Sunday, December 27, 2009


I was at the airport yesterday, waiting for my flight back to Chicago, and thought I'd pass some time at the newsstand. I expected that with the New Year just around the corner, the women's magazines would be full of diet and weight loss tips - and I have to tell you that I was not disappointed.

I remember when The Diet Survivor's Handbook was first released, and our publicist at Sourcebooks told us that every January, the magazines have the same theme: "A New Year - A New You." Wow...a new me every 12 months? That feels like a lot of pressure!

I borrowed a pad of paper from my son, and started jotting down all of the brilliant ideas to help us lose weight - since apparently the ones they offered last year didn't work out so well for their readers. I offer them here to you, with the following suggestions:

  • First, take a deep breath. And now another one.
  • Remember that if any of them really worked, they wouldn't need to keep coming up with more.
  • Finally, a little humor always helps. With that in mind, I thought I'd make an attempt at rewriting some of my "favorites."

Self Magazine:
The Food Lover's Diet - 31 Tiny Tricks That Peel Off Major Pounds
My Edit:
The Food Lover's Diet - Eat What You Love and Savor Every Bite

The Easiest Diet Ever: Drop 600 Calories A Day Without Feeling Hungry
My Edit:
The Easiest Diet Ever: Eat When You Are Hungry And You'll Never Feel Hungry (duh!)

How We Lost 477 Pounds Together: 6 Women Share The Diet Secrets That Worked For Them
My Edit:
How We Raised Our Consciousness Together : 6 Women Share Their Wisdom And Empower Each Other

Your Best Body Ever
My Edit:
Your Body Is The Best Body Ever

O Magazine
How To Get What You Really Want This Year: Weight Loss That Sticks - Dr. Oz's Simple Secrets For Keeping The Pounds Off
My Edit:
Keep Working Toward Getting What You Really Want This Year: Body Satisfaction That Sticks - Dr. Oz's Simple Secret Is That There Is No Secret For Keeping The Pounds Off.

Total Body Confidence - Great Abs, Butt & Legs By New Year's
My Edit: (I got kind of hopeful with the first part...)
Total Body Confidence - Enjoy Your Body In Its Fullness All Year Long

The Biggest Loser - How I Did It!
My Edit:
The Biggest Winner - How I Did It! Tips To Love, Respect, And Honor Yourself

Woman's World:
Break Through Ohio State University BELLY FAT CURE! Discovery - Two Spoonfuls Of This Oil Will Block Fat Storage! Melt 5" Of Belly Fat - No Diet Required!
My Edit:
Woman's World Announces Bankruptcy As Readers Boycott Magazine Due To Outrageous Claims!

Imagine what it would be like to stand in the grocery line, and see magazine articles that actually support and nurture the well-being of women. Would they sell?

I know that as long as women buy what they're writing, they'll keep on writing it...and then women will keep feeling "not good enough"...prompting the need for more "A New Year - A New You" articles. A most unfortunate vicious cycle.

If this "magazine madness" brings you down, avoid them at all costs! Or at least take a shot at turning their negative messages into positive ones - I had fun giving it a try and just may make it an annual event.

As 2009 comes to a close, may you find peace and fulfillment in who you are now and in your journey to live with a full heart, mind and spirit.

Eat well! Live well! Be well!


Thursday, December 24, 2009


There are times in our lives when skillful living depends on knowing, truly knowing, what time it is. I have a friend named Jim. Jim is a successful businessman who retired early and divides his time with his wife living in Colorado and New York. I have never spent time with Jim in either of those places. In fact, I’ve never spent time with Jim in the Unites States. Jim and I met through spiritual study/hiking trips led by a rabbi with whom we both study. Over the course of an eight-year span, Jim and I joined trips that took us hiking and studying in the Swiss Alps, the Italian Dolomite's and Andalusia, Spain.

Many times, on our hikes, Jim and I would talk about writing a book together about how the wise words hikers say about trekking were really words for living. For example, we’d hear a fellow hiker say, “Sometimes you have to look up and assess if you are on the right path.” Or, “My goal was to get to the summit, but now I realize that the beauty was in each step.” And, “The unexpected views as your travel along take your breath away, but you have to remember to stop and look up.” We never did write that book, but we had great fun with these pearls of wisdom and we shared wonderful times of abundance together: in spirit, laughter, meals and community.

Two months ago, the rabbi told me that Jim was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I hadn’t talked to him since we were together in Spain, three years ago. The rabbi told me that he wants to hear from the people in his life. “Send him an email,” he advised.

I had planned to.

Later that week, I searched through my email contact list, and realized that I didn’t have his email. I made a mental note to ask a mutual friend, or the rabbi, for his email address.

I didn’t follow through.

I thought about Jim, he was on my mind and in my heart, but I didn’t send that email.

“I have time,” I thought. I’ll do it soon…

After the problems left on my doorstep were solved, the errands were run, when life slows down…

I didn’t know what time it was.

How many of us put off what needs to be attended to now…in this moment. I think we see it all the time:

“I’ll take the dance class I’ve always wanted to take when I lose weight…”
“When I’m thin, I’ll let myself become involved in a relationship…”
“When my daughter gets into preschool, I’ll sign up for that painting class…”
“When my son gets into college, I’ll start my novel…”
“I’ll start living the life I truly want next month, next season, next year…”

Skillful living means being mindful of what time it is in our lives, and then acting from a place of wisdom. Sometimes you get a second chance, sometimes you don’t.

Jim died yesterday morning, before I sent him that email.

I missed what time it was.

If you look at the universe, we are a second, a split second. But our lives are part of that universe, and that second holds everything. If we understand that second, if we understand how important it is to pay attention to the present, to see clearly, we will understand what time it is in our lives, and we will act.

In the physical sense, attuned eating allows you to feed yourself in a consistent and loving manner. In a spiritual sense, attuned living allows you to pay attention to the world around you and to respond in a way that is life affirming and sustaining.

We don’t do it perfectly. Sometimes we miss the cues, or we’re off the mark in our response. Those are the times we need to be open to and learn from.

I wish I responded differently. I wish I knew what time it truly was…time to stop, and to be present with Jim in his dying. Now, it is time to remember Jim and to honor him by working toward living more in the present, living a life more in attunement.

We are all on a hike; our lives are a journey. May this New Year bring us the wisdom to live life fully, to be present to what is right in front of us, and to act from a place of both wisdom and compassion…by knowing, truly knowing, what time it is.”