My Medication Is Making Me Fat!



Last week I lost a pound which is very good. While on vacation I just hope I stay steady. Thank God, food is not the focus of our vacations, activity is. That will help a lot.

Today I thought taking a look at weight gain due to the medications we take might be helpful. When I had nephrotic syndrome (an inflammation of the kidneys) the only medication that fixed it was predisone. That was a mixed blessing because predisone is one of those drugs that if you take it for a long time at high doses the side effects are pretty bad. While it literally saved my life it also made me hungry all the time!

The last time I had to take predisone I gained thirty pounds and I'm still trying to lose fifteen of them. Not that I blame the medication, not after being off of it for at least two years now (knock on wood fast!). It could be I'd have gained fifteen pounds anyway, who knows. Blaming the meds is more satisfying but that still leaves me with the responsibility.

I feel for my patients who take medication that they swear is causing them to blow up. This side effect is common in many anti-depressants. Therese Borchard knows about this frustration first hand and shares her ideas to get a grip on weight, which are all very sound, medication or no medicaiton.

10 Ways to Manage Your Weight On Psych Meds

Taking A Vacation When I Love My Job



-7 The last time I took a vacation for two whole weeks was… I don't remember when. What I do remember is feeling like I needed a week to get relaxed, then the second week I actually relaxed. It was wonderful.

Starting on Monday I'll be on vacation for two weeks. Not a staycation (we did that last year). We are actually getting on a plane and flying away. The big difference between this two weeker and the last one? Way back then I was working for 'the man', today I'm my own boss. Last time I was stressed out because I felt trapped. Now I'm stressed out because there aren't enough hours in the day to write, blog, converse with my peeps (I mean, my blogosphere community), give seminars and see my clients.

If you love your job is it really necessary to go on vacation? Yes, I think so. Can you cheat and bring work along? No, I don't think so.

It will be a test to see if I can live for two weeks without my laptop, without an Internet connection, without going into my blog account and checking for comments (please comment!) and the stats too many times a day. (Hold on while I take a look…) Can I not Tweet or update my Facebook status for that long? Since I can update from my phone, will I be able to resist? I don't know, I think so, I hope so, I'd like to try. Geez, it's like going on the South Beach diet or something!

Here's the plan. For the next two weeks there will be new posts that I will set up to be published on a handy dandy timer. While away I might do some reading, hiking in the mountains and, OK, some writing – the old fashioned way, with paper and pencil. I will vacate the old brain, commune with nature and my family. Why am I doing this? I think it's good for me, for everyone I care about and I try to not just give good advice but to take it, too. That's the best I can do. Right now I'm too wound up to make better sense of it.

I need a vacation. Hope you all get one too.

50 Going On 13: Michael Jackson’s Legacy



It’s hard to know how thoroughly Michael Jackson dominated our lives during the 80′s unless you lived through it. The movie 13 Going On 30 does a good job showing just how much Michael meant to millions of people and he’s not anywhere on the screen. I hope you enjoy this clip.

What Is A Good-Enough Doctor?



In graduate school we studied the developmental theories of the great psychological thinkers of the 20th century. Donald Winnicott, was one of my favorites. He came up with the notion of the good-enough mother as a way of counter-balancing the Freudian emphasis on how adversely a person is effected when a mother is totally dysfunctional.

Mothers are not perfect, but most aren't monsters either. While the good-enough mother, makes mistakes, Dr. Winnicott said, her greatest achievement is in being able to provide her child with enough support and confidence to form a healthy separate identity. In other words, a good-enough mother not only wants her child to grow to be independent she encourages it in a nurturing manner.

If you have chronic illness chances are you will run into all shapes and forms of medical doctor. Doctors are rarely perfect and most are not monsters even if some behave in a beastly manner. A good-enough doctor is one who has enough good traits and no 'deal breaking' fatal flaws. He or she works as hard as you do to eventually put himself out of a job because you become too healthy to need him anymore.

I re-worked this article Tips to Find A Good Enough Doctor for PsychCentral's World of Psychology. Please tell me what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

The Scleroderma Foundation: A Personal Circle Completed.



Sf_logoThis is a proud moment for me. When I was first diagnosed with scleroderma (around 1990) my husband and I quickly joined the Scleroderma Foundation.  We subscribed to the newsletter. When the first issue arrived I eagerly opened it up. BAM! Like a direct hit I was shocked to see the crippled hands of a person with advanced scleroderma. I nearly swooned and I'm not the swooning type. From that point on John reviewed the newsletter before I read it saving me from many a panic attack.

Now almost 20 years later the SF has grown up and so, I like to think, have I.  Ann, who also has scleroderma, saw my Beyond Blue chronic illness interview in the SF online newsletter. She contacted me to share her story. I had no idea about the link in the newsletter! Thank you, Ann! It feels like a circle completed.

Charmed Life Day!



Moran Today I received this email from my friend, the author Victoria Moran:

Dear Friends,

Ten years ago, I wrote a book called Creating a Charmed Life: Sensible, Spiritual Secrets Every Busy Woman Should Know.
It became a word-of-mouth bestseller, translated into twenty-nine
languages and it’s still very much alive as one woman after another
discovers it and gives copies as gifts to her sisters, daughters, and
friends. 

