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.”

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Time Traveling to Your Future You

One characteristic I appreciate about Christopher Nolan’s directorial style is that he respects the audience’s intelligence.

While so many movies are recycled sequels or targeted to drunken partiers, it’s refreshing to find a filmmaker who thinks more of his viewers, rather than less. So I recently ponied up a wad of cash to go to the cinema (I even paid nighttime rates!) and watched a heady sci-fi flick called “Interstellar.”

No spoiler alerts, but the butler did it. (Just joking.) Anyway, to sum up the film in the space I’m allotted in this column would be nearly as improbable as some of the concepts outlined in the story. Yet the main gist involves Matthew McConaughey and crew seeking out a new planet for humanity to call home via multi-dimensional, time-shifting space travel. I warned you: heady.

If you’re into sci-fi, it’s a great use of three-hours and, with the exception of some doubts I share with astrophysicist/celeb Neil deGrasse Tyson about traveling through black holes, the story is tight. (Of course, I’m pretty sure Mr. Tyson is not even aware that we share said concerns, but I’m certain he’d be delighted by my support.)

Anyhoo, I bring this to the conversation because the story reminded me that — although not as extremely as are the characters in the film —we’re all moving through time.

For us however, it’s limited to one direction and we are not given the ability to jump dimensions and re-chart former decisions we now regret.

Moreover, since the new year is rapidly approaching and January is ground zero for us to be inundated with reminders to make resolutions, I am jumping the gun to share a unique take on how to create that new you. Every year well-intended folks who espouse resolutions tell us to focus on positive actions, such as “I will go to bed at 10:00” or “I will use less salt.” Equally true, every year, somewhere north of 80 per-cent of people give up on their goals within their first three weeks. Something is obviously off-kilter.

That system is flawed because, firstly, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know you’ve arrived?”

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Start Small and Go Big

Start small. Do more or add more if you want to.

man-looking-at-small-portionIt’s always easier to add more and it’s much more empowering than it is to feel bad about taking on too much.

This applies on many levels.

For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, take less than you want. (You can always go back from more but can’t give back what you eat.)

If you’re starting an exercise program, commit to a smaller realistic amount rather than an unwieldy longer time. (You can always add more.)

If you’re cleaning your house, promise yourself you’ll do one room really well instead of the whole house and get overwhelmed. (You can always do more if you want.)

 

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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.

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