Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Useful Links

So having gone Primal I have had to learn some new recipes but I am always looking for more. Diversity is the key for me, I will quickly get stuck in a rut of the same ole foods which quickly becomes a bore. I've found some more cookbooks which I will be going to read through here momentarily while simultaneously making a grocery list. However, I thought maybe some of my readers would be interested in some of the very usual links I have found. I hope you enjoy!

P.S. Some of these you may already know but some of you are "newbs" so bear with me.















If you have any suggestions for useful links please share with us! I will be posting these to the side too so you can always have access to them.

Is Intermittent Fasting (IF) healthy?

It appears I've been doing this accidentally because I've been skipping breakfast (just haven't been hungry) but I think I may amp it up after my mom emailed me an article about Intermittent Fasting (IF) and my research on it and finding that it works really well with the Primal/Paleo.

From Mark's Daily Apple, author of The Primal Blueprint:

Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy? One thing is certain in the field of health: what is common wisdom today can easily become “misapplied science” tomorrow. What’s “in” this year may be “out” next year. Often it’s hard to arrive at the right answer.

For example: Oily fish is good for you because the Omega-3′s are so healthy, but oily fish is bad because it can be contaminated with heavy metals, but oily fish is good because recent tests prove it’s not actually very contaminated, but oily fish is bad because the fishing industry paid for those tests…you get my point.

The Fats vs. Carbs argument is another. So when a reader recently asked about regular fasting as a means of maintaining good health, I had to re-evaluate my point of view slightly. What I found surprised me and convinced me to add a new twist to my ongoing health-and-anti-aging regimen. It’s called Intermittent Fasting – or IF.

Twenty years ago, as I was first forming my Primal Health point-of-view (based on a model of how humans evolved), I found it very easy to embrace the concept of “grazing” that seemed to represent the collective conscious of the weight-loss-and-health movement at the time. After all, eating several small meals a day – grazing to maintain even blood sugar and to avoid having your body go into starvation mode and start hoarding gobs of fat – seemed to fit my picture of early humans roaming the plains of Africa foraging for roots, shoots, nuts, berries, grubs and the occasional road-kill leftover from a hyena feast. The explanation that we in the weight-loss business gave the public was that by maintaining this steady supply of protein, fats and carbs throughout the day we would never experience a wild swing in blood sugar due to rapid rises and falls in insulin, therefore we would be less inclined to store fat and more inclined to burn off our existing fat stores. Heaven help us if we skipped breakfast, overate or starved ourselves periodically. That would surely wreak havoc on the delicate hormonal systems keeping us in homeostatic balance.

Well, maybe not.

The truth is, many people have succeeded in losing weight and keeping most of it off using this simple grazing method, which consists of eating 5 or 6 small meals or snacks spread evenly throughout the day, with no single meal exceeding 600 calories and where each meal or snack contains a little protein. This grazing method is the ultimate in portion control: take the 2400 (or more) calories you might otherwise scarf down in 2 meals and simply spread them evenly throughout the day. I think it’s reasonable to project that many more have avoided or postponed getting type 2 diabetes using the same method.

But like many behaviors in the fitness and health world, there comes a point where the benefits decrease and we find ourselves on the dreaded plateau.

The first thing most people will tell you about their attempts at grazing is, while it usually works well if you are diligent, it’s pretty difficult to stick with, since you need to be near a source of quality food every few hours. If you work at home most days as I do, it’s not a problem, but it can make life difficult if you work in an office setting or happen to be a road warrior.

The next common issue is that after a few months of progress, you arrive at a frustrating point where the weight stops coming off, the initial high energy levels decline or you stop building muscle. That makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, since the body is so well-tuned to adapt to any situation – including a perfectly even flow of nutrients. In this case, the body’s reaction to this steady supply of nutrition is to actually decrease insulin sensitivity. It “knows” there will always be food, so it “down-regulates” insulin receptors, and probably down-regulates other metabolic systems as well.

In my Primal Health articles here at MDA, I am always looking at ways we can harness our DNA blueprint to maximize health. I like to see how we can shake things up a little and trick the body into burning more fuel, creating more lean muscle, repairing cell damage and staying injury- and illness-free. So when my 79-year-old buddy Sid at the gym started raving about his weekly 24-hour fast over a year ago, and my friend Art started writing about his own fasting experiences, I decided to look into it further.