Thinking back, creating a charmed life didn’t seem like such a
stretch in 1999: we hadn’t had 9/11 yet, and we weren’t at war. The
economy was strong and if you wanted a job, you could get one. We were
learning to recycle, but no one thought in terms of an environmental
crisis. We had our personal challenges, of course, but overall, we
seemed to be doing okay. Things have changed.

My newest book, Living a Charmed Life,
is in one sense a tenth- anniversary sequel to its successful predecessor, but this one is also uniquely geared to your life in
2009. Can you live a charmed life in times like these? My answer is: in times like these, you have to. And I’m here to show you how — in a way that will captivate you from page one. 

As a special book launch promotion, Victoria is offering a special deal.

If you go to www.victoriamoran.com/charmed right now, you'll be able to purchase Living a Charmed Life: Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day at a low, online price and receive gifts from some of today's top authors and teachers. Among them are Marci Shimoff (from The Secret), John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), Dr. Judith Orloff, Mariel Hemingway, Barbara Biziou, SARK, Susan Smith Jones, Jennifer Louden, and a host of others.

…The bonus gifts will be available through June 30, 2009…

With sincere appreciation,
Victoria Moran

Victoria's books are dependably comforting, inspiring and gently encouraging. I just ordered my copy. Believe me I don't get a commission on sales! Over the years I've genuinely enjoyed Victoria's books and I thought you might, too.

Now that I've ordered my copy of Living A Charmed Life I'm going to go play with my free online 'gifts'!

Living Well With Chronic Illness



Michael J. Fox–Parkinson’s disease

Stephen Hawking–ALS

Elizabeth Edwards–Breast cancer

Laura Hillenbrand–Chronic fatigue syndrome

Linda Hamilton–Bipolar disoder

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor–Type I diabetes…

For every person of prominence coping with chronic illness, there are hundreds of thousands of us who are doing our best to live fully with what life has dealt us. This is a topic that is very close to my heart because of my own experience and the courage I’m privileged to witness in my patients.

There is so much to discuss and share about living a satisfying life with chronic illness that I decided to write a book about it. This book will not be a downer! It will be funny, uplifting and a kick in the pants! I would love to hear about how you or someone you love thrives with, or in spite of, chronic illness.

Please leave a comment or write me your story at draletta@explorewhatsnext.com!

Click here for more on chronic illness !

Lose some, Gain Some



777292601_73b1304879 This week I gained a pound. Who's surprised? Not me. I had a lot to celebrate and got distracted. Keeping portions and the hunger scale in mind probably kept me from going completely berserk. I did exercise well, walked like crazy and did some yoga. I'm sure that helped too.

This is for real: I had a dream where I was with several women, all strangers and all of us had weight issues. They were complaining about their struggle, not losing, some gaining, lamenting the state of their bodies. Kristie Alley may have been in the group. Out of my mouth came, "You know, I haven't lost a lot either but I feel better, I know I'm healthier and that keeps me going." When I woke up, I thought, "Who was that dream persona? An alter ego? Do I really believe that?"

Yes, I do. Sure, I'd rather have the pounds fall off faster. I'd rather be more disciplined (Did I really need to order an eggplant parmigiana sub for lunch on Saturday? Does it count that I only ate half of it and shared the french fries?) but over all I'm convinced I have greater commitment and control now than I did four months ago and that it will last.

After all, now that I've celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary I'm thinking about the 50th when I intend to be a rockin' and rollin' 80! That's motivation!

Shout out! Anybody using Spark People? It's a free online diet and fitness service and I'm wondering if it really helps. I love the free part, just wondering about the rest. Let me know what you think!

Photo courtesy of sean dreilinger via Flickr


25 Bits of Wedding Anniversary Silver



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Today is my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Ours is not a perfect marriage, thank God, and I certainly do not assume that what worked for us will do for everyone. Being in a romantic mood, however, I thought I'd share some of what I think got us here. Not in order of importance…

  1. Not being afraid of a good fight.
  2. Honoring the four rules of engagement.
  3. I learned to save a penny.
  4. He learned to live in the moment.
  5. Respect.
  6. Holding hands.
  7. Avoiding sarcasm.
  8. Not sweating the small stuff.
  9. Each wanting the other to be happy.
  10. Apologizing quickly.
  11. Saying thank you, also quickly.
  12. Remembering we're on the same team.
  13. Honoring each other as co-parents.
  14. Listened, even when it was hard.
  15. Not trying to 'fix it' unless asked.
  16. Maintaining reasonably healthy habits.
  17. Investing in each others' individual dreams.
  18. Caring for each others' families.
  19. Provided safe emotional haven for each other.
  20. Learned intimacy is about a hell of a lot more than sex.
  21. Called to check in if plans changed. 
  22. We laugh.
  23. Enjoyed a good glass of wine (or is it a glass of good wine?).
  24. Proud of what we've managed to do with our lives so far.
  25. Married the right person to begin with.

Photo courtesy of Wouter van Doorn via Flickr

Sited On The Huffington Post. Cool!



7 Ways To Stay Out Of The Psych Ward

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