Mr. Blue Sky

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The cold gloomy weather has got me down like a mofo this weeks. Each day I plan to do this or that but it seems like all my energy is just drained despite the good amount of sleep I’ve been getting. Perhaps it’s just that, I’m getting more sleep than I’m used to and it’s making me tired. The real reason I think is just the weather here which is blotting out the anticipation of Spring.  Looking at the forecast into next week I know it’s going to get progressively warmer but it’s just not fast enough for me.

My view from the couch


I just started exercising…why am I gaining weight? Q & A

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Interesting information I thought I would share with anyone who might be working hard at losing weight but finding themselves still gaining.

Question: I just started exercising…why am I gaining weight?

Answer: If you’ve noticed your weight going up after starting an exercise program, don’t panic! It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong, nor does it mean you’re going in the wrong direction. There can be some obvious and not-so-obvious reasons you’re gaining weight.

Your first step is to determine if what you’re gaining is actually fat or muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat, but it takes up less space…if you gain muscle, your scale weight may go up even as you’re slimming down. Rather than just using a scale to measure your progress, you can get your body fat tested on a regular basis to get a better idea of what you’re gaining and/or losing. If that isn’t an option, you can take measurements at different areas of the body…if you’re losing inches, you’re on the right track. For more, check out 4 Ways to Track Your Weight Loss Progress.

If you’ve measured yourself in different ways and realized you are gaining fat, take some time to go through the following possibilities – you may need to make some small changes in your diet to see better results.

1. Eating too many calories. It may seem obvious, but eating more calories than you burn causes weight gain. What some people don’t realize is that, after they start exercising, they may start eating more without being aware of it. Most people think they’re eating a healthy, low-calorie diet but, unless you’re keeping a detailed food journal, you just don’t know how many calories you’re really eating. Most people are surprised when they start keeping a journal and adding up the calories–it almost always turns out to be more than they thought. Before you quit exercising, take a week to keep a food journal. Add up your calories to get a sense of exactly what you’re eating…if it’s too much, you can start to make some changes in your diet to reduce your calories. And try to avoid the mindset that says you can eat whatever you want since you’re doing all this great exercise…to lose weight, you still need to monitor your calories.

2. Not eating enough calories. It may seem counterintuitive, but eating too little can actually stall your efforts to lose fat. As Cathy Leman, a registered dietician and creator of NutriFit! says, “…if there is a severe restriction in calories, the body may counteract this reduction by slowing down its metabolism.” Be sure you’re eating enough calories to sustain your body if you’ve increased your activity.

3. Not giving your body time to respond. Just because you start exercising doesn’t always mean your body will respond to that immediately. As Cathy Leman puts it, “…in some instances the body needs to sort of “recalibrate”‘ itself. Increased activity and new eating habits (taking in more or less calories) require the body to make adjustments.” Cathy recommends that you give yourself several weeks or months for your body to respond to what you’re doing.

4. Rule out any medical conditions. While thyroid problems are rare, they can definitely make weight loss difficult. There can also be medications you’re taking that could affect your body’s ability to lose weight. If you feel your food intake is reasonable and you’ve given your body enough time to see results and haven’t seen any (or are seeing unexplainable weight gain) see your doctor to rule any other causes.

5. You’re gaining muscle faster than you’re losing fat. If it seems that you’re getting bigger after you’ve started a weight training routine, it may be because you aren’t losing body fat as fast as you’re building muscle, which is a problem some people experience when they start exercising. Genetics could also be playing a role here…some people put on muscle more easily than others. If that’s the case for you, don’t stop training! Instead, you might simply adjust your program to make sure you’re getting enough cardio exercise to promote weight loss and focus your strength training workouts on muscular endurance by keeping the reps between 12-16.

Whatever the cause of your weight gain, don’t give up on exercise. It’s not only your ticket to weight loss, it’s also important for your health.

By Paige Waehner, About.com

Updated: May 31, 2006

About.com Health’s Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board


24 hour

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Friday night I got home just after midnight and pretty much went straight to bed which for me isn’t typical. I just figured it was from a long week and being tired out in general but by early morning I was feeling really drained and nauseous. Waking up with an upset stomach, headache, chills and the feeling drained I knew something was up but I had to get out of bed and take care of business.

