Sunday, January 29, 2012

Writer’s block or writer’s butt?

Writer’s block or writer’s butt?
( I'm afraid I have both)

         It’s no secret. Sitting at a desk writing causes serious butt spread. Sitting at that same desk agonizing over writer’s block has the same consequence, not to mention time spent while blogging, e-mailing and social networking. None of these contribute to a narrow backside; and all the aforementioned are necessary to a writer’s success in selling his/her books. A heavy problem!
            I’ve devoted the last few month’s blogs to weight issues. This month I’m focusing on the writer’s dilemma—too much angst, too little exercise and too much food in the kitchen. How does the poor writer prevent a spreading fanny while finishing his necessary sedentary chores?

Some ways to avoid writer’s spread:
1.     If you’ve gotten into the habit of sharing your desk with food, break it. I can’t tell you not to have a cup of coffee at your side, but FYI, I sent a brand-new, Mac keyboard to an early grave with a mug of coffee. And the replacement keyboard has enough crud between the keys to run a garbage disposal. Two things to be gained from establishing a ‘no eating while writing’ habit; smaller butt and longer lasting (and more sanitary) keyboard.
2.     To prevent fanny-spread and keep your circulation going, set a timer to remind you to get up from the computer every half-hour and walk around for at least five minute. Vacuum your office, wash the dishes, or make the bed, anything to get your juices flowing.
3.     Take time for a daily walk. This is much easier if you have a dog. It’s just about impossible to resist the sad-eyed begging with glances toward the door or the leash. This also has a dual benefit; great for your health and the endorphins produced get your creative juices flowing! Carry a notebook or a digital recorder to capture any plot epiphanies that come to you on your journey through the neighborhood.
4.     A helpful exercise device is a small (fits under the desk)  stationary peddler. These are under $50, and you can find them in any of the gadget books that stuff your mailbox.
5.     While you’re sitting, keep you legs and/or feet moving. If you make a habit of this it won’t be distracting. Even something as simple as rotating your feet from the ankles will keep your leg circulation healthy.

Dear readers,
Thank you for following my blog. Please leave any commentary or addition to the tips I’ve included. They are things that I do daily and I’m sure you have some to add. (Of course, I’m not brave enough to measure my butt!)
See you next week,

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Using affirmations

Repeat after me: Awareness is Everything.

You’ve probably forgotten all about your New Year’s goals.  Why is it so easy to forget goals? The answer is simple. Achieving a goal requires ongoing, active mental involvement. Changing demands that we step outside of our comfort zone and change means discomfort.

It’s been said (if anyone remembers her, I think Dr. Joyce Brothers said it first) that happiness is not found in the big things, e.g. more money, a bigger house, a better job. Happiness is found when you find comfort in your day-to-day routine. In other words, enjoying the small things; the life you have now.

The foods we love are one of those small things; giving them up is painful. No wonder it’s so difficult to stay on a diet. Don’t forget, the first four letters in diet spell “die”. We die inside when we make a change as rudimentary to our daily pleasure as our food choices. How, then, do we take off weight without sacrificing our mental well-being?

First and foremost, it is imperative to find a diet you can live with. Not the diet of the month in the women’s magazines, not the one on The Greatest Loser, not the one Oprah’s recommending this week, but one that over time becomes a way of life for you; a comfortable way of life.

Once you discover what that is for you, the next step is following it. And following any plan for change, whether it is to lose weight or achieve any other goal, demands that you stay aware of  that goal and the steps necessary to achieve it.

Affirmations are merely a tool to help you remain aware. Like finding the right diet, thinking of an affirmation that speaks to you and keeps you on track is well worth your time and effort. Having found one, repeat it to yourself like a mantra. Over and over. Anytime during the day your resolve may be tested. Any time you think of it! Post it on your refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, or your computer. Whatever it takes for you to remain focused on your goal.

Some examples:

            1.  Today, I’ll stay focused on my goals.
            2.  I enjoy eating foods that are healthy in the quantities that my body needs.
            3.  I’d rather feel great about my body. (This is my personal favorite.)
            4.  I’m satisfied with 1500 calories a day. (Fill in your own limit if you’re counting calories.)
            5.  I’m going to make this a wonderful day.
            6.  Today I will be good to myself in every way.

