Category: Stress

Escape Anxiety and Meet Your Goals

Anxiety, Depression and Goals

Setting and working towards goals can reduce anxiety and depression and help you lead a happier life. (1) When we are constantly motivated to move towards a goal, we tend to organize our lives in that direction. We have less time for negative thoughts that weigh us down and hinder our progress. We make moments count to achieve those goals and simply don’t have the time or energy to dwell on the people, places and things that weigh us down. The next time you are having a bad day, instead of giving in to the overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss of control that accompany anxiety and depression, get up and make progress towards a goal. Work out, write, prep your meals, pre-track those meals, go for a leisurely stroll or a difficult hike, whatever will contribute to your overall health and wellness, and I guarantee that you will feel better. None of this is supposed to be a cure for major depression. We are not doctors and cannot diagnose or treat any condition. These are tools that you can utilize to improve your quality of life and again, exercise only with your doctor’s permission.

Win/Win

When we work out we change our brain chemistry but there are other ways that exercise helps stabilize our mood. We are exercising control. We have made a choice. This gives us the accurate feeling that we are not helpless. While there are many tragedies that befall us, we still have control over a whole lot. Making the decision to do something that moves us towards our goal of ultimate health and longevity takes us out of the victim mentality. Suddenly we are in the drivers seat and while we may not be able to choose the ultimate destination in the worst case scenarios, we can certainly choose the route. By doing what is best for us by eating healthy, exercising, resting and avoiding negative input and influences, we have chosen the Interstate over the pot-holed, gully-washed back road that nobody travels because it tears up their car. Many times we can also choose the destination. That’s what goal setting does. When life-changing tragedies occur, some destination choices may be lost, but with the exception of tragedy, you can choose your path and also where it leads. Exercise this power in your life. By focusing on long term goals, you change your present mood and also take yourself one step closer to your goals.

Take Out the Trash

Part of what we teach is to “Make Your Life Small”. This is a huge part of controlling your mental state and reducing anxiety. There are always people who want to drag you down to their level. Sometimes these are “well-meaning” people who actually believe that making your life a living Hell will somehow help you. They constantly criticize. Nothing is ever good enough for them. They tend to criticize the very tools and people who help you reach your goals as if they resent others having input into your life. When you do make a mistake, they love the “I told you so.” Although they profess to be your friend or to love you, their actions do not show it. They make you miserable and produce anxiety, depression and chaos in your life. Quite often, you will be moving along at a good pace and somehow they manage to interject a hindrance that can derail you for months or even years. Do I really have to say this? Cut the dead wood out of your life. Think about the lost time and energy and all the bad feelings that come with that person. If they are a relative, the challenge can be greater but you can disconnect from them in many ways. Don’t answer their calls or texts. Bam! You just took control. If there is a true emergency, sooner or later, you will know. Allowing these negative people to ruin almost every day of your life is a bigger emergency. This kind of stress can raise your blood pressure, cause insomnia, affect job performance and other relationships. The question is, do you want that person inconvenienced or do you want to live with the constant negative input? Make the decision that is healthy for you. They are responsible for themselves. When we remove these people from our lives, we are better able to focus on what we need and reduce anxiety as we create our lives to nurture our souls, moving ever closer to our ultimate self.

Two Tools Identified

Co-author of a study on reducing anxiety, Michelle G. Newman, Phd. stated that the study was initiated to understand how to reduce rates of negative thought patterns and behaviors. Two tools were identified, (1) Goal Persistence, (“When I encounter problems, I don’t give up until I solve them.”) and (2) Positive Reappraisal, (I can find something positive in the worst situations.”) It is imperative that you set and work towards goals and allow only positive people inside your inner circle if you truly want to be healthy. Interestingly enough, self-mastery, the belief that you can do anything that you set your mind to do, did not help. It was working towards those goals with positive persistence that was the deciding factor in the participants state of mind. It’s the effort and focus applied to the goal, not the goal, that changes how we feel and think. Notice the bicycle logo on our Home page, “Life Is a Beautiful Journey, Enjoy The Ride.” Note something that we say often, “Create Your Life”. It’s the positive journey and the creating that gives us joy and alleviates negative thoughts and feelings. When we do achieve a goal, all the better. Set a new one.

