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Thread: Anxiety, depression, laziness...Can the nameless wonder change? page

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    Wink Anxiety, depression, laziness...Can the nameless wonder change?

    Primal Fuel
    I just started poking around on the forum and made in intro thread, but I think I'd like keep track of myself through my own "journal" thread.

    About me: I'm 23, female, graduated last year with a BA in English, currently working in the IT field. I love learning all things computers and teaching people what I know. I love photography, sewing (though I suck at it) and swimming. I swim a couple of times a week, but am looking to increase the frequency since it makes me feel so much better (about myself, and in general).

    Health history: Many people in my family have suffered from depression, some from external stimulus (my grandmother's WWII experiences), and others for no apparent reason (me). I was diagnosed at the age of 15 with generalized anxiety disorder and depression and started taking Celexa and going to therapy. I got one suicide attempt under my belt just before I turned 16 and self-injured in the form of cutting for many years. I quit 5 years ago and it's been 3 years now since I last "slipped up". I know it is not an option and that it doesn't solve anything, but I do still think about it and that makes me feel weak (lovely cyclical nature). Because of this, addiction in general is a concern for me, which is why I am worried about cutting back on carbs (I LOVE BREAD) and sugar (not really a candy bar/"sweets" person, I love baked goods though). I was on and off anti-depressants for a number of years and recently started to take Lexapro at about 7.5 mg (alternating 5mg and 10mg) to help manage my anxiety. I’ve found that my depression is much rarer now than it used to be and I can deal with the bad days when they come around, but I worry a lot and my anxiety affects me daily.

    My self-esteem has generally been awful. Even though I was underweight (bordering on the anorexic BMI range) my whole life up until last year, I was never fit. I tried soccer, dancing, but I just got bored with them. Swimming has been the only thing I can stick with. I love floating in the water; I am very buoyant! Last summer, I did laps in my parents’ pool every day for a couple of months and felt much better. I had more energy, I slept well, and I was starting to enjoy my body's condition. Over this past winter, I gained weight and went from around 115 (on average) to 135 (according to a potentially inaccurate scale, I think it adds 5lbs)! That didn’t help my body image in the least and I’m still struggling with that.

    I have never eaten well. I ate whatever I wanted for practically 23 years and now my body seems to have grown up. As such, I have no idea how to incorporate veggies into my diet and what veggies I might enjoy. Right now I'm sticking to the things I know, which are asparagus, broccoli and carrots. I don't know how to make a salad/what to put into it that would go well together. Is there a "Cooking for Dummies" book? I like simple foods and simple meals, especially ones that are quick and require minimal dishes to prepare.

    Current stats:
    5'6" (not gonna change unless my posture gets really bad haha) and 131lbs (just weighed this morning at the doctor's office). I'm not really looking to change my weight, though I wouldn't be sad if I lost some (more interested in seeing fat disappear off my thighs and stomach though). I have no idea what my body fat percentage is. How do I find out something like that?

    Goals: Health! I am uncomfortable with the number on the scale, but I am making an effort to avoid scales and just go by how I look and feel. I like the curves, however minimal, that I've got going on now, but I frequently feel like I'd be happier the way I was. I have this idea of what it feels like to be healthy, and I want to see if I can get there. Overall, I want to feel energetic (felt tired for the past 10 years almost), I want to be able to get up in the morning (never been a morning person), and I want to make eating healthy second nature. My boyfriend is swimming with me, so I at least have a buddy in exercise, but he eats just as badly as I have been, so I'm kind of alone on my eating-healthy front.

    I've started by cutting out grains for a week to see what happens. So far I've had a lot more bloating than usual, but my body has been so odd lately that I'm not surprised. I was hungry all day yesterday but instantly felt bloated no matter what got into my stomach. Here’s todays meal plan:

    Morning: had Greek yogurt (accidentally got low-fat, oops, didn't think they'd even make a low-fat version of it) with a banana. Need to get some protein powder and almond milk (rice milk is out, right?). Oh and bacon. Mmmm. And perfect my hard-boiled egg technique. The shells would not come off of the ones I made yesterday! But they were tasty nonetheless. If I could get up earlier, I would be making bigger breakfasts, but in order to get up earlier, I need to be eating better…cyclical again.

    Afternoon: Will have a couple pieces of chicken I grilled up last night (have some ready for the rest of the week) plus some cucumber, grapes & carrots. If I'm still hungry, I'll hit the salad bar downstairs because that is already sounding pretty minimal as my gut starts to rumble.

    Evening: Some leftover broccoli & meatballs (cheating, yes, but I'm making an effort)\ whatever veggies I have\more chicken.

    Looking this over, I can tell I need to increase my fats, veggies and...well everything. Sigh. Gotta break down all those preconceptions I've had about food! I'll probably post a body pic at some point so I can remind myself of what I'm starting with.

