• Sunday, April 27, 2008

    Marriage: The license to annoy?

    "I love being married. It's so great to
    find one special person
    you want
    to annoy for the rest of your life."

    Rita Rudner

    It happens when you marry the wrong person. We are impatient as a society and finding a significant other by a specified age sometimes leads to settling for your "not so perfect for you" partner . . . which leads to annoyance.

    There is a saying that I use often and truly believe in ~

    "Don't wait for the one you can live with,
    wait for the one you can't live without"

    You tolerate the one you can live with, which can lead to annoyance and resentment if you happen to make it through many years. The one you can't live without is a magical thing, like in a fairy tale of happily ever after . . . true love and adoration.

    How many of us find that in our lifetime?

    How many of us would remain single if we adopted that philosophy?

    How many of us settled and are annoyed with ourselves for settling?

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Weight Loss and Faulty Thinking

    Seems like everyone is on a diet or watching their weight. This article reminds me of approaching a "diet" as I approached quitting cigarettes . . . using lots of psychology.

    In the past I would provide links to articles, but since having to continuously go back to fix links and risk losing the entire article as I have in the past, I have adopted the practice of cut and pasting articles. It is not my intent to claim these are articles personally written by me, I merely want to share articles that have been of interest to me.

    Here is the article from one of my favorite websites and magazines . . . Psychology Today:

    In the battle of the bulge, false beliefs and negative self-talk may be far greater enemies than food or sloth. PT shows you how to fight faulty thinking.

    Americans are highly motivated to lose weight—as a growing list of best-selling books and highly trafficked dieting Web sites attest. We're just not approaching it the right way. The pressure we put on ourselves to succeed—and the self-criticism we indulge in when we fall short of the mark—can have dire emotional and dietary repercussions.

    Consider that pair of jeans hanging reproachfully in the closet. You realize they don't fit, and you feel unattractive and worthless. This tendency to evaluate yourself too harshly will only make you give up altogether. You want to head to the fridge for solace.

    You need to identify the things you're telling yourself that cause you to feel discouraged and to throw in the towel. Don't beat yourself up when you overeat. Accept that you acted in a self-defeating way, then establish better methods to meet your goal. Review what you'd like to do and work toward that goal.

    Perhaps you're not (yet) berating yourself for failures, but putting inordinate pressure on yourself to succeed. When you tell yourself, "I must lose 25 pounds by Valentine's Day, or I'll never get a date," you're setting yourself up for emotional turmoil, as well as weight-loss failure. Losing weight in a prescribed amount of time is a worthy goal, but the perfectionist premise that sneaks into your thinking may well interfere with sensible eating and exercise.

    In a perfect universe, the sight of those jeans, or the knowledge that Valentine's Day is around the corner, would elicit rational thoughts like, "I'm going to look great soon, and I'm going to enjoy the challenge of eating sensibly and exercising along the way." But few of us think that.

    PT spoke with Nando Pelusi and Mitchell Robin, clinical psychologists in New York City, about what we really tell ourselves, sabotaging our own best efforts to lose weight—or meet any goal.

    • "I must be thin."

      This creates desperation, which undermines a healthy long-range approach to sensible eating. Also, perfectionism pervades this thinking (I must not only be thin, but also perfect).

    • "I must eat until sated."

      Early humans lived in an environment in which food resources were scarce. While our ancestors had to hunt down squirrels and eat them, we can supersize a Whopper meal and skip the workout.

    • "I need immediate results."

      The demand for immediate improvement undermines commitment to a long-term goal. Quick fixes are hard to pass up: "This cupcake will make me feel good right now." We think, why bother eating healthfully, when the reward is far off? Dieting requires present-moment frustration and self-denial with little immediate reward.

    • "I need comfort."

      People eat to avoid feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Fatty and sugary food provides immediate comfort and distraction from other issues. Resolving some of these problems may help you overcome poor eating habits.

    • "I feel awful."

      "It's terrible being heavy." For some, being overweight is the worst thing imaginable; it can immobilize you and leave you dumbstruck. That's a reaction more suited to tragedy. Weight loss is best achieved without that end-of-the-world outlook.

    • "It's intolerable to stick to a diet."

      "It's just too hard to diet." This thinking renders you helpless. People who are easily frustrated want easy solutions. We're seduced by fad diets because they appeal to that immediacy. Yet people who rely on fads suffer high failure rates. When you diet with the short term in mind, you don't learn strategies that require patience and persistence.

    • "I am no good."

