Saturday, January 16, 2010

Using the Light Box

Yesterday I used my Light Box for Seasonal Affective Disorder for the first time this season. I've had ZERO energy for at least a week, but was trying to convince myself it wasn't that bad and would improve if I just went outside for 15 minutes a day. Not happening. It was cloudy all week except for one day, and it was just not enough light to make a difference.

So yesterday I got it out, set it up, and went about trying to find a way to set it up at the right height (shining down from slightly above eye level). I used to sit at the kitchen table and eat in front of it, but I wanted a way to use it sitting on the couch typing instead. What I really need is a coffee table, but instead, I ended up putting the light box on top of a storage tub. As soon as I turned it on, my 4-year-old was all over it. "Hey, I know! I can make a puppet show!" And I was treated (?) to a hand puppet shadow show in front of it and then dancing Barbie horses peeking over the top of it, singing and prancing about for 20 minutes. Luckily, the horses did *not* knock the light box over on top of me.

After five minutes, I was getting a headache (from the light? the puppet show? who knows?) After ten minutes I felt nauseous. I realized that 1) I was not accustomed to so much light, and 2) I had it set up too low and the light was going directly into my eyes, straight on, rather than slightly above them. I stayed for 20 minutes and then turned it off. And oddly enough, I felt better and had slightly more energy *already* just from that one session, Maybe it's all in my head, but I'll take it.

I spent yesterday getting things done, eating healthy for the most part, and lazing about some. In the evening after dinner, I reverted to insanity, briefly, and mixed up some cookie dough. I am weird that way... I decide I want sugar/fat, but I don't want to BINGE, so I sit down and scale out exactly 12 cookies from a recipe, mix up that much dough, eat a few bites, bake the rest, eat 2 or 3, then go "this isn't helping" and offer the cookies to the pack of teenagers in my basement. Eh, could've been worse!

Down another pound this morning. Hoping to get the pounds to drop a bit faster by cutting ALL the sugar out instead of just cutting back. I didn't even have sugar in my house for ages (except brown sugar for occasional use in oatmeal) but I purchased some for Christmas baking. Time to seal it up and put it in the basement for use in April when I have a birthday cake to make!

I am in front of my Light Box as I type. I solved the height problem by putting the storage tub on top of an empty Crock Pot box, so now it is just the right height. I love how it feels like I am sitting in the real sunshine. I hope I will get my energy back after a week or so of this.

Have a great weekend and try to fit in lots of water and some extra activity... don't forget the challenge!


KatDoesDiets said...

We are very blessed here in Colorado, while we get a lot of cold/snow, we also get a lot of sunshine. I struggle with s.a.d. but manage well with making sure to get out on every sunny day.
Someone told me the other day that sugar was the devil, I'm almost inclined to believe, LOL.

Anonymous said...

Way to go! You know you wanted to really - lol. Hope it helps soon.


Genevieve and Aunt Sue said...

My niece and I have just started a weight loss blog together. I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the changing-habits challenge. Look forward to following your journey.

BrendaKaye said...

I like the light box idea. I may have to look into that. I really miss my sunshine in the winter too! Glad you are starting to feel better!

foolsfitness said...

I actually strung up Christmas lights over two book cases and plan on leaving them there. I really do think the light and color make a big difference in my place. Even a visitor said so.

It's funky to see darkness a bit after 4 in the afternoon. It's not even 6 here and it feels like midnight.

At Foolsfitness Christmas Lights are not just for Christmas any more!-Alan

Sugar Queen said...

Oh, yeah, can I relate. After a sugar-infused December, I began to crash too. The SAD began to kick in big time, and my mood went from "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" to God, wish I were dead - or at least in a coma until mid-May when the sun becomes more reliable.

The combo of the light box and eating right the past couple of weeks (ok, not "right" but MUCH better than I have in at least a month, when the only color in my diet was decorative sprinkles) has begun to turn it around.

Hang in there, baby. As Red Green says, we're all in this together.

swayerm said...

I have awarded you a "Beautiful Blogger" Award, head over to my blog ( to check it out!

Love, Jess.

Jasmine @ Eat Move Write said...

A light box? I've never heard of that. Where have I been? Oh wait. I live in San Diego. We have 360 days of sunshine. The other 5 I just didn't go outside. :p

Julie Lost and Found said...

I need to look into a light box. I've been thinking of it for so long. My house is very dark and I'm working inside in front of my computer most of the day.

Hope you start feeling better.

I appreciate your posts!

Jane said...

I hope the light box continues to help :)

Ms. Magnetism said...


As someone who suffers from SAD as well I totally understand how you feel. I'm glad the light box is helping a little and I hope you will keep using it so you will be feeling better.

The last few days have been surprisingly nice here, I really enjoyed my small walk outside yesterday and I sat outside for a few minutes earlier as well. It really helped me feel better.

We are due for more snow again though, booooo! I've had enough snow, there is still several feet of it on the ground all over town. I want more sun! I can't wait until spring.

Margie M. said...

Those light boxes are used a lot in the Pacific Northwest where we have a lot of gloomy winter days. They really help people with S.A.D. I'm glad you have one to help with your winter days. Keep up the good work.

Margie M. writes at:

screwdestiny said...

We've actually been getting more sunshine here this past week than normal and it's been really nice. I'm sorry it's so gloomy where you are. Here's hoping the light box will keep helping.

Anonymous said...

I just noticed you had your cabbage roll casserole for dinner yesterday. That is so funny because I made it for the first time this evening. My husband, who hates cabbage, loved it! I just lied to him and said it was all onion but, of course, he figured it out. Thanks for the great recipe!

Ria said...

Hope the light box helps! I've done the cookie dough thing too . . . wish I had a pack of teenagers to give them to once I've come to my senses :)