Not in a good place...

lauraloolauraloo Registered Users Posts: 2,121
I need help :(

I have been steadily gaining weight since I started grad school in summer 2009 and I'm now at a breaking point. I don't know exactly how much I've gained because I'm too afraid to get on a scale, but I'm going to guess it's about 20 pounds.

I have not radically changed anything about my diet or exercise in that time. In fact I think my diet is better than ever, but I probably don't get enough exercise because I'm sitting in lectures for 9 hours a day and studying/doing homework all evening. Recently I've made a better attempt to get more exercise and have committed to doing that for myself more.

I'm fairly convinced that the root of my weight gain is stress. And it's not like that is going to go away any time soon.

I'm really at a loss on what I can do for myself. I feel helpless and just plain dumb that this is what I've let happen to myself. I wish that I could just "chill out" so my diet and exercise efforts will actually get somewhere, but I can't even control that.

I have family members that are convinced that I need to go on antidepressants and that'll fix everything. I haven't done it and they just call me hard headed. I'll admit that I have been really unhappy lately which is a result of many of my stressors, but most are out of my control. I just have a hard time justifying going on medication every time I'm stressed about things that are beyond my control.

I'm mostly venting, I guess, but also looking for advice or support. Has anyone else suffered from stress related weight gain that nothing could touch? What about taking meds for stress? I'm tired of living like this and feeling uncomfortable in my own body and none of my clothes fit and dreading having to go out. It's not a good feeling.
Not all who wander are lost.

Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls

Comments

  • ninja dogninja dog Registered Users Posts: 23,780 Curl Neophyte
    I'm sorry you're going through this, ll. I do take medication for stress (clonazepam), and it helps. Antidepressants are something only a doctor should be recommending; especially if weight gain is an issue, since some SSRI drugs do have that side effect.

    I think stress affects our bodies in different ways. Some people lose, some people gain weight. Either way, it does affect us. If you're able to make time to see the school medical staff, or your own doctor about the issue, maybe that would help. I would say, "get some fresh air" but that's a temporary fix, and not always helpful. I know I am prefectly capable of walking my dogs in a bad mood, and returning in a worse one.

    Sorry not to be of more help. Hope things get better.
  • Mamacurl3Mamacurl3 Registered Users Posts: 1,559
    I'm sorry Laura, that stinks big time. I'm sorry to hear about your stress, weight gain and overall feeling icky.
    I've have heard that niacin and other b vitamins (b complex) is good for depression/anxiety etc. Maybe try b complex paired with more niacin to supplement your diet...talk to your physician first of course.
    Also, find one small thing you can do every day to destress a bit. Find 20min of time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea, or read a favorite book, listen to music, dance...whatever makes you feel good. It's less overwhelming to fit in something small and enjoyable to start.
    Is there anyway you could get your reading/text in audio form so you can exercise while "reading" your assigned materials? Killing two birds with one stone if you will. I'll be starting an online grad program in Jan and really hope that this is a possibility for me, that would make my life just that much easier. Listening while running, while in the car commuting etc.
    Hope you feel better, take care. Sometimes medication is good to get you through a rough patch, but isn't always going to necessarily fix the problem. They serve as good tools for keeping your cool enough for you to find natural coping methods to ease your stress...eventually incorporating them into your lifestyle.
    Hang in there!
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  • lauraloolauraloo Registered Users Posts: 2,121
    Thanks for the support, ladies.

    I was speaking with a counselor at school, but she left for maternity leave. Our only medical staff is a nurse. I don't have health insurance, otherwise I would love to meet with a physician to discuss my options... I would love to hear their opinion as well as have some basic stuff done, like blood work. Last time I had blood work, my thyroid hormones were mildly off, and the physician brushed it off. I'd like to take another look at that.

    Mamacurl, I had been taking a B-complex and L-Theanine, which is a compound found in tea which is supposed to be a mood lifter (and completely safe; the research on it is pretty good). Since B vitamins are water soluble, I'm not worried about hyper-dosing myself as with vits A, D, E, and K. I will start taking those again, considering I still have them.
    Unfortunately, there is no way to get my lectures in audio and while I have tried reading on the treadmill, it's next to impossible for me.