The results were surprising and impressive.

Numerous animal and human studies done over the past 15 years suggest that periodic fasting can have dramatic results not only in areas of weight (fat) loss, but in overall health and longevity as well. A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gives a great overview of these benefits which include decreases in blood pressure, reduction in oxidative damage to lipids, protein and DNA, improvement in insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, as well as decreases in fat mass.

How can you argue with results like these? And it all makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, because our predecessors almost certainly went through regular cycles where food was either abundant or very scarce. The body may have established protective mechanisms to adapt to these conditions by sensitizing insulin receptors when it was critical that every bit of food be efficiently used or stored (as in famine), or by desensitizing them when there was a surplus, so the body wouldn’t be overly-burdened by grossly excessive calorie intake .

Beyond insulin sensitivity, it appears that caloric restriction and intermittent fasting may “turn on” certain genes that repair specific tissues that would not otherwise be repaired in times of surplus. One could surmise that this adaptation serves to allow certain cells to live longer (as repaired cells) during famine since it’s energetically less expensive to repair a cell than to divide and create a new one. That might help explain some of the extended longevity seen in animal studies using caloric restriction and/or intermittent fasting (read about here , here , and here ). Intermittent fasting has also been shown to reduce spontaneous cancers in animal studies , which could be due to a decrease in oxidative damage or an increase in immune response.

So, what are the practical applications of this research?

It depends. There’s probably no right answer (remember what I said at the beginning!) Art suggests mimicking the experiences of our ancestors, which is to say don’t plan any fast, just surprise your body every once in a while with 24 hours of little or no food. My friend Sid does his fast every Tuesday like clockwork, so he has a light final meal on Monday night and doesn’t eat again until Wednesday breakfast. He does drink water and a little juice on his fasting day. Some fasting programs suggest you take a two-week “cleansing” approach where you eat regularly every other day and fast (or eat 40% of normal) on alternate days for two weeks twice a year.

One thing that is most interesting about the intermittent fasting studies is that slightly overeating on the non-fasting days (to make up for the lack of calories on fast days) yielded similar results, so it wasn’t so much about total calories as it was about the episodic deprivation.

As for me, I’m going to try the once a week deal, but I’ll start by no longer agonizing over a skipped breakfast or late dinner. What I used to think was the end of the world might just be the beginning of a new one!

From Mike Geary, The Truth About Abs:

If there's one thing I want to make sure we do in these newsletters, it is show you different scientific evidence about the variety of different ways that you can be successful in your nutrition plan.

Meal frequency and timing has always been one of those topics that's been controversial...some people say 5-6 meals per day is the only way to go, some say 1 meal per day is the way to go, and others talk about the "3 squares" per day.

Today's article is written by a good friend of mine and expert in the nutrition field, John Romaniello. And John is going to show you some very interesting info about skipping breakfast (not what you think) and also what he calls the myth about 5-6 meals/day.
Does Eating 5-6 Meals/Day HARM Your Fat Loss?The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Meal Timing

By John Romaniello, author of FatLossForever

Intermittent fasting may be the most discussed dietary concept on the Internet right now. Like many other "breakout" diets, intermittent fasting (IF) is growing by leaps and bounds; however, unlike most of the other diets, IF is gaining ground despite the fact that the practice challenges many long-help assumptions about nutrition.

In fact, practicing IF forces you to eat in direct opposition to those assumptions, and that-along with the results-it what's generating all the buzz.

Before we get into the why and the how, let's first discuss the basics of the what.

What is Intermittent Fasting?The most accurate definition is the simplest one: IF is merely the alternation of intervals of not eating (fasting) with times where you are allowed to eat.

Or, to use IF parlance, you alternate a fasting period with a feeding window. How long each will be varies depending on which "type" of IF programming you select-and there are several.

Each method of intermittent fasting will be discussed in a later article, but for now, it's enough to mention that the differences come from expanding the fasting window. The fasting period on specific plans can range from 16 hours all the way up to 36 hours (with several stops in between), and each of those specific plans will have benefits.