By early afternoon I would have loved nothing more than to crawl up in bed and just sleep but still I had business to take care of so it wasn’t until around 4 in the afternoon that I was able to lay down and sleep, and sleep I did, from 4 in the afternoon until around 10AM the next morning. To sleep 18 hours, minus waking up for water a couple times, is something I don’t think I’ve ever done but holy shit did it help. I didn’t wake up at 100% but I no longer had an upset stomach and the headache was really mild, probably from dehydration.

I do remember waking up once and touching my wife’s back,  which was wet with sweat as she was experiencing similar symptoms ,and she snapped at me to STOP! Wasn’t like I was trying to make a move, seriously that was the last thing on my mind, but trying to see if she was alright or something. I guess it was just a 24 hour bug or whatever and I’m glad it seems to be over with. I’m ready to take on the week and so looking forward to Chicago this weekend. Hopefully I can get a job or two in before the weekend, that would be perfect.


come and get your love

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May not look like much to some but for those of us in Michigan it looks like hope, newness, smiles and head up time is right around the corner.

Had a great day out in the city eating feta pizza, which isn’t the best choice in food for me but it was worth it. In fact I’m finishing up the leftover slice right now, sorry K. People out walking around still not accepting the break in weather and all bundled up like it’s cold. Actually the wind was a little chilly but when the sun peeked from behind the clouds it was really nice.



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by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.


Frequently, I am asked how to handle irrational jealous feelings.  Usually, the individual recognizes that her feelings are unreasonable with no valid evidence but feels incapable of controlling the jealousy.  In addition, the person usually recognizes the destructive nature of indulging in the feelings and the resulting behavior.  Such behavior typically involves excessive questioning of her spouse, suspiciousness, and accusations.  Many spouses become extremely frustrated with this behavior because they have no way of proving their faithfulness.  This leads to an escalating cycle of anger which is used as further evidence by the jealous spouse that her suspicions are correct.

The jealous spouse often desperately wants to stop the behavior but finds that he can’t control the thoughts which makes him feel miserable.  He believes that if he can just prove his suspicions one way or another, he will feel better.  The unfortunate fallacy in this thinking, is that trust can never be proven; it can only be disproved.  The definition of trust is the belief that something is true.  Therefore, without evidence to the contrary, if we want a satisfying relationship, we have to choose to trust the person we love. 

One of the most difficult things for human beings, in general, is not knowing something with 100% certainty.  We are often afraid to trust because we are fearful of disappointment and hurt.  Therefore, we go through extreme contortions to try to protect ourselves from the possibility of loss and pain.  Yet, these attempts to protect ourselves may actually be the means with which we destroy that which we are trying to preserve.  In other words, a woman may eventually destroy her marriage because she is too fearful to take the chance of trusting that her husband is faithful.  As a result, she causes the loss and pain that she was trying to prevent.


For a person to learn to control jealousy, it is first important to understand what underlies the irrational thinking.  Frequently, an individual who is prone to jealousy may have problems with low self-esteem, feelings of insecurity, fear of vulnerability, or fear of abandonment.  

A person with low self-esteem may feel so undeserving of being loved, that he can’t believe that his spouse could possibly remain faithful to him.  Perhaps these feelings stem from some abusive past relationship in which he was unloved and made to believe that he was at fault.  For instance, if a teenager is told, “If only you were more like your brother, then maybe you could get a girlfriend” he comes to believe that there is something wrong with him.  Many times we are given messages, some subtle and some not-so-subtle, as we are growing up that shape our beliefs about ourselves.

Feelings of insecurity may stem from the low self-esteem or may be related to instances in which we have previously been hurt.  The same is true with fear of abandonment.  When we have experienced profound loss from which we haven’t had an opportunity to recover, we may develop an extreme fear and avoidance reaction to similar circumstances.  However, as indicated earlier, this avoidance may bring about the abandonment that we fear.

