Dieter beware; it’s the Season

I was prompted to write this because I heard an advertisement proclaiming easy weight loss by simply putting drops on one’s tongue.

Snake-Oil-Diet

This always irks me because I hate it that so many people lie about weight loss; taking advantage of the desperate (and unthinking). The only drops one can put in one’s mouth to cause rapid weight loss would be super glue (and I’m not saying to do that of course). Yet, ‘tis the silly season; that yearly ritual where anyone with a megaphone can make false claims about how one can lose weight overnight, without adjusting any behaviors.

Why do so many buy into this time and time again?

Well, let’s start with some facts: According to surveys, the top New Year’s resolutions are: Number One, “spend more time with family and friends;” and number two is “get fit.” “Losing weight” rounds out the top three.

So, it’s obvious that it’s important to many people.

Paradoxically 80 percent of resolutions find their way into the trash heap by January 20, and 92 percent collapse before year’s end. Bottom line? Only eight percent of resolutions survive the year. Why the low success rate? The reality is that so many people are so desperate to shed that weight — and to do it quickly — that they put their brains into neutral, falling for schemes that they’d never accept if they slowed down long enough to think.

Putting on my consumer advocate hat, I therefore did some research to find out what to avoid, should you wish to be one of the successful eight percent instead of the sad 92. Webmd.com listed several diet types to avoid if you wish to successfully lose weight. [Read more…]

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Young Blood – A Trip to the Doctor’s Office

Don’t get me wrong. I really like my doctor.

doctor

Although I only get 15 minutes in his presence per appointment, I understand that’s not his fault. More importantly, during that quarter of an hour, he really has a great bedside manner, remaining attentive and focused; he even laughs at my jokes. Yet, it’s still a very short amount of time for me to catalog every concerning twitch, itch, or anomaly I discover on this aging body. Nonetheless, he listens patiently and responds to every apprehension and I have yet to catch him sighing nor checking his watch.

Like I said, I like my doctor.

So at first blush, it might seem contradictory when I state that I did everything I knew how to do to avoid my most recent appointment. No invasive tests were on the agenda. I did not even have to fast the night before; I had done that the previous week. This visit’s express purpose was merely getting the results of my standard blood tests I took the week previously.

I arrived for my appointment a little early; hoping to get it over with. I purposely did not wear blue jeans because I knew they weigh more than my black cotton pants and also knew that — per standard protocol — the first place to which I would be escorted was the scale. I’ve commented before that I would prefer they placed it somewhere more discreet as it feels like it’s in the lobby with a lighted placard announcing, “Now weighing in…” and then proclaims my weight to everyone in the entire building. It’s not doing that of course, or so I’m told. But, as they say, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” It still does appear that way to me.

“Please step on to the scale,” said the nurse.

“One moment,” I replied, “I don’t want to weigh while wearing this jacket.”

She smiled patiently while I placed my coat on the provided rack.

“Excellent; now you can hop on board.”

“I’m not done yet,” said I, whilst removing my shoes and unbuckling my belt.

“You know, you don’t really need to take those off,” she commented.

“Maybe others don’t, but I do. I’m a professional at this.”

I accented the action by emptying my pockets of my keys, spare change, phone, and even my pen. (I would have discarded the used napkin buried in the bottom of my pocket but I was starting to feel a bit too anal-retentive.)

[Read more…]

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Getting Out of My Own Way

Of late, I’ve taken on yet another new assignment.

I’m “chat coaching,” a steep-learning-curve experience I assure you.

live-chat-keyboard

Should you be unfamiliar with chat coaching, I shall explain. I log into a website from my home computer, which is connected to a main server in cyberspace. On the other side of the void, should someone need guidance, they click on a button on their screen and their “call” is routed to me on my computer. He or she types. I reply via the same method. If you were asking, “Wouldn’t it be easier with a phone?” The answer is probably “yes.” However, that’s not how it works and I’ve agreed to the terms. To be honest, I’m actually growing to enjoy the procedure – short of the carpal tunnel issues for which I must be on guard.

In effect, this type of communication can be best analogized as a very slow moving conversation, especially since the policies require appropriate grammar, correct spelling, and avoiding emoticons and abbreviations (like “BTW” or “LOL”). The repercussions of having such time in between transactions allow one’s thoughts to drift, which lends itself to me making judgments — fair or otherwise — about who is on the other end, based entirely on how long it takes for a reply and what shows up when it happens.

With that as backstory, today someone logged in and began the conversation with the most ridiculously moronic questions.

“Really?” I thought, “Are you serious?”

Her query was so “beyond the pale,” that I first assumed I had snared a “troll.” (No, not the long-haired, full-bellied, naked toys of the seventies. Rather these are nasty individuals who enjoy annoying, frustrating, or insulting other people in cyberspace, merely because they can get away with it.)

Yet, with the passage of a few paragraphs of correspondence, I understood that the young woman on the other end wasn’t trolling, but was instead severely developmentally disabled. Obviously, her skill set allowed use of the system but her text was burdened with so many typos, it was near impossible to untangle, and the speed at which she replied would make a beginning typist feel like a thirty-year executive secretary. But most importantly, she couldn’t grasp even the simplest concepts.

[Read more…]

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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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The Very Best Holiday Treats

In a previous lifetime, when I was in radio, there was an expression:

“You can tell how successful a disc-jockey is by the size of the trailer attached to his car.”

car-and-trailer-cartoon

This was a reference to how often on-air personalities had to pack up and move, usually seeking larger markets or better opportunities.

Such is the saga as to how Humboldt County became my home.

Much like Harry Chapin’s song, “W-O-L-D,” I bounced around the western U.S., ending up as morning personality and music director at a classic rock station in Southern California, where I also published an industry newsletter. A newly hired consultant for a pair of radio stations among the redwoods followed my periodical and brought me up here. Initially, my strategy was to remain “a couple of years” and take family and trailer to San Francisco. If 31 years constitutes “a couple of years,” I might still be on track. Elsewise, it looks like I’m here for the duration.

After leaving radio with a background in promotion, I earned my take as a marketing consultant (which I still do at times). Some of my clients were political campaigns.

Following so far? (There will be a test.)

Anyhoo, a dozen years ago, I was one cog in the wheel of a team that helped manage the successful campaign of a local official, who was since been re-elected twice, and is now retiring. We don’t see each other very much these days. It’s not that there’s any animosity, quite the contrary; he’s always very warm when we bump into each other. It’s just, you know how life is, right? He’s doing his thing and I do mine. However, recently his “team” personally reached out to me, extending a special invitation to his retirement soiree, basically saying, “You were there at the beginning. It would be great if you showed up.” [Read more…]

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