The Cleanse

Weight is a progressive disorder.

By that I mean, if you are overweight and you’re not doing something to lose weight, you’re going to gain it; there’s no middle ground. People who battle obesity consistently fool themselves into thinking they can “take a break” and “maintain for awhile.” They can’t. After all, if they could, why would they not have “maintained” ten or twenty pounds lower? That’s not meant to be snarky; it’s just truth.

Eventually the reality, “I’ve let it get out of control” sets in, closely tailed by panic. When that occurs, logic beats a hasty exit and all sorts of strange get-thin-quick behaviors show up on the front porch.

man-looking-at-empty-refrigeratorOne of which is “The Cleanse.”

To lay all my cards on the table, I’m not a fan. One reason is that so many “cleanses” are bizarre at best, even downright unhealthy — not to mention unsustainable.

To that point, I relay a recent conversation with a friend. “I’m on day four of a seven-day cleanse,” he said. “I need advice. I’m starving. I can’t think. I’m ready to bite someone’s head off and all I can think of is eating. What do I do?”

Curious, I asked, “Why are you doing this? Why not a more balanced approach like cutting back a little here and there and adding in some exercise? That would work much better — without the side effects.”

“My girlfriend and I wanted to kick start the weight loss. We found this on line.”

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Apparently, Losing Weight IS Rocket Science

For years, I’ve quipped, “Losing weight is not rocket science.

rocket-ship-and-planet

Shut your mouth and move your feet and you’ll drop the weight.” (The difficulty is all the “mental noise” that gets in the way.) Anyway, I’ve been proven wrong, as it apparently IS rocket science.

Let me explain.

I coach folks all across this vast land that find me via the internet or through referral. Of course, if they don’t reside in the community I call home, our sessions are via phone. Consequently, it’s unlikely I’ve met them face-to-face, or even know what they look like. Most times, unless it comes up in conversation, I am unaware of their vocations, as my purpose is to help them guide them past the pitfalls of shedding weight or changing another habit they don’t like about themselves.

With that as backstory, after calling my client, he asked me to hold while he shut the door to avoid disturbing his co-workers. This prompted me to ask, “What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a rocket scientist,” he said, “I study [something I couldn’t even begin to understand about solar winds].”

After getting past my initial geek-fest about really working with someone who is doing what I would have loved to do (if I was willing to have been a better student in college of course), we got down to brass tacks about his progress; which had hit a rough patch. Most people who are losing weight — at a healthy and sustainable pace — drop maybe a pound a week as a long-term average. He had only shed about 16 ounces in three weeks, and was understandably disappointed.

However, what smacked me was how he handled this unhappy slow down.

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Captain Obvious Goes on a Diet

I wonder if my dog Willie gets bored walking the same route every day.

dog-formerly-known-as-willie

My inclination is that he doesn’t, but what do I know? Maybe he gets as tired of peeing on the same bushes as I do as walking the same sidewalks. Anyway, bottom line is I take him out on a long walk every morning and, to be honest, can sometimes find it dulling. The solution? I plug in my always-falling-out-of-my-ear-buds and listen to radio.

That backstory in itself is a long walk to explain how I came about hearing an ad for yet another “miracle weight loss product.”

I’ve been writing this column for more than a decade and if you’ve followed it more than, oh, about three weeks, you know that “miracle weight loss products” are one of my prime bugaboos, causing me to become very curmudgeonly and my head to explode. This was no exception; especially because the first words in the advert — even before I knew what was being promoted — were,

“A healthy diet and exercise plan should be part of any weight reduction routine.”

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Looking Forward to Getting Old

old coupleAs children, we couldn’t wait to get older.

The first coolest thing was when our ages hit double digits. Then, something else new and exciting was always around the bend. At 13, it was my Bar Mitzvah. Sixteen brought a driver’s license; 18 ushered in the newly earned right to vote; 21 celebrated with (too much) champagne. There was always another reason to move on to the next year. Bring ‘em on. Line ‘em up! Don’t stop!

However as John Mellencamp lamented in, “The Real Life,”

It’s a lonely proposition when you realize/That there’s less days in front of the horse/Than riding in the back of this cart.

Aside from the fact that it should be “fewer days,” (sorry, I couldn’t resist) the concept is spot on. It’s macabrely humorous that as soon as one begins to realize he’s on the downward slope of the hill, vainly pumping the brakes, the calendar’s pages flip ever faster. When we were young and immortal, time crawled at a fossil’s pace. As the clock ticks louder, it also accelerates.

The result is many of us begin to poorly affirm what aging is about, viewing it negatively.

I mean, yeah, sure, there’s that “death thing” looming out there, which does cast a pallid gloom on post-middle-age. Yet, spending my remaining (hopefully) many years bemoaning a natural and unavoidable process seems a pretty rotten way to appreciate those very years, wouldn’t you say? Therefore, I thought it would be good to wrap my brain around the cool things about getting older so whenever yanked to the getting-older-sucks magnet, I can repel easier.

First, the hastening stride of time allows a much richer appreciation of “smaller moments.”

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Four Ways to Improve Your Attitude to Be Happier, Healthier, and More Productive

As the story goes, a couple is concerned about the huge gap in attitudes between their two sons.

happy-&-angry-boys

One lad is a confirmed pessimist, his sibling the decisive optimist. Wanting to advance the cynical child’s outlook and guard the other from disappointment by teaching him that things don’t always go as expected, the parents come up with a scheme.

On Christmas morning, each youngster awakens to find his own sizeable, wrapped present. The dour child opens his and discovers in it the ultimate building set. As if on que, his demeanor sours and he whines, “There are too many pieces, I’m know I’ll lose a whole bunch of them and then I’ll be sad. Why would you do that to me?”

The upbeat sibling, on the other hand, unwraps his only to find a dirty, rusty horseshoe atop wads of paper. Undeterred by what appears to be a mean, lousy gift, he eagerly starts digging through the papers excitedly proclaiming, “Wow! There’s got to a pony in here somewhere!”

Attitude, our outlook on the events that make up our lives, will either elevate or ruin us because it determines our actions and therefore the manner in which others react to us.

I normally don’t write “how-to” columns but a coaching client recently asked how she could become more upbeat, so I thought, “What the heck, might as well share it more widely.” Making our planet a bit more cheery, one reader at a time, here are four of the more common reasons one’s attitude can take a trip to the dumpster.

Reason #1: All-or-nothing thinking

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