Black Heart

I’m sure some of you have noticed by my recent posts and tweets, that yes, I’ve been going through a rather nasty breakup…but that’s ok. I’ve been going out with the same guy for two years now and our relationship has been rocky from the start.  We’re good, even great for several months at a time until some pathetic event triggers explosive, WWIII-type fights.  Fighting is never healthy for any relationship for too many reasons to even bother listing.  A relationship should be about support, trust, love, laughter, commitment, dedication, companionship and partnership.

I finally opened my eyes a few weeks ago and have come to see that if any of these elements are rusty or not there at all, IT’S NEVER GOING TO WORK.  Most importantly, if you and your partner have “broken up” at all, it’s easier to walk away the next time there’s a fight and that’s just not healthy for both of you.  Writing about my feelings seems to get a lot of anxiety off my chest but not everybody enjoys writing or being open about personal situations.  Being open helps you realize that maybe it’s not you and maybe it’s not your partner, it’s just the chemistry between you two.  Take a peek at your zodiac matches.

In the meantime, try to forget about relationships all together if you’ve experienced a recent breakup; a rebound partner is never a good idea.  Period.  That rebound person is going to end up getting hurt and think there’s something wrong with them when in fact, the problem is you because you didn’t give yourself enough time to move on and feel self-assured and confident again. I’m whipping myself into shape because when I look at myself in the mirror and see somebody I’m pleased to look at everyday, I know that I’m good enough for me so somebody else will eventually think so too. Think about your own future and the good things you have to look forward to instead of looking back at the bad things.


The Start of Insanity

I’m not referring to how I’m going to feel in the next two weeks before spring break…I’m talking about the break-through fitness program that I begged my parents to get me for my last birthday that sat in my closet for a year. Well I’ve decided this spring is going to be different. I’ve been casually exercising for three months now in order to build up enough stamina to keep up with the program. Insanity is a 60 day program (yeah, just two months) that is said to be the hardest workout put on DVD.  If someone who weighs 160 plus pounds can push through their exhaustion and mental block for 45 minutes everyday and turn their fat to lean muscle, then I’m ready to hop on that train too. Insanity has you work flat out in three to five minute blocks and take breaks “only long enough to gulp some air and get right back to work”.

MONTH ONE (includes 5 max interval workouts)

  • PLYOMETRICS for insane legs and glutes
  • UPPER BODY RESISTANCE for upper arms, shoulders, chest and back 
  • PURE CARDIO for crazy fat burn
  • CARDIO ABS with intensive core work
  • RECOVERY gives your body a break after an “insane week”

MONTH TWO (includes 4 new workouts)

  • MAX INTERVAL CIRCUIT for toughest interval workout
  • MAX INTERVAL PLYO will have your legs crying for mercy
  • MAX CARDIO CONDITIONING for extreme cardio burn
  • MAX RECOVERY to build strength for a whole new round

After using the rather lengthy formula provided to figure out my necessary caloric intake to maintain weight loss goals, I concluded that I need 1,569 calories each day of this program. Because I paid a lot of money for the program, I won’t disclose the 30 some pages of food recipes provided but I will tell you that Shaun T. recommends eating 5 meals a day: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch time, afternoon snack and dinner. If I send my before and after picture to the BeachBody Production company, I receive the official Insanity t-shirt with the “I earned it” slogan on the back. So keep an eye out for my results in two months!

Who cares if pot becomes legal in MD?

Thousands of people testified and showed their support for or against the legalization on marijuana in the state of Maryland Tuesday. In the first set of hearings, members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee weighed measures proposing to make recreational use of the drug legal for people 21 and older; another proposal would shift possessions of small amounts of marijuana to a civil, rather than criminal offense. Proponents of both bills pointed to negative consequences of prohibiting marijuana, including the barriers to employment and education created by marijuana-related arrests and the racial disparities that often surface in arrests.  More…

“We have criminalized and demonized tens of thousands of our fellow Marylanders, we have ruined many of their prospects for success in the labor market and the job force, we have been spending more than $100 million a year on criminal arrest prosecution and supervision of people for marijuana related offenses, and yet we didn’t put a dent into the demand for the drug, and so indirectly we have been supporting the drug gangs and the international drug cartel.”–Senator Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, sponsor of the legalization bill.

