“Learn to say “NO” without explaining yourself.”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always attempted to explain myself on some level, to justify my existence I suppose. Well some part of me snapped recently, and I realized I no longer want to explain myself. The truth: I owe no one an explanation for my choices, my decisions. NO ONE.

Neither do you.

I need to change an appt. I thought about what I would say and then I realized I just needed to say: “I need to change the appt. Does this other time work for you?” No explanation other than that required. The why doesn’t matter. It’s not anyone’s business but mine.

My choices are just that. My choices.

Where I go. What I do. Who I speak to. My choices.

No is a complete sentence.




When I ask someone to do something, and they say no and start to explain, I make it clear that no explanation is necessary. None.

I treat others as I wish to be treated.

No is a wonderful word. Learn to listen to it, and it will make every yes that much sweeter.

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All YOU need is LOVE


Non-co-dependent love.

Terms that exist and that we hear with increasing frequency, but what do they really mean. In searching for this meaning, I’ve been reading Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz, a book in part about relations with others, but also about the relationships we have with ourselves, the relationship I have with myself, which has been, for so long clouded and overshadowed by my addiction to food. Every time I engage in mindless or emotional eating, I distance myself from MY SELF. Sugar, fat, eating past the point of near fullness obliterates the ability to be my best self.

Even after all this time, I still seek that comfort from foods that do not feed my health, my mental, emotional and physical health. I know I am not alone. According to a Columbia University study forty million Americans suffer with addictions and another 80 million have a strong susceptibility toward addictive behaviors and substances.

The solution? In a TEDTalk Johann Hari suggests LOVE serves as the lasting solution to addictions.

Based on my lifelong battle with a food addiction I find this perspective more healing. I’ve been shamed, yelled at, abused verbally because people believe that they have the absolute right to judge me based on my size. They have said “just count calories”. Well, they’ve said much worse. Their words don’t bear repeating now. I may be fat. I may be big, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to be loved and feel loved, but this begins with me.

So, how then do I love myself? For me, it means not expecting others to be something they are not. I have spent time in co-dependent relationships, where my mood and actions have depended on others, on how they’d reach to me. I felt I had to fit their image of me. I had to be someone I was not in order for them to love me. In turn, I wanted them to fit a mold. I wanted them to save me.

Part of me still wants someone else to save me, but, alas I must save myself. I must love myself. I do this by being me. Don Miguel Ruiz says “trying to be what are not expends all your energy. Being what you are doesn’t require any effort.” I’ve spent too long trying to be something I thought other people wanted me be. Sometimes that had to do with how I ate, how I drank, how I talked. I wanted to be loved and I’d do anything to be loved. Anything except be myself. And that has taken more effort than I can ever explain.

Who am I really? I’m a liberal democrat. Always have been. Probably always will be. I believe in God, the God that lies within each of us. I believe in meditation. I like Starbucks. I don’t always enjoy yoga, but I love how I feel after. I like my job, but grading papers can be sometimes trying. I like watching mindless tv: Survivor and Amazing Race.

I’m hard on myself, much harder than I ought to be. I need to learn to forgive myself, to be kind to myself, just kind in every way. Maybe then I’ll get what it means to love myself. I washed my sheets today for the first time in over a month. That’s self-love. I went for a walk today. That’s self-love. I’m allowing myself to just be, just in this moment. That’s self-love. I wanted a snack around midnight last night. I ate an apple. That’s self-love.

And, for now, that’s more than good enough.

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Thin asparagus, red bell peppers and onions!

Thin asparagus, red bell peppers and onions!

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Going to Extremes

Ever since I can remember, I have only felt value in going to extremes, particularly when it comes to weight/food. I clearly recall, so many times, as a pre-teen, planning the perfect diet, which would start tomorrow, consisting of extreme elements. Always containing illusions of false perfection.

As a child I thought losing weight consisted of counting calories. A piece of cake that had 500 calories would make for a perfect meal. I didn’t consider nutrition. I didn’t think of the deeper reasons for my need to satiate myself with food, with empty calories.

Going to the extremes followed me into adulthood. Whether it involved food, exercise, school: my last semester of graduate school saw me presenting papers at NINE conferences in three months. I didn’t know how to stop. I still don’t.