It's also important to note that every one of us does some form of fasting, whether you realize it or not. The least technical-while-still-being-accurate definition of fasting is simply "not eating," so anytime you're not eating, you're fasting.

Most of us aren't on a structured timetable of meals where the window of fasting is constant, so rather than fasting intermittently, we're fasting haphazardly-and there's no benefit there.

The exception for most people is sleep. When you're sleeping, you're fasting; therefore most of us have a fairly rigid fasting period of 6-8 hours per night, until we eat in the morning. It is for this reason, by the way, that our morning meal is called "breakfast," as you are literally breaking your overnight fast.

Which brings us to our next point.

The Most Important Meal of the Day? Intermittent Fasting Science Tackles the Insidious Scourge of Breakfast!

Breakfast is sort of a hot topic in the IF world, and in fact seems to be the first point of contention for people looking in on intermittent fasting from the outside. Don't we need breakfast?

Intermittent Fasting proponents tend to say no...which flys in the face of much of the dietary advice coming from every authority from Registered Dieticians to MDs. For years, we've been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact, many people are often scolded by their physicians for skipping breakfast-particularly people who are embarking on a plan to lose weight.

There is some credence here, by the way: a study conducted in 2008 showed that participants who ate a calorically dense breakfast lost more weight than those that didn't. The espoused theory for the results was that the higher caloric intake early in the day led people to snack less often and lowered caloric intake overall.

The value of that study has been questioned for many reasons, not the least of which is that despite the fact that roughly 90% of Americans eat breakfast, close to 50% of Americans are overweight. If eating breakfast is the first step to weight loss, then something else is going wrong.

More evidence seems to support the breakfast idea, though. There are some epidemiological studies that show a connection skipping breakfast and higher body weight.

Of course, proponents of the breakfast theory are quick to suggest that most people are simply eating the wrong breakfast, as quick n easy meals like Danishes and doughnuts, which can lead to weight gain.

However, the crux of the breakfast study is ultimately that a larger breakfast leads to lower overall caloric intake. That is, the argument for a larger breakfast ultimately boils down to energy balance; if that study is reliant on that position that weight loss comes down of calories in versus calories out, then the make up of the food shouldn't matter. If we've learned anything from Mark Haub's Twinkie Diet, it's that you can eat garbage and lose weight; clearly, something else is going on.

The only real argument that breakfast crowd have is insulin sensitivity. As a very basic note on what this is and why this matters the more sensitive your body is to insulin, the more likely you are to lose fat and gain muscle. Increasing insulin sensitivity almost always leads to more efficient dieting.

Getting back to it, supporters of eating breakfast declare that as insulin sensitivity is higher in the morning, eating a carbohydrate rich breakfast is going to have the greatest balance of taking in a large amount of energy without the danger of weight gain.

This brings us back to IF. You see, insulin sensitivity isn't higher "in the morning"; it's higher after the 8-10 hour fasting periods you experience if you sleep. Or more specifically, insulin sensitivity is higher when glycogen levels are depleted; as liver glycogen will be somewhat depleted from your sleeping fast.

Intermittent fasting takes that a step further: it seems that extending the fasting period beyond that 8-10 hours by skipping breakfast (and therefore further depleting glycogen) will increase insulin even further.

Insulin sensitivity is also increased post exercise (due to further glycogen depletion in addition to other mechanisms), and so in many cases IF proponents suggest compounding benefits by training in a fasted state and then having a carbohydrate right meal immediately post workout.

Ultimately, this all means that there's nothing special about breakfast and no need to eat first thing in the morning-the first meal you eat to break your fast will be exposed to the benefits of increased insulin sensitivity.

A discussion that mentions skipping breakfast-or any meal, really-will invariably lead into a discussion of meal frequency, which leads us to our next point.

On Frequency: Intermittent Fasting Crusaders Battle the Myth of Six MealsAnd now we come to the It seems that over the past 15-20 years, hundreds of diet books have been printed, and no two were identical. In fact, some of them have been in direct opposition to one another.

Calorie-restrictive plans like Weight Watchers certainly don't agree with plans like the Atkins diet, the first iteration of which allowed dieters to at all they want, as long as they kept carbs low.

