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Welcome to The Quest, a newsletter intended to inspire and inform those interested in experiencing optimal well being in body, mind and spirit. For archived newsletters and more information, please see my website at www.deborahlow.com.

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October 2004
In this issue of The Quest:

1. The Quest Quote
Caffeine Withdrawal – A New Psychiatric Disorder
3. Positive Media Pressure?
4. Body Image and Weight: Results and Winners!

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1. Quote:

"I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness…. Yet, as long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, none of the external facilities or conditions you have will give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking.” ~ The Dalai Lama

2. Caffeine Withdrawal –From ‘venti’ to ‘short’!
According to cbsnews.com, giving up caffeine can make you sick enough to be classified as "mentally ill." The latest word on caffeine addiction is that withdrawal leads to symptoms that can be severe enough in some people to disrupt their daily lives. Because so many people react to caffeine withdrawal in this way, it may soon qualify for listing in the bible of psychiatric disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

A study published in the October 2004 issue of Psychopharmacology analyzed 66 earlier studies on the effects of caffeine withdrawal. The most common symptom - headache - occurs among at least 50 percent of people who try to give up caffeine. Other symptoms include fatigue or drowsiness, depression, irritability or a bad mood, problems concentrating, and such flu-like symptoms as nausea, vomiting, muscle pain and stiffness. These symptoms typically begin within 12 to 24 hours of the last jolt of caffeine and peak within a day or two.

For many of us, our morning coffee has replaced water or juice upon waking. After a night without any fluids, the body needs to be hydrated and although coffee can be part of a balanced diet, it does have a diuretic affect on the body. If your morning cup has become an all-day affair and you would like to break your caffeine habit, the best way to quit without suffering is to slowly change the proportion of caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee you drink. Remember too, that coffee isn't the only source of caffeine: it is also in some sodas and teas, chocolate, and over-the-counter drugs such as Excedrin and NoDoz.

3. Positive Media Pressure?

The media often portrays stereotyped ideals of male and female beauty, which can negatively influence how we feel about ourselves—so let’s focus on the positive ones!

Inspire and help others by sharing your opinion. Name a media source that empowers or inspires you in some way. It could be a TV show, musician, website, news program, artist, favorite movie, writer…. you name it. Reply to this email and find out next month what others had to say.

4. You said it!

Thank you to those who responded to last month’s newsletter. (For those of you who didn’t see it, click here) Here’s what you had to say:

1) At what point in your life have you struggled most with your weight or body image?

32% said that every day is a struggle

I was put on my 1st diet at age 5.   At 57, I still have my struggles.”

At times I can hold my head up high and know that food didn't win today. Other times it's a constant reminder of where I've been. I always try to remind myself that each day is a new beginning.”

26% said as a teenage

I was a stark raving compulsive eater as a teen, complete with sneak eating, going to multiple stores for food to avoid embarrassment during binges, isolation, withdrawal, and self-loathing.  I was confused, terrified all the time, angry (although I didn't know it), and stuck in a quagmire of a crazy family.”

Other times:

“The period I have struggled most with my weight and, therefore, my body image, has been since I started working in an office and sitting down all day.  5 years later and I am finally getting control of those extra 10 pounds that have crept on and I’m feeling more empowered and happy than ever!

“When I stopped playing competitive sports"

“During my first year of University.”

 2) When have you felt the most empowered or comfortable with your body?

 41% said when doing something physical, independent of life’s circumstances

“I can be having a ‘bad food’ day or feeling terribly about myself and simply going for a walk gives me reprieve from my negative thinking. For me, it’s about not over thinking it –just getting out there is the challenge. I must constantly remind myself that I will feel so much better afterwards. And I do.”

“I used to be overweight so for me, exercise was about burning calories. I am now at my ideal weight, and today, exercise is about sanity. It’s about moving my body so that I feel less stressed about everything. Exercise puts my life into perspective. It’s cheap therapy.”

27% said today

I am happier and healthier at age 40 than at ANY other time in my life…I'm not perfect, and accept I'll never be.  I have great days, good days, okay days, bad days, and days from &%$%# LOL.  I've learned to sit with my feelings, give them a voice, and let them run their course.  I am a work in progress, and am truly blessed.” 

Other: “I don’t think I have ever felt completely comfortable in my body.”

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