Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Diet and depression

I was recently reading an article at psych central about how what you eat effects depression. I thought it was interesting because I've recently found that sugar affects my symptoms of depression.

As a healthy guy who tries to eat "clean", avoid most sugar, and work out every day. I can say that within the last month or so, I've experienced a few self destructive meltdowns and both times can be traced back to sugar intake. One day not long ago, the folks at work had gobs of M&M's of which I ate freely....the next day at around 3pm, I was overcome with a really really bad mood. The time before that, it was my mom's home made brownies...the day after was the same effects....really pissed off mood and the need to isolate myself.

I told my med doctor about this and he only quipped something about "stay away from sugar if it makes you feel like that" (he's the stereotypical psychiatrist).

The gist of the article was talking about how folks who eat processed foods are more apt to suffer from depression than those who eat whole foods. I've always thought there was some sort of connection between food and mental health.....

Now it appears to be so.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Camping equals good mental health - at least for me

I'm looking forward to going out to Hilsborough River State Park this weekend. I haven't been camping since May and have been dying to get out into nature. I'm used to going once a month, so to say a trip is overdue would be an understatement.

Hilsbourough River is just north of Tampa and is fairly close to where I live....and I've camped there a zillion times, but it'll serve it's purpose for me to get back out there. I'm not even sure what sort of gear I have or don't have so I'll need to head out to storage this week with the check list to see what I have and haven't got since I didn't pack and move my stuff last time.

I know someone else who is just as excited to be getting out there as well......

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


As a man who suffers from depression, this pretty much nails it.....I know, I know. We're MEN. We lift weights, are tough, are manly. Depression doesn't happen to us....or does it? Christine Stapleton tells about it better than i can....

Pity the men, for there is nothing manly about depression.

Every belief a man holds about his masculinity is attacked by depression - his physical strength, sexual prowess and ability to provide and protect. All the traits that our society says makes a man manly.

Worse, most men do not know what's hit them. The symptoms of depression in men are so different than in women that many men are emotionally blindsided.

If asking for directions is difficult, imagine asking for help with your feelings.

"There is a huge amount of stigma for men," said Michael Addis, head of the Men's Coping Project, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. "Depression is seen as a personal weakness and a character flaw."

Because many men define success by their bank accounts, experts expect to see more depression in men - and more suicide.

French aristocrat and financier Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet slashed his wrists after learning he had lost $1.4 billion he had invested with Bernard Madoff. A German billionaire and a prominent businessman in England threw themselves in front of trains out of desperation over their financial losses. In January, a California man shot and killed his wife and five young children before turning the gun on himself out of despair over losing his job.

"A man's beliefs about manhood will affect how he experiences depression, how he expresses depression and his willingness to accept treatment," Addis said.

Addis was one of four experts who recently spoke to a crowd of mostly women at the annual luncheon of Hope for Depression, held at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. The organization, just 2 years old, is the passion of philanthropist and socialite Audrey Gruss, whose mother suffered from depression.

With $25 million of her own money Gruss founded the organization to target two weaknesses in mental health research: the lack of research that integrates the biology of the brain and emotions, and the length of time it takes to get a research project approved. Already the organization has spent $7 million on research at prominent universities such as Johns Hopkins and as far away as Israel and South Africa.

Women play key role

Why talk about men and depression in a roomful of women?

Because men will often first talk to the women in their lives, and women "are the ones who help bring them into treatment," said Dr. Steven Roose, a Columbia University psychiatry professor and director of the Neuropsychiatry Research Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. A survey sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians found that 78 percent of all married men who visited a doctor had been influenced to do so by their wives.

Since many men tie their masculinity to making money and financially providing for their family, losing a job, the family's medical benefits, a pension or a car can make it even more difficult for these men to ask for help with depression.

And while only half as many men as women are diagnosed with depression, men are four times more likely to commit suicide. Why? Men act quickly on their suicidal thoughts and show fewer warning signs, such as talk of suicide. They also use methods that are far more deadly, such as guns.

What are the symptoms of depression in men? Some mirror those seen in women: Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness; difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions; and persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings.

