Category: Stress

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.


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.

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.


Exercise, To Get Your Mind Right

At David’s Way, we strongly encourage all who want to live a healthier lifestyle to incorporate a regular exercise regimen into their daily routines, or at a minimum three or four days per week for at least a half hour of activity. Just ensure you have your physicians approval before beginning any new physical fitness activities. If you have never been one to exercise, know that thirty minutes of moderate intensity, such as walking 3 days per week is sufficient to be a benefit to your health and well being. If thirty minutes is too much for you to begin with, then try three ten minute walks each day as they are equally useful as one thirty minute walk. In fact, if you have never exercised, you would be better served to do three ten minute walks and build into walking for a half hour straight at your own pace.

Having studied several popular weight loss/management programs, I have observed that many of them appear to only concentrate on two things, getting you to lose weight and taking your money. A glaring problem I have identified is that even if they encourage some exercise, the focus is aimed squarely at losing pounds, and reaching a number on the scale or maybe a smaller size article of clothing. The mental health aspect of why people might become overweight is almost never addressed. The programs are always aimed at getting your weight down and not at fixing your mind in order for you to understand why you might have an eating disorder and fail to address how regular exercise helps to clear your mind and how it can increase your self esteem and confidence. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. These improvements in mind are caused in part by the blood supply’s improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Inactive people usually experience cognitive inflexibility which keeps them repeating unhelpful behaviors and restricts their ability to process or to even acknowledge new information which reduces the ability to change their behaviors which contributed to their overweight or obese situation. Regular exercise will help to clear the mind in order to see new solutions to life’s problems.

For a large number of overweight or obese individuals, possibly even a majority, if you do not get your mind right as a part of a weight loss program, even if you do reach your goal weight, you are likely going to put that weight back on and likely even more than you lost in the first place. The mind has to be in the game too, or you will fail at your efforts. As a part of having your mind right, exercise has to be about more than causing a scale number to drop. Exercise has to also improve your mood along with increasing your lean muscle mass, or at a minimum be sufficient for you to maintain the lean muscle mass you currently possess. As a component of a healthy lifestyle, the health benefits of regular exercise that should be emphasized include the following:

  1. Improved sleep.
  2. Increased interest in sex.
  3. Better endurance.
  4. Stress relief.
  5. Improvement in mood.
  6. Increased energy and stamina.
  7. Reduce tiredness which can increase mental alertness.
  8. Weight reduction.
  9. Reduce cholesterol and improved cardiovascular fitness.

Friends, you do not have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits of regular exercise. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a huge difference in the quality of your life. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better in body and mind.

Anorexia Nervosa, Dying To Be Thin

I must begin this article by saying that if you suspect yourself, or anyone else, of having this possibly deadly disorder, go, or take them, to a medical doctor immediately.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight and a distorted perception of weight. (1) Victims place a high value on controlling their weight and use extreme efforts that tend to interfere with their lives. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia tend to severely restrict their calories. They may voluntarily vomit after eating, which is bulimia. Excessive exercise is also common.

Quite often self worth is directly linked to body weight in the anorexic’s mind. It can become the central focus of your life, leaving everything else in ruin, including your health. It can be reversed, but requires professional, medical intervention because it is life threatening.

Some of the symptoms of anorexia are:

1- Extreme weight loss

2- Unusually thin appearance

3-Abnormal blood work



6-Dizziness or fainting

7-Bluish discoloration of the fingers

8-Hair that thins, breaks or falls out

9-Soft, downey hair covering the body

10-Absence of menstruation

11-Constipation and abdominal pain

12-Dry or yellowish skin

13-Cold intolerance

14-Irregular heart rhythms

15-Low blood pressure


17-Swelling of arms and legs

18-Eroded teeth and calluses on the knuckles from induced vomiting (bulimia)

The difference between anorexia and simple bulimia is that anorexics have an abnormally low body weight.

There are emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms which may include:

1-Preoccupation with food

2-Skipping meals

3-Denial of hunger

4-Eating only a few “safe” foods which are usually low in calories

5-Adopting rigid meal or eating rules

6-Not wanting to eat in public

7-Lying about how much food has been eaten

8-Fear of gaining weight

9-Frequently checking the mirror for perceived flaws.

10-Complaining about being fat

11-Covering up in layers of clothing

12-Flat mood

13- Social withdrawal



17-Reduced interest in sex.

