Days turned into weeks, and before I knew it, I’d been smoking steadily for a month. I was disgusted with myself. Smoking made me lazy and nauseated. Addiction is dishonest, isolating, depressing, and anxiety inducing; smoking re-awakened all of that, along with the clinging, craving monster inside. Instead of going to the gym – I smoked. Instead of writing – I smoked. I wasted hours lighting them up and putting them out. And yet, a part of me relished every single drag. My dirty little secret made me feel self-righteous, cool and aloof. Emotionally, I was wrecked and seeking relief. I’d found a solution that both soothed and fueled the addiction monster. Returning to this behavior was like slipping back under the mud after a period of living in the sun. I was sober, but acting very much like my non-sober self. Literally playing with fire.
It's trendy to think "food should be fuel" or that food is something that helps you lose (or, ahem, gain) weight. But thinking only in terms of number on the scale takes away a huge part of what eating is about: pleasure. "If you think of eating as something enjoyable and something you do without guilt or without judging yourself, and you stay active, you're less likely to overeat, have a better diet, and maintain any weight loss for the long haul," says Zied. It's true: feeling guilty about your food choices can undermine weight loss—and even pack on the pounds—while a celebratory mindset gives you more control over your diet and can thwart weight gain, found a 2014 study in the journal Appetite.
But soon enough February will come, mid-winter doldrums will set in, and you’ll start to slide. Not to worry. Jane McGonigal’s “SuperBetter” tells you how to gamify your way back from the edge with the help of video-game-inspired techniques like finding “allies” and collecting motivational “power-ups”; and Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” reminds you that persistence makes all the difference when the going gets rough. Duckworth doesn’t think you need talent in order to become, as another of Duhigg’s books puts it, “Smarter Better Faster,” and neither do any of these other experts. According to their systems, anyone can learn to be more efficient, more focussed, more effective in the pursuit of happiness and, that most hallowed of modern traits, productivity. And if you can’t, well, that’s on you.
“I think it’s really important that dietitians not be turned off by the word detoxification but start embracing it, understanding that their programs likely are already supporting detoxification for people,” she continues. “It’s just a different way of looking at a healthful lifestyle. We always recommend whole foods and exercise, and so much of what we’re already doing can be considered detoxifying.
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All of this gives “Stand Firm” a somewhat conservative cast. Even the phrase “stand firm” may sound pretty fogyish. Brinkmann can come off like a parent telling his tetchy teen-ager to tough it out, and sometimes, like the teen-ager, you want to talk back. Much of his advice is contradictory. How are we supposed to both suppress our feelings and emphasize the negative? And doesn’t “dwelling on the past,” the corrective that Brinkmann advises, lead to the kind of maudlin nostalgia for the good old days that got us Brexit and Trump? “I would contend that, in a culture where everything else is accelerating, some form of conservatism may actually be the truly progressive approach,” Brinkmann writes. He acknowledges that this is paradoxical. His advice, like all advice, is imperfect, and limited. He, too, is only human. That’s part of his charm.
Sheila Dean, DSc, RD, LD, CCN, CDE, an integrative medicine nutritionist and adjunct professor at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, agrees: “The words ‘toxin’ and ‘detox’ mean different things to different people. It means different things to the layperson and even among the scientific community, even within the field of dietetics. I don’t believe that there’s consensus and, in my opinion, it’s more about a lack of understanding than a lack of scientific research.”
Examine each list daily or as often as you need to get them off your mind. Look at your pending tasks and then rank them in overall importance and put a due date on each one. Identify the action items that will give you the greatest return on your investment. Also note those action items that hold the greatest potential to escalate into a crisis situation if ignored. Schedule a time to review the list weekly, and reevaluate and reassess for the coming week.
Make your meals a special time. Turn off the television, radio, and stereo. Set the table, even if you are eating alone. Light a candle or put some flowers or an attractive object in the center of the table. Arrange your food in an attractive way on your plate. If you eat with others, encourage discussion of pleasant topics. Avoid discussing difficult issues at meals.
Make your life full of engagement. Do not hold back, wondering, craving, or hoping that something will change. That is a passive approach to living, an unwillingness to accept responsibility for your own self and a hope that someone will fix your problems for you. Engage life! You may not have the best solution, but that’s okay. An active approach to your problems is always better than waiting for the current to change. Put your plans into action. Set your course. Activate the warp drive, and accelerate towards a future of unimaginable adventures. Make it so!