            You get the idea. Draft one that tweaks your resolve you and keeps you on the path to achieving your goals. If you come up with one for all of us, please share it!
Have a wonderful, healthy week,


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Talk to Yourself!

Talk to Yourself!

            Ever tell yourself you’re fat? Hopeless? You’ll never get the body you want?You’re powerless to stop overeating?
The first step in using self-talk to help you achieve a goal, whether it is a weight loss goal or any other, is to kill negative self-talk. Impossible, you say? It’s no secret that anything worth having is worth working for.  And getting negative imagery out of your mind won’t be easy, but will be well worth your efforts.
Whatever you focus on becomes more and more real to you. Focus on the good things in your life; picture your successes, and picture yourself achieving your goals. If you think it, you will become it.
            There are two ways to approach reprogramming your thinking. One is to develop your own internal monitor. When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself, imagine screaming, “stop”!  If that seems impossible, (it did to me) another way is to build on positive thoughts about yourself. Make it a habit to focus on the good things about you and your life. Use positive words and thoughts, until they replace your negative thinking.
            Many years ago, I met a prominent woman who told me the secret of her success. Before she went to sleep every night, she made a list of all the good things that had happened during the day, no matter how small or how trivial. She fell asleep thinking of them.  She slept well, and when she woke, she built on the successes of the previous day.
            Change requires awareness! You can be the person you want if you want it bad enough to develop a new way of thinking.

            Here are some ways to make positive self-talk work for you
1.     Pay attention to what you say about yourself in private and in public.
2.     Yell a loud, mental “No” or “Stop” when you catch yourself having negative thoughts about yourself.
3.     Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones will take time. Don’t expect to change overnight.
4.     Use a positive affirmation that you’ll repeat to yourself throughout the day like a mantra, either aloud or to yourself. Try a few until you find one that works for you.
5.     Some affirmation examples:
a.     I’d rather feel great about my body. (My personal favorite!)
b.     I have everything I need to help me achieve my goals.
c.      I enjoy eating foods that are healthy.
d.     I am the master of my life.
e.     I will always be radiantly healthy.
f.      Exercise makes me feel good. (Exercising is a great time for repeating your affirmations!)

Dear readers,

You’ve helped make it possible for me to make it through the holidays with only a ½ pound weight gain. For that I am grateful. I hope you stayed with me for the Ten Pounds of Christmas and managed to keep your weight from skyrocketing like mine used to. If not, be kind to yourself. It happens. Today is a new day.
I have a personal goal to lose twenty pounds this year, slowly, with a monthly goal of two pounds. I welcome you to follow along and I’ll share with you any thoughts I have on making our journey easier.

Please leave any comments or tips you may have, or contact me at


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week Ten

The holidays are over. Now what?

The Ten Pounds of Christmas was a blog designed to help myself and others like me get through the holidays without gaining weight—or at least only gaining a pound or two. With your help, I managed to stay focused on that goal and only gain one pound! Blogging about it kept the goal alive for me. Since most of us have a goal to lose weight in 2012, I thought looking ahead to accomplishing that goal would be an excellent way to wrap up this ten-week blog.
            Whenever I set a weight-loss goal, I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the pot at the end of the rainbow. There I am, wearing skinny jeans, looking svelte and happy. Life is good at the end of the rainbow.           
But an accomplished goal does not happen by throwing a coin into a fountain and making a wish. One of the best ways to achieve a goal is to use creative visualization. Athletes use it to get in the zone by picturing a winning season. And you’ve all heard of biofeedback, used by the medical community for dealing with pain and disease. So that picture of myself in those skinny jeans? Not so ridiculous.
What you focus on becomes more and more real to you. If you tuck those goals you wrote on New Year’s Day into the pile of detritus on the top of your desk, that’s most likely where they‘ll stay—buried.
Whatever your goal, keep it in sight and take a first step toward its completion. If you want to lose weight, join a support group, begin an exercise plan, start a food diary–anything that will get you started toward your goal. Make a list of the steps involved in reaching your goal. If I’ve learned one thing about losing weight, it’s this—no one method works for everyone. Part of realizing your goal will be to find a plan that works for you.