If you have any of these symptoms, see a physician.

If you notice that a family member has low self esteem, severe dieting habits and dissatisfaction with their appearance, consider talking to them about these issues and encourage them to seek help by visiting their physician.


Do Psychotropics Affect Weight Loss?


A Common Issue

Many people  have  mentioned their use of prescription,  psychotropic drugs as a reason that they are overweight and/or can’t lose weight. While this can happen, there are strategies for coping with this side effect of what is sometimes necessary medication.

Everyone’s Health Is Important

While the percentage of people who are obese has skyrocketed in recent years, the percentage of severely mentally ill people who are obese is even higher, at approximately 60%. (1) While most of our readers may not fall into this category, there are doubtless, some who do. There are also many who are treated with the same or similar drugs who may not consider themselves to be in this category. I am addressing the medications involved and their impact on weight. Where you fall on this spectrum is irrelevant except for your suffering. Your physical health is critical to your overall well-being and weight affects your health. There is a delicate balancing act involved in administering and receiving psychotropics that may affect your weight. The methods of weight control in this special scenario are unique and we in NO WAY advise discontinuation of these necessary medications. We do not pretend to be doctors. Always discuss medications with your physician. Due to a possible bias against the mentally ill, this issue is not discussed very often in weight management scenarios, however it is absolutely necessary if we are going to try to help the world to be healthy. Many people fit in this category.

Danger Zone

There are anti-psychotics that can increase blood sugar and it’s mandatory to monitor your blood sugar on a regular basis if your physician indicates that your medication may be one of those. In some cases, medications have to be discontinued and others prescribed. These drugs are known to contribute to weight gain.

Some mood stabilizers can contribute to weight gain and some also affect thyroid function. Always return for prescribed lab work and other treatments that monitor the biochemical environment of your mind and body.

The appalling truth is that high cholesterol (69%), metabolic syndrome (63%), hypertension (58%) and type 2 diabetes (15%) are higher in this population of mental illness. In turn, you have a shorter lifespan, so weight management is even more critical to the health and well-being of this population. The most common cause of death in this group is heart disease, just as in the general population but these patients have an even higher percentage of heart disease. If you are in this group, please address your physical health. Your life will be so much better, and quite possibly longer, if you do.

Poor Choices

There are various factors that affect the weight of the mentally ill including genetics, medications and lifestyle.  We seek only to intervene in the lifestyle area. Mentally ill patients smoke more, are less physically active and have poor dietary practices compared to the general population. These are factors that can be controlled by the patient by deciding to be healthy. Take control where you can. This is an area that’s all your choices, make them good.


There are interventions that only your doctor can oversee such as switching medications and adjunctive therapies to lessen the weight gain effect of drugs that are known to contribute to an increased BMI but there are lifestyle choices that you can make that will make a difference. These strategies work for everyone. Agreeably, your progress may be slower but if you do nothing to halt this process, your health will almost certainly suffer if your weight continues to climb.

Talk To Someone

Cognitive behavioral therapy with a good therapist is a good tool to learn how to implement healthy changes.

Get Some Help With Your Nutrition and Wellness

Nutrition counseling and combined nutritional and exercise programs delivered to individuals and groups have shown to reduce body weight in patients taking psychotropic medications and in patients with preexisting psychotropic-induced weight gain.The data indicates that these benefits may be maintained for up to 2-3 months after this intervention and that weight may be further reduced even after counseling. (1) At David’s Way we want to educate you and send you on your way. We do not want you dependent on us, so according to this finding, that’s entirely possible. Spend some time learning how to be healthy and carry it with you forever. It becomes your normal life and will benefit you as long as you live.


If your doctor has prescribed a nutritional program for you, take responsibility and follow it. If you don’t know how many calories to eat, use the Calorie Counter Pro on the “Menu” tab here on the blog. Go to the Homepage and you will see the “Menu” button. Activity is great, but get your nutrition fixed quickly and then you may want to work into working out, with your doctor’s permission. Eating better and moving more works for everyone, although it works at a different pace in everyone. Be patient and “Trust The Process.” (David Yochim)


Mentally ill patients on these drugs that are known to cause weight gain are met with a unique situation. You must first make the decision to seek treatment for your mental illness and then you must make another decision, to be as physically healthy as you possibly can be.  Being physically healthy will help to ease the burden of your mental illness. If you are strong and healthy you will be much better equipped to handle your mental illness on a daily basis. There will be much less to distract you from improving your life. If we can be of help with your Nutrition and Wellness initiative, we are here. The light is always on at .  Always get your doctor’s approval before beginning any nutrition, wellness or exercise program.