    Ninja dog, thanks for being understanding. I am worried about gaining with an SSRI, and that would be the exact opposite of what I want it to help me do. My mom and sister both take them and they say they haven't gained weight, bla bla bla, but they were skinny to begin with and don't have the weight issues that I have. I'm torn on the subject but can't really do anything about it anyway because I don't have insurance or income to see anyone about it.

    I guess I'm just going to do what I can for myself and just hang on.
    Not all who wander are lost.

    Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
  • 2poodles2poodles Registered Users Posts: 2,485 Curl Connoisseur
    Have you looked into meditation and/or yoga? Both are excellent for stress. And neither has to take a real long period of time. There are probably lots of books - and possibly also audio tapes and/or dvds - on both in your library. Might be worth a shot....
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]2Poodles :flower: Southeast PA
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  • Mamacurl3Mamacurl3 Registered Users Posts: 1,559
    Definitely look into getting your thyroid checked if it's been a while and your levels were off last time you were in. Thyroid plays a huge factor in metabolism, mood, sleep, everything.
    Hope you feel better soon!
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    Moisture/Co rinse: GVP conditioning balm
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    Definition: kccc
    Hold: rotating: gvp liquid scuplting gel
    ACV rinse bi-weekly
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  • curlypearlcurlypearl Registered Users Posts: 12,231 Curl Connoisseur
    I don't have any good advice or suggestions to offer, but I just wanted to second everyone else's good ideas and let you know that we hear you.

    You definitely sound like you need to do something to break out of the pattern you are in. I hope something gels for you and I'll keep reading your posts and rooting for you. (((LauraLoo)))
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  • 1Joy1Joy Registered Users Posts: 356 Curl Neophyte
    Stress=Increase Cortisol=Increased fat (particularly belly fat) Reduce stress through something you enjoy and add Omega 3's and hemp protein and you will quickly drop that excess weight.
    My quote: Supercharge Your Superhuman w/my 4-part brain Activation System:
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  • luvmylocsluvmylocs Registered Users Posts: 7,578 Curl Neophyte
    omega 3's are essential for good health and can help with mood and a lot of other things. make sure if you take it you're getting enough.

    also 5-htp. there are some threads here about it but google it, webmd has a good article about 5-htp. it's used for mood, it effects serotonin levels. it also can be an appetite depressant. it's an amino acid. i've used it with very good results and no side effects. it's easy to cycle off if you feel like you don't need it.
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  • veganyoginiveganyogini Registered Users Posts: 31
    2poodles wrote: »
    Have you looked into meditation and/or yoga? Both are excellent for stress. And neither has to take a real long period of time. There are probably lots of books - and possibly also audio tapes and/or dvds - on both in your library. Might be worth a shot....

    I second the meditation & yoga suggestion.
  • murrrcatmurrrcat Registered Users Posts: 9,596
    I feel the same way as you!

    I know they say stress is a factor of weight gain but reading it from you made it more clear to me that, that could be the cause of me never losing weight. I'm constantly dealing with stress from school, and constantly battling body issue/self confidence issues which causes more stress.

    I will also be reading everyone else advice.

    Know that you're not alone if that helps any.


    Yoga does make you feel at peace when you practice it routinely , but I can never keep up with it. I think the longest I practiced was 20 straight days. (not continuously, but doing some yoga everyday)
    tumblr_mji9u1Fwza1rh1wv4o1_500.jpg
  • 2poodles2poodles Registered Users Posts: 2,485 Curl Connoisseur
    Even if you feel like you don't have time for a yoga "practice" you can probably spare a few minutes for some deep breathing. It's amazing to me how quickly I can relax if I pay attention to my breathing for even a couple of minutes.

    From yogajournal.com....

    Reducing stress levels can greatly improve health and quality of life—and yoga is arguably the best overall system for stress reduction ever invented.
    By Timothy McCall, M.D.
    It's also calming to breathe more deeply than most people usually do. Abdominal breathing, in which the diaphragm is used to maximum advantage on the inhalation and the abdominal muscles help squeeze air out on the exhalation, results in larger breath volume. It turns out that slower, deeper breaths are much more efficient in bringing oxygen into the body while not exhaling more carbon dioxide (CO2) than is desirable. Rapid, shallow breaths, in contrast, tend to deplete CO2 levels, which has a number of negative effects, including promoting mental agitation.