      "Because I am having trouble in this one area I am worthless." Being overweight can be viewed as a sign of weakness or worthlessness, and most people aren't motivated when they feel that way. Another form of worthlessness: "My worth is dependent on my looks." This idea confuses beauty with thinness, a concept played out endlessly in the media.

    Get Moving

    Now that you've thrown out your irrational thinking, a little motivation is key to change. But how do you make that leap? Psychologist and marathon runner Michael Gilewski has found that the brain can achieve a state of habitual behavior through small successes—turning a once extraordinary effort into mere routine.

    "Even when someone climbs Mount Everest, it's usually not his first time climbing," he points out. Perhaps motivation may simply be the product of positive reinforcement and repeated success.

    Experts on Motivation

    PT asked five expert motivators—including an active-duty drill sergeant and a rock-climbing instructor—how they rally everyone from first-time dieters to hard-core soldiers.

    Inspiration From Within

    Deborah Low is a certified weight management and lifestyle consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    "We have an all-or-nothing attitude: If we don't do our full hour at the gym, we may as well sit around and eat junk food. If you feel guilty and punish yourself, you may eat 10 cookies instead of 2. If you criticize yourself, you'll never change.

    "Motivation is something we get from other people; but inspiration swells within us. Thinking 'I'll lose weight and then I'll be happy' is not enough. If we respect and love ourselves, independent of our weight, it's easier to make healthy choices.

    "We struggle because we're fixated on the end result. We force ourselves to go to the gym, restrict food, measure and weigh ourselves. You let that number on the scale determine how your day's going to go. I ask clients to remember what it was like to play as a kid. You ran around, climbed on things—your goal was not to lose weight, it was to have fun. Being active gave you a sense of freedom, excitement and amazement. You have to reconnect with that emotion."

    Being a Team Player

    Chris Broadway instructs an Outward Bound outdoor classroom on Hurricane Island, off the coast of Maine.

    "I set the tone of team spirit in the beginning; I teach one person a skill, and his or her responsibility is to teach everyone else. We let the students make their own mistakes. We expect students to have problems, as the activities we construct are a challenge. Discouragement can occur, but we celebrate accomplishments. Students set their own level of achievement. Some have a focus on the end result, but not everyone is results-oriented. Some want to measure success by relationships they form, by the process itself.

    "Another motivating factor is how their experience here connects to their lives. We create situations where there are actual risks and perceived risks, as in sailing. We let the group navigate ahead of a storm, deciding when to pull back and when to move forward. We show them how to apply these situations to their own businesses or personal lives—calculate the risk, know when to take it or when to step back.

    "It's so much more powerful when another student steps up to deliver the message of leadership. As instructors, we're always building their tool kit so they have the means to do that. With a group of 12, it's difficult to hide in the background. Even if someone's in a slump, he or she absolutely needs to fill a role."

    John Joline is a climbing instructor at Dartmouth College.

    "Certain kinds of teaching are done from below—telling people what to do but being removed from the activity. I try to teach from above—I climb with my students, participating fully in the activity. I make my enthusiasm infectious.

    "Even a climb well within your physical limits—if you strive to climb it beautifully—can be challenging and rewarding. Our culture puts emphasis on goals, on absolutes. We're taught to believe competition should be ferocious. But if we lose that sense of fun, of delight, all the haranguing in the world from an instructor won't give a student lasting motivation. The bottom line is to savor the movement, the physical sensation of moving up the rock and over the stone. That itself becomes a reward compelling enough to keep one involved.

    "For someone in his or her mid-30s or older, climbing is still seen as a potentially dangerous sport, daring and terrifying. It's a mental construct that can be inhibiting. Plus, for white-collar workers, running hands and fingers over rough rock could be shocking to the system."

    Coming Home Alive

    Billie Jo Miranda is a U.S. Army drill sergeant in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

    "The goal is being prepared for war and coming home alive. The [desire to] drop out occurs in the first few weeks. Once they learn they have a comfort zone, get along and trust people, we're pretty much over the hump. We motivate through example; we do it next to, in front of and behind them. We tailor training around the weakest soldier. It may not be beneficial for the soldier who was a college athlete, but everybody is part of a team, they push each other.

    "There will be those who do the minimum. Today's youth are Nintendo children. Training requires them to get out of bed and walk an extra mile. The more rigor you put into training, the more a soldier knows what he can accomplish in combat. They shouldn't enjoy training. It should hurt physically and mentally. And they hate it. But we want them to enjoy the accomplishment.

    "If you have heart, you have the motivation and the desire to get through anything. It's a patriotic thought process: What we're doing is for the betterment of America. When they say, 'I don't want to do this anymore,' just give me 10 minutes with a soldier and she'll do a 180. We use their being volunteers as a motivational tool: 'Soldier, I didn't ask you to come here. You obviously joined the military for a reason, you wanted to do something for your country.'"