Similarly, carb conscious plans generally call for products like yogurt or cottage cheese to be used as portable sources of protein, but many plans to reject dairy products altogether.

Despite the incredibly disparate natures of so many of these diets, the one thing that has been consistently suggested in most books published over the past 20 years is the frequency of meals.

If you've read a diet book, seen a nutritionist or hired a personal trainer at any point during that time, you've probably been told that in order to lose weight, you need to eat 5-6 small meals per day. (Note: this suggestion is sometimes phrased as "3 meals and 2 snacks.")

This style of eating, commonly referred to as the frequent feeding model, is popular with everyone from dieticians to bodybuilders, and has been repeated so often for so long that it's generally taken as fact.

Which it isn't.

In fact, the reputed benefits of eating small meals more often have never been scientifically validated.

The first and most commonly cited of these is that eating frequently "stokes the metabolic fire." Put less colloquially, the theory suggests that since eating increases your metabolic rate, the more often you eat, the more your metabolic rate will be elevated. That's true, but it doesn't lead to more fat loss-in fact, it's been scientifically borne out that there won't be a difference at all.

When you eat, your metabolic rate increased because of the energy required to break down the food you've taken in. This is called the Thermic Effect of Food, or TEF. So, while you're be experiencing energy expenditure due to TEF every time you eat, the net effect is no different regardless of how many times you eat, as long as the total amount of food is the same.

You see, TEF is directly proportional to caloric intake, and if caloric intake is the same, at the end of the day, there will be no metabolic difference between eating 5-6 meals or 2-3. In fact, as long as the total calories are the same, you can eat ten meals or one meal, and you'll still get the same metabolic effect.

Further, one study has shown that eating more frequently is less beneficial from the perspective of satiety, or feeling "full." Which means that the more often you eat, the more likely you are to be hungry-leading to higher caloric intake and eventual weight gain.

Intermittent Fasting guru Martin Berkhan has summarized this study, it's meaning, and the effects of such things quite well, but suffice it to say that it seems people who eat larger meals less frequently take in fewer calories and are more satisfied doing so.

A smaller number of meals obviously fits well into fasting protocols-if you are condensing the amount of time you're "allowed" to eat into a small window of 4-8 hours, having more than 2-3 meals becomes impractical at best and impossible at worst. My clients who practice IF eat 3 meals (not counting a post-workout shake, which they consume on days they train with weights).

Calories, Hormones, and Eternal Life (Okay, Not Really): The Benefits of Intermittent FastingObviously, above and beyond the debunking of long-believed myths, there are numerous benefits to Intermittent Fasting that make it so popular.

Firstly, as we've established thus far, people who practice IF eat less frequently. In addition to feeling hungry less often, and more full when they do eat, these people benefit in terms of practicality and logistics.

After all, eating fewer meals means fewer meals and/or buying fewer meals. In addition to saving you time (and, probably, money), this also means that you exposed to flavors less often, and are therefore less likely to get bored and eat something you shouldn't.

We've also mentioned that eating less frequently tends to result in eating fewer calories overall, but that's a pretty important point so it bears repeating: eating less frequently tends to result in eating few calories overall. 

And speaking of caloric restriction: that brings us to another benefit. IF plans that require full day fasting drastically reduce your calorie intake, so if you are using a style of IF which requires you to fast for 24 hours twice per week, you're reducing your food intake by about 30%. It's not hard to see how that would lead to weight loss.

Going a little further, by restricting calories, you're forcing the body to look elsewhere than the gut for energy, which can encourage cellular repair. That is, a cell will turn to its own damaged proteins for energy. While that cycle would be bad in the long term, keep in mind you're only fasting for "brief" periods; when you eat again the cell will use the new cell-stuff replace the old cell-stuff that's been consumed. All told, this phenomenon-which, again, stems from caloric restriction-can generally help prevent both disease and age.

For something more specific: one study out of the University of Utah showed that people who fasted just one day per month were 40% less likely to suffer from clogged arteries.

While there's certainly a lot to be said for caloric restriction, it's important to keep in mind that intermittent fasting isn't just about eating fewer calories-there are also hormonal benefits that lead to improved body composition.