S.M.A.R.T.
The S.M.A.R.T. model is a popular strategy for achieving goals and staying focused on them in the process.

S- Specific Goals are important.

M-Measurable David says “What Gets Measured, Gets Done.” Write down your workouts and your progress. Keep accurate records. Otherwise you will not progress.

A-Achievable Can you do what you need to do to achieve this goal?

R-Realistic Is this goal something that can happen?

T-Time-bound-Do you have or can you make time to achieve this goal?

You’re In Charge

So often we short change ourselves by simply not exercising authority in our lives. You are in charge of your life. Set goals and work towards them and soar right past many negative emotions that can destroy you.

“Create Your Life.”

(1) https://www.healthcentral.com/article/perseverence-toward-life-goals-reduces-mental-disorders

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Sunday Tips for a Good Monday

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We have a tendency to “let our hair down” on the weekend and then have hell to pay on Monday morning. Incorporate these tips into your afternoon for a good start on the week.

1- Catch some ZZZ’s. Quite often we tend to try to cram too much into the weekend and we’re exhausted on Monday. Take advantage of having some down time and do just that. Lay down and get some sleep. Both athletic and cognitive performance are decreased when we’re sleep deprived. To have energy and clarity of thought we need rest. Adequate rest is one of the three components of good health. Read David’s  article, “Fitness Triad” for more understanding on these necessary elements of good health. Search the title in the search box below.

2-Avoid conflict. Don’t  entertain thoughts of conflict and avoid drama over the weekend to wake up with peace on Monday morning. Our activities on Sunday afternoon will be a part of Monday morning. Fill your soul with good things to enrich your life.

3-Eat well. If you don’t  want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, don’t. Create simple, healthy, economic meals at home with wholesome ingredients. Eating out all weekend causes Monday morning bloat and bloat will make you sluggish and depressed. Restaurant  food is full of sodium and added sugars, both of which will cause you to retain excess fluid. We tend to overeat at restaurants and that is just extra bulk to haul around in our gut. Eat simple, clean food and start Monday light on your feet. There are many recipes here on the blog for simple, clean, no added sugars, economic food and they’re  easy to prepare. Search any word from pizza to brownies to find what you want.

4- Take a walk. Walking outside increases the GABA in your brain. GABA is your calming neurotransmitter. If the weather is not ideal for walking outside, jump on a treadmill or lift weights or just put on some music and dance. All forms of exercise increase various neurotransmitters and fight mental fatigue and depression. Always get your doctor’s  permission  before attempting any activity.

5- Organize. Don’t  spend too much time doing this or your off day turns into a work day, but just a little organization on Sunday afternoon will make Monday much better. Plan your meals, maybe prep breakfast or pack a lunch. Plan your exercise for Monday, figuring out exactly  how you fit it in and then work that plan. Knowing what you will eat and how you will exercise will take a lot of anxiety out of Monday morning. You will be able to just get up and go, knowing that the important elements of your self care are already in place.

6- Spend time with someone who is good for you. Walk away from all negativity and delve deeply into conversation with a trusted friend. Having that connection with a like minded individual  who has your best interest at heart increases your serotonin levels in your brain. These close relationships cause a release of oxytocin that is involved in serotonin production. Most antidepressants boost serotonin because it is your feel good hormone. These chemicals also repress fear and anxiety.

7- Do what you love. Sometimes we feel bad simply because we’re  not doing anything we enjoy.  Read a book, watch a movie, climb a mountain, whatever gives you that feeling that you have escaped gravity for a moment. Your mind will be refreshed and your body will reap the benefits. When we truly relax, cortisol and adrenaline production are decreased. Cortisol is a cause of fat depositing around the waist. Relax already!

