Weight Loss Tip Booklet - 151 Simple Ideas

I can uncover the dark cloud behind any silver lining. No matter how undersized the trigger, with just a little time — and a whole lot of paranoia — I can blow it up into a full-scale panic attack. I am no amateur; I have developed this ability beyond the level of a fine art; and I am able to apply it to any aspect of life with equal proficiency.

For example, sometimes I walk from one room to another and forget why I was going to the new location. It happens, you know? I’m busy; I had a spark of an idea which didn’t lock it into the right location in my jam-packed brain and suddenly, there I am standing in the center of my living room staring at the wall painting, befuddled, questioning myself, “Now, why did I want to come in here?”

I could simply laugh it off, attributing it to the “human condition.” But, no, not me! I use this minor brain-blurp as a springboard to convince myself that I have the first symptom of long-term memory loss, providing me an opportunity to freak out about my vanishing faculties, forgotten youth, and the inevitable bleak fate which awaits us all, apparently much closer than I anticipated. From there, I spin into a tornado of dread and fright, racing to the internet, researching Alzheimer’s, dementia, and senility. It goes without saying that once one enters the festering, moldy hallways of the world-wide web, countless unimaginable horrific ailments are all now on parade, many of which can now be attributed to this very circumstance. I might as well give up, accept the inescapable, collapse to the carpet, hold my knees tight to my chest, while rocking back and forth, and babbling incoherently.

All right, I’m really not that bad; I’m taking poetic license. Please don’t send me referrals for therapists. This is what we call the “set up” making a broader point.

Research has actually proven that humans are “hard-wired” to assume things will go cattywumpus rather than not. Given the opportunity to attribute a random event to either good new or bad, we will usually assume the road has more potholes than flat patches.

In ancient times, it made sense to assume the worst. Primitive hunter-gatherers would go into an idyllic serene valley. The optimists would find this yet one more reason to relax, breathe deeply, catch fish, lie in the sun, and assume the best. Their counterparts, pessimists, spent every waking moment distressing about any type of calamity, turning their existence into an unending backbreaking chain of toil and labor, always one step shy of collapse.

Said the optimists to the pessimists, “Relax, take a load off. Don’t worry so much.”

Said the pessimists in reply, “Are you kidding? This whole thing could come apart at any second. You’ll be sorry.” With that, they’d turn on their heals and race into the hills, in search of protection from the impending, unforeseen catastrophe.

As it happens, while the pessimists are away engaged in their grueling method of survival, the river overtops its banks, drowns the unaware optimists, and leaves only the pessimists — who therefore became our ancestors. The trait of hard-luck survival has been passed down ever since.

Anticipation and planning surely have their place. Yet, it’s equally important to realize that worry is interest on a debt not yet owed. After all, if worry made things better, I single-handedly would be able to correct everything.

It’s going be what it’s going be, enjoy it while it’s here.
It was lousy growing up fat. Nothing was more degrading than buying my clothes in the “husky” section. Okay, maybe showering in front of a bunch of guys after high school P.E. was worse… or, wait, never dating … or, wait a second, here’s one: being teased behind my back — and for that matter — to my face… or, well …  I guess there are countless things that suck about being a fat kid.

A recent study shows that obese children in grades three through six are more likely to be bullied than children of a normal weight. Teen suicide due to bullying — an absolutely horrifying thought — has tragically been in the news a great deal, raising awareness of the psychological impact of constant harassment. Now we discover that that it begins at an early age, with overweight children as the primary target.

Based on my own memories, I didn’t find this to be news. However, I had assumed, or maybe naively hoped, that things had changed. Not so, as researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed over 800 children ages eight to 11. In the third grade, 15 percent of the children were overweight and 17 percent were obese. A quarter of the students admitted to being bullied; with 45 percent of the mothers reporting that her child had been bullied for his or her weight. The odds of being bullied were 63 percent higher for children who were obese than their classmates of a normal weight, and bullies did not discriminate based on gender or economic status. Overweight boys were just as likely as girls to be bullied, and even those with good social skills weren’t spared.