For starters, there's the improved insulin sensitivity that comes with fasting, especially when paired with exercises, as we've covered; however, fasting has other hormonal benefits, including (but not limited to) an increase in the secretion of growth hormone (GH).

Growth Hormone has a myriad benefits-a discussion of which in full is beyond the scope of this writing-but for our purposes it's enough to say that the more GH your produce, the faster you can lose fat and gain muscle. Additionally, GH tends to offset the effects of cortisol, which is (in part) related to belly fat storage; so it seems likely that fasting can help you lose belly fat, at least indirectly.

Still not satisfied? Well, if you need another benefit, fasting reduces inflammation as well, which can have implications for improved immunity as well as increased fat loss.

Wrapping Up

The most important thing to remember about Intermittent Fasting is that it isn't a "diet" -it's a way of eating, a nutritional lifestyle that will allow you to reach your goals in an efficient and convenient manner, and then hold onto your physique one you achieve them.

While IF isn't for everyone, nor is it a perfect plan, it's certainly an effective way to lose weight.

In addition to the hormonal benefits inherent in the practice, you'll also feel more satisfied with your food, feel hungry less often, and probably save some money on food!

Moreover, you may live longer...if, you know, you're into that.

So, even if you never try IF, you can at least appreciate that it's forced the industry at large to re-evaluate the "truths" we tend to cling to.

Perhaps it's for this reason that Intermittent Fasting seems to be generally received with appreciation and acceptance, while low carb diets, Atkins, and the "Twinkie diet" all have people on both sides of the line either praising or lambasting them.

That is, IF is well received once people see the research-and there's a simple reason for that: it works.

Due to the combination of automatic caloric restriction, hormonal optimaztion, and ease of compliance and adjustability, IF isn't just a fad-it's here to stay...because it may well be the most effective eating method around.-----------

Roman has teamed up on a new program called FatLossForever, which incorporates intermittent fasting into a smart scientific plan to get lean for LIFE.

And since John is launching this new product this week, he's offering you a great deal to get $30 off of FatLossForever this week and try it out for yourself and see how simple and easy it can be to get lean for life.

3 Tricks to Lifelong FatLossRead this page above to see more about how IF can make your nutrition simpler, easier, and possibly more effective. It may not be for everyone, but many people find this type of program to be much easier to follow than typical high frequency eating plans. Have fun!

Mike GearyCertified Nutrition SpecialistCertified Personal TrainerTruthAboutAbs.com | BusyManFitness.com | AvalancheSkiTraining.com

Sunday, February 5, 2012


So I started back crocheting, for those of you who don't know or haven't been bombarded with my crochet pictures. I'm loving it now that I understand it better. I'm somewhat addicted to it. It busies my hands so I don't feel the need to sit around and snack while watching television. It's been really awesome and luckily I know some people who are having babies soon, so I have a few more excuses to crochet.

I've also been cooking like crazy since starting this Primal Blueprint "diet". I have to admit that's the hardest part. It's the not being lazy and actually getting in the kitchen to cook every single day. I make one day our "left-over day" but that's still a lot more cooking than I used to do. Especially when you take in account that I'm cooking breakfast too. I'm still motivated by my 7 lbs weight loss though. I was complaining, like I tend to do, that I was hungry but didn't feel like cooking at some point last night. Rodney said something about making a sandwich. The temptation was overwhelming but I said no and grabbed some dry fruit. It was yummy and filling, I didn't have a sugar crash or feel lethargic like I would have had I decided to eat that sandwich. I did bring grains back in the house for Rodney because as much as I love him, if he complained one more time about wanting a hamburger, I may have killed him.

My exercise routine has faltered a bit. I need to get back into and do it every day and keep doing it even when I don't want to. Eventually it will become a habit. Trust me, right now I don't have anything else I could be doing, nothing pressing anyway. The television shows can wait another 30-60 minutes. My Blockbuster account was recently reactivated by mistake but in that mistake I did find out that I can rent video games one at a time with my subscription. So I added The Biggest Loser for the Wii to try it out and see what I think. I love the Wii Fit Plus still just wanted to see what The Biggest Loser had to offer.