Causes of Stress Eating and Possible Prevention

The American Psychological Association estimates most people live with a stress level of 8 out of 10. Stress initially decreases appetite by causing an increase in adrenaline but if the stress persists, cortisol is produced. Cortisol ramps up everything, including appetite. Once a stressful situation is over the cortisol levels should fall, but if the stress persists, the cortisol may get stuck in the “on” position. (1)

Cortisol is known to cause sugar and fat cravings, possibly to create energy for “fight or flight”. These food preferences coupled with the tendencies to sleep less, exercise less and drink more alcohol all contribute to weight gain. Women tend to turn to food and men tend to turn to alcohol. Active stress correlates with weight gain. Some people produce more cortisol and they are more prone to weight gain.

Since we know that stress causes weight gain, we need coping mechanisms to stop it before it starts.

Do not keep “trigger foods” in your area.

Exercise, it tends to burn through the cortisol.

Get social. Positive friends and family naturally buffer the effects of long term stress. Just make sure that they are positive. Negative input can set you way back. Don’t associate with people that you don’t want to be like. We tend to acquire the habits of those around us by a process known as “social contagion”. Make sure that if you catch something, it’s something that you want to catch! Health minded people like our Followers will help keep you on top of your game. Visit often and be active, comment, join the “Topics ” discussion forum and download the Calorie Counter Pro. Search for topics of interest and recipes. At David’s Way, you are in good company. We reply to your comments and questions. ;-*


Natural Ways to Reduce Anxiety

Chronic anxiety creates a difficult life. Anxiety and disease are related. Heart palpitations, headaches, insomnia and strained relationships are only a few of the effects of living with chronic anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is a broad range of disorders defined by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes. Anxiety disorders can trigger nervousness, apprehension and fear and their severity can range from mildly unsettling to debilitating. (1)

Some of the most common anxiety disorders today include the following:

-Generalized Anxiety Disorder

-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

– Post Traumatic Stress

-Social Anxiety Disorder

-Panic Disorder

While you might feel alone if you’re living with anxiety, the truth is that these disorders affect more than 40 million people across the United States, making it the most common category of mental illnesses in the country. Even so, just over a third of sufferers receive adequate treatment. (1)

Dealing with anxiety can be a lifelong struggle, as most people first develop the symptoms during childhood in their teenage years. Women under 35 tend to be the most diagnosed population, especially those living in western countries. (1)

Anxiety manifests itself differently for everyone, but the symptoms usually include a sense of losing control, either through nightmares, panic attacks or a feeling that there is a disconnect between your mind and body. Many people with anxiety struggle to fall asleep or can’t concentrate on what’s in front of them. (1)

Ways to Reduce Anxiety

1-Practice Relaxation Techniques

Deep breathing lowers your stress levels. You can practice the 4-7-8 breathing method by exhaling completely, then inhaling through your nose for four counts. Hold your breath as you count to seven and then release it for a count of eight. Do this at least three times whenever you feel a wave of anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from a qualified counselor can also be helpful.

2-Exercise Regularly

Exercise helps you release stress energy and also increases self-esteem. Research indicates that at least 21 minutes is needed to lower anxiety levels.

Outdoor workouts are even better because they boost Vitamin D levels and GABA, a calming neurotransmitter. Exercising among trees is even more effective.

3-Organize your thoughts by writing

Journaling is effective for some people as a way to understand the source of anxiety. Creative writing can process anxiety to the end point.

4-Spend Time With Animals

Animals provide unconditional love and the care of them organizes and calms the mind.

5-Practice Time Management Strategies

A lot of stress comes from feeling like you have lost control of your schedule. Taking the time to organize your life with a calendar will help to lower your levels of anxiety.

6-Drink Tea

Both Chamomile and Green Tea are known to have beneficial anxiety reducing compounds.

7-Stay Full of Healthy Foods

It’s common for people with anxiety to skip breakfast. It’s much better to fill up on a satisfying meal early in the day to remain in control throughout the morning.

More Strategies to Reduce Anxiety

-Get 8 hours of sleep each night

-Avoid stimulants

-Laugh, loud and often, a merry heart does good, like a medicine!


(1) AFPA, Claire Riley, B.S.