    A simple technique, which can provide almost instant stress reduction, is to lengthen the exhalation relative to the inhalation. Doing so increases the tone in the parasympathetic nervous system, which increases relaxation and decreases the sympathetic nervous system's fight-or-flight response. Have your students work toward a 1:2 ratio of inhalation to exhalation, but under no circumstances should they feel any breath hunger (which sets off the stress response) when doing the practice. Once students master this technique, they can use it whenever stress flares up—in the office, while driving, in an airplane—without anyone around them necessarily being able to detect it.
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  • lauraloolauraloo Registered Users Posts: 2,121
    Thank you all for your responses-- I already feel better just having it all "out there."

    I have done yoga on and off for years, and I really need to pick it back up. I'm spoiled in that I have always done classes and I feel that I get more out of it from a class, but I don't have the budget to pay for a membership to a studio right now. I need to convince myself that I should do a few sun salutations every day and once I have some income I will spoil myself to a yoga membership some day.

    I'm currently taking a class about cardiopulmonary rehab, so we've been talking a lot about breathing techniques. Of course I don't have a cardiovascular or pulmonary disease but I have found that practicing the breathing techniques we've been learning is definitely helping me. I've found that I can squelch my anxiety by just taking a few deep breaths sometimes, and it has really helped reduce my heartburn/reflux/probably ulcer situation that I have going on.

    I also ordered a bottle of 5-htp capsules that luvmylocs recommended. When they get here I will report back once I've tried them for a bit. I'm really optimistic about this supplement, every review I've read of it sounds exactly like me-- I don't believe that I'm truly clinically depressed enough to go on a full-on SSRI, but a little serotonin boost here and there in times of stress sounds wonderful. I really hope it works for me!
    Not all who wander are lost.

    Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
  • curlylauracurlylaura Registered Users Posts: 8,352 Curl Neophyte
    A interesting thread and helpful to me too!
    Fat does not make you fat. It's actually pretty important.
  • ElectrumElectrum Registered Users Posts: 62
    Hmm... I'm assuming you live in a college town? I know that all the residence halls have gym membership for really cheap at the college I'm currently attending so you may want to check that out if you have the same opportunities close by. Also, the local yoga houses in my town offer discounts to students: become friends with the owner, explain your situation and see if you can arrange a lenient payment system for a set amount of classes, instead of paying up front.
    I hear you when you say you don't have much money, but it seems like your weight is interfering with not only your physical well being but your emotional and mental well-being. It may be worthwhile to save whatever you can scrounge up to invest in a couple fitness classes, videos, or books. If you don't have a job donating rarely used clothing and goods to your local vintage or consignment shop (if they pay), donating blood, and participating in surveys both affiliated with the school or online would help with getting money. Blood donations usually pay between 20 and 40 dollars... depending on how many items brought in you can earn 10+ dollars at a paying consignment shop, and school affiliated surveys average another 10 dollars per hour it takes to complete the experiment. If you have absolutely no time or resources for any of the above asking for a gym membership for Christmas could also be a good idea-- your family seems concerned enough to chip in with whatever would make you feel better.
    Also... I would imagine your college has a local recreation center. Going for a dip in the school pool, or grabbing some friends for a game of pick-up could relieve a lot of stress and burn calories. For a while I thought practicing yoga was getting in the way of school, and then I stopped, and I felt terrible, and I realized that although yoga was making school work a little more challenging to complete it was improving my life overall. I hope this helps and you feel better soon.
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  • theliothelio Registered Users Posts: 5,374
    Lauraloo, I know how you feel. Being a student can be so stressful. I was on the verge of a break down my sophmore year. My hair was falling out, insomnia, horrible breakout all over my body, tired. I just felt icky and hope less to be honest. But I started to talk with my classmates whom soon became friends, because we were all going through very similar symptoms. A few were on anti-depressants, but they felt they didnt help. Slowly but surely we all got a routine that seemed to help chillax us, and improved our grades.

