Saturday, January 30, 2010

Monthly Challenge: February 2010- Let's Get Healthy!

I've procrastinated this goal for awhile now, mostly because the holidays were not when I wanted to start, but also because I am scared to make this lifestyle change! I don't believe in diets. I think being healthy is an everyday thing, not just every once in awhile. And my general health is in bad shape.

Not sure if you are out of shape? Here are some common symptoms:

  • Being out of breath or having a long recovery time after walking up a flight of stairs
  • Feeling exhausted after short periods of exertion
  • Chronic muscle tension
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Obesity
  • Muscles cramped and aching for days after participating in a sport
  • General tiredness, lethargy, boredom
This month, I want to challenge all of you to join me in making personal adjustments in your lifestyle to better your health. I plan to focus on exercise ideas as well as diet changes such as drinking more water, healthy food swaps, recipes, and cooking tips, etc.
    Edmund J. Bourne says, "One of the most powerful and effective methods for reducing generalized anxiety and overcoming a disposition to panic attacks is a program of regular, vigorous exercise...Exercise is a natural outlet for your body when it is in the fight-or-flight mode of arousal...Regular exercise also diminishes the tendency to experience anticipatory anxiety toward phobic situations, expediting recovery from all kinds of phobias, ranging from fear of public speaking to fear of being alone."
    I hope since I gave the challenge away early that you have had enough time to think about what you want to do. An exercise program is a commitment that shouldn't be done by flying by the seat of your pants. It will differ for everyone depending on your health goals. There's running, swimming, cycling, aerobics, walking, strength training, exercising at home, joining a gym, etc. So many options!

    As always, I'll share what I am up to and what I find helpful. I'd love to hear from you if you plan to join the challenge, and what you will try to do. You can leave a comment below or I have created a new topic in the Discussion Forum where we can share tips, recipes, fun workout ideas, etc.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Adding Twitter, Facebook, and Followers

    I have always been a fan of RSS feeds and have offered ways to subscribe to The Reality of Anxiety through feed readers and email. I've also attached links at the bottom of each post for StumbleUpon, Technorati, Digg,, and my yahoo! However, there are many people that use other popular methods of tracking their favorite blogs such as Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger's Followers widget. All are methods of sharing information. And I want you to be able to access The Reality of Anxiety however is best for you, so I have added functionality that will allow you to do just that. You will notice share buttons at the beginning of each post for Facebook and Twitter, and a Followers widget along the sidebar. If it starts to get too crowded I will remove the less used ones, but I think I've spaced them out okay. Let me know if you like the updates, or if its all just too confusing!

    Share and Read On!

    P.S. There may be some issues since I am new to these- for instance the tweet button on each post defaults to one- not sure why, still trying to figure it out. If you have any problems using the new features just let me know.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Chronic Stress Equals More Belly Fat!?!

    Are you an apple or a pear?

    I find myself in a weird and unfamiliar predicament. All my life I have been too skinny. Even after having my daughter I dropped the weight pretty quickly. After the holidays and all the food filled parties, I weigh the most I ever have (besides when pregnant) and although I want to gain weight, I don't like where it is showing up. All of it is in my belly and hips, whereas my arms and legs are still sticks! I look very disproportionate. But I guess beggars can't be choosers.

    I took a look at my eating habits and lack of exercise and found LOTS of room where I can improve. I also came across this article that explains the difference in body shapes. An apple, vs. a pear (gaining weight in your midsection vs. gaining weight in your thighs and buns):
    "We crunch. We Ab Blast. We eschew carbs. Heck, we'll even go under the knife to get rid of ab flab.
    Unfortunately, recent research shows that you can crunch until you crumble and diet till you're drained of energy, but if your days are full of stress, the perfect six-pack--or even a flatter midsection--will continue to elude you.
    That's because fat in the abdominal area functions differently than fat elsewhere in the body. It has a greater blood supply as well as more receptors for cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol levels rise and fall throughout the day, but when you're under constant stress, the amount of the hormone you produce remains elevated. With high stress and, consequently, high cortisol levels, more fat is deposited in the abdominal area since there are more cortisol receptors there.