    Think Like a Thermostat

    Peter Catina is a professor of exercise physiology at Pennsylvania State University.

    "Most elite athletes are already at the top of their sport, and to reach the next level is a challenge. But it's difficult to sustain your level when you're at your pinnacle—novice or expert. Everyone must have both physical and mental discipline.

    "Self-regulation is key; you can make it simple by being your own monitor. You have to think like a thermostat—be able to detect a discrepancy between the environment and your internal standard. It's the difference between your current state and where your mind and body would like to be. You can then adjust—raise your standards to meet your expectations—through strategy and action. Some of us are born with high self-regulatory skills, but I can identify clients who lack the know—how and I teach them. Awareness is the first step: noting how many calories you've consumed, how effective your exercise is, how frequently and intensely you've exercised.

    "Aerobics is no longer the panacea for losing weight. It's the change in body composition that makes you look better, and for that, strength training is more effective. Don't constantly weigh yourself, since muscle weighs more than fat. Instead, measure your body mass index—or even your waist—and only once every four to six weeks. I've had many female clients gain five pounds but go down three dress sizes."

    Psychology Today Magazine, Jan/Feb 2004
    Last Reviewed 14 Apr 2008
    Article ID: 3212

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Drug store makeup - Cover Girl

    I'm always checking out women's websites for new makeup products and techniques. Today I was pleasantly surprised as I found an awesome website from Cover Girl, the first makeup line that was "cool" back in the day when I was in junior high school . . . and have not used since.

    It was awesome to see that Drew Barrymore, still so gorgeous and is not a teenager anymore, is one of their cover girls.

    Their website has prompted me to check out their makeup the next time I go to the drug store . . . especially the fruity flavored lip gloss. Now I'm wondering how the prices compare to the generic drug store lip gloss that I have learned to love so much . . . we'll see!!

    Check out Cover Girl's website, awesome "how to" pages . . .

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    Do It Yourself Spa Treatments

    These DIY spa treatments come from Rachael Ray . . . one of my favorite websites to browse at least once a week.


    Quick Chamomile Facial from Aneta Krochmal, manager of Seattle's Spaahh (hotel1000seattle.com). Growing up in Poland, Aneta used this treatment to soothe irritated skin and reduce redness.

    What you need: 2 bags of chamomile tea and a cotton ball

    Instructions: Place the tea bags in a cup and add boiling water. Allow to cool until just warm. Soak the cotton ball in the tea and blot all over your face until skin is cool and damp. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse.

    My variation . . . used tea bags go into the freezer to reduce eye puffiness when needed. Works wonders for tired eyes too.


    Oatmeal Body Scrub from Sarah Moore, manager of Bella Naturale in Southport, Indiana (bellanaturale.com). Moore recommends this exfoliating treatment to her clients with sensitive skin.

    What you need: 2 tablespoons each of oats, cornmeal, evaporated milk and honey

    Instructions: Grind the oats in a coffee grinder, transfer to a bowl and add the cornmeal, evaporated milk and honey. Apply the mixture all over, scrubbing gently in rough spots. Use once a week.


    Soothing Neck Pillow from Dee Dee Marks, owner of Connecticut's Pomfret Center Spa (pomfretcenterspa.com). Marks takes her pillow along on chilly morning car rides.

    What you need: one clean tube sock, 6 cups of white rice and a handful of cloves (optional)

    Instructions: Combine the rice and cloves (if using); fill the sock with the mixture. Tie a knot on the sock's open end. Heat on high in the microwave for 2-4 minutes, pausing every 30 seconds to shake the sock and check the temperature. Once the pillow is warm—but not too hot—drape it over the back of your neck.

    I have a variation of this neck pillow . . . it is a salt bag made with a cotton fabric bag filled with salt . . . heat in the microwave. Make it in the size you desire . . . mine is 6" long and 4" wide. It is the perfect size to drape over the sinus area to quickly get rid of a sinus or tension headache.

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Never too skinny

    When I look at old paintings from way back in the day, it is apparent that the full figured woman was all the rage at the time judging by the myriad of the classic nudes, highlighting these women looking all self-confident and proudly displaying their poochy tummies hanging out . . . obviously feeling beautiful with an abundance of self-acceptance. It was the body style that was fashionable back in that time.

    Fast forward to modern times and the poochy tummies have been replaced by protruding bones and flat chests . . . the waif look that reminds me of death's doorstep. It is the body style that is fashionable in these times. But at what cost health wise? How about the emotional cost?

