WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER GO ON A DIET


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Yep – you read that title correctly. Want to lose weight for good? Then don’t go on a diet.

Why?

I consider the word “diet” to be a four letter word – one of those bad words that people get uncomfortable when they hear it.

Nobody likes going on a diet. I mean honestly, when your doctor tells you that you’re overweight and need to shed some pounds, odds are you don’t run gleefully out of his or her office yelling, “Woo Hoo”! – I get to eat more kale!” Right?

Instead, the images that come to mind when someone tells me they are going to start such-and-such a diet this week are usually people who are depressed, stressed, angry, or sad, with a little trepidation about just how long they think they’re going to last, leaving their favorite foods behind.

Why do people generally fail at dieting? Because most people can’t stick to a diet for long. Most diets have some sort of restriction, or they wouldn’t be called a diet to begin with. No sweets. No Chips. No ice cream. No pasta. No breads. Name your favorite foods and they are likely on the forbidden food lists.

So in order to try convincing yourself that it won’t be “that bad,” your mind already starts thinking in terms of your upcoming diet as something that has a beginning and an end. Surely in a few months you’ll have dropped the weight and will be at a good place where you can stop dieting and return to your earlier eating habits.

And that’s why diet’s don’t work! You mistakenly thought that dieting has a beginning and an end. You did great and lost 35 pounds and feel wonderful in doing so, while denying yourself your favorite yummies for so long. Now you’re “off” the diet and guess what. If you’re like most people… odds are you go right back to eating like you used to – before the diet. And before you know it, those 35 pounds you lost have snuck back in and brought their friends to boot and suddenly you have 40 extra pounds! At which time many folks end up blaming the diet, or believing that diets don’t work! When in fact, it is a set-up to fail to begin with.

I was watching the Today show the other day when Megyn Kelly was putting a variety of diets under the gun, as to their effectiveness as well as longevity. Weight Watchers was getting many accolades but, Megan said, “But you can’t stay on Weight Watchers forever.”

And therein lies the problem … the great myth that takes me back to the word diet. In fact, if you want to shed those pounds and keep them off you need to make your food choices a “lifestyle”, as opposed to a diet. Meaning, even if you reach your goal weight, you’re aware every single day, of just how much food you  put in your mouth and your body to keep the weight on hold.

Yep. Every day.

Now that’s not as bad as it sounds. For example, for me to keep my weight at 142 pounds (I’m 5’7”), I allow myself about 1,600 – 1,800 calories per day. Might sound restrictive to you but what I didn’t tell you is that I don’t begrudge myself partaking in anything I want – whether it be a birthday party or Thanksgiving, or the office party picnic. I’ve been known to eat an entire box of Girl Scout thin mints in an evening (I don’t advise it!) and still not gain weight.

How, you ask? For two reasons … First, I stay fully aware of how many calories are in the items I’m gulping down. Yep, those thin mints might only be 160 calories per serving (4 cookies – not an entire box!) But the whole container was 1,280! That only left me 520 calories for the rest of the day. And if I’d already eaten half a day’s calories before I even hit the cookies, odds are I’m way already over my limit to begin with.

OK, NO GUILT. NO SHAME! That’s what I mean when I say “No Cheatin’, Just Eatin’.” It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle. I wasn’t cheating when I ate the box of cookies. I just chose to eat more of it than I needed. Which will definitely slow my weight loss plans, for sure.

So this is where the second part of how I do it comes in … the next couple of days I cut way back on everything. Tighten my calories back to 1,200 – 1,400. Make sure I get some exercise in and probably eat more salad, lean meat, and fruit than usual. And I eat that way until the number on the scale is more acceptable to me.

I can handle giving up my junk food every now and then, knowing I can have it back in just a couple of days. After your first week or so of counting calories you’ll know what the calorie counts are for your favorite foods in your head and can likely calculate your intake each day simply and easily.

And with all the apps out there these days, keeping track couldn’t be easier!

So don’t diet to lose weight. Make weight loss a lifestyle of something you can live with each and every day.

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A FATHER, A DAUGHTER, AND ONE SPECIAL CHRISTMAS TREE (scroll down)


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Each year as I’m driving around during the holidays, my memories of my father come flooding back to me each time a car passes me carrying a freshly cut Christmas tree on the roof or in the bed of a truck.

As a grown up, I have celebrated Christmas each year with an artificial tree, beautifully decorated, mind you, with ornaments that reflected our “horsie” lifestyle of many years. Rearing horses, spotted horses, jumping horses. Not your typical suburban Christmas tree – yet, one that reflected our lifestyle on 5 acres in Parker, Colorado with a family of my own.

Yet my fondest Christmas memories remain those cutting down a fresh Christmas tree with my dad each year…

As I was the youngest of 4 children, and for many years, the only one left at home, it was my dad and I who went on the annual search for the “perfect tree.”

I grew up in Whitewater, Wisconsin – a rural farming community where everyone knew everyone else and you could walk on the streets at 3 AM without ever worrying about anyone bothering you. You could also cut your own Christmas tree at a nearby tree farm and it became my most anticipated outing each year.

My father drove a GMC pickup truck, probably circa 1959 or so. It was a rather ugly green, with a stick shift, and it smelled like him – earthy and tinged with his personal scent of sweat mixed in with a little bit of axel grease.

