Stress KnotWelcome to week two of my 15-week series in my latest experiment on myself here at Fearless Fat Loss. In this experiment I’m using Lucinda Bassett’s program Attacking Anxiety & Depression on myself.

In this series I’m reporting my weekly experiences with you like I did in my emotional eating experiment, my ban on refined sugar experiment, and my experiment with the 6-Week Body Makeover.

I’m doing this experiment on myself with the Attacking Anxiety & Depression program because I’ve been living under way too much stress lately – this chronic stress is not healthy, it’s not part of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s not helping me lose weight either!

Be Sure & Read the Intro

Please read my introduction to this series if you haven’t done so yet, especially so that you get the info on who this program is for, i.e.: many mistake anxiety & depression as a mental disorder like bipolar when anxiety & depression are the most common emotional disorders in the world…this program is for those with chronic stress, anxiety, and/or mild to moderate depression (a.k.a. stinkin’ thinkin’! 😉 ).

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Week Two – Putting an End to Panic Attacks

Did I mention in my introduction that I didn’t think I needed this program? I’m pretty sure that I did, and when I saw that week two was about overcoming panic attacks I instantly thought I didn’t need it because I’ve never had a panic attack…

So What’s A Panic Attack Anyway?

To put it simply, a panic attack is heightened anxiety resulting from anticipating (worry) some negative, future outcome and this results in physical symptoms. Some things you may feel during a panic attack are:

  • Racing heart rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweaty palms
  • The desire to run away
  • Racing, obsessive thoughts
  • Shortness of breath

A panic attack is the result of the adreneline surging through your body because of the thoughts you are thinking about a perceived threat. Your body goes through the same reaction that it would go through if you were being chased by a tiger or if someone suddenly broke into your house.

When you put your body under this kind of stress because you’re obsessing about a future negative outcome, an outcome that you’ve dreamed up that hasn’t evened happened yet, you’re constantly putting your body under stress and creating adverse health effects for yourself.

If You’d Asked Me If I’d Ever Had a Panic Attack…

Before I started the Attacking Anxiety & Depression program I didn’t think I’d ever had a panic attack. Even before I listened to week two’s tape/CD (the program is on both tapes and CDs and I use both) I would have said I didn’t have panic attacks, however after hearing Dr. Fisher explain the symptoms I have to say that yes, I have had these symptoms! I can especially relate to the feeling of a panic attack or anxiety attack when I remember the times that I’ve had way too much coffee to drink.

My Experience

I can think of a time at work when I drank a large cup of coffee (I don’t drink coffee very often, mainly drink tea) and I remember my heart started racing, I felt dizzy, and I was concerned I was going to pass out. Then I started to wonder if anyone noticed, if I appeared to be acting funny, and all those kinds of worrisome thoughts. Well that’s an anxiety attack or panic attack.

I thought that panic attacks were when you practically passed out and had to call the ambulance because you couldn’t breathe – that’s a panic attack too, a very extreme one, but people can have panic attacks from the fear of public speaking and usually don’t end up at the hospital over that.

The Health Effects of Panic Attacks/Anxiety Attacks

Panic attacks put a huge strain on the body, just like chronic, constant stress does. Panic attacks can start with small frustrations and irritants that add up over hours or the day and lead to negative thinking, worry, stress, and anxiety. Some of the effects that panic attacks have on the body are:

  • A huge release of adrenalin in the body, either in small amounts that add or or in a large surge.
  • The hormone cortisol is released, which affects blood sugar, weight, and immunity.
  • Immunity is diminished opening up the body to illness and disease.

What I Learned

I learned that I need to use the relaxation tape more often, the tape that is an integral part of the Attacking Anxiety and Depression program. I didn’t think that I had ever had a panic attack because of what I thought a panic attack was, but now that I realize that high stress and anxiety fuel panic attacks then once you learn how to minimize the stress and anxiety, you don’t get to the escalated level of a panic attack.

I also learned that panic attacks can exist at a very subtle level and can take the form of constant worry and negative thoughts about your body that build up to massive worries over time, like hypochondria – having those obsessive, scary thoughts about your body is not a healthy way to live!

What to Do About Panic Attacks

The more stress you’re under the more adrenaline you release and the more anxiety you create for yourself. The answer to avoiding panic attacks isn’t to become a zombie, devoid of feelings and emotions, but instead it’s about learning how to relax and release the negative thinking, anxiety, and stress. It’s about learning to accept the anxious feelings and talk yourself through the panic and anxiety instead of running away from whatever it is that you’re scared of (public speaking, shopping, driving, whatever your fear is) but this doesn’t all happen overnight.

The Attacking Anxiety & Depression at-home program teaches you all the new skills you need to learn in order to walk yourself through the anxiety instead of running away from it. I really think this information is vital if you do struggle with panic attacks because if you are ready to lose weight and get fit and you’re an emotional eater, you are probably running to the frig when you feel this intense anxiety or panic attack.

If you haven’t learned the coping skills you need in order to avoid using food to try and soothe yourself either through therapy, journaling, a life coach, or a different program than Attacking Anxiety & Depression such as the Shrink Yourself program (specifically focused on emotional eating), then it can be very hard to keep that weight off if you lose it in the first place.

These anxious thoughts and feelings that spring from chronic stress can culminate in panic attacks and they are born from fears, worries, and negative thinking. I’ve written about the importance of your mind and emotions very often here at Fearless Fat Loss because I believe (and it’s been my experience) that most of the weight loss game occurs in the mind and until you master your mind and emotions, it’s usually not enough to simply go through the physical motions of healthy eating and exercise.

What About You?

Have you ever thought that you’ve had a panic attack or an anxiety attack? If you answer yes, would you have said yes before reading my article today? Did you used to think like I did that a panic attack meant you were on “the brink of death”, or did you already realize that panic attacks can be subtle and ongoing?

And finally, have you ever used food to try to soothe your anxieties, worries, and panicky feelings?

Do Panic Attacks & Stress Have You Running to the Frig?