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«Gold Standard of Thin Janice Rowland & Kathleen Rowland Copyright 2012 Petals in the Gazebo Press, Kathleen Rowland Cover Art Copyright 2012 Mariya ...»

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Although Vince with his food obsessions tends to bore most people, he makes it worse because he’s snooty. My husband thought it was entirely obnoxious when Vince droned on and on about the “true waste of calories in pizza.” (Our twenty-something daughters have friends over, and not everyone is dieting, particularly guys.) Although I said it with a smile and in a gentle voice, I told him he was being condescending and no one should tell others what to eat or not eat. My husband told Vince that he looked hungry and asked if he wanted some! Anyway, I just wanted to say that when dieting, we don’t have to mention it.

We don’t want others to feel sensitive about what they’re eating. I like having fruit on the counter for us to munch on, but for those who want it, there’s plenty of frozen pizza and lasagna in the freezer. We reacted as tactfully as possible to Vince’s “orthorexia,” which is an extreme fixation with healthy eating. Yes indeed, Vince will tell you it’s suicidal to eat French fries. I’m glad we expressed ourselves because after that, Vince’s more nurturing side took over.

**** When we dress up, we radiate self-confidence. A study in the Home Economics Journal reveals that wearing your dressier outfits for everyday activities makes people see you as friendlier and more approachable. When we wear dressy outfits, it tells others that we’re confident, positive, and energetic—and people are naturally drawn to folks with these qualities like a magnet, confirms Tonya Reiman, author of The Power of Body Language. Research shows that women who wear makeup to work are promoted 30% more often than those who don’t, earn 20% more money and are treated better by bosses and co-workers. The reason has to do with giving the impression that you care about your job and how you are perceived. Management makes an interesting assumption: if you pay attention to detail on yourself, you pay attention to other things as well. When you look good, you feel more confident, and that makes you a better employee.

**** Getting along with ourselves does not work if we put ourselves last. Is there something in your life that could use an overhaul? If you want it, convince yourself you are up to the task.

Writing down goals makes us more likely to achieve them. A good therapist listens to problems but also helps a patient (whose life is falling apart) by putting pieces back together. We can’t feel attractive if we are out of shape and overweight. A long work day makes us tired enough to go for fast food when it would be better to microwave a frozen dinner and make a salad to go with it. Change is actually scary. Identify your goals and approach them in baby steps. You can apply some of what you have learned here to other parts of your life. You are keeping a food journal.

You are exercising, even if it’s just fifteen minutes. If you want a raise at work, take on more responsibility; and say something like this to your boss: “That aspect (whatever it is) of the project is important (because…). I’d like to handle it.” Little accomplishments put us in control.

If you’re in a dead-end relationship, write a letter to your significant other but don’t mail it.

Journaling is a way to learn about yourself. You might write, “I deserve a person (man, woman) who cares as much about me as I do about him.” Maybe the other person doesn’t express affection as openly as you do. Women tend to be more outgoing, while men tend to hold their feelings inside.. By keeping a journal, you might recognize his love expressed through kind actions but not words. Did he see you in a rush and offer to go to the store? At the end of the marketing list, scribble 'I love you,' 'You're great,' 'I'm glad you're mine,' 'You're sexy,' or 'You make me happy.' Of course, you will know your relationship is over if one of you is cheating or you are fighting all the time instead of working on issues. If you are the only one seeking professional counseling, then you’ve had enough! Journaling can also be used to support your personal goals such as budgeting. If you’re trying to save money, you need to write down absolutely everything you spend, and then analyze it. Practice positive thinking. Replace a negative thought with a thought that supports your goal. Think of something to do that is fun every day. Be kind to yourself and allow for some failures.

**** If you’re sitting in your cubicle with the blahs, look at a photo of your pet.

Or, because pet calendars are humorous, sweet, and gentle, buy one. Holistic teacher Cathy Holt, author of The Circle of Healing, writes about the sacred garden of nature, where animals and plants offer healing messages and relax us. Holt reminds us to flow with the circle of life and tap into the power of nature to lighten us up.

