When British businesswoman Sarah Bird weighed in at her doctor’s office, she was shocked to discover that she was not a healthy weight, as she had believed, and that at 5’10” she weighed 238 pounds. Sarah knew that she did not have the body of a runway model, but the term “obese” was hard for her to swallow.
After Internet research confirmed her primary care physician’s diagnosis, Sarah set out on her own to lose weight, rejecting her physician’s referral to a weight loss program. She believed she had taught herself enough in years of yo-yo dieting to do it on her own. Sarah also forced herself to view herself in a full-length mirror for the first time in years, and she was shocked again at what she saw. As Sarah realized just how inaccurately she had perceived herself, she wrote a book about her experiences.
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It’s that time of the year again. The days are getting shorter. The nights are getting colder. In Indiana, we have seen a few snow flurries, and I am dreading the graying of the sky for the winter. In response, we tend to sleep more, crave carbohydrates, and experience less energy. Although not an official DSM-IV TR diagnosis, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, or seasonal depression) has been popularly accepted by lay persons, practitioners, and researchers alike.
Our natural response to the seasonal changes only becomes a disorder when the distress is in excess of what would be expected from the stressor (seasonal change) and/or when it interferes with functioning in more than one key life area. If you are late to work every day and fighting more with your significant other, your response may be severe enough to be considered a disorder. Regardless of the extent to which the seasonal change effects you, there are several things you can do to fight the winter blues.
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