write it on your calendar; Do  SOMETHING to hold yourself accountable and meet your goals.

This Month here are my Goals:
  • Swim 7,200 yards
  • 24 miles on the elliptical
  • Stick within my 1200 calories a day goal
  • Track every day
  • Write at least once a week

What are your goals for October, have you set any goals???

Peace, Love and Happy Blogging
M


Side note for all my Fat to Fit Pack friends:

Where the heck is everyone!!!???!!! I know summer was busy but there is so little activity with the pack these days Sad smile

Saturday, October 1, 2011

{Flashback Saturdays} Fun and Mental is Fundamental …Taking care of both sides of the Coin

Flashback Saturday

 This week's Flashback Saturday is something I strongly believe in and fell is fundamental to this journey. Enjoy :)


April 3, 2011

meditation
Photo Credit
Withdrawal and projection are the natural outcomes of withholding. When you withhold, you keep inside yourself things that should be expressed. The very act of hiding these things takes you one step back from the relationship. A result of this withdrawal is that you will begin to project. In other words, you will begin to attribute to other people things that are actually issues of your own.
Gay & Katie Hendricks Quotes from Conscious Loving


After last weeks emotional baggage dump things were still up and down. Those 5 hours of writing were a tremendous help and obviously needed. However I still have a long way to go. Wednesday I had my appointment with the physicians assistant  to discuss the possibility of my going back on medication. Again I’ll say that medication is not an easy fix and should not be your first option, but can be very helpful in combination with therapy. We (my therapist, the PA and myself) decided it would be a good idea for me to do med’s again for a while. It may be placebo effect but I feel like they are helping some already, we shall see how my next therapy session goes Friday.

When I made the decision a couple weeks ago to start seeing a therapist again I also decided that for now I was not going to worry about what I ate or how much I worked out. I needed to take care of the emotional me right now. I was kind of worried about doing this because I had defiantly been doing some emotional eating and feeling quite guilty about it. I had also left the 190’s and surpassed the dreaded 200 mark again. I know I had gotten to at least 204.6 that was the last time I weighed. I suspect maybe even as high as 206ish. While this may not be the best idea for everyone it was what I needed. What I discovered this morning after 2 weeks of not counting, worrying or tracking what I ate was a complete shock. I lost 5 pounds! I was sitting right at 200.0 lbs. While no where near where I want to be it was not the massive gain I anticipated. I did realize when I stopped focusing so much on what was going in my mouth and feeling guilty about it and worried more about taking care of the emotional me…the emotional eating subsided. My blood sugars have also been a lot better. Was I eating 100% healthy or “perfect” …no, but I was not over eating. If I was hungry, I ate. If it was for something not so good for me, I ate it.

While I know that just eating whatever I want long term will not work or eating a bunch of junk…letting go of the guilt took the power out of the food for now. I do believe it is about quality foods ultimately this is what I needed right now. Heck I think I may even go to the gym this afternoon for the first time in a couple weeks.
The last time I went to the gym I went kicking and screaming (in my head anyways). I didn’t even do a full 20 minuets on the elliptical when I said f*ck it and quit. I feel like I am ready to go back now.

For now I am going to continue do my version of mindful eating but focus a bit more on quality foods. I also want to get back in the gym this week. Im going to plan 2 days and go more if I feel like it. It is a busy week with school and I don’t want to over plan. I have a Chem test, a project due, a blood drive and also my daughter has an appointment with her CDE and of course my therapy appointment Friday.

This journey is not just a physical one but also an emotional one as well. Make sure you take care of both sides of that coin.


Peace, Love and Happy Blogging
M
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