    First, we made it a point to meet for breakfast and just hang out, no school related stuff unless we had a test coming up. We would vent, talk about random stuff, and just find time to laugh. And most importantly we had breakfast.

    After that we would all break for class and met for lunch, doing it all over again. Just hanging out. We had a salad and soup bar at my school so we all typically had that.

    When it came time to study for test, we would each take what we were best at and make a lesson plan to teach it to the others in our group.

    During our study sessions we would also make homemade healthy snacks and meals. Lots or whole grains, fruits, low sugar, stuff like that. this was we avoided binging on unhealthy stuff.

    By my junior year, everything was way better. It wasn't perfect, but i felt i would survive. My friends on antidepressants were no longer on them. all of out grade had improved, and a few had shed some lbs.

    I say the key to maintain sanity well in school, is to have a circle of friends whose going to have your back. Have a routine adn try to stick with it. Have some off time for school. Just because you are a student does not mean your like has to revolve everyone school. Break free every once in a well. Remember your in college, you're their to better yourself, not to drive your self to the looney-bin.

    Hope this helps andmaintain sanity!
  • GretchenGretchen Administrator Moderators Posts: 10,840 Curl Virtuoso
    LL, just chiming in for support. I'm sure it's just a temporarily thing and you'll be sweatin' it out before you know it! This time of year is so hard!

    Gretchen
    NaturallyCurly.com co-founder
    3A

    You are beautiful!
  • wild~hairwild~hair Registered Users Posts: 9,890 Curl Neophyte
    Lauraloo, just commit to doing 5 sun salutations a day for a week and report back. Even a small investment like that can reap great payoffs.

    Do it when you need a break from studying anyway. You'll be refreshed and better able to concentrate. And the more you do it, the more you'll want to do it, if you do it consistently for a little while [a week]. Your body becomes accustomed to feeling good and wants more of it.


    Other recs here that I have found helpful for mood are the 5-HTP [a lifesaver for me] and the fish oil capsules.

    If weight gain is an issue and you're not feeling desperate about the mood stuff, I would avoid SSRIs. I was never overweight until I went on one. I eventually switched over the 5-HTP, which had zero side effects and was very effective for me. I no longer need it [it's always there if I do, though] but I still take fish oil. I think everyone should take fish oil, mood problems or not, since there are so many benefits to it.

    GL and let us know how it goes!
  • ShreelaShreela Registered Users Posts: 10
    If you were my daughter, the very second the word "stress" left your lips, I'd start massaging you until either you melted, or my hands went numb - I'm weird that way, but my family, friends, even some coworkers never complained ^_^
    CG-Newbie: 3b-M-ii/iii; med-high porosity; shoulder-length
  • lauraloolauraloo Registered Users Posts: 2,121
    Wow! Thanks for the outpouring support everyone, really. I'm definitely feeling the love! I really appreciate all of the suggestions.

    I'm two final exams down, 5 more to go. Although it is stressful, I'm feeling like I'm on the downward slide, and hope to have some good recouperating time over the holiday.

    I'm also feeling solace with another friend at school, who like me is the "curviest" of all of her sisters and is gaining weight in spite of living a very healthy lifestyle (she moreso than me). It's been really helpful commiserating with her and and we've been supporting each other for sure.

    I've also been taking two 50mg capsules of 5-htp a day (one with breakfast and another with lunch) and I have to say that it has been incredibly helpful to me. It is really helping with my test anxiety and feeling generally panicked all the time. I also think my heartburn/self-diagnosed GERD is reduced and it is actually suppressing my appetite a bit. Mostly it helps me not overeat-- I'm not sure how/why, but I'm not gonna ask questions. I don't think it has effected my sleep (I still wake up in the night) but overall the effects have been amazing. I'm shocked, really. I thought it sounded too good to be true, but it really has been amazing for me.

    I do have access to the gym at school, but due to demanding school work I haven't been this semester. Instead I have been walking on the treadmill in my apartment building at 3mph at a high incline for 20-25 minutes and doing some resistance strength training on the total gym. It's not anything "intense" by any means, but it's definitely better than nothing. I also would like to get back into yoga, so I should make that a goal also.