Wait. Maybe I do. Maybe I just need to stop. To slow down. Whenever I’d join a gym, I ‘d calculate how many times I needed to go to make it worth my while financially. I didn’t stop to factor in emotional benefits. When I started Bikram yoga I started doing doubles to push myself, and that had benefits, but it also kept me from slowing down and just BEING.

I’m on this journey to lose weight, but I’m also on this journey to learn how to be and to be happy with myself. To feel at peace inside. To look forward with my life and create the life I want and deserve.

I want to slow down, so you know what? I am slowing down. Taking time each day to breathe. I don’t speak of meditation here (I do meditate every day). I’m referring to just taking time throughout the day to stop, to appreciate to feel. To look around me.

The adjustment feels awkward, feels painful, but it also feels right.

I’ve stopped explaining myself to others. I owe no one an explanation. NO ONE. That’s part of going to extremes too—thinking I always had to explain myself, always had to justify myself or I wouldn’t be loved and/or accepted. By slowing down, I’m learning to listen to myself.

I’ve been taking walks without my phone (gasp!). I’ve been spending time at night just staring at my lit Christmas tree and feeling happy while looking at the twinkling lights.

The effects so far? I find myself more productive at work and at home. Before I act, I ask myself: is this mine to take care of? Because maybe it isn’t? And if it isn’t, then I need to let go of it. And when I really think of it, all those things I take care of that aren’t mine to take care of, take me away from taking care of me, and as many great sages say, “if you want to change the world, change yourself.”

Oh, I don’t actually want to change the world, but I do want to change MY world!

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Because I Could

Tonight I put up my Christmas tree because I could. No one to tell me I couldn’t.

It might be a little crooked, but my tree makes me happy as I watch the lights twinkle happy love.

I haven’t written much lately. Every time I sit down to write I take a look at past blog entries, and I see the evolution of a woman who didn’t quite seem like me. Sometimes when I read my writing I see someone who wrote with an eye out for how people might perceive me, how they might interpret my words. I don’t always see me.

I suppose that evolution of self comes about through the self-examination that comes with introspective writing.

As I sit here I feel a sense of joy and lightness I haven’t felt in a long time. I can’t quite explain that either.

I don’t need anymore, well not in this moment anyways.

I have too many THINGS, but I spend a few minutes each day wading through the minutiae of stuff that weighs me down, literally and figuratively.

I broke one of my favorite Christopher Radko ornaments today. He signed it in 2006 when he came to visit Angela’s Florist in Newbury Park. I loved that ornament, but I can let it go.

Stephen Colbert just came on the tv. I enjoy his wit and humor, along with his ability to kick his leg up.

I walked through Target today looking for crazy Christmas hats, but they hadn’t put them out yet!!!! Didn’t they know I would be looking for them? I have enough hats though. I could probably just use the ones I have. Who would really know the difference?

Stephen Colbert has discovered the hypocrisy that is Oreo thins—Double-stuff oreos ought to be the only oreos that exist!

Now, I’ll stop writing so I can pay attention to the show and stop multitasking!

How’s that for a non-ending to this blog?

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It starts with Pumpkin Spice Lattes in September and that leads to pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin cheerios, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin spice nuts, pumpkin body lotion, pumpkin body wash, pumpkin pasta sauce, pumpkin kale chips, pumpkin marshmallows, pumpkin spice oreos, pumpkin spice cookie butter, and the list goes on……..and on…….and on…..

It’s PUMPKIN SEASON after all, but I have a question for you and for me: what does pumpkin actually taste like? When did you actually eat pure pumpkin?

Almost all of the above products contain little, if any, pumpkin. The number one ingredient in most products: sugar! Now, if you’ve been reading the news lately you may have come across any number of articles that discuss how sugar actually has more addictive properties than cocaine! Think about that for a moment. One of the most addictive substances can be purchased almost anywhere without any legal consequences.

If sugar is the first ingredient, then surely pumpkin is the second? Nope. Not even close. Depending on the “pumpkin” product you consume, pumpkin may not even be an ingredient. A number of the products offer “artificially flavored pumpkin”: pumpkin manufactured by chemicals—YUM!! NOT!!!!! When pumpkin does end up on an ingredient list, you’ll normally find it near the bottom. NEAR THE BOTTOM?????