A fear of vulnerability is the inability to let our guard down, to let another person know us completely.  This fear usually derives from a fear of rejection due to the belief that if we let someone else truly know us, we will ultimately be rejected.  Again, the fallacy in this belief, is that if we don’t allow our spouse to know us, if we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are preventing the development of emotional intimacy which is essential to any relationship.

Emotional intimacy is the most important type of intimacy in a relationship.  It is required for the relationship to fully mature.  Without it, all we have is the initial surface attraction to the other person which cannot be maintained indefinitely.  However, when we find emotional intimacy with another person, we discover the most intensely fulfilling experience that exists.  And that is, the full acceptance of our self by another person.  I know some people may argue with me and say that “the most intensely fulfilling experience that exists” is our relationship with God.  The reason I say that it is the development of emotional intimacy with another person, is because acceptance from God is a given and doesn’t require as much of a risk. 

Finally, the individual needs to determine if there are certain behaviors from herself or from her spouse that may contribute to the development of these fears and beliefs. For instance, perhaps a spouse is reluctant to share personal information because he will then be subject to questioning and accusations. As a result, emotional intimacy in the relationship declines. The person who is jealous will often take this as further evidence of cheating in the relationship, when, in fact, it is a result of the questioning and accusations.  Or, for example, a jealous person has repeatedly harmed relationships through his accusations which he takes as evidence that women can never be trusted.  

The more you are aware of your behaviors and other’s behavior that may maintain the beliefs, then you will be able to make better choices that can allow you to control the jealousy.  In fact, the development of awareness can’t be emphasized enough.  You may need to spend some time at this point to assess your jealousy, the behaviors, and the outcomes based on the behaviors.


Once you have determined the behavior, then you can make choices to change the behavior.  Even though these feelings seem uncontrollable, that doesn’t mean they are uncontrollable.  However, you may need to make a commitment to the hard work involved in making changes.

The following steps can help you with these changes:

1)  Make an effort to no longer engage in the self-defeating behavior.  If you are questioning or making accusations, stop the behavior immediately.  Whether you need to literally bite your tongue, go to another room, or talk to a friend, don’t allow yourself to continue with this destructive behavior.  Usually people engage in this behavior because initially it is reassuring to them and makes them feel better.  But remind yourself that feeling better is just temporary and that it is a destructive behavior that must stop.

2)  Challenge the irrational thinking styles frequently.  Identify how your thinking is irrational and remind yourself of why it is whenever you have the jealous thoughts.  If is often beneficial to write this down.  Some things that you may identify include the idea that there is no evidence, that the probability is remote, and that there is evidence to the contrary such as the loving things your spouse does for you.

3)  Refuse to engage in the jealous self-talk.  Whenever you engage in the jealous self-talk, internally tell yourself to “shut up.”  You may need to do this repeatedly, but you want to do whatever is necessary to not listen to yourself on this topic.  Some people use the rubber band method which involves the aversive stimulus of snapping a rubber band on your wrist whenever you have the jealous self-talk.

4)  Work on improving your self-esteem.  Remember that irrational jealousy is not about your spouse but is about yourself.  Use the presence of jealous feelings to remind yourself that you need to focus on improving your self-esteem.  Although improving self-esteem is another entire topic to itself, generally, you need to give yourself positive self-statements and engage in behaviors that make you feel good about yourself.

5)  Learn to be vulnerable and to develop emotional intimacy.  For any relationship to be successful, you must be able to take risks.  There are many ways to do this and you need to determine by assessing yourself what are the best ways for you to take risks.  For instance, if you feel insecure, you might share these feelings with your spouse and talk about ways your spouse can help you feel more secure. Or if you are afraid of being vulnerable, you might decide to take small risks of sharing yourself, your feelings, and your fears with your spouse.

Sometimes the process of developing awareness and challenging irrational beliefs may be too difficult to accomplish alone and a person may need assistance from a therapist.  However, typically a good cognitive-behavioral therapist can point you in the right direction within a few sessions and then most of the work is up to you.