Sheila Dean, DSc, RD, LD, CCN, CDE, an integrative medicine nutritionist and adjunct professor at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, agrees: “The words ‘toxin’ and ‘detox’ mean different things to different people. It means different things to the layperson and even among the scientific community, even within the field of dietetics. I don’t believe that there’s consensus and, in my opinion, it’s more about a lack of understanding than a lack of scientific research.”
“There’s absolutely research to support the use of detoxification protocols,” Foroutan says, noting that the human body is constantly in some state of detox every minute of every day. “Without being able to detox, you would die. So this debate isn’t a question of if detoxification happens or matters; this is a question of who needs additional detoxification support and who may benefit from it.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission have taken action against several companies selling detox/cleansing products because they contained illegal, potentially harmful ingredients; were marketed using false claims that they could treat serious diseases; or (in the case of medical devices used for colon cleansing) were marketed for unapproved uses.

While last minute planning, I could hear my dad – the life insurance agent’s – voice, so I decided to ensure someone had my flight and lodging info. Six months ago, I would have pitied myself at this task. Once, at the doctors, I cried to myself when I had “no one’s” name to write in the space “Emergency Contact”. The idea that there was “No One” looking after me caused an unnecessary amount of suffering, because having “No One” wasn’t based in reality. I have lots of wonderful “SomeOnes”.  It just takes some re-affirming and filtering out limiting beliefs and saboteur thoughts about being incomplete. Today, I simply reached out to one of my favorite “Someones” and gave her my itinerary. No self pity.

Food and drink fads that claim to be healthy aren’t always a wise choice. For example, water with added vitamins probably doesn’t have enough nutrients to make a difference in health. Coconut oil—touted as an all-natural way to boost brain function, ward off heart disease, burn fat, and improve digestion—is mostly saturated fat, which is linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. And there’s no evidence that adding mushroom powder to coffee or tea can reduce caffeine jitters or improve digestion, thinking skills, energy, and immune response. (Locked) More »
The Gastropub won. I was buoyed by the fact that he wanted to continue through a meal. We’d intended the date to be casual and open ended. If we hit it off, we agreed it could range from a quick walk on the beach to other end of the spectrum – an overnight stay at the house his company was renting on the island. He’d mentioned the spectacular water view and hot tub. “Since you’re taking a ferry such a long way, maybe you’ll want to crash over night.”
Protein gives you the energy to get up and go—and keep going—while also supporting mood and cognitive function. Too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, but the latest research suggests that many of us need more high-quality protein, especially as we age. That doesn’t mean you have to eat more animal products—a variety of plant-based sources of protein each day can ensure your body gets all the essential protein it needs. Learn more »

Tricky thing, addiction. Embeds itself deeply, even when one is determined to set themselves free. Not the retreat, my admiration of the women, or my horror at being found out as a smoker was enough for me to quit. When my fancy Camel Crush ran out on day 2, I bought very light, very bad tasting, non-menthol cigarettes in a Canadian store (they don’t sell menthol in the Gulf Islands!!)
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But I recently found myself feeling incredibly overwhelmed by my own self-improvement journey. I’m working to get out of debt, learn more about money management and change my mindset around money. I’m trying to incorporate more yoga and meditation into my life. I hired a running coach to help me train for my next half-marathon. I’m working to build my health coaching business, which means every day I’m learning about business strategies, marketing and more. I’m working on being more communicative with my partner. I’m changing my diet to get relief from my regularly occurring headaches. I’m learning about essential oils and how to incorporate them into my daily life. I’m trying to lose a few pounds. I’m trying to be a better friend and make more time for phone calls, coffee dates and hanging out. I’m working on making self-care more of a priority. I’d like to read the stack of personal development books I’ve ordered from Amazon over the past year. I’m trying to be more present. The list goes on.
Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood. If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using these simple tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create—and stick to—a tasty, varied, and nutritious diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

(Ok not stealthily. Side Note – The story of my life is that I ALWAYS get caught. Sneaking out in the middle of the night at age 15… My friend’s parent saw me and called my parents. Skipping prom to go to Denny’s and hang out at a hotel… I accidentally recorded myself on the answering machine sharing every detail with a friend. A couple years back, during a sober attempt, I hit “facetime” on my phone at the exact moment I took a drink of a beer. But have I learned? Noooooo. )