8- Do a little extra self care to feel ready to take on the world Monday morning. This includes you, Gentlemen. Give yourself a quick manicure or lay out your favorite outfit. Give yourself a really good, close shave and make plans to crash early to smooth your skin. You might put on a facial mask and relax for a few minutes. Being well groomed releases endorphins, the stuff involved in “Runner’s  High”.

We alone are responsible for our health both physical and mental. While there are contributing genetic factors, the bulk of our state of mind comes from what we do, or don’t do. The best life can be destroyed by poor choices and the seemingly worst life can become amazing with good choices. You have the power to create your entire life, now get going, Monday awaits.

 

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like It

Anyone who has determined to be healthy will have days when you just don’t feel like doing the things that you know that you need to do such as working out and planning your meals. Those are the days that your success is determined. There are not many days that most of us who have jobs and live in the real world get up just itching to squeeze in our workouts. If you are blessed to be a professional athlete then that is incredible, but even then, there are probably still many days when you had really rather just relax in front of the t.v. or simply do nothing.

When real life is overwhelming and you are pressed for time it seems easy to eat out and rush through the day without exercise but the truth is, as David has so often said, it really doesn’t take very long to prepare a simple, inexpensive, healthy meal at home. He has been known to prepare a full meal in 12 minutes. You will definitely almost always sit at the drive-thru longer than that. The key to a quick meal at home is to keep it simple. Save the complex recipes for a day that you’re off of work and have nothing planned. On a busy day, throw some protein into a non-stick skillet, brown it, turn it over, lower the heat on the stove and let it simmer til done. While it’s finishing, steam some veggies and throw a potato in your microwave. Done.

And then there are those days that it would seem almost justifiable to skip a workout. I mean those extra days. There are days that it makes sense to skip. We need rest days to let our bodies build muscle and recuperate but when we know that we’re just wanting a little extra time off, it’s time to be tough. Remember why you’re doing this and be realistic about what it’s going to take to meet your goals. I am more fit than I’ve ever been and I am not satisfied. To go any further with my fitness takes serious dedication and work. There’s no need in me lying to myself and slacking. Sometimes we try to pretend that we don’t know why we’re not progressing when we know all along. If it was easy to look like a Greek god or goddess then we all would. If it was easy to have the blood chemistry of a healthy sixteen year old as a mature adult, then we all would. It’s not easy. It takes work, hard work. Face that truth and embrace it. When I first discovered David’s Way, I was at my Weight Watchers goal and was pretty resigned to that being enough. When I realized that I needed to lose 20 pounds, thank you David…, I had to dig in. On days that it would be almost excusable to skip a workout, I remind myself that I will never be the person that I want to be by skipping, and I don’t. I work a high stress, full time job and have a little extra responsibility at home. Quite often I am working out in the wee hours of the morning but when I finish, I am content that I have done exactly what I need to do. I would not have rested well without fulfilling my commitment to myself.

It’s imperative to avoid people who negatively impact your commitment. They don’t have your best interest at heart. They may not understand your reasons and odds are, they don’t want to understand. They just want to control you. Don’t let it happen. In the first hours after my home was destroyed by a tornado, someone tried to take my Iron that I work out with to another house “for storage”, stating that I “wouldn’t be able to do that in a motel”. I said “No.” I did workout in a motel, for three weeks. I made significant progress during that time. Don’t ever let another person determine your workout schedule or decide what you will eat. You have to live, and die, in your body. You decide how that will happen.

On those days that you want to skip, just go through the motions, doing what you know that you need to do for about 15 minutes. Suddenly you will notice an enthusiasm that you didn’t know that you had that day. Feel good about it. Pat yourself on the back and strut, knowing that you’re making your dreams come true. Before you know it, your workout will be finished and you will have a healthy meal cooking and the sun will seem brighter.

If you feel less than inspired, read David’s Way! Interact with us. We will both answer. Post on the forum. Try one of our recipes. We do this because we want you to be healthy. We are constantly searching for new ways to inspire you to be your best. Being active on the blog will keep your mind turned towards health.