    Of course we know the health pitfalls of obesity, not to mention the stress and anxiety, the psychological effects associated with not "fitting in" with society as a result of those extra pounds. It is ironic that on this same earth, those confident ladies back in the day would be ridiculed on this same earth, however judged by a totally different society.

    In this day and age of the waif look, how skinny is skinny? How skinny is acceptable? How many extra pounds are deemed acceptable?

    I recently read in disbelief as one of the most beautiful women of our time, Lisa Marie Presley had to disclose her pregnancy prematurely to stop the ugly and vicious talk of her weight gain by the gossip mongers associating it with her father's downfall and untimely death. How cruel have we become as a society? She had to take a blessed time in her life that she wanted to remain private until she was ready to share it with the world and throw it in the face of the malicious wagging tongues to shut them up.

    As a person who has struggled with weight problems all of my life, going up and down the spectrum of obsessities with body types, weight perpetually going up and down . . . and feeling the changes of society's acceptance and attitude towards me, depending on my size, I've finally come to the place in my life where I accept myself as I am and no matter what size I am wearing . . . which still swings on the wild spectrum of a yo-yo out of control.

    My self-acceptance and self-confidence in my appearance comes from always trying to look the best I can and make the best of what I've got. I'm a great cook, love to enjoy those awesome meals that sometimes goes the way of comfort food, adding the pounds and then scaling back when it gets out of control. In my opinion, what matters is HOW I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF.

    There was a time in recent past where I was seeing a trend in the fashion industry that was making an attempt to switch the popularity of the equally unhealthy yet fashionable waif look to that of a more healthy look. Dare I hope that we can get back to the time where curves were deemed sexy, as in the time of Marilyn Monroe, one of the great beauties of our time?

    When I read the following article this morning at one of my favorite websites, Psychology Today, it got me thinking along these lines. Can't we get back to a happy medium that is healthy?

    Here is the article . . .

    It wasn't until a young dancer's body began to "fall apart" that she admitted she had anorexia. Should she have been forced into treatment years before, against her will? At least one study says yes.

    By: Rebecca Segall

    When malnutrition sent Sarah's body through menopause at age 25, her parents and ballet teachers became wrought with fear.

    Standing 5'3" and weighing only 95 pounds, Sarah was a magna cum laude Princeton University graduate and a professional ballerina. But despite her elite education, no doctor could convince her that eating was good for her, or that she had anorexia nervosa—an eating disorder that stems from a fear of gaining weight. And no one felt comfortable forcing her into treatment.

    "Nothing could prevent my will from controlling my body," Sarah says. Except her body itself. The same year she stopped menstruating, her brittle frame began to crumble beneath her. "My foot broke during a rehearsal. I was on crutches for almost a year. Eventually I had to have a screw inserted into my foot because my body couldn't heal on its own." Years after her body forced her into treatment, Sarah has retired from dancing and is healthy and eating again.

    "I'm glad my body fell apart, otherwise I would have refused treatment until I dropped dead," she says. Like Sarah, many people with eating disorders don't recognize that they have a problem and never seek help. But a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that more sufferers should be checked into hospitals, even against their will. Lead author Arnold E. Anderson, Ph.D., a psychiatry professor at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, examined 397 eating disordered patients, 66 of whom were admitted involuntarily. Surprisingly, his results showed that those patients admitted against their will responded to treatment as well as those admitted voluntarily.

    Eating disorders like anorexia have traditionally been attributed to environmental cues: rigid beauty standards, strict homes, rigorous sports and competition. Scientific evidence that they commonly run in families has only reinforced this view. But another report in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that a genetic trait may actually be the source of such disorders.

    In this study, researchers at the Eating Disorders Program of New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City examined the relationship between anorexia nervosa and the personality trait of perfectionism. Led by Katherine Halmi, Ph.D., the team examined 322 women with a family history of the eating disorder and found that the extent of the victims' perfectionism was directly associated with the severity of their anorexia nervosa. The researchers believe that anorexia may be linked to the family of genes associated with serotonin, a neurotransmitter connected to mood. They're now planning to analyze the study participants' DNA for patterns that are similar in anorexic family members, but different in those without eating disorders—a goal that may ultimately help to improve treatment for the disorder.

    These findings may hit close to home for people like Sarah, whose own sister is also a recovering anorexic. But she warns not to overlook the roles of others who contribute to the illness. "Parties involved should be focusing on how they do contribute to the problem rather than how they don't," Sarah advises.

    Psychology Today Magazine, Mar/Apr 2001
    Last Reviewed 8 Apr 2008
    Article ID: 22

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