Law enforcement officials testifying in opposition pointed to unintended consequences of the legislation, such as a potential increase in “drug driving” and a hike in the number of people trying the drug for the first time. There are zero known deaths from marijuana use itself but mental and physical effects are not limited to altered perceptions and mood, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory. Marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. Most pot smokers aren’t hurting anybody and mind their own business…but try to imagine living in a world where it is completely legal to smoke before work, school or before driving.  Do you think this generation could handle the responsibility?

Alcohol and Your Body

Drinking can seem like one of the biggest social events on a college campus but when weekend fun turns into a daily routine, your body will start crying for help.  The liver is the largest organ in the human body and it has over 500 different roles.  One of its most important roles of the liver is to break down food and convert it to energy when you need it most.  It also helps rid the body of waste products and plays a crucial role in fighting infections.  When the liver is damaged, you generally won’t know about it until things get serious.  Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver in two main ways: oxidative stress and toxins in gut bacteria.  The end result?  Liver disease that can lead to serious hospitalization or death.

So how do you know if you’re drinking too much?  You may have an alcohol problem if you:

  • Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
  • Lie to others or hide your drinking habits
  • Have friends or family who are concerned about your drinking habits
  • Need to drink in order to relax or feel better
  • “Black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking
  • Regularly drink more than you intended to

If you need to drink more than you used to in order to get a buzz and can drink more than other people without getting drunk, these are signs of tolerance which can be an early warning of alcoholism.  If you experience any of the following signs, you may be experiencing withdrawal from the heavy amounts of alcohol your body is used to consuming.

  • Anxiety/Jumpiness
  • Shaking/Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or  vomiting
  • Insomnia/Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

Alcohol abuse can lead to destructive decisions like drinking and driving, performing poorly at work or school, increased probability of overdosing when mixing alcohol with medications, disorderly conduct and embarrassment or heartbreak for yourself and others.  If you or somebody you care about think you might have a drinking problem, visit www.helpguide.org for information, support and help.

Good Vibes

If for any reason you wake up feeling like something or someone is draining positive energy from your life, do something about it!  It’s hard enough to balance relationships with a full workload and still try to squeeze in a little “me time” all under 24 hours.  Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul says that we live in an extremely externalized culture.  “We are constantly pulled outside of ourselves–by other people, by the media, by the demands of daily life.  Nothing in our culture or education teaches us how to go inward, how to steady the mind and calm our attention.  As a consequence, we tend to devote very little time to the life of the soul, the life of the spirit.”  Read more…

Not having the right amount of stillness and balance in your life can lead to high levels of anxiety, causing physical and mental ‘numbness’.  The Calm Clinic says physical numbness is most likely a result of uneven blood flow.  When your body is feeling anxious, it goes into “fight or flight” mode,  heats up and blood rushes to the areas it feels are most needed to fight or run away; as a result, you lose feeling in different limbs.  Anxiety can also lead to depression as a result of your mind trying to deal with/find solutions for all of the external stimuli (friends, family, partners, colleagues, etc.) in your life and the brain feels overwhelmed, helpless and simply shuts down.

I’m not saying to shut important people out of your life or that you’re going to be backed into a corner from anxiety, but doing things you love by yourself and for yourself play a key role in physical and mental wellness.  Here’s a few simple solutions to find your center and steal your own slither of happiness:

  • Meditation–Find a quiet place to yourself (like in a dark room lit with candles or in a grassy field in a park), come to terms with every thought that comes up and let them pass until your mind is clear
  • LIGHTLY indulge in that chocolate you’ve been craving or thinking about.  Chocolate increases serotonin and endorphin levels, lowering stress and boosting happiness
  • Take a bath! (<–Read my first post)

The ADHD Talk

Ask almost any college student if they know what adderall  is and I guarantee that 90% of them would answer “yes.”  Adderall, as described by drugs.com, contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine which are central nervous system stimulants that affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.   It’s a prescription drug used to control narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); adults can also have ADHD and in fact, up to half of the adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children but when the ADHD persists into adulthood, the symptoms vary and the individual often has problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.