State of Mind

Everything that we do begins and ends with a thought. Some of us are genetically programmed to look on the bright side but a large number of people have tendencies to always look for the negative aspect of everything. This habit causes anxiety. If you are geared this way, you may be having a great day and think about one negative possibility and it shoots your whole day down. All of a sudden everything seems hopeless. There are ways to combat this tendency.

I have to say here that I am not attempting to remedy clinical depression. That is a serious issue that must be addressed with your physician. I cannot diagnose or treat any medical or psychiatric disorder. These are merely tools to help brighten a bad mood because our bodies follow our minds. Unless we learn how to control our thoughts, we will never be able to control our bodies. The desperation of the negative mindset will permeate our existence and we will forever be trying quick fixes to make the mental anguish subside. This takes our focus away from our health incentives and practically insures failure in our nutrition and fitness program.

As soon as you realize that you are having a negative thought, stop it, immediately. If you entertain that thought beyond your recognition of it being bad for you, it will take over your mind in that moment. It will then proceed to take over your day. How many days of the limited number that you have on Earth are you willing to give up to wallowing in misery? If you have to say “Stop it!” out loud, do it. You only have one life and this day will never come again.

With your doctor’s permission, get some exercise for Heaven’s sake! Sitting in a dark room perusing every wrong ever committed against you is not the road to health. It’s the road to the drive-thru fast food emporium, the liquor store and the doctor’s office. Get up!

Only associate with people who make you feel good. If you have to work with negative people, don’t join in the negative scuttlebutt. Tune out. Stay busy. Find ways to do your job better. Walk away and don’t gossip. If it’s family members who bring you down, limit their access to you any way possible. Run for your life. Negative people can make your life miserable. Ditch them first chance you get.

Decide who or what makes you feel good and talk to those people and do those things. My favorite dog and sunshine are a sure thing for lifting my mood. Sun is a known anti-depressant. It changes the chemistry of your brain. While I don’t condone tanning, it causes premature aging, about 15 minutes of sunlight can do wonders for your state of mind.

Work hard. Pay your bills. Avoid unnecessary conflict. Think your way through difficulties. Pursue joy with your whole heart, true joy that comes from a healthy life well lived and above all, never ever give up. You are worth the effort.

How Do I Develop Good Habits?

While we all want to develop good habits, sometimes it seems easier said than done. Nike was on to something when they coined their phrase, “Just Do It” because, as it turns out, that’s how it happens!

We have two systems in our brains that help us create habits. System A is the system that automatically responds with no forethought. We answer the phone when it rings or we put toothpaste on our toothbrush when we pick it up. System B is responsible for walking us through an unknown activity such as choreography or even learning a new lift in strength training. We have to think it through. Over time, we will learn short sequences of steps to learning the entire activity. Then it will move to System A and become automatic. That’s why it takes time to develop good, healthy habits.

We automatically try to use System A first because it’s easy. Very little energy is used to do something that’s already learned. That’s why we tend to fall back on old habits, whether good or bad. We already know how to do them. There is no further expenditure of energy required. Still trying to hit the drive-thru for unhealthy breakfast food even though you set in line longer than it would take to scramble eggs and zap a bowl of oatmeal at home? Still waiting several minutes for the elevator instead of just walking the stairs? Are you the one who drives around the parking lot for 15 minutes trying to get a park practically in the front door of Walmart? These are all examples if how System A works against you. Before you started trying to be healthy, you developed these habits. System A is lazy, conservation of energy is it’s goal.

In order for you to create new, healthy habits you have to go through a new learning process. You will need to fix your breakfast at home a few, or several, times and reap the rewards of having more time and money and seeing your body improve first. You will do this on System B, the learning system. At some point, fixing breakfast will become automatic. It has moved to System A.

This process is required for all new habits to become comfortable. When I first quit eating sugar, it took great forethought and planning to avoid that pitfall. It’s in everything. Over time, it became easy for me to avoid. I learned it’s hiding places and discovered great new sweeteners thanks to David. You’ve got to try Swerve Granulated, Confectioners and Brown. They are awesome!