Bailey and I are going up to visit Liam and his family for his first birthday. It seems like it was just yesterday that I gave birth to him. Bailey and I watch his videos, that his parents post, religiously. It is so awesome to be able to watch him grow and see how happy they all are. Part of my reason for taking up crocheting again was because I wanted to make Liam a blanket, I just about finished it. I just need to add an edge to it. I've started another one for him that's more snuggley. I can't wait to see them and Bailey can't either. He's excited about flying up too. He keeps asking what he is allowed to do on the plane and what he can take with him. It's adorable. He also keeps checking on my progress with the blankets. He is so excited to see his brother again. Rodney decided he is going to stay home. He was going to go with us but decided he wasn't quite ready to do that just yet. He didn't want to ruin our trip. I'm sure he'll enjoy a little mini-vacation to himself too. I won't be here to nag him to death ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To eat or not to eat?

Or should I say, what to eat and what not to eat... it is most definitely the question. Common sense dictates that sugars and carbohydrates are not so good. All the food preservatives and packaged foods are also not so good. So no on bread or yes on bread? No on dairy or yes on dairy? Yes on sugar or no on sugar? I almost feel as though I should have to school to be a nutritionist.

I looked over The Mediterranean Diet and nixed it, I just know that bread is one of my biggest downfalls as well as cheese. I also glanced over the Paleo Diet, not too bad from what I can see but I am concerned about the no dairy. Osteoarthritis is fairly common in women and being as tall as I am with all the joint problems I have now I can't really afford to jack my bones up too.

I have been trying so hard to read over Eat to Live but man is it a tough read for me. The points bounce back and forth, I sometimes feel like the guy is trying to sell me something in that round about way were he swears he isn't trying to sell me anything. I haven't actually gotten to the point where he states exactly what his theory is, just spouting the same statistics that dietitians and nutritionist the world over use. Yes, we know America is obese and it is horrible that such a rich country wants to take the short cut with magic pills instead of doing whats right. I wouldn't be reading your book if I were one of those people so just get to the point already. I don't know his outcomes sound terrific and he is backed by Dr. Oz so I'd like to find out what his plan is but just getting through the repetitive mumbo jumbo that he uses to prove he has done his research and that he is a doctor is driving me insane.

I've also looked over The Primal Diet which in a lot of ways appears to be the same as the Paleo Diet. From what I understand dairy is allowed with the Primal Diet. I haven't finished reading either so I can't say for certain. I like the idea of creating a leaner, more fuel efficient me with a diet that gives me that fuel.

I was also told about the DASH Diet, I glanced over the website and I am impressed that it was named the #1 Diet. However, the cost of the book is just too much for someone like me who is unemployed. It's very frustrating that our society actually makes it hard for people to lose weight. Healthier food option are harder to find and more expensive. The things we are taught at school about nutrition are not entirely accurate and the foods we are served certainly don't fall under health guidlines. Potatoes are not a vegetable, someone needs to let the school systems know this. ><

It's all very confusing but I won't give up. I don't want to be "that fat chick" forever. I was skinny growing up and even if this wasn't a little bit about my self image, I just want to be healthy and live here on Earth with my son for as long as I can. I want to run and play outside with my children, I want to go up a flight of stairs without being winded, I want to slide on a pair of jeans without feeling completely uncomfortable and miserable. I don't want to be the sweatpants mom anymore. I want my joints to stop hurting and complaining of all the weight they have to carry around every day. I want my headaches to go away. I want to run marathons and do 5Ks with my family. So I will continue to work out, with the Wii Plus and soon I will start doing Slim in 6 too. I will take whatever advice or help I can get.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I ain't happy but I'm feeling glad

I have been in this horrible depressed mood for months now. Poor Rodney has had to deal with some serious grouchiness, God bless him. The depression itself doesn't have to do with anything in particular. Just a nasty side affect of being Bipolar.

I did quit smoking and drinking again. It's been 17 days since I've drank and 16 since I've smoked. I am still in the shitty part where I get really nauseous and get horrible headaches. Withdrawal is never fun. It doesn't help my disposition any at all either.