What does it mean then to consume a pumpkin product? Not much. I’m a fan of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, but it’s only been THIS YEAR that they’ve added REAL PUMPKIN: Basically, prior to this year, I’ve been a fan of sugarized coffee drinks. How’s that for a cold hard truth?

People salivate and wait for pumpkin products, not just lattes. Trader Joe’s has a whole variety of pumpkin products that fly off their shelves starting in September, so do other stores. People everywhere have an intense craving for pumpkin, but, in reality, they’re craving SUGARIZED PUMPKIN!!!

I have a challenge for you. Do you feel up to it? Buy a pumpkin. A real pumpkin. Look for one that has the label—suitable for pumpkin pie. That way you’ll know it’s easy to cook with. Then COOK IT! Cut off the top, take out the seeds and bake it until soft. Then take it out of the oven. Let it cool off a few minutes and then taste it. TASTE THE PUMPKIN!!!!! Experience THE PUMPKIN!!!!! Embrace the PUMPKIN!!!!

If you want to add more flavors, add some Vietnamese cinnamon and maybe a bit of REAL BUTTER. Have a PUMPKIN EXPERIENCE!!!!! Take some of the rest of your cooked pumpkin and add it to the foods you like: oatmeal, pasta, etc. Take some cold brewed coffee and add a bit of the pumpkin and some milk. TASTE THE PUMPKIN.

It’s okay if you don’t care for it, but you’ll come away with an appreciation for pumpkin, an understanding of its taste. You can also take some of the cooked pumpkin and spread it on your face as a mask. You don’t need to spend $20 or more on a face mask or body scrub. You can make your own! With REAL pumpkin!


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I haven’t written a blog in over a month. That spells trouble. I can’t adequately explain it, but it does. I’ve been spending too much time in my head. Too much time contemplating and not doing.

The world is made for skinny people. There. I said it. That truth makes people uncomfortable. I’m not referring here to the physical aspects of life, such as small airplane seats, booths without enough space, etc. I speak of attitudes.

Watch. Observe. In many instances pretty people receive different treatment. Not all the time, but enough of the time. Studies have been done. Experiments performed and they all come to the same conclusion: pretty people receive preferential treatment.

I don’t always focus on that though. What’s the point?

I’m sitting on my red couch looking at a plant. A few days ago this plant did not look so healthy, so I cut off all the dead parts, including partial leaves. My friend remarked that it would likely improve because the water would no longer go to the dead parts; the water could now focus on new growth and new life.

Sure enough, the plant looks so much happier and healthier. So much more full of life now that the dead parts have been cut off.

I seek higher understanding, higher knowledge. For me, food represents an everlasting satisfaction, yet I know that to be a false truth. Food serves as a symptom of my search for security outside myself, but, as a friend reminded me a few days ago, the search, the security needs to come from the internal from the inside.

I made a choice a few years ago to keep searching for that internal source of well-being. I need to come from a space of non-reactivity to all that surrounds me. That’s the only way I’ll learn not to rely on food as a source of comfort.

Does that make sense?

I made that choice, and there’s no turning back. No U-turns allowed. I can’t go back. I don’t want to go back.

The path I’ve chosen is not easy, but it’s the only path for me. I want more out of life. As the Beekman Brothers said the other day “cultivating a better life is hard work.” Wise words.

That means it’s time for me to get up today and do some hard work because I have some seeds to cultivate. Some new life to sprout.

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Feeling the Fat Stigma

So today I got insulted. I’ll spare you the details, but it had to do with my body size. I got insulted by a little girl (who may or may not have known better) and her mom. I could go into a whole diatribe about how we need to have more a culture of discussion about body sizes, etc. I would rather say this: I understand why people hide. I understand why people become hermits. I understand why people wear all black. I understand why people hide in the back of a room. I understand why people don’t go to parties. I get all that.

The fat stigma isn’t fun. And it isn’t funny. It hurts.

But I won’t hide. I won’t be beaten down. I won’t stop living, and, quite frankly, neither should you. Dance like nobody is watching (because they probably aren’t). Live exactly like you want. Have fun. Laugh. Love. Live.

And drink kombucha. That’s what I’m doing. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW.

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