If you are having trouble developing new, healthy habits, you are not alone. Press in and do the hard work until you get the habit to switch systems. Then it will be a part of your new healthy lifestyle and will come naturally. You won’t even think twice about it anymore.

https://www.lifehack.org/811885/do-you-really-understand-what-a-habit-is

Perfectionism or Excellence?

I’m not sure how it happened, maybe in my strict upbringing, maybe exposure to the Hollywood worshiping culture that seems to permeate this country, maybe it’s genetic, but somewhere along the way I began to set insanely high standards for myself in some areas. While this can be a great benefit, it can also be a heavy burden to bear. We need to understand the difference in the pursuit of excellence, which is wonderful, and perfectionism, which is destructive.

Perfectionists actually seek perfection. Now tell me, is that realistic? Another problem with perfectionism is that perfection is relevant. What one person sees as perfect, another may not. Since perfectionists seek to be perceived as perfect by themselves and others, this is a constant state of frustration. There is no perfect, merely opinions. Pursuers of excellence are thrilled when they meet a new goal because they know they are making progress.

Perfectionists determine their self worth by their achievements. Pursuers of excellence place value themselves based on who they are.

Perfectionists tend to give up when they meet obstacles while pursuers of excellence dig in and push harder.

Perfectionists can be completely devastated by failure. Pursuers of excellence learn from it.

Perfectionists dwell on their mistakes. Pursuers of excellence see them as a tool for growth.

Perfectionists want to be number one while pursuers of excellence can be content knowing that they have done their best.

Perfectionists hate criticism. Pursuers of excellence see critique as a way to improve.

Perfectionists have to win to have good self esteem. Pursuers of excellence can finish in a lower position and feel good, knowing that it was their very best effort.

If you see yourself as a perfectionist, do whatever it takes to embrace the pursuit of excellence. Perfectionism has a negative effect on your overall health and well being. It can contribute to insomnia, high blood pressure and anxiety and cause personality issues that can contribute to problems on the job and with personal relationships, while the pursuit of excellence enriches every aspect of your life and will bring endless rewards.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shyness-is-nice/201301/pursuing-excellence-not-perfection

How Do You Respond To Adversity?

We’ve all heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” What does this mean to you and how do you respond when the going gets tough? What is the long term effect of your stress response on your overall health? Your ability to handle the stress in your life can affect every system of your body including your immune response.

Handling stress poorly is known to cause headaches, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in libido, upset stomach, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, sadness, over or under eating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol misuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal and lack of exercise.

Effectively managing stress is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy, well balanced diet, avoid alcohol and excessive caffeine. Don’t use illegal substances.

Consider professional counseling to help identify the source of your stress and learn new coping skills.

Get emergency help for chest pain. Don’t waver on this issue. Chest pain, shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, pain radiating into an arm, sweating, dizziness and nausea accompanying the chest pain can all be signs of a heart attack.

Stress can impair your immunity and make you more likely to catch communicable diseases.

Identify the source of your anxiety and let that be motivation to make positive changes in your life. Refuse to live with ongoing negative stress as your status quo. Do the hard thing and change your life for the better to alleviate obvious negativity.

Embrace the things that nurture you. Create wellness and peace in your life. It’s not always easy but it is always worth the work.

With your doctor permission, work out as hard as you can. It will change your brain.

Get outside and walk underneath trees. Trees produce chemicals that boost GABA in your brain and it creates calm.

Dump negative people and embrace the ones who truly love you and want the best for you. Nothing is as uplifting as unconditional love.

You are worth the work. Put your physical and mental health in first place and watch the negative effects of mismanaged stress begin to dissipate. You will emerge a changed person with a whole new outlook on life, knowing that you have methods and tools to take care of yourself so that you can care for others and live your best life possible.