    I'm feeling much better overall but would also love to see some weight come off. I'm not weighing myself on the scale (trying to prevent a total meltdown) so it's possible I have lost a bit, but I'll really be happy once my clothes start fitting better. In the mean time, though, I've got to come to terms with spending some of my non-existent money on a dress for the wedding I'm participating in in 2 weeks.

    Thank you all again for your support. I really appreciate the help since I'm struggling so much and my relationship with my family is minorly rocky right now, especially since we're usually so close and I haven't really been able to talk to them about this stuff.


    PS what's so special about fish oil? Several of you have recommended it. I know it has the omega fats which are necessary in the diet, and I do get a fair amount in my diet, but do they help with mood? I've been taking a B-complex with my 5-htp in the morning since I know that the nervous system needs B vits for seratonin synthesis. What's the story with fish oil? What brand do you take, and how much do you take?

    PSS thanks Gretchen! I'm feeling special from all the attention :)
    Not all who wander are lost.

    Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Registered Users Posts: 12,231 Curl Connoisseur
    thelio wrote: »
    Lauraloo, I know how you feel. Being a student can be so stressful. I was on the verge of a break down my sophmore year. My hair was falling out, insomnia, horrible breakout all over my body, tired. I just felt icky and hope less to be honest. But I started to talk with my classmates whom soon became friends, because we were all going through very similar symptoms. A few were on anti-depressants, but they felt they didnt help. Slowly but surely we all got a routine that seemed to help chillax us, and improved our grades.

    First, we made it a point to meet for breakfast and just hang out, no school related stuff unless we had a test coming up. We would vent, talk about random stuff, and just find time to laugh. And most importantly we had breakfast.

    After that we would all break for class and met for lunch, doing it all over again. Just hanging out. We had a salad and soup bar at my school so we all typically had that.

    When it came time to study for test, we would each take what we were best at and make a lesson plan to teach it to the others in our group.

    During our study sessions we would also make homemade healthy snacks and meals. Lots or whole grains, fruits, low sugar, stuff like that. this was we avoided binging on unhealthy stuff.

    By my junior year, everything was way better. It wasn't perfect, but i felt i would survive. My friends on antidepressants were no longer on them. all of out grade had improved, and a few had shed some lbs.

    I say the key to maintain sanity well in school, is to have a circle of friends whose going to have your back. Have a routine adn try to stick with it. Have some off time for school. Just because you are a student does not mean your like has to revolve everyone school. Break free every once in a well. Remember your in college, you're their to better yourself, not to drive your self to the looney-bin.

    Hope this helps andmaintain sanity!

    This is kind of an inspiring post! Anyway, we're all in your corner Lauraloo and hoping you find a good way to cope.
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    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • wild~hairwild~hair Registered Users Posts: 9,890 Curl Neophyte
    Lauraloo, yes, fish oil does help with mood, there have been a fair number of studies showing the effects. It's becoming more and more common for psychiatrists to add to their prescription drug rx a recommendation of fish oil for their patients with depression and anxiety.

    If you want to read more about omega-3s, here is a good thorough article from a reputable source on the subject. It also has tips on how to buy a fish oil supplement.

    I'm really glad that 5-HTP is working for you! It does not work for everyone, which is probably why it's not a well known treatment option, but when it does work, it works very well.
  • LAwomanLAwoman Registered Users Posts: 2,949 Curl Neophyte
    lauraloo wrote: »
    Wow! Thanks for the outpouring support everyone, really. I'm definitely feeling the love! I really appreciate all of the suggestions.

    I'm two final exams down, 5 more to go. Although it is stressful, I'm feeling like I'm on the downward slide, and hope to have some good recouperating time over the holiday.

    I'm also feeling solace with another friend at school, who like me is the "curviest" of all of her sisters and is gaining weight in spite of living a very healthy lifestyle (she moreso than me). It's been really helpful commiserating with her and and we've been supporting each other for sure.