“I thought maybe (good social skills) would protect obese kids from being bullied. But no matter how we ran and re-ran the analysis, the link between being obese and being bullied remained,” said Dr. Julie Lumeng, lead researcher. She is concerned that the perception surrounding obesity is that it’s caused by a lack of exercise and overeating when the underlying condition is often driven by other factors. “Many times, children who are not good at dealing with their emotions become emotional eaters,” she explained, noting, “we really need to work on changing this view of what causes obesity.”

My first response to this story was sadness, bringing me back to my own early days. The study suggested that we not only need to encourage healthy eating habits for young children, but also need to set a good example by refraining from making negative comments about people who are overweight. Children of course, are mirrors of us and they pick up our attitude, which results in bullying behavior. In effect, we indirectly teach our children to bully.

However, there is a bigger picture. We need to remember that each and every person has habits about which he or she is not proud. The difference is that if over-eating is the habit, it cannot be hidden. It is on display for all to view.

Smoke too much but hide well? No one knows. Have trouble with anger management but it doesn’t leak into public? We won’t judge you. Yet, eat too many fries and not exercise enough, and everyone’s got a comment. Seems to me that if we each paid a little more attention to our own issues, we’d all be happier and healthier.

Maybe, when I’ve achieved complete perfection, I can judge others.  However, I don’t see that happening soon.
Building a life is constructing a house. Create a solid foundation. Once achieved, place down brick one. Secure it. Add additional ones nearby or on top. Check stability. Repeat until desired results are obtain. Of course, many times the “curb appeal” of our domicile is not exactly what we thought we were building, appearing as happenstance. Walls are crooked. The garden has weeds. The entire thing seems in a state of disrepair.

“Why is my marriage a mess?” “How come I weigh so much?” “Will I ever save enough to retire?” These are all questions a life-contractor might ask when examining a “dwelling” that appears not at all as the architect envisioned.

Nonetheless, each structure is built to our exacting specifications. Granted, sometimes “stuff” outside of our control happens. Earthquakes, illness, even political forces, can interfere with well-developed plans. Yet, the underlying truth for the vast majority of us is that the vast majority of time, we are where we are because of what we have done so far. Want to live differently? Act differently. New materials and a modernization might be the order of the day.

It seems like a simple solution. Yet the unhappy truth is that to accomplish that also takes planning. It is essential that we examine each and every brick; come to a decision as to whether or not it’s functional, as well as which others rely upon it for their support. Then, and only then, can we choose whether we simply demolish it or must substitute it with another. Of course, we can even retain some exactly where they rest.

Unfortunately, too often, we take the tact of a demolitionist and attempt to simply “start over.” That’s folly, oft-time guaranteed to fail, as we cannot just knock everything over and start anew. Those bricks labeled “how I treat my family” or “what I do for a living” are cemented to those emblazoned, “sit rather than walk,” “eat to handle stress,” and “chips instead of vegetables.” Starting from scratch is the metaphorical option of being homeless. I might not like where I live, but it beats the street. “There’s always tomorrow.”

Let’s presume however, that we take a more long-term line of attack and begin the careful disassembly and future reassembly. There is yet that other level: that pesky slab upon which everything rests. If we erect the most magnificent mansion rooted in a plot of sand, further problems are ensured. In this cautionary fable, that foundation consists of thoughts and feelings. Our actions, the bricks, are built upon inextricably intertwined thoughts and feelings. Should they not be able to direct well our actions, we shall yet again be housed in a hovel.

This begs an urgent question: Do we control our thoughts and feelings or do they control us? In effect, are we victims to the synaptic firings and hormone-driven changes of affect; or do we create them to serve our needs? Who is the master — and who is servant?

If we believe that we have little or no control over what enters our consciousness — in effect, they just “happen” — we are forever at the whim of those electrical impulses and influences. Any plan at any time can be immediately disrupted by seemingly random fluctuations pulsing though our system.

Conversely, if we can accept that our thoughts and our feelings can be developed, guided, molded, and in some cases, even controlled; we are given the most powerful tools imaginable. With those in the toolbox, there is no limit as to what we can construct.

About the author: Scott "Q" Marcus is a THINspirational speaker and author. Since losing 70 pounds over 15 years ago, he works with overloaded people and organizations who are looking to improve communication, change bad habits, and reduce stress. He can be reached for consulting, workshops, or presentations at 707.442.6243 or scottq@scottqmarcus.com. He will sometimes work in exchange for chocolate.