See also:  Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude 


Copyright © 2000



facing it


I’ve heard stories of people going to a counselor only to find themselves facing a past that was better off left there. Or worse yet dealing with a false event that was dreamed up in some way that makes it difficult to separate from reality.  Reminds me of lyrics from the song Plowed by Sponge:

Will I wake up
Is it a dream I made up
No I guess it’s reality
What will change us
Or will we mess up
Our only chance to connect
With a dream…

I’m not sure if those lyrics apply to what I’m talking about here but that’s always the way I’ve seen it. That “fear” I guess you could call it has kept me from getting any type of personal professional help for a long time. Well that’s one of the reasons anyway. The other reason is because I always figured I could just work out things for myself and once the issue has been identified it’s just a matter of making changes to fix that issue. Sounds simple enough in my mind but I have come to the realization not everyone, myself included, is equipped with the necessary tools to fix everything. 

We all know people who grew up in less than favorable environments but come out of it in apparent decent shape. Using your childhood experiences as an excuse as to why you’re fucked up has never sat well with me. You make your way eventually and no matter what challenges you were faced with as a child you do have the ability to make your future positive, for the most part. Well at least that’s the way I used to view it. As much as it still rubs me wrong I need to come to terms with the fact that my own childhood did indeed fuck me up in several ways. Lets see, I don’t trust anyone, I have a hard time relating to people, I view almost every male as a psychical threat, I have never really  trusted females, anger issues, depression and anxiety with whatever else. So these are emotions that most people deal with I think but there’s a difference between having these emotions on occasion and living with these emotions day in and day out. I fucking hate it!

The earliest memory of my childhood is of one of my mom’s boyfriends chasing her out of the house with a gun butt naked in the middle of the day. Sounds comedic when I think of it now but shit, that’s my earliest childhood memory and I think about it always. The alcohol abuse, drug abuse, cheating, violence, being put second to bastards, going to bed so hungry but there being enough money for alcohol or crack, the screaming, seeing my mom get beat up and feeling like life is just hell. Even at an early age I knew it wasn’t right to live like that and I promised myself I would never repeat those things and my children would grow up in a loving “functional” home. 

Sometimes I feel like I should hate my mother for all those years, at a younger age I did, but I can’t now. In fact I feel sorry for her having spent all those years being mistreated and abused only now to find herself a sick women without love.  She’s not alone but she has no love for the person she’s with now even though he treats her right and respects her. I’m sure she’s incapable of loving a man who respects her.

So far I’ve succeeded in having almost everything I dreamed of as a child. A home, a wonderful wife, children of my own and a means to pay some of the bills, clean clothes (a washing machine), food in the fridge… These might seem like basic things most people have but as a child they were like a dream to me and if I could have them one day what else could I possibly wish for.

That wish has come true for me and I need to hold on to it and make it good so today I made a call for help.

3.17.08  The date of my first session.


the skinny

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I’m not really discouraged per say about this but I just wish I could gain some muscle weight. When I look at my alien like body in the mirror I want to go eat a pizza because I worry about what others think about me and don’t want to look sickly skinny. For the past few months my weight has remained at 155 which for me is unusual as I have always been the type to gain and drop five pounds in a given week. But today when I stepped on the scale, with all my clothes on and a big ass leather belt, I was at the lower end of 153. No doubt in the nude I would be at the low end of 150 or whatever. My wife made a comment today asking me if I lost weight too. I know she’s sensitive to my own sensitivity concerning my weight and doesn’t mean anything by it but it’s hard for me to hear anything about my weight. This has always resulted in an increase of 20-25 pounds because I get to the point where I just eat whatever I want with no concern for calories, not a place I want to be so balance is very much needed here.

It’s not a matter of a psychical problem causing me to loose weight but rather a mental problem preventing me from eating enough food to maintain a steady weight. This week, for whatever reasons, I have been stressed and feeling generally depressed which for me just takes away my appetite completely. And it’s not even like I feel hungry at all but can’t eat, it’s just that I don’t feel hungry. Today we went to a local coney island and I broke down and got a Reuben w/spinach pie and managed to eat all of it even though the last half of the sandwich didn’t go down easy. Times like these I have to sort of force myself to eat so I don’t blow away in the wind.

I’m thinking about setting up some personal counseling so I don’t have these lows so often. Or I can just wait for the spring to come which always brings me joy.