There are three different categories of ADHD symptoms: inattention,  hyperactivity and impulsivity.  Those who suffer with the disorder know exactly what it’s like to try to sit patiently for a half hour, even ten minutes, to attempt to proactively keep their room clean, to pay attention when someone is talking, to finish an assignment without making stupid mistakes and worst of all, to procrastinate on almost everything there is to do.  I made it through my adolescent life with a lot of help from my parents but as soon as I left for college, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy four years.  I managed to barely pass my classes for two years with the help of my first college boyfriend but the symptoms took a large toll on our relationship and in his words, “he got tired of babysitting me.”  School became so difficult for me without any structure or authority figure in my life that I spiraled out of control and took the year off.

Last year was the first year of my college life that I brought home decent grades.  How did I manage to turn things around?  My randomly selected roommate had ADHD and was prescribed a form of adderall.  She and I became close friends because we were so much alike and could understand each other, unlike a lot of other people who judged us for being impatient, disorganized, impulsive and “stupid.”  I had a long talk with my mom and finally went to the doctor about the problems I had been having.  I might not be a super-being now or even close to as organized and proactive as a “normal” peer but I am getting through my last semester and fifth year in college, realizing I am different and there will eventually a  perfect job out there for me.

A Walk in the Park

There is nothing I love more about the first signs of spring than knowing I get to spend my free time at a park, basking in the sunshine.  Spending time outdoors makes me feel so at peace, one with nature, care-free and above all, healthy.  There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors that people aren’t even aware of because of convenient technologies and indoor facilities that soak up free time.  An article from the National Wildlife Federation explains that the average American child spends as little as 30 minutes outside each day.  Child obesity rates have doubled and the U.S. has become the leader in prescribing ADHD and depression medications because they are missing that vital connection to the green world.

I remember when I was a young child, it took all my willpower to listen to my mother to return inside after dark.  I wanted to play outside with my sister and neighbors all day long, never wanting to return to the boring house.  Today, when I start feeling the stress of school or peer relationships, the first thing I do is drive to a park so I can walk around and breathe deep instead of taking my frustration out on other people.

The green outdoors doesn’t just have to be limited to walking around and staring at the trees.  You can meditate, go on a run or a jog, take a friend to a picnic and even bird watch if that’s your thing.  My dog loves when I tell her we’re going on a walk because she knows she can sniff around for a good hour or two and investigate the mysterious smells of other animals while I inhale the fresh air and finally get a break from my computer or television screen.  Go to the beach, go to a zoo, a park, a walk down the street or wherever you prefer that’s outside with someone you love because face-to-face communication is lacking in today’s world and being outside is a great way to reconnect.

If You’re Getting Sick…Try Not to Panic

Lately I’ve been surrounded by people who have been sneezing, coughing, losing their voices, vomiting or weak from a fever.  I have always had a weak immune system because I have several autoimmune diseases  so I was surprised to find myself in pretty good shape this entire week.  If you find yourself getting sick, try and quarantine yourself from others you recognize with cold or flu symptoms (it’s often hard to tell the difference between the two).   Both can be treated with medicine to shorten the time spent sick but once the cold or flu has started, there’s nothing more to do than temporarily mask the symptoms and ride it out.

Experts say that Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients.  It protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling.  It may not cure the cold or flu but if you eat enough fruits and vegetables or take an additional supplement to get the recommended daily 500 mg, Vitamin C can play a large role in keeping you out of your bed and on top of your daily life.  If you don’t prefer straight fruits or vegetables, visit www.smoothieweb.com for over 500 healthy, multi-purpose smoothies.

I’m sure everyone could feel this one coming but exercising daily is a great preventative to battle the cold, flu or fatigue.  Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.  Physical activity can help by flushing bacteria out of the lungs (preventing cold, flu and other airborne illnesses) and prevent cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, like urine and sweat.  Read more…

Last but certainly not least, your water intake is the key to any aspect of your physical health.  The average human body is comprised of 50-65% of water; mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired after about 1% dehydration.  Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues: the main tissues affected by a cold.  For more information on the cold, flu or any health-related topics discussed above, visit mayoclinic.org or webmd.com.

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