My Year To Thrive

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." ~Maya Angelou


Try Something New for Thirty Day | Ted Talks

“The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot for the next 30 days?”
~Matt Cutts,
Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

I talk a lot about habit building & routines.  Probably because I’m not good at them, so I am always building & rebuilding, creating new schemes.  Well, it’s that time again.

To that end I have been doing some researching.  I’ve watched a few videos on the topic.  There is so much good information on the topic, I’ve decided instead of trying to cram it into one article I’m going to spread it out over the week. Continue reading


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NIH study shows people with serious mental illnesses can lose weight, March 21, 2013 News Release – National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The Frogman: Emergency Blog Kitten

Since the article has no images, it seemed like a good time to break out the emergency blog kitten.
(source: The Frogman)

NIH study shows people with serious mental illnesses can lose weight, March 21, 2013 News Release – National Institutes of Health (NIH)

People with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression can lose weight and keep it off through a modified lifestyle intervention program, a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study reported online today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

This is one of those studies I read that made my head a’splode.  Not because I don’t agree with the mentally ill losing weight, you know I certainly support healthy behaviors regardless of a weight loss goal, but because it is one of those studies where they draw their conclusions based on things that will never work in the real world.

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Can Fish Oil Help Your Brain – and Bipolar Disorder? | World of Psychology


Psych Central Can Fish Oil Help Your Brain – and Bipolar Disorder?

Can Fish Oil Help Your Brain – and Bipolar Disorder? | World of Psychology

The people of Japan experience one of the lowest bipolar disorder rates in the civilized world. Compared to the 4.4 percent lifetime prevalence rate of bipolar disorder in the U.S., in Japan it’s just 0.07 percent. That’s no typo — that’s a crazy large difference.

So what gives? How come the Japanese have such a low rate of bipolar disorder compared with other high-income, developed nations?

In a word: fish.

There is a good, solid set of research studies that examine the link between brain health and Omega-3 fatty acids. While these studies can, by and large, only speak to the correlation between these two things, findings from these studies are pretty stable — and growing

Two things come to mind while reading this:

  1. Japan has natural lithium springs.  Studies have shown people in those areas are happier & less stressed, the suicide rates are lower.  The question has been asked what if we put lithium in the water here?  IMHO, bad idea.  Not least of all because it should be everyone’s choice if they want those chemicals or not, & lithium can build up in your system & damage your liver.  Sure it would be a very minute dose if they put it in the water, but what if someone was already on lithium? Or a contraindicated med?  Or just had an allergy?
  2. How much does Japan’s attitudes toward mental illness play into that difference?  It’s possible Japan’s cases of Bipolar Disorder are underreported & mostly undiagnosed.  On the flip side, I believe it’s likely BD is over-diagnosed here.   Here is a 3yo article about a documentary on mental illness in Japan that shines a little more light on the subject.  It doesn’t specifically mention BD, but it seems they may use different diagnoses (the director of the movie had been diagnosed with “burn out”).  It also states nearly a quarter of people in Japan had experienced a mental health problem & they have a higher rate of suicides than in the US or the UK.

I have taken a fish, flax-seed, & borage oil supplement for several years.  I can’t honestly say if it has made a difference or not.  During that time I’ve also gone back on meds & into therapy (twice), moved back in with my dad in a hillbilly hell hole, & tried to kill myself.  Would things have been worse if I wasn’t on it?  Who knows.  I do know they say it’s good for you for a variety of reasons & my last physical says I’m pretty healthy.  I certainly don’t feel worse for taking it.

Anyone else have any input on fish oil or mental health in Japan?

Read the full article here.


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Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders | World of Psychology

Our current culture presents a confusing array of messages about eating and body image. We see media images which promote unrealistic (and generally unreal) bodies paired with headlines about obesity prevention programs; news stories about eating disorders alongside multiple supersize food options; push for perfection alongside marketing for indulgence.

Psych Central Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders

Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders | World of Psychology

Man, does that first paragraph bring back some memories!  When I was a skinny teenager, after I had moved in with my dad, when I went to visit my mom the first thing she would do was try to give me a diet pill.  Next she would launch into trying to feed me & if I wasn’t hungry – oh, because maybe I had just eaten – she would tell me I was anorexic.  Granted, my mother didn’t take diet pills for diet reasons.  There’s a few reasons why she dropped dead of a heart attack at 60yo.

