Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesday Weigh-In 20160824

Allergy season is starting for me. The cooler nights make it hard for me to breathe. But when we eventually get a nice coating of snow, things get better. Dairy makes the condition worse, so I really need to cut out the dairy now. It's also a good time to start the light therapy treatment -- it gets dark here before 8:00pm!

Waist = 42.75"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday Weigh-In 20160817

This has nothing to do with weight monitoring, nutrition or most anything that this blog usually discusses. But I thought you'd be interested in this free, online, downloadable reference on Tarot Cards.

Waist = 43.0"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wednesday Weigh-In 20160810

When I wake up now, the mental, spaced-out sensation is gone. I'm actually alert now that I have a CPAP machine that's set properly for my condition. But I still have at least a half cup of coffee to improve my mood, even though I seem to function fairly well without it.

Waist = 43.0"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wednesday Weigh-In 20160803

Last week I mentioned that I had started to use a new CPAP machine. Today I'd like to promote a free program designed so that CPAP users can view their data in detail. It's called SleepyHead, and you can find it here.

Waist = 43.0"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Weigh-In 20160727

I finally got a new CPAP machine and started to use it. The morning after the first night, my mind felt clear and free of fog (mostly). But physically I still ached and needed time to work out the stiffness. I was able to go without coffee that morning. The most interesting result is that time seemed to move more slowly. Before using the new machine, it would take me four hours to get ready for work on some mornings. But now I go through what I need to do and find that it's still quite early. I think that without proper treatment, I had been frequently lapsing into brief states of semi-consciousness, as in Petit mal seizures or Absence seizures. Just imagine how you'd feel if you suddenly find yourself with more time in the morning. It would be like the switch to Daylight Savings Time every day!

Waist = 43.0"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quotes from "Meditation as a Way of Life"

The following quotes are from "Meditation as a Way of Life," by Alan L Pritz.

"Chanting is an especially potent [devotional] practice because it brings energy (might) to the heart (love) and directs the attention completely (with all thy soul) on God.  In my years of leading meditation groups, I have found that chanting effectively helps people get past their heads and into their hearts.  Even persons with no spiritual leaning have reveled in the alluring aura generate by chanting.  When practiced deeply, devotional chanting can induce a kind of intoxication similar to that which Jesus's disciples felt when toughed by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: Your energy gets elevated to a divine plane, and you simply get drunk on the love of God! (page 95)

"Another form of devotional practice involves using prayer beads of the rosary -- whatever fits your tradition.  The idea is to pass these beads between your fingers one at a time while reciting a mantra or prayer. Like anything else, it can either be an empty gesture or have inner value, depending on the quality of your attention and intention.  One story tells of a woman who complained to a Hindu saint that prayer beads were ineffective:  She had been using hers for years with no result.  Discreetly observing her over time, he noticed that her attention was on everything else but God, so naturally her mechanical prayers would not bear fruit.  The same can be said for any superficial spiritual practice.  We could be in heaven but miss its glories if inattentive.  With right determination and devotion, however, nothing can  keep us from Spirit.  Loving thought of God invites his company, and that can be done anywhere, anytime.

"The love of God opens mental and emotional channels that keep us in tune with Spirit because Spirit is love.  The Divine is omnipresent, and remembrance of God is a doorway to his presence.  'Be thou diligent in performing actions in the thought of Me.  Even by engaging in activities on My behalf thou shalt attain supreme divine success.'  When thinking of and loving God, our vibrational field is raised.  Ordinary persons may notice this rise by feeling joyfully inspired.  Those steeped in divine ardor may experience spiritual ecstasy or, in the case of the Christian mystic Brother Lawrence, can levitate.  When divinely enraptured, Brother Lawrence rose off the earth; his fellow monks, being ever practical, put him on refectory duty so the ceiling would keep him from floating away.  Heaven, it seems, manifests whenever the head and heart are absorbed in God." (page 96)



"A principal feature with breathing exercises is that mental states respond to the depth, rhythm, and retention of breath.  Regulated breathing balances energy movements through the brain hemispheres, causing a tonic effect that enhances nervous and immune system functions.  Associated benefits include resistance to stress and disease, plus elevated mood, calmness, focus, and creativity.  Even a little done daily is beneficial.

Exercise 1: Centering Breath

This exercise is a cornerstone for stress management and can be done anywhere, anytime -- at home, driving (with eyes open!), or at work.  It helps us to be present and turn within for meditation when desired.  In fact, many and spiritual traditions use centered breathing in conjunction with prayer or guided imagery to enhance inner experiences.


"Use of sound frequencies deliberately exercised for spiritual purposes is rarely employed in the West outside of Wiccan or indigenous traditions....

"Use of this mantra requires that it be repeated in conjunction with breath..."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Quotes from "Finding the Right Psychiatrist"

Here are some quotes from Finding the Right Psychiatrist, by Robert L. Taylor...

For mild to moderate depression -- the most common target of antidepressant medication -- they are no better than placebo (Fournier et al. 2010).

And even these meager results may be overstated.  When studies fail to show any advantage over placebo or when adverse effects prove too troublesome, no problem -- psychodrug makers simply throw out the results and start over.  There are no restrictions on how many studies can be done.  A pharmaceutical company can keep at it until approvable results turn up.  These outcomes -- no matter how difficult to come by -- can then be trumpeted as the only outcomes.  (The FDA does now require all drug studies to at least be publicly registered on a website: www.clinicaltrials.gov.)

You might reasonably ask, Why then do antidepressants remain so popular?  One major factor relates to the tremendous influence psychodrug makers exert over psychiatric publications.  In some instances these companies arrange to have supportive articles ghostwritten!  Another factor stems from selective publication.  In a review of 74 antidepressant studies, researchers found 37 of 38 positive outcomes published in professional journals.  In contrast, only 3 of 36 negative outcomes made it into print (Turner et al. 2008).  In a few instances, failed results were buried in the report and replaced by a positive but unrelated finding.  This long-standing practice carries the nickname "data torturing" (Watters 2010). - page 48

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... magnesium, commonly deficient in the American diet and susceptible to depletion by stress, seems to counteract depression.  One report documented depressed persons recovering after taking extra magnesium (125-300 mg) with each meal and at bedtime.  When put to the test, magnesium also exerts a mood-stabilizing effect, which may be related to chemical characteristics shared with lithium (Eby 2006).  - page 89

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Stanford psychiatry Professor Lorrin Koran and his research team studied the addition of a stimulant drug to the treatment regimen of persons with severe obsessive-compulsive symptoms.  While continuing their previously prescribed SSRI, the patients took, in addition, one of two stimulants: dextroamphetamine or caffeine.  The researchers were surprised when caffeine (used as the control) produced improvement equal to that achieved with dextroamphetamine.  In addition, caffeine was associated with an unexpected reduction in anxiety (Koran et al. 2009).

Further evidence of caffeine's therapeutic value comes from the study of fifty thousand women.  Those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were 15% less likely to require treatment for depression over a ten-year follow-up period (Lucas et al. 2011).  The results suggest that increasing one's consumption of caffeine might help stave off depression in persons so predisposed. - pages 91-92


2016-07-26 Added hyperlinks to quoted text.
2016-07-24 Reformatted some paragraphs to remove unwanted carriage return / newline characters.