I had a really good birthday thanks to some very special people. I also had quite the revelation. I finally found out what it means to have a good friend. Someone who won't talk badly about you behind your back, someone who won't judge you and honestly cares about your well being. There should be more people in the world like my dear friend, Nikki. I should have known just how good she was when Rodney said he liked her. Rodney's a good judge of character (present company excluded, love is blind, don'tcha know?) and he said, "She always says hello and goodbye to me when she comes to visit. And you are never left in tears after seeing or talking with her." Hm. How very true. I did cry the day after my birthday because my feelings were hurt. A friend or maybe more of an acquaintance of mine from grade school came to my house for my birthday party. Rodney informed me that a mutual friend of ours who was also present at the party said this individual had been trash talking me all day. I was so hurt that I had let this person in my house and around my son. I couldn't understand why they couldn't just say what they felt they needed to while there in my home. It was also especially hurtful to me that our mutual friends would have brought her to my home knowing this. I have distanced myself a great deal from people to avoid this kind of hurt. It is sad to me that when I take the chance to put myself out there that I am proved right. I suppose I will just go back to limiting my exposure to just Nikki. She is a good friend, an honest friend.

Speaking of Nikki, she loaned me her Wii Fit Plus. I have worked out three days in a row on it and I feel great. I am feeling the burn. The Wii is keeping me motivated because it is so encouraging. I really just love it so much! I am eager to see the results of my hard work in a couple of months, hopefully at my wedding! *fingers crossed*

Financially this has been a rough couple of months. Being depressed hasn't helped in the least. I get very discouraged very easily. I applied for unemployment after I was laid off but didn't qualify. I did also apply for disability for my mental health. I'm sure some people will have their opinions on this but my Bipolar is a disability that has kept me from getting jobs and has lost me quite a few. In the last 7 years I have worked 16 different jobs. I was fired, let go or just quit many of them. I am hoping that not only will this disability check help me financially but will also help me to get a job (The American's with Disabilities Act) and help me to get medical insurance so that I can get the treatment I need. If not for my own sanity and happiness than for my son's and his father's. Please keep us in your prayers.

That leads me into my next topic. I really want to get back into church. Bailey does too. This has to become a top priority for me. When I am in church I am so much happier, I am able to function better and I am much more reasonable. Pray for me that I will find the home church I am looking for and soon. I miss being in God's home with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thanks to my daddy who got me a Kindle, I am reading and doing a lot of puzzles (I was told by a previous therapist that the puzzles will help with my memory, I have trouble sometimes). I am loving it so much and I feel so blessed to have a daddy who loves me so much despite my many faults. I have also been playing Star Wars The Old Republic thanks to Jen. This has to be one of, if not my most, favorite game ever. I love it! Thank you again Jen, you are too good to me!

I started talking to my mother again. It certainly isn't the way it used to be but it hasn't been for a very long time. It may never be that again and maybe that is something I just need to come to terms with. I am afraid she and I are a lot alike in a lot of ways but we are also very, very different. I am thankful that she has been willing to talk with me. She certainly didn't have to. I don't know where the healing process begins but right now there isn't anything she could say or do that would expedite it. My therapist asked me once, "What if you could ask her why she did it and she told you why, would you believe her?" my answer was , 'No.' So the healing begins with me. I need to learn to let go, not just with her but with everyone. I hold on to every single slight anyone has ever dealt me so when they hurt me again I am not just angry because of that one thing. I am angry at every single thing they have ever done to me. That isn't fair to anyone.

Lastly I want to apologize to my little sister. I feel like an utter failure as an example to her. I still cut myself when I am manic. How can she possible take the advice of an alcoholic who cuts herself? How can I preach to her not to burn or cut herself when, I, myself are doing it? I should have been a better big sister to her. I know she isn't perfect but I am proud of how far she has come. I know it can be hard to remember but I was exactly like her at that age, well not nearly as smart. I surely wasn't getting any A's or B's on anything. I was an angry person, a young woman trapped between adulthood and childhood. I was bitter and saddened and just wanted to be happy. I know she will overcome all of this because she is so strong. Sometimes to a fault. I love her so much and I am so thankful to have her as my sister.