    But ab flab is not the only price you'll pay for chronic stress (the kind created by a marriage that's unraveling, a job you hate, problems with your health--rather than, say, tension caused by a traffic snarl). Chronically high cortisol levels also kill neurons in the brain and interfere with feel-good neurotransmitters--such as dopamine and serotonin--which can lead to depression and feeling more stressed.
    More stress = more fat
    In short, the whole issue of abdominal fat goes far beyond how you look in a bikini: The fat at your waist--what researchers call central obesity--is associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer. And while it's true that heredity plays a role in overall body type (that is, whether you are more of an "apple" than a "pear"), says Brenda Davy, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, "genetics accounts for only 25-55 percent of the tendency to develop the most serious diseases associated with abdominal fat--the remainder is lifestyle."'
    Knowing that the odds are stacked against me, I am taking some steps to get my body in less of an apple shape, and more of an hourglass shape :)

    Monthly Challenge Update

    I took a break from the monthly challenges in January, mainly because life has been so busy I needed the time to really figure out what was next. Starting February first, I will do another monthly challenge, this time for being more healthy.

    Why am I telling you this now? Because in order to have success, a trendy diet isn't going to work. Being healthy is a LIFESTYLE change. And that's what this is all about. Changing our lives and health for the better. Take some time and think about how you can be more healthy and what you are realistically willing to do. If you want to start exercising, than what program will work best for you? Is it a gym membership? Is it a treadmill in your home? Will you start jogging? What kind of changes can you make to your diet?

    Some stuff to think about. Oh by the way, there will be a giveaway as well :)


    Monday, January 18, 2010

    The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety at HealthyPlace

    A little while ago I did an online television interview with the people over at HealthyPlace. They have asked me to start an anxiety blog on their site to help contribute to their anxiety and panic community. I agreed graciously, as this opportunity will allow me to reach out and hopefully help more people. The blog is called The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety and I will blog there twice a week, as well as have audio and video posts occasionally. I like to think of it as a sister site to The Reality of Anxiety, since I plan to continue blogging here as well. The two blogs are very different however. The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety is a more formal place with several blogs in the mental health category, all with the look and feel of the rest of the HealthyPlace site. So far the posts are mostly just my history which most of you already know. You may notice they still have a few wrinkles to iron out. The Reality of Anxiety is my own little corner of the internet where I can express myself however I want, being as creative with my design and posts as I want. Both will be worth reading! They are announcing the new blogs today. Check it out and let me know what you think. But please come back! 


    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    This One's For the Girls: A Tool for Anxiety and Aunt Flo

    Sorry men, but you are going to want to stop reading right. about. now.

    Seriously. You don't want to keep reading.

    I've heard that your anxiety can worsen depending on your menstruation cycle. I never really put much thought into it until today when I was using a site that I normally use for fertility purposes. It's called My Monthly Cycles. Its a really cool website that has a lot of free features as well as premium services if you are interested. I used it to help get pregnant with my first baby. You can track you period cycles, it will let you know when you are ovulating and fertile, and the part I want to talk about today- you can also track your menstrual symptoms. It has a list of symptoms you may feel- nausea, headache, moodiness, ANXIETY, and more with a radial button to list how light or severe the symptoms are. The idea behind this is that over time of logging in a few period cycles, it will begin to predict what symptoms you may experience in the future. So if at the beginning of your cycle if you are really moody, tired, and have some crying spells, it will let you know when your next cycle will start and those symptoms you will have so YOU CAN PREPARE. I say this, because it has the option of choosing your anxiety levels during the month as well. How cool is that?!? Over time, it can tell you when you are most likely to be anxious, allowing you time to prepare for any rough days that lie ahead.

    Even if you only want to use this to track your anxiety and nothing else, I think that would still work. I think this is such a great tool to keep in our back pockets.


    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Warning: An Anxiety Free Post

    I don't usually do this, but today's post has absolutely nothing to do with anxiety whatsoever. It does however, have to do with keeping New Year's Resolutions, and one that I kept for 2009. I mentioned earlier how I wanted to display more of my photography in my home and so I created a photo wall. Some of you asked to see pictures. So here you go:

    The wall vinyl says "We do not remember days, we remember moments."