I remember that he and I would pile into his truck for the “adventure,” with saw in hand, bundled up against the Wisconsin cold. As he climbed out of his side of the truck, I would virtually fly out of my side into the waiting rows of trees that seemed to almost scream to me, “Take me! Take me! I want to be the one!”

Of course, my dad would always suggest the very first tree we saw and I would flatly refuse, until we had seen many, many trees so that we would pick the BEST tree possible! He loved to tell everyone how we would march through the freezing snow and cold, past hundreds of trees, until at last we would end up right back at the first, original tree he had spotted upon disembarking from the truck! Of course it was all hogwash! I couldn’t possibly choose the tree right next to the road, but he loved to tell that story all year long anyway.

Once found, he would make the precision cut with his hack saw and we would lovingly haul that tree back to his noisy old truck and place it in the back for the ride home.

Upon being perched regally in its stand of water at home, the decorating was my job. The special ornament box would come out from the top shelf of the closet and I would spend the next couple of hours ohhhing and ahhhhing over each ornament I would pull out of the box, as I remembered it from the preceding year.

Plastic snowflakes and snowmen, colorful balls with that scratchy white stuff that was supposed to look like snow but just reminded you of the feel of fingernails on a chalkboard when you touched them, and years of homemade ornaments my siblings and I had made in school were all strategically posted in their own special spots throughout the boughs.

The scent of pine filled the house, right along with all the fresh needles that had scattered like cookie crumbs along the kitchen tile all the way into the place of honor in the living room. No one seemed to notice until much later.

What simple times those were. I can even remember how excited I got over certain gifts I received back then… a sweater I called a “ski sweater,” due to its colorful pattern. (There’s not much for skiing in Wisconsin, by the way!) A “Creepy Crawler machine” to make nasty plastic spiders and other lovely creatures. A “Mr. Ed” talking hand puppet which I still have to this day, even though he no longer talks. Our stockings filled with nuts and oranges and one or two of those foil-covered chocolates that looked like gold coins.

My father passed away in 1998 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and it has been decades since I have been in that tree farm on the hunt for that special tree. Yet to this day, whenever I see a car carrying a Christmas tree on top, on its way home to someone’s living room, I think of my dad and the special times he made for me out of something so simple as an outing for an evergreen tree.

Thanks, Dad.

AND THE (BOOK) OSCAR GOES TO…


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“No Cheatin’, Just Eatin’ takes the bronze in both writing (Mary Jo) and editing (Barb Munson) in Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association competition for 2017.

“No Cheatin’, Just Eatin’ takes the bronze in both writing (Mary Jo) and editing (Barb Munson)
in Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association competition for 2017.

We’re all familiar with the Oscars; that prestigious event that rewards great acting, writing and directing of the best of films from the big screen. With lots of pomp and circumstance, the Oscars return once a year and the celebrities, whether they’re for an award or not, compete as much in their selection of exotic attire as they do in their lengthy thank you speeches.

Each nominated person (and their family and friends) hold their breath as the finalists in each category are announced, then run to the stage ecstatic and blubbering all over the place.

After the 3 hour TV event, the big celebrating goes on at the after parties where the winners pose for photo opps yet again – only now holding their heavy statues for all to admire. And of course, the winners are now recognized as. being the best of the best! Suddenly wanted by everyone. And their salary goes up instantly. Recognition of excellence pays off!

Me and my editor Barb Munson, winning awards for my book, “No Cheating’ Just Eatin’ from the CIPA /evvy Awards, August 2017.

Well, you might not be aware that the world of books has their own Oscars as well, only the nominated are books; those who wrote them and all those best supporting folks who brought the writer’s story or idea to life! (Editors. Cover designers, etc.) And just as the film world has several movie award competitions throughout the year, (Oscars, Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice) so does the book world.Award Winner

Authors spend hour after hour, month after month, sometime year after year turning their ideas into something that goes from just a dream into something they can actually hold in their hands. It’s something a kin to being pregnant for 9 long months and finally being able to hold your baby in your hand! Of course they love their babies, but the real question is, “Will anyone else love it?”

And so authors across the globe enter their works in various book competition for a variety of reasons; for recognition, to be more credible, and to prove to everyone that it wasn’t just their friends and family members who said their book was wonderful!

The winners can then display a special seal of approval on their book covers; something akin to an Oscar-like statue in the form of a seal of approval, so to speak.

These shiny emblems on their books tells the world that these books are the best of the best. They have been fully “vetted,” as the politicians like to say. And their stories or their how-to advice between the covers should leave most readers satisfied and then some.

So what does all of this have to do with you? It’s just a little reminder to seek books with those special seals on their jackets. And the more, the merrier! Lots of seals means lots of folks gave their nods of approval. And the author can now claim the title “Award Wining Author.”

And If you know or meet an author with those special seals on their books, be sure to congratulate them for their book “Oscar.” They will appreciate that you know just what it means.

As an award-winning author myself, having won awards on nearly all my books, I am always honored that my judges and readers alike found something meaningful in my words. Of course I display my seal of approval on all my books, but honestly the even bigger Oscar for me is when a reader tells me how something I wrote changed their lives forever! (In some good way, of course!) Or that they read it in a few hours because they simply couldn’t put it down! Or how they saw their own stories within the pages … Well, there is no better reward for me than that.