Health Sabotage

We have all had those “friends” who seemed to come out of the woodwork whenever we are doing our best with our health initiative. They seem like our best buddy. They can’t get close enough to us or do enough for us and then the moment of truth comes suddenly. They want us to go out and eat and eat what they’re having, usually a heavy dose of carbs and quite often alcohol. They will almost never tell us that they don’t want us to be smaller than them but the evidence is there. I had what I thought was the best friend that I had ever made who actually told me that she didn’t like me being the”skinny” one. Mind you that, at that time, I was 5’6″ and weighed 160#. She was quite a bit bigger. She would bring home made cheesecake, an 8 hour ordeal to make, and put it on my doorstep. I enjoyed every bite and gained weight fast. When I got control of myself and realized what was happening, I lost the weight and continued to lose more when I found David’s Way. This woman told me point blank that she doesn’t want to be my friend if I’m this size. Fine. I don’t need her anymore than I need cancer, heart disease or diabetes. Choose your friends wisely.There is a phenomenon called “social contagion” where we take on the habits of those around us.

Sometimes we encounter this behavior at work. Sometimes at social gatherings. There are some strategies for avoiding some of the land mines that these people lay for us. Recently I had an open bag of goodies left right beside my computer. It went into the trash, probably nasty anyway. How many dirty fingers had reached into that bag? If you’re really serious, after trashing the offending item(s), cover them with dish washing liquid. You won’t be bothered with them again.

Whenever you go somewhere that food is an issue, take your own healthy food.

Take healthy snacks for others.

If there is an active saboteur and there are fragile diabetics in the area, talk to the offending person directly about your health concerns for others.

Make just one day a week “Sweet Treat Day” and cut down on the volume of sugar in your environment and then carry great tasting sugar free options made from David’s Way recipes…brownies anyone?

Create social activities that don’t involve food like hiking or even something new and exciting…hmmm..zipline?

Change the clear containers of cookies and such to opaque. Out of sight, out of mind.

Be proactive. Create the world that you live in. It’s up to you. Don’t fall victim to the tricks and plots of people who are not willing to do the work that you are doing to be healthy. You only have one life. Make it a good one.

Living Positive

It is now Spring and the earth is once again coming back to life. New Years resolutions have been made and many of these have already been forgotten. Be your own best friend and fulfill those promises you made to yourself. Bring about changes to live a healthier life, find something beautiful about every day, the power is within you.

If you want to make positive changes in your life:

Don’t sit on the couch and wait for it. Go out. Make a change.

Smile more. Be excited. Do new things.

Throw away what you have been cluttering.

Do not follow negative people on social media.

Go to bed early, get up early.

Be fierce. Do not gossip. Show more gratitude.

Do things that challenge you.

Be brave

Author Unknown

It is a new season and on behalf of Brenda Sue and myself, I want to thank each and every one of our readers from around the world for your kind support. We have now been read in 65 countries in just under one year. Friends, we want to be the best all round source of nutrition and fitness blog you can find, and have many projects in work to get us there.

We have a search function where you can search out topics with key nutrition or fitness words.

We have a calorie calculator where you can enter your personal information and learn exactly how many calories per day you need to achieve your weight management goals.

We have a new forum we would love to see grow. You can jump into a current topic or create a topic of your own. All that we ask is it remain respectful to all and please avoid political or religious topics. Not that we are not interested in either, it is just that they can become too divisive. Lets find common ground no matter our ages, genders, religions, political affiliations, or nationalities. We truly welcome all no matter who you are.

We have a chart where you can get calories burned for different exercises and activities. This chart is in work still with vast improvements coming, yet is still good for getting an estimate of how many calories you might burn for multiple activities.

I am in work on a calorie chart where you will be able to look up the calories of foods along with their macronutrients. The chart will be up soon and will contain well over 500 food and drink items. This chart will be added to on a consistent basis to eventually include the nutrition information even for popular restaurant menu items.

We work very hard to bring you the best information and try to address every aspect of good nutrition and fitness. If there is a topic we have not covered yet, and you would like to see, then by all means, contact us through email. The link to do this is in our main menu.

Again, we deeply appreciate all of our readers. It is humbling to have so many loyal followers, we aim to please.

David