Showing symptoms

However, men with depression also exhibit other symptoms that often go unrecognized as depression:

Violent or abusive behavior; inappropriate rage; escapist behavior, such as overwork or excessive sports; risky behavior, such as reckless driving; isolation and withdrawal; sexual liaisons; alcohol or substance abuse; and more frequent thoughts of suicide.

After reaching their sexual prime in their 20s, men's testosterone levels gradually decline. Decreased testosterone can lead to decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction, which can lead to depression.

"When men have ED there is a high rate of depression," said Roose.

For some men, the symptoms of depression were relieved with testosterone replacement therapy alone. But for men with full-blown depression, testosterone therapy is not enough. These men need antidepressants - some of which cause erectile dysfunction. In these cases it is especially important for women to know and reassure a man that the side effects of the antidepressants can be counteracted with drugs such as Viagra.

As for the best way to broach the topic of depression with men, Addis shared tips that he and his researchers use. Make it an informal conversation and sit beside, not across from the man. Do not use the word "depression" right away. Instead, slowly work it into the conversation.

"Many men don't have the vocabulary to talk about their inner emotional life," Addis said.

Which is where the women come in.

TERRY BRADSHAW: 'You've got to be man enough to say something is wrong'

Playing in the Super Bowl should be the crowning glory of a quarterback's career. Winning the Super Bowl four times should be unimaginable bliss, joy, glee and every other word ever used to express happiness.

Not for Terry Bradshaw, the legendary Pittsburgh Steeler who became the first quarterback to ever win four Super Bowl rings.

"How can I play in the Super Bowl and hate every second of it?" Bradshaw said. "The weeks following were even worse than that."

Bradshaw's Super Bowl wins in 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979 made him the manliest of men in a manly game. He called his own plays and needed a cortisone shot before each game for his injured elbow. His jersey No. "12" will never be worn by another Steelers player.

So why did Bradshaw cry when he saw an elderly couple holding hands? Why the endless funks? The bad behavior? Bradshaw got an answer eight years ago when he was diagnosed with clinical depression.

The diagnosis was a shock and a relief.

"I was actually happy because it gave me answers to some things I had done in my life," said Bradshaw. Things like three divorces, womanizing and feelings of hating his life.

After his last divorce, when he realized he would not be living with and raising his young daughters, he hit bottom.

Bradshaw spoke candidly about this battle with depression at the Hope for Depression luncheon at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach on Feb. 20. There was no hesitation or embarrassment as he described the progression of his illness.

Bradshaw, a Southern Baptist, first sought help from his preacher, "pouring my heart out for three days." His preacher told him needed more help. Bradshaw went to a psychologist and poured his heart out for another three days. The psychologist suggested he go to a psychiatrist.

"Can you give me a shot or something?" Bradshaw asked the psychiatrist. No, he learned, it was not that simple. He would need medications - which he is still on - and three more years of regular therapy.

"You have to be willing, men, to tell someone you don't know what a slime you have been in life," Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw got better but the world didn't. He took heat from his former teammates and the media, who accused him of hitting the speaking circuit with his story of depression to make money. He faced the same "woman" issues that every man with depression confronts.

"We're the macho guys and we don't want our women to know about it," he said. "Football players don't cry."

But depression does not mean you are weak, or that you are less of a man or that you cannot fix what is wrong, Bradshaw said. It means you have something wrong with your brain. No man chooses to have depression. You choose what to do about it, he said.

"Listen, men, you've got to be man enough to say something is wrong," Bradshaw said. "Don't be ashamed. I'm not."


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Workout Update 10/21


Yes....I said Eeeesh!

Similar to saying UNCLE.

The Randy Orton workout is making me feel like I was just suplexed off a 15 foot ladder....which, I guess is a good thing.

Monday's leg workout was tough, but nothing prepared me for how my glutes would feel 2 days later.....But other than that, I really feel great!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Update and new workout plus upcoming hike

It's time for us to change our workout routine. This time, as a die hard WWE fan, we've found Randy Orton's workout routine. here is what it consists of.

QUICK RUNDOWN: I try to do Cardio on the treadmill at a slight incline for 30 minutes, 3 times a week. I train abdominals 3-5 times a week. Chest, Shoulders, Back, Legs, once a week. I do Biceps and Triceps on the same day once a week. I try to work my neck 3 times a week, and my forearms the same. Stretching is very important to me. I stretch before and after i train.


