seasonal affective disorder

Things I’m Loving Lately

I am totally an Amazon Prime junkie. I buy way too much stuff on there. It’s just easy and convenient. I wanted to share some of the finds I’ve loved lately. Here is the list:

Omega Sunlight SAD Light Therapy (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Super Bright

This is the newest item and I’m still checking it out. I most definitely suffer from seasonal malaise. I am not a dark,gray,rainy kind of person. When the winter rain starts here in Oregon I just feel like a giant wet blanket has been thrown over me. It’s such a bummer. I know I need to live somewhere else and I’m reminded of this every winter. So either I need to move to like California (preferably near the beach) or win the lottery so I can move to Bali.

Since neither of those things are really going to happen any time soon, I bought a light therapy device. Finally. I’ve wanted one for years but never got around to getting one. I’m glad I did. I’ve only been using it for about a month now and I usually only use it Monday-Fridays. I plug it in on the kitchen counter and have it one while I make breakfast, eat breakfast and pack my lunch for work. So for about 20-35 minutes depending on the day.

light

 

I don’t know that I’ve noticed a difference in the winter depression yet but what I did notice right away was that I felt more ALERT and awake in the morning after using the light. That’s huge. I am so NOT a morning person (my ideal work schedule would be like 10am-4pm–where is that job?!!). I am going to continue using the light to see if it effects the winter blues. Stay tuned.

Mueller Cold/hot Wrap, Elastic, Black, One Size

I bought this a few months ago and I’ve been using it a lot. Whenever I have a particularly difficult workout, I use it on my knees. It works GREAT. I like that the ice pack is separate and you just slip it into the wrap and then strap it on a body part and it doesn’t slide. For years I was using a traditional ice pack and it was annoying having to hold it in place. I love this thing.

Mueller Jumper’s Knee Strap, Black, One Size Fits Most, 1-Count Packages (Pack of 3)

Speaking of knees….

I think two things fixed my Runner’s Knee (or at least, made it tolerable). The first is the Warrior Room and strengthen my glutes to offset the muscle imbalance that causes my knee pain (the WR did more for me than physical therapy ever did). The second are these straps. I always use them when I run or use the elliptical now.

It’s so much better than taping my knees. I was taping for a long time, per my physical therapist, and while that worked okay it was really uncomfortable. My skin is super sensitive to begin with and using tape on my skin just irritated it beyond belief. It would be itchy, red, blotchy, nearly scarring me. I quit the tape and changed to the straps and never looked back. Such a better option.

Aikiou Stimulo Activity Food Center for Cats Grey/Green

I bought this earlier this year because Fat Kitty is a little piggy. He’s always been this way, even when I got him as a baby. You can read his history here: Fat Kitty Still Needs a Diet…The short story: he tends to binge eat and then throw up. I tried a LOT of different methods and different foods, different feeding methods, to try and get him to slow down. Nothing worked.

Finally I found this on Amazon and decided to give it a try. For the first two days the cats were both MAD. They were pissed. They sat in front of the feeder and meowed angrily. They refused to use it. Finally, they broke down and started using the feeder. It didn’t take them long to figure it out and it’s been great ever since! The cats love it (or at least they don’t complain anymore), they slowed down with their food and Fat Kitty did lose a little weight. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a big boy. But he’s not bingeing and puking anymore, so I’m happy.

feeder

 

If you have a cat with a weight issue, this thing works! Give it a try! It definitely slows them down and there is actually food left over sometimes. I highly recommend this item!

Have you found something you are loving lately and want to share?

Season Changes

It’s getting darker. And colder. The leaves are changing and falling from the trees; pumpkin everything is around us; and it’s almost time to drag out those sweaters. The seasonal changes can be a challenge for some people. I know that I definitely notice a change with the seasons.

My fitness changes a fair amount with the time of year. During the late spring through early fall, I don’t go to the gym very much. My focus changes to cycling or hiking, or running outside. The weather is too nice to be stuck in a smelly, stuffy gym and I’m usually training for an event.

Once October comes around, it’s too dark and cold for me to bike to work anymore so I hang up my cycling clothes and stow my bike for weekend rides only. I also head back into the gym to resume consistent weight lifting and swimming.

I definitely suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some years it’s milder than others, it really just depends. Here in Portland, the constant gray and relentless rain can often last from December through May. That sucks. The rain is what gets me the worst. I try my best to avoid the winter blues. Exercise definitely helps!

And of course, there’s also the problems of the holidays. Surviving Halloween season is always a challenge, even years later. The temptations of Halloween and Christmas candies everywhere you turn is enough to derail anyone trying to lose weight! Did I mention Thanksgiving? PIE!! One of the things that has helped me keep off 100 pounds–year in and year out–even during the holidays is that I don’t quit what works. I keep exercising on a regular basis. While my activities may change with nasty weather, my consistent routine does not.

Lately I’ve been craving comfort foods: casseroles, mac n’ cheese, pasta, soup and grilled cheese sandwiches…basically carby things! I’ve been resisting thus far, or making a lighter version of the things I crave. I had a bowl of tomato soup with a piece of toast with cream cheese on it for dinner one night instead of the grilled cheese sandwich. It satisfied the craving (temporarily at least). Making “skinny” versions of the things I crave is what helps the most. One of the websites I’ve used a lot is SkinnyTaste. She has a ton of “lightened up” recipes for things like casseroles.

So do you struggle to stay on track during the darker months?

Is it harder to get up in the morning and get yourself to the gym?

Are you less motivated to workout after work when it’s dark and cold?

How do you change that? For me, what works is forcing myself to keep the normal fitness routine. It helps stave off the winter blues, it makes me feel better and keeps me healthy. I know how much better I will feel if I do it, so I do it!

It seems overly simplified, but it works. I wrote a post about how I track my food and exercise. Using something as simple as Google Calenders to track my and plan my workouts keeps me motivated, makes me feel accomplished and it makes it hard to BAIL on it. It’s on my calender. I’m going to do it!

This is not to say it’s always easy, but putter along taking the exercise and food one day at a time.

QUESTION: How do you deal with the changing seasons? What is the hardest struggle? Food or exercise?