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    Consider experimenting with high dosage omega 3 fish oil for the depression. That was a big key for me. After 15 years of mostly on meds, I am now off meds with the following regimen in general order of perceived importance: (1) high dosage fish oil, (2) paleo/primal diet, (3) exercise (keep swimming, maybe competitively for the social component? ie masters?), (4) social engagement (teach/coach kids swimming?), (5) sleep, and (6) talk therapy as needed. Good luck and don't ever give up the battle because bad breath is always better than no breath at all.

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    Hi NW - good luck with the new lifestyle. I hope it works itself out for you.

    When my wife and I started the primal lifestyle we found that a jar of nuts makes the perfect lifeline for hunger. A handful (or two) of nuts seems to curb the appetite and keep it sated for a long time. Avoid the peanuts though - they're insidious moldy legumes.

    Hard-Boiled Eggs - put the eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then let them simmer (still boiling) for 10 minutes.

    Salad - Spinach and "GREEN" leafy lettuces, tomotoes, green onion, cucumber, celery, carrots, radishes, etc. It doesn't have to be complicated. I like to throw some chopped mixed nuts, my wife likes blue berries and strawberries in hers. Top it off with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you're laughing. Healthy carbs and healthy fats!
    There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

    The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!

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    I agree with Scotty, add Fish Oil to your diet. And I'd repeat add Vitamin D as well. Both come in gelcaps and can be found in your local CVS or Walgreens. Fish Oil should be clearly listed as Omega-3 and get a capsule of about 1000mg. Vitamin D capsules should be 1000iu. Take them 1x - 3x daily with meals. This should start to help with your energy levels.

    In terms of learning how to cook, there are a lot of books out there to show you how to cook. As basic cookbook, such as Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything or his streamlined The Basics. If you buy only one cookbook, look for this one or something similar and you can learn from it now but will refer to it forever.

    I'd also recommend checking out Jamie Oliver - he's a good cookbook writer and has committed the last several years to teaching the average person how to cook for themselves. The techniques and ingredients to cooking can be easy and I think Oliver does a great job of providing the tools so that you can do it for yourself. Of course, he is not primal so you will come across plenty of recipes for grains - just ignore these. I think you'll find his videos useful as they show you exactly how to cut, chop and mix - making the whole process a lot less scary. He's pretty low key and generally looks like he just climbed out of bed so you should find his approach not so scary. (warning: cooking videos can become addictive and are not a substitute for actually cooking for yourself)

    Check out Oliver's video for making a green salad and a chopped salad. I'd skip the cheese in his chopped salad and replace with leftover chicken or steak or a drained can of tuna for a pretty perfect primal meal. (fyi in England sprouts are called cress)

    In the end, cooking is essentially an experiment. You try it out and see if it works and if you like it. When you get something wrong, you learn from it. The best thing to do is start cooking. Learn a couple basics that will feed you for the week. Not exactly knowing what you like, I would recommend, for starters, you learn how to cook a couple basics. For example, you might want to know how to cook a steak (start with a skirt or flank steak), how to make a salad with the leftover steak, how to make a frittatta (easier than an omlete and good to use up leftovers), shepard's pie (an easy inexpensive comfort food that can easily be reheated for four meals), roast a chicken (so darn easy and delicious), and make chicken fajitas (without the cheese or tortilla - this is a good intro to quick cooking chicken - faster than waiting in the drive aisle at taco bell and much better tasting), and ... as a bonus as you mentioned them, how to cook meatballs (about 30 minutes of chopping, mixing and cooking on Sunday and you'll have four servings that can be reheated)

    How to Hardboil Eggs - the ice water bath is key to getting the shell off later

    For primal/paleo specific recipes, check out the 100+ recipes on this site. There are a ton of primal/paleo food sites out there. I recommend Everyday Paleo, The Food Lovers, and Cave Girl Eats for well thought out recipes to get you started.

    Hope that helps.

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    Do you have to "cool" the eggs after? Or what is the best way to do so? The shells just seemed to be pulling off too thick of a layer after I rolled them to break them up.

    I think I ate pretty well for lunch today, the almonds took off most of the edge of my hunger afterwards, but it's still not enough. Maybe I'll add a hard boiled egg tomorrow.

    For reference, here's what I looked like 5 years ago at 18 (with a really silly mohawk that I never spiked). Funny enough, the dude on the right is now my boyfriend (he was just a friend of a friend back then...not as ripped, but that was when he was training for basic).



    I didn't realize until TODAY how freakin' skinny I was back then. Also my posture. Ugh! Hips forward and top of back down. So bad.