**** Take a vacation—you’ll live longer! Whether you visit far-off lands or opt for a “staycation” by taking day trips close to home, taking time off isn’t just for fun. Recent research shows it is a key to living longer. An analysis of the 20-year Framingham Heart Study reveals that women who skip vacations are nearly eight times more likely to develop heart disease.

Vacations distract you from day-to-day worries, lowering too-high levels of heart-ravaging stress hormones. Vacationing heightens optimism. You take positive feelings home. And married couples who take a break from the everyday to enjoy new and stimulating activities together have happier relationships.

In addition, upbeat workers are twice as likely to keep their jobs in this economy as negative ones. “Management needs positive people who help boost morale,” says career coach Dale Winston. If you don’t feel like smiling at work, start hanging around with positive workers. They are not the complainers. Not only is optimism contagious, but your boss will associate you with the happy group.

**** Are you in the mood for chocolate, the mood elevator? Sorbee Chocolate Syrup is fat free, sweetened with Splenda and makes a terrific milkshake with fat-free milk and ice.

**** Are you feeling as if you might slip off your eating plan? Janice shares her motivating tips for staying on track: When I’m stressed, I’m bummed and know there is danger for a pig-out.

This is official stress! I want to eat, eat, and eat something sweet and fat. How good is (a whole lot of) bread, rolled up with butter and sugar, really? It isn’t! Overeating doesn’t help my selfconfidence. Now I can head it off with less damage—a bowl of ½ cup of sugary cereal and fatfree milk. Fruity Pebbles is one of my favorite alternatives, but I don’t indulge unless I’m headed for a major pig-out.

After we came up with a thousand-calorie healthy regime, I began to trust the process. When my pants became loose, I let out a scream of jubilation that could be heard across the hall in the dorm at college. I began to trust in the plan even more. I believe myself, too, that I’m able to stick with the plan most of the time. My style is constant upkeep—eating healthy and working out at the gym with time on the treadmill. Or, I find friends and go running. If no one wants to go, I am my own leader and run or rollerblade on my own.

**** Healthy does not look thick, Janice believes. When overweight, our bodies tend to be apples or pears. I am a pear, and fat settles in the hip and upper thigh area. My mom is an apple and can look straight up and down when overweight. Whatever our type, being twenty pounds overweight is not pretty, but neither is being anorexic-thin. All of us know what our healthiest weight is. Our bones and body type determine this for us.

It’s entirely possible to plan ahead with eating out with friends and stay on my thousand calories by budgeting and being smart about ordering. I’m not deluded. With all the delicious food available, planning is essential. My advice is to persevere, and you’ll find your secret doorway. Mine is The Big Salad—field greens, low-fat protein. At any given restaurant, there are a variety of salads on the menu. For instance, at Rubio’s I order a chopped salad with chicken and tell them to hold the sour cream, the chips, and put the shredded cheese and (their lowestcalorie) dressing on the side. My salad always goes naked without the chips and bread.

Sometimes when I’m out with friends, I order a cup of “clear” soup. Another thing, I never order first. Keeping a low profile, I don’t want to rain on big appetite parades. Believe me when I say I love what I have ordered.

**** Sometimes when I (Kathleen) think about the word control, it has a negative connotation; controlling and control freak come to mind. I admit, though, that I try to achieve organization in areas of time management and home neatness. I appreciate an organized drawer and a neat closet, not to mention treasured me-time when I swim laps. These areas of control (my schedule, eating plan, our home environment) help me cope when something negative happens, and there’s a loss of control. When that happens, I think of the worry as a leaf on a stream, floating past me. If I can’t do anything about it, I acknowledge the worry-leaf and let it float by. I can’t control everything. In life, we just don’t know what might happen next. Sometimes we have to let the leaves float by.