Using visualization:

1.                    Twice a day, assume a relaxed position and picture what you and your life will look like when you’ve accomplished your goal.
2.                    Make sure part of this process is a mental picture of you making the steps necessary for success.
3.                    Visualize yourself overcoming the obstacles that are sure to fall into the path to achieving your goal.
4.                    Incorporate as much sensual data into the picture as possible.
5.                    Remember awareness is half the battle. Again, what you focus on becomes more and more real to you. Rerun those snapshots of your goal in your mind throughout the day.

Dear readers,
Thank you for following me for the ten weeks of The Ten Pounds of Christmas. This tenth week concludes the series.
I am an author of suspense novels, and a woman who has battled with my weight since I was a child. This blog will continue to reach out to others like me who struggle to keep food from making their lives uncontrollable.
            I think those of us that love to read and write books have an even more difficult time, as our favorite pastime does not burn calories! Next week I’ll talk about affirmations and positive self-talk as an aid to accomplishing goals.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and successful new year,


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Week 9, The Ten Pounds of Christmas

Resolutions, NO, Goals, YES

A resolution, from the word resolve, is defined as an intended, firm determination. Like the old advice of practicing “self-control,” a resolution sounds to me like something I’d have to do with a whip held over my head. Goals? Not so much. For me, a goal is something positive that I want to achieve, not a restriction. Positive is good. It’s a new year, right?

The holidays, along with all the food temptations that come with them, are over. It’s time to throw out the leftover goodies and resume normal eating. Normal? That might be defined differently for each of us, I suspect. For me, when it comes to food, there is no “normal”. I’m either closely watching my calorie intake or overeating; seldom anything in between.

An important piece of expert advice about good eating habits has always eluded me; that biggest no-no of all, eating while doing something else: reading, watching TV, or even playing spider solitaire. Why are those combinations so wonderfully delicious? I would defend the practice as doing two things I enjoy at the same time. The experts would tell me I’m trying to maintain an unconscious state in my journey with junk food. (You didn’t think those were carrot sticks and celery stalks, did you?) They would also tell me those activities become linked with eating, and like Pavlov’s dogs, they turn into unconscious triggers for my recreational eating addiction! One of my goals this year will be to work on my compulsive behaviors.

In previous years, my resolutions were predominantly those that were diet related. The good news is, this year I only have two “new” pounds to deal with. No ten pounds of holiday fat for this girl. Unfortunately, I do have more than those two nasty pounds of holiday fat to get rid of, so onward to goals.

A goal can be as simple as a mental picture of something you want to accomplish or it can be a formal outline for the goal’s completion. The most important thing is to choose goals you are excited about achieving in order to motivate you to finish them. If you’re a writer like me, you might want to have a separate list for your writing goals for the week, month, and year.

Some goal guidelines:

1.     Write them down. While you’re at it, give them the added formality of typing them and printing them out. Anthony Robbins advocates a five year plan! That’s a tough one—think about what you’d like your life to look like in five years—it’s an eye opener!
2.     Have your goal sheet somewhere you will see it every day.
3.     Again, make sure each goal is something you are excited about accomplishing.
4.     Don’t try to do too many at once. Pick two or three, or even only one if it is something important to you.
5.     The more difficult the goal, the more necessary it is to have a list of action steps you will do in order to achieve it. Divide the steps into long and short-term solutions.
6.     Procrastination can be overwhelming. Thus emphasizing the need to have increments toward the achievement of your goal. Begin with that baby step—but begin! Many years ago, I was stuck in a job I found unfulfilling and my goal for the year was to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement plan it offered and go back to school for my Master’s degree, a huge task that involved a lot of work just to get started. I took an immediate first step and contacted a university for information about the programs. I began classes that spring and graduated three years later.
Make that first step a small one and make it today. You’ll be surprised how it inspires you to keep going.

I wish all of you dear readers a healthy and amazing 2012! Thank you for following this blog series, The Ten Pounds of Christmas. Next week, week ten will be the last of the series; more on goals and how to make sure we reach them.