    Here's the only recent photo I could find and it's AWFUL. I'm on the left, looking weird and you can see the pouch I've got going on with my belly. It's slightly better now. You can really see the weight gain on my face (that's always where it shows first, straight to the cheeks). This is from about a month ago at my brother's graduation (he's the smashing dude in the middle). My sister is on the right, smiling awkwardly as we do. She's vegan and a recovering anorexic and is part of my inspiration to get fit/be healthy.



    I started college as a size 2 probably, but my hips grew so 4s were necessary. Now I wear a 6, but even that was starting to get tight before I started swimming and paying at least a little attention to food (no more ordering out for a few months now). Phew just looking at that photo and I already feel better about myself!

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    You shouldn't need to cool the eggs. If you want, you can run some cold water over them to make them easier to handle. Otherwise, I just crack them, roll them and the shell kind of peels off in relatively few pieces.
    There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

    The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!

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    For hardboiled eggs, the 10 minute rule is an estimate and you'll need to experiment to determine what is perfect for you. For example, I used to at about 1,300 ft above sea level and eggs boiled to perfection at close to 10 minutes. Now, I live at about 36 ft above sea level and I boil my eggs for 12 minutes. After boiling eggs, put them in an bowl filled with ice and cold water to stop the cooking (you don't want overcooked eggs) and somehow the ice water helps the egg to separate from the shell so it is easier to peel later.

    Looking at your photos - I think you are awfully tough on yourself. At 18, you were pretty darn skinny (but a lot of 18 year olds are) and your posture, while not ideal, is in no way awful in comparison to a typical teenager. Now, you still look pretty thin to me - the stomach pooch is far more visible to you than me.

    Based on everything you've written and your photos, I'd suggest you focus on eating cleaner (less junk, more real food) and getting a bit more active. Both will help with your moods and energy levels and your body will most likely improve the issues you have with your body.
    Stick with the swimming, add a bit of walking if you can. Don't forget the Five Essential Movements described in Primal Fitness. There are good links for all movements to videos showing how to do each. They can be done in your living room while watching TV in 30 minutes (except for perhaps the pullup). Worry less about sizes and weight right now - focus on taking care of yourself by eating well and moving.

    To make a salad as a meal, see this video by Jamie Oliver - swap out the cheese with leftover chicken, steak or a can of tuna and you have a great primal meal. Oliver typically looks like he just climbed out of bed - but his videos are great at showing how simply the techniques are. Hope it helps!

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    Also, I agree with scotty - get some Omega 3 Fish Oil and Vitamin D. Both come in gelcaps and can be found at your local CVS or Walgreens.
    Start with 1000iu Vitamin D caps and 1000mg Fish Oil caps - take them 1x - 3x a day with meals.

    It's common to be low in both and supplements are the best way to deal with the lack. Both will help improve your moods and energy level.

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    Regarding how to cook, Jamie Oliver's website that I linked to for the salad video covers a lot about learning to cook. Oliver has dedicated the last several years to teaching average people how to cook for themselves - something that many people don't know how to do. It's a great mission and I think he does a great job. He is obviously not primal but he has plenty of recipes that will work and his recipes and videos are good for explaining technique. (warning: watching cooking shows is addictive but not a substitute for actually cooking for yourself).

    I'm not certain what kinds of food you currently eat or like but here are a couple good basic recipes you might find useful to learn:
    How to Cook a Steak - I'd start experimenting with flank or skirt steak - a bit less expensive but good to eat
    Roast Chicken - so darn easy, I think everyone should know how to make this - super delicious - assume 1/4 chicken per meal so this will get you four meals
    Chicken Fajitas - a super quick method of cooking chicken and veggies - faster than the line a Taco Bell and much tastier. Of course, leave out the tortilla and the cheese for a primal meal.
    Frittata - easier than an omlette and a great way to use up leftovers. Frittatas are good as leftovers themselves - just let them warm up to room temperature, about 30 min before eating
    Some Basic Primal Comfort Foods - super easy and good
    Shepard's Pie - this is one of my favorite comfort foods, meat topped with a cauliflower mash that tastes like mashed potatoes. (I usually don't add the green beans) I really like that it is easy to reheat . When I make it I know I will have three more meals that will be super easy to get on the table - ideal on a busy week.
    A Primer on Primal Salads - now that you've seen Jamie Oliver do it, these are ideas to start experimenting

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    I'[m fighting GAD along with a few other mental disorders that tend to link to depression. Though I still fight it daily I find that Vit D helps a TON. My doc who originally prescribed it told me 4000 because of my vit d blood levels. I've upped it until I felt like I was maintaining a generally healthy mood (read: normal by other standards) and now take 10000. My current doc says he normally doesn't go above 400 but that is what they give newborns. Plus he said that since this is working for me with no negative side effects I should keep on it. I'm going to be working on my Omega ratios as well.

    Im trying to say: Experiment. If 1000 or whatever doesn't work for you then change it. Really listen to your body. It's hard but try. And be gentle to your body.

    Good luck.

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