There are truths about eating and bodies which seem to get lost somewhere between childhood and teenage years. Young babies and toddlers generally find joy in their bodies, no matter what their size or shape, and they listen to their bodily cues such as eating when they are hungry and stopping when they are full.

Seven steps from NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) to help prevent eating disorders are outlined in the post.

  • Everybody is different
  • Listen to your body.
  • No dieting.
  • Move often.
  • Reject weight bias.
  • Avoid comparing your body to your friends’ bodies or to the bodies you see in the media.
  • Handle life difficulties with healthy coping techniques, not through over- or undereating.

For more depth on the steps, I encourage you read the full post.

I think a recent post  by Ragen Chastain over at Dances with Fat, “Obesity & Eating Disorders, complements this well.  She discusses the ignorance of modern thinking about fat people & eating disorders.  People considered overweight or obese are not only ignored when they have eating disorders, they are actually encouraged because our society, & even our healthcare system, believe in weight loss at any cost.

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Can Food Be Addictive? |

~Tomorrow is race day!~

ice cream crack pipe NYTimes

Can Food Be Addictive? –

I absolutely believe food can be addictive.  I’ve gotten a lot better since I’ve been running, but I used to (& okay, sometimes still do) used food like an alcoholic would drink.  If I was sad or had a bad day, I ate.  If I was happy & had a good day I ate to celebrate.  The binges were always for sadness, loneliness, nervousness, the bad days.  I would eat till I was sick, & keep eating.  I ate things I knew were horrible for me.  Sometimes I would actually think to myself, “I wish I could eat till I exploded.  I want to eat myself to death.”  Regular exercise helps your body regulate sugar & I think that’s why the running helps so much with my eating, along with just generally making me feel better so I don’t need to eat that way as much.  I have far less cravings & binges.

Part of this uses a rat research finding I’ve blogged about before, but they’ve pulled in a few other articles.  A big take-home point for me is how deprivation affects us, which is how traditional dieting works.

…sugar-binging rats show signs of opiatelike withdrawal when their sugar is taken away — including chattering teeth, tremoring forepaws and the shakes. When the rats were allowed to resume eating sugar two weeks later, they pressed the food lever so frantically that they consumed 23 percent more than before.

I would say in my own experience that’s true.  One thing that really made sense for me, which is the opposite of the usual thinking, is from When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies.  They suggest that instead of restricting your access to the foods you crave, your trigger foods, you give yourself a plentiful supply.  Think about how much you could possibly eat at once & keep three times that much around at all times.  When you get over the initial spree of having it around all the time, it becomes mundane & loses its power.  It worked very well for me when I was able to do it.


Good Foods Boost Moods | Psych Central News

New research reveals that some common foods enhance moods with a striking similarity to valproic acid, a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug.

choc covered strawberries

Good Foods Boost Moods | Psych Central News

I have a particular interest in food & exercise as medicine for mental illness.  I talk a lot about running because I do that & can tell a real difference because of it.  The food is a bit trickier, & I don’t see too much out there discussing how diet impacts mental illness.  I see a lot that says it does, but mostly it’s eat healthy, avoid caffeine & sugar; pretty basic, nothing very specific or in-depth.  Naturally this one stuck out for me, especially since they talk about Bipolar Disorder & mood swings, & usually these studies just look at Depression.

Here’s a clip:

“The large body of evidence that chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers encourages the search for other mood modulators in food,” she added.

While people have recognized the mood-altering properties of food for years, Martinez-Mayorga’s team is looking to identify the chemical compounds that moderate mood swings, help maintain cognitive health, improve mental alertness and delay the onset of memory loss.


I would like a prescription for chocolate covered strawberries, please!

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Water Enhancers-They’re Everywhere « L-Jay Health

MiO liquid water enhancer from L-Jay Health

Water Enhancers-They’re Everywhere « L-Jay Health

I found this article at L-Jay Health & it is something that I have been thinking about for a while actually, especially since I’ve upped my use of these.

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