The Writer

“I lost a whole lot of weight,” she said, her voice almost a whisper.

Depressed Overweight Woman

No eye contact was made; instead she seemly excessively absorbed in staring at her shoes. “But now, not only have I put it back on, but I’ve added 20 more pounds. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I can’t stand to look in a mirror. I don’t know what to do.” The sadness she felt practically dripped from her pores.

“That’s got to be frustrating,” I replied.

“…and frightening too!” she added. “When’s it going to stop?”

“Good question,” I answered, “What seems to be the cause?”

“Well, I’m obviously eating too much.” She tried to make it sound like an “ain’t-it-obvious” joke but the pain was louder than her laugh.

“That’s what’s so embarrassing,” she continued. “I just don’t know. It seems like I start out every day with great intentions. The problem is I work near a little mom-and-pop bakery. They make the best cakes and pies. So, on my break, I’ll find myself buying just one small slice, saying I’ll control myself. The next thing I know, I’m like a machine that’s eats everything! Then my inner voice says, ‘Well as long as you blew it, you might as well really blow it. You can always start tomorrow’ and I really go crazy! Every day is just like the previous one; same broken promises, same result.”

She paused; the gold hoop earrings she wore swung slightly under her brown shoulder length hair as she collected her thoughts. Picking up her gaze, she asked, “What do you think I should do?”

I always find that a difficult question.

[Read more…]

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Give More

It is virtually impossible to feel bad when giving, especially during this time of year.

Rob Brezsy handing out money

Rob Brezsny stands at a freeway off-ramp stoplight holding out a dull-green bouquet of small bills

Find more ways to give (and it’s not always about the money).

Give some time to help out those less fortunate than yourself. Give more compliments. Put your empty change in a donation bin. Open a door for somebody. Carry grocery bags. Pay the toll for the car behind you in line. Donate usable clothes. Give your books to a thrift store. Take those cans or boxes of food that you’re never going to use to the food bank. Tip larger (better yet, tip when it’s not expected).

Do Good. Feel Great.

If you’re looking for a couple of good charities, two of my favorites are OneLessMeal.org (also known as the Double D Diner) and the Humboldt Area Foundation, where the Ruth Marcus Memorial Writing Scholarship is located.

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Dealing with Holiday Food Pushers and Food Cops

santa-taking-cookies

From Hanukkah gelt to peppermint bark to reindeer cookies; you can’t toss a Santa hat three feet without it landing in a mountain of sweet, sugary treats this time of year.

The holidays also bring out two characters extremely challenging to dieters attempting to stay the course through the most difficult time of year. So, in the interest of peaceful family get-togethers and company parties, I provide advice on how to deal with the ever-present “Food Police” and “Food Pushers.”

One can tell when the former is within earshot because you’ll hear: “Is that on your diet?” or “Should you be eating that?” Unfortunately, no matter how carefully worded and lovingly delivered, it always comes across as (delivered in the tone of a schoolyard taunt), “Neener-neener-neener! I caught you cheating!”

First tip: Override the initial reaction to share what you are eating rather forcefully by shoving it in his face.

The sad truth is that will not make the situation better; worse yet, your next meal might be served through bars.

On the other extreme is the “Food Pusher,” who sings a different carol, attempting to stuff you with all manner of delights. One recognizes her by the guilt-inducing expressions, “I made it just for you” or “One bite won’t hurt.”

Although these personality types appear opposites —one at-tempts to keep you from what you want and the other is forcing on you what you don’t — they are actually related. Each person’s is really trying to help you be happier. The “cop” does this by attempting to keep you on the straight and narrow, while the other provides “permission” to relax and cut loose.

Once we understand that motivation, we can handle them — without violence — by utilizing the “3 Rs.”

[Read more…]

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Five Step Plan to Stay in Control Over the Holidays

I’ve got bad news and I’ve got good news.

good-news-bad-news-cartoon

The bad news is it’s commonly believed that the average person can put on seven to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The good news is that several studies now show that the actual number is more like one pound. (Incidentally those same reports found people who are already overweight tend to gain five pounds or more during the same period.)

The bad news is, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medication, that although the average is only a pound or so, most folks will never, ever lose that pound. Moreover, since the average weight gain during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, much of our long-term weight gain as grown-ups can be attributed directly to the excesses of the holiday season.

The good news is one can avoid falling victim to these statistics.

Ever the helper, I provide five simple tips to help you prevent from looking like Jolly Saint Nick come January first. [Read more…]

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We Are Given the Tools We Need When We Need Them

girl-with-power-tool

Question: Could the 20-year “you” of so long ago run the complexities of the life you live today?

Answer: Definitely not.

Even if you had your act “together” at that young age, younger “you” did not have the knowledge nor the skills to manage all the details of the life you now have.

As they say, “You didn’t even know what you didn’t know.”

Yet, as you’ve aged and faced a myriad of experiences, you have grown and become wise, learning how to handle what is presented to you, eventually making it part of your routine.

[Read more…]

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