DAY 1: Legs superset Thigh Extensions w/ Leg Curls : 4 sets - 12-20 reps.

DAY 2: Chest Incline BB Bench : 3 sets - 20 reps. Incline DB Bench : 5 sets - 6 reps. Flat Bench : 4 sets 8 - 12 reps. Cable Crossovers : 3 sets - 15 reps. *every other week I do 10 sets of 10 pushups, with hands on a bench

DAY 3: Back Pulldowns : 3 sets - 20 reps. Seated Cable Rows : 3 sets - 12 reps. T-Bar Rows : 3 sets - 10 reps. Bent Over Rows : 3 sets - 20 reps. Lower Back Ext. : 3 sets - 15 reps. *one set of pullups to failure*

DAY 4 : Shoulders Side Laterals : 3 sets - 15 reps. Front Laterals : 3 sets - 15 reps. Rear Laterals : 3 sets - 15 reps. Arnold Presses : 4 sets - 8 - 12 reps. Upright Rows : 3 sets - 8 - 12 reps.

DAY 5 : Triceps + Biceps Pushdowns : 3 sets - 20 reps. French Curls : 3 sets - 8-12 reps. Overhead Tri Ext : 3 sets - 8-12 reps. Closegrip Pushdowns : 3 sets - 15 reps. Alt. DB Curls : 3sets - 10reps. Alt. DB Hammer Curls : 3 sets - 8 reps. BB Curls : 3 sets - 8 reps. Cable Curls : 3 sets - 8 reps.

So how does this sound? Pretty brutal eh? The only concern that i have about it is the time constraints....plus i'm not crazy about working one muscle group once a week. But we'll see what happens. So far, i'm a freak and have responded to these workouts. My arms are getting cut and i'm down to a size 32 jeans, but my weight hasn't gone down. The arms of my dress shirts have started feeling tight and my chest, neck and shoulder muscles are the beginnings of Batista! I have a few new pairs of jeans that fit rather snug but have generated comments from my female acquaintances....this is both good and bad. Never really been a fan of jeans until recently because they would never fit me right.

I'm starting a brutal cardio routine too on the treadmill in preparation for the North Carolina hike in the spring. The route itself isn't too complicated, but I want to be able to just crush the elevation gains like nothing....i need to find something to do with all of this testosterone my body is producing (no steroids involved).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My New Theme Song

I Walk Alone - Batista's intro music!

I know I'll never be built like that, but it's something for me to shoot for. The music is cool too!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Disaster at the fitness center

As I've stated in previous posts, my brother and I live in the same complex and work out together every day. What happened that was so disastrous you ask? Yesterday, we arrived at the fitness center only to find "closed" signs all over the place...."closed" until the 13th. WHAT!?!?!?! No notice was given....no "We're sorry about the inconvenience but..." signs a week or two ahead of time so we could make other arrangements. Nada. So do we stop working out and just succumb to the temptation to sit around and eat junk food and hopefully return to working out after the fitness center is repaired or repainted or whatever mystery reason they have it closed?

Oh no no no....we jumped online and found some great body weight programs to do in the meantime. Body weight exercises are great and can be done just about anywhere. Have a look at Rafi Bar-Lev's website to see a great program.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Theme Song

Update 9/28

Woohoo! The Weekly update! I'll bet you're glad to be reading this.

The smoking cessation is going well still. I'm not totally out of the woods, but am doing a lot better than if I was still smoking 2 packs a day.

Sleep schedule is still doing well since the med change so, starting this week, I'll be increasing my intake of L-Arginine from 900 mg to 1800 mg. This should assist me in building more muscle faster, as well as help strengthen my heart. Won't be long until I'm ready to hit Rocky Mountain State Park again in late spring.

The work outs have increased in reps, intensity and length. They now take almost 2 hours to complete. The free weights are a blessing and we're lucky to have dumbells up to 80lbs each. We've decided to work the upper body every other day and lower body every other day. This and 30 minutes on the treadmill at a 12% incline has been great. I'm almost ready to start increasing it....