    Being the perfectionist I am, I can't just show this to you without all of the buts and disclaimers. It's not entirely finished. As I mentioned I still need to fill up the last canvas of a close up of my husband. Also, I need to get better hook ups for the back so they will stay level. Currently they move a lot and look crooked. The family pic in the middle isn't my favorite, but its the only recent one that we have. Since there are only 3 of us it is a little redundant, so as we have more children I will swap some out for pictures of them, and I would like to get some nice pictures of our pets for one of them as well. I couldn't stick to a theme of all black and white, or all color, or all sepia because each picture looks best in a certain way and so I decided to just mix it up so that I could showcase my favorite pictures how they look best.

    Just so you can see how it relates to the room.

    If you want to know how I did it- instead of paying $150 for each print to be turned into canvas prints, I had shutterfly send me the 16 X 20 prints. I used craft paint to paint the sides of the canvases (black, brown, or cream to match the picture) and then I modge- podged the prints onto the canvases. I didn't modge-podge the tops of the prints, only to glue the print to the canvas. Then I sanded the sides of the prints to make it look a little more worn and to make them fit better. This process cost only about $30 for each which is much better for my budget. (I got the canvases all at half prince at my local Hobby Lobby).

    I edited all of the pictures myself, but only took the ones without me in them of my daughter and hubby. My coworker and friend and my hubby took the others.

    If you have done anything similar to this or have a way to show us your finished resolutions from last year, leave a link in your comments so we can check it out!

    Thanks for looking!

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    New Year's Resolutions

    Every year when January 1st rolls around I have a whole list of resolutions for every aspect of my life. I guess its the perfectionist in me, as there is a never ending list in my head as to how I can improve. Then, as long as I actually complete one resolution, I am happy. Its sort of fail safe.

    Last year one of my resolutions was to display some of my pictures that I take in my home. I came up with a photo wall of 9 16 X 20 canvas prints that I love. I have one left that I need to still fill of my hubby (getting him to do a photo shoot of only him will be a miracle). But it was a lot of work and took a long time to accumulate the photos and put it all together. So I am happy.

    This year, I want to do a lot more for my home. Turning my house into a home kinda stuff. I have my toe dipped into so many little ventures, I would like to take one of them and run with it. Turn it into something bigger. As for my health, I have a lot of ideas for the site, but I haven't made any real goals for myself. I am still trying to master the once a week yoga. The holidays kinda took me off of that one, whoops!

    I have spiritual goals and family goals, but they too come with roadblocks that make it hard. And I've decided I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. Make life simpler so as not to get so overwhelmed. So I think the simplest way for me this year is to sum all of my goals into one mission statement if you will:

    To spend my time with people that I love, doing activities that I love, that make myself and my family happy.

    Remembering that will help me to stay focused on where I should be.

    Any New Year's Resolutions for you?


    Monday, January 4, 2010

    It's Official- the Shop is OPEN!

    I just wanted to announce that I have posted some fun necklaces or pendants for sale at the new Reality of Anxiety Shop! You can see the widget on the top left side of the blog, or you can get there by clicking here. I only posted 4 items so far so I can get an idea of how much interest there is before I go all crazy and bust a ton more out. Although I do have some that are already made that I haven't posted that say "Bring It On" "I Can" and "Calm".

    I don't want to just have necklaces, so I can do any of them as pendants as well that you can use for a keychain, a phone accessory, etc.

    Also, I have been toying with the idea of creating customized journals as well. Journaling was the first thing I did to try to cope with the anxiety. I carried that thing around with me everywhere and flipped through the pages for references all the time. I listed my affirmations and important things I wanted to remember when not by my computer or not at home with all of my books. I am a crazy scrapbooker and so I may put some of it to use in the future.

    As I've mentioned before, everything can be customized to say whatever you would like including names, phrases, and dates. Just let me know!


    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Happy New Year!

    I know I am a few days late, but I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year from our family to yours! I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday and have a promising outlook for Twenty Ten.

    This past year of the Reality of Anxiety has been greater than I ever imagined and mostly because of you all. You truly are the motivation that keeps me trying to improve and blogging. So, to the Readers of the Reality of Anxiety, I'd just like to say....

    Thank you for simply stopping by
    Thank you for the motivating and kind comments
    Thank you for inspiring me to try new things
    Thank you for your input and inquiries
    Thank you for spreading hope
    Thank you for participating in all of my ventures
    Thank you for creating friendships
    Thank you for just being you.

    Happy New Year!

    Aimee, Tyler, and Peyton


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