While last minute planning, I could hear my dad – the life insurance agent’s – voice, so I decided to ensure someone had my flight and lodging info. Six months ago, I would have pitied myself at this task. Once, at the doctors, I cried to myself when I had “no one’s” name to write in the space “Emergency Contact”. The idea that there was “No One” looking after me caused an unnecessary amount of suffering, because having “No One” wasn’t based in reality. I have lots of wonderful “SomeOnes”.  It just takes some re-affirming and filtering out limiting beliefs and saboteur thoughts about being incomplete. Today, I simply reached out to one of my favorite “Someones” and gave her my itinerary. No self pity.
Depending on who you ask, the detox diet meaning can vary pretty widely. For some, it may be considered an intense cleansing diet that consists of drinking strange concoctions for weeks on end to clear out toxins and achieve weight loss. For others, the term “detox cleanse” is little more than a marketing ploy used to shill expensive and overpriced products to health-conscious consumers.
But I recently found myself feeling incredibly overwhelmed by my own self-improvement journey. I’m working to get out of debt, learn more about money management and change my mindset around money. I’m trying to incorporate more yoga and meditation into my life. I hired a running coach to help me train for my next half-marathon. I’m working to build my health coaching business, which means every day I’m learning about business strategies, marketing and more. I’m working on being more communicative with my partner. I’m changing my diet to get relief from my regularly occurring headaches. I’m learning about essential oils and how to incorporate them into my daily life. I’m trying to lose a few pounds. I’m trying to be a better friend and make more time for phone calls, coffee dates and hanging out. I’m working on making self-care more of a priority. I’d like to read the stack of personal development books I’ve ordered from Amazon over the past year. I’m trying to be more present. The list goes on.
To be clear, don't expect to set up a coffee date with Barack Obama anytime soon, but consider some of your favorite writers, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes — anyone influential that you would enjoy hearing from. You might have the best luck with someone who is currently out of the limelight, since they'll have an inbox that isn't flooded with media requests.
Toxicity contributes to inflammation, which leads to a heavier toxic load, stalling fat loss in the bargain. An anti-inflammatory diet includes wild-caught seafood, plant foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids including flaxseed and chia seeds, lots of non-starchy vegetables, and spices including turmeric. Work with your chiropractor or other healthcare professional to incorporate anti-inflammatory nutrients including fish oil, krill oil, resveratrol, and curcumin into your diet.

When I wanted to start flossing consistently, one of the most useful changes I made was taking the floss out of the drawer and keeping it next to my toothbrush on the counter. It sounds like a silly thing to focus on, but the visual cue of seeing the floss every time I brushed my teeth meant that I didn't have to remember to pull it out of the drawer.

Alex may not have wanted me, personally, but the “rejection” isn’t personal. It’s subjective; a projection of his own reality. Other’s opinions and preferences have little to nothing to do with us. They most definitely do not have bearing on our value. (For an excellent explanation of this phenomenon, check out The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.)


Sugary drinks, such as soda and juice, are big sources of empty energy. This means that they contain a lot of energy (in the form of calories) but they don’t contain a lot of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, or fiber). Try sugar-free drink mixes, water (plain or you can add fruit to your water), and seltzer water instead of soda or juice. Even if labeled “natural” or “100% fruit juice,” juices are missing an important nutrient found in whole fruit: fiber. Without fiber, the sugar from the fruit will give you quick energy, but it won’t last long and you may find yourself feeling tired soon after drinking. If you are going to drink regular juice, try to limit the amount you drink to 4-8 ounces, one time per day and consider adding water to “dilute” it
Nutritionists are always saying to eat more vegetables, so cook them in a way that takes them from ho-hum to yum. "I even think that steamed veggies can be very boring!" says Ilyse Schapiro, a greater New York City-area registered dietitian. Always incorporate high-flavor add-ons to jazz up veggies, like sautéing with olive oil and garlic, or spraying them with olive oil before throwing them in an oven with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. That way, you don't equate "healthy" with "tasteless," a mindset that will knock you off the veggie bandwagon fast. Another tip: buy a spiralizer and make zucchini noodles. Topped off with a rich tomato sauce, you'll feel like you're eating pasta.

Backward Scheduling: Too much to do every day? Use this simple technique to determine a realistic schedule. Write down everything you want to get done today. Then put a time estimate on each task (make sure it's not a multi-day project!) and add up the time. Things always seem to take more time than we expect so overestimate a bit Compare what you have to do with how much time you have available and adjust to fit. Of course, some things will have to move to tomorrow. At least now you're in control. Schedule your tasks into the day beginning with the time you need to finish.

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