    I've also been taking two 50mg capsules of 5-htp a day (one with breakfast and another with lunch) and I have to say that it has been incredibly helpful to me. It is really helping with my test anxiety and feeling generally panicked all the time. I also think my heartburn/self-diagnosed GERD is reduced and it is actually suppressing my appetite a bit. Mostly it helps me not overeat-- I'm not sure how/why, but I'm not gonna ask questions. I don't think it has effected my sleep (I still wake up in the night) but overall the effects have been amazing. I'm shocked, really. I thought it sounded too good to be true, but it really has been amazing for me.

    I do have access to the gym at school, but due to demanding school work I haven't been this semester. Instead I have been walking on the treadmill in my apartment building at 3mph at a high incline for 20-25 minutes and doing some resistance strength training on the total gym. It's not anything "intense" by any means, but it's definitely better than nothing. I also would like to get back into yoga, so I should make that a goal also.

    I'm feeling much better overall but would also love to see some weight come off. I'm not weighing myself on the scale (trying to prevent a total meltdown) so it's possible I have lost a bit, but I'll really be happy once my clothes start fitting better. In the mean time, though, I've got to come to terms with spending some of my non-existent money on a dress for the wedding I'm participating in in 2 weeks.

    Thank you all again for your support. I really appreciate the help since I'm struggling so much and my relationship with my family is minorly rocky right now, especially since we're usually so close and I haven't really been able to talk to them about this stuff.


    PS what's so special about fish oil? Several of you have recommended it. I know it has the omega fats which are necessary in the diet, and I do get a fair amount in my diet, but do they help with mood? I've been taking a B-complex with my 5-htp in the morning since I know that the nervous system needs B vits for seratonin synthesis. What's the story with fish oil? What brand do you take, and how much do you take?

    PSS thanks Gretchen! I'm feeling special from all the attention :)

    Glad to hear you are feeling better, and that some of the suggestions have been helpful. As far as addressing the weight loss issue, it may come down to simply counting calories and/or playing around with the ratios of your nutrients. Also- not sure of your age, but I know when I hit my 30s, I could not eat nearly as many carbs as when I was younger w/o gaining weight. Don't get me wrong- I eat them, I just watch what kinds and keep portions small. I focus mainly on proteins, healthy fats, fruits/veggies and nuts as the bulk of my diet, then add other things in sometimes, like oatmeal or whole wheat bread. Oh and wine. :)
  • GretchenGretchen Administrator Moderators Posts: 10,840 Curl Virtuoso
    We're here for you! Curlies stick together!

    Gretchen
    NaturallyCurly.com co-founder
    3A

    You are beautiful!
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Registered Users Posts: 12,231 Curl Connoisseur
    Gretchen wrote: »
    We're here for you! Curlies stick together!

    So true!
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • sleepyjesssleepyjess Registered Users Posts: 297
    curlypearl wrote: »
    Gretchen wrote: »
    We're here for you! Curlies stick together!

    So true!

    Seconded!...or thirded? Um...I agree!

    I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, and I don't think it will miraculously solve all your problems, but if anything it'll help you feel better...sleep! I'm a college student, so I can sort of sympathize with the grad school class schedule (though maybe not completely - my schedule's pretty light this term) but whenever I get my full nine or ten hours (not often) I feel better, and fitter, and more optimistic about myself. Sleep is when we give our body some time to heal itself from the stressors of the day, and if you are severely sleep deprived, it can have an impact on your weight.

    I'd also suggest three other things, if you aren't already doing them:

    1. green tea. Tons of benefits. One of them being that if you drink three or four cups a day, it can boost your metabolism and help you burn 80 extra calories. (I'm not super certain that this is a for sure deal, but I've read multiple places that green tea has a positive effect on your metabolism)

    2. Cut out all added sugar, or as much as you can. No soda, substitute dark chocolate for milk chocolate, that kind of stuff.

    3. Watch these videos. They're really funny.
    YouTube - Cartwheelin'
    YouTube - The Tell


    Hope things get better for you! Nothing lasts forever, it'll all be good again!
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    "She may be afraid of trees. But when push comes to shove, she won't let you drink the shampoo. No matter how good it smells."

    :faroah:Visit me! http://nakedsquid.blogspot.com
  • JayneeJaynee Registered Users Posts: 2,039 Curl Neophyte
    This is the first time I'm seeing this thread, and it's been so helpful to me as well!

    How are you feeling, LL?

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