**** Here is a strategy to sidestep a bout of stress eating. Isn’t it too bad the wrong kind of food is comforting and calming? Soon after we’ve indulged, the fear of ballooning and associated negativity set in. This starts another vicious cycle of overeating. Just remember, emotional eating is a tough challenge for everyone who doesn’t have a skinny gene. That’s most of us! The good news is that emotional eating is not prompted by real hunger. Drink water while getting out your food journal and a pen. Write down what’s bothering you, and go on for pages if necessary. If you have written out your daily food plan, you can usually head off a binge.

Let’s suppose, on the night before, you have written down when and what you will eat. There isn’t a category called mindless munching, and this is how a binge often starts. We have found that when we eat preplanned portions at certain times only, those are the only times when we’re hungry after our bodies have adjusted, typically at the three week mark. Keeping to your rigid plan does work, and you might try an additional method using Joseph Alban methodology for acupressure: press the crease of your wrist directly below the pinkie finger, an acupressure point known as Shen Men or spirit gate, for the count of three. While acupressure positively affects involuntary brain functions related to stress such as heart rate, it also aids cognitive abilities such as resolve and resilience.

**** Are you feeling lonely? Call a friend, and if the friend isn’t there, just leave a message. That in itself makes us feel good. Are you bored? Get outside and take a walk. Unless you live in certain areas of the country where people believe only crazy people smile, smile and say hello to strangers! In Irvine, California where we live, strangers greet each other when they pass on the sidewalk. It’s uplifting in a simple way.

**** It turns out that walking is better than any Rx for blasting fat. Research (new, from the University of Michigan) tells us the value of a daily stroll to blast fat while making us healthier, happier, and more relaxed than any prescription medicine. Here are more benefits that walking delivers: 40% sounder sleep, 65% more energy, 71% less anxiety, 88% better moods, 90% improved confidence, 166% increased libido, 200% sharper thinking. Even small movements signal muscles to burn fat from visceral fat cells. Unhealthy adipose tissue is lodged deep in the abdominal region, and James A. Levine, M.D. Ph.D, tells us that walkers burn three times more belly fat than non-walkers. Moderately paced walking keeps our appetite in check.

**** Go easy on yourself. If you’ve taken up a new sport, you don’t have to excel at it. Your goal is to get rid of some stress and have a little fun. Even with a simple sport such as running, worrying about slowness is flawed logic. Perfectionism gets in the way of the benefits—how good you feel while running, and your love of running just for the sake of running. With any sport, the humbling truth of the matter is that there will always be someone else who is better at it.

**** Heighten optimism by simply picking an object to reflect on. Think about the materials it’s made of, the people who assembled it, and ships or trucks that delivered it to the salesperson who sold it to you. This Japanese approach, called Naikan, highlights the concept of people working together and inspires gratitude. We can’t live our lives without problems and aggravation, but a good measure of spirituality gives meaning to our lives and helps us focus on ways to keep deep, quality relationships going. This makes us feel more content.

**** Does your head hurt? Before you pop a painkiller, try sitting up straight, advises neurologist Amarish Dave, D.O. As many as 20% of chronic headaches are due to shoulder or neck tension. “Pressure on the top vertebrae in the neck causes pain and spasms that trigger headaches,” explains Dr. Dave. Realign yourself with a stretch. Stand up straight, and then move your chin back as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for three seconds, release.

Take 10-minute breaks. In one study, office workers (or anyone who sits at a computer) who did stretches like the one described or who spent their breaks (two daily) in a comfortable chair with a heating pad on each shoulder suffered 40% fewer headaches than usual. Dr. Dave also reminds us to practice good posture and advises women not to carry huge, heavy bags. It is best to lighten your load or at least shift your bag between shoulders. Lastly, sipping soothing black tea helps lower levels of stress hormones that lead to pain.

Tips for perfect posture:

–  –  –

**** When times are tough, households merge. L.A. Times writer Anna Gorman interviewed Orange County clinical psychologist Patricia Yglesias for her article on extended families sharing quarters when adults lose their jobs and move in with their parents. Things get too close

for comfort, and Yglesias suggests these strategies:

–  –  –

If this happened to us (yes, we are grandparents), I would spend time (lots of it with my laptop) outside or at the library. If necessary, I would seek professional help.

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