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Tuesday Tip – Happiness, Stress and Weight

scaleWe’ve been talking about a lot of things for the New Year – Resilience, Happiness and Stress just to name a few. For me one thing that’s inherently tied to all three of those is my weight and not in a good way.

I know that I eat when I’m unhappy or stressed out. I know when it began – when my mom got sick and died. Back then the only thing that seemed to provide any comfort was food and so a pattern was born.

Of course understanding that and doing something about it are two different things. So when things got a little crazy last year, my weight ballooned. Again.

This year I’m doing something about it as well as about Happiness and Stress. So far so good. Choosing to be upbeat has helped. Taking some of those stress-busting steps has helped, especially two of them – prepping the night before and getting up ten minutes earlier.

Now I’m dealing with the weight thing, something which you know we’ve dealt with in the past.

My daughter gifted me with a copy of EAT THIS, NOT THAT for Christmas and I’m busy reading through it. I’ll let you know any good tips from there.

Some tips I have seen in the bombardment of New Year Resolution articles that I’ve tried and are good:

1. For snacking try a handful of almonds (about 12). Low in fat and high in fiber, they help stave off hunger.

2. Make sure to have breakfast. I’ve been starting with a cup of Quaker Oat Meal and I’m finding that I’m less hungry at lunch and also at dinner.

3. Have an orange at lunch or as a dessert. Citrus is apparently another great hunger fighter.

4. Exercise each day. A 20 minute walk will make a difference in how you feel. Try to include strength training. Building muscle will help with your metabolism.

5. Eat more slowly. It takes your brain some time to catch up and send the signal that you’re full. If you eat too fast (which I always do), you may be overeating.

6. Go Green! Use Avocado slices on your sandwich instead of mayo or butter. It’s a great vegetable fat and tasty too. Not an avocado fan? Switch to mustard instead.

7. Brown bag your lunch. Not only will you be saving money in these tough economic times, you will be better able to control what you are eating.

8. Try to eat more veggies. If you can, start your meal by eating the veggies. They have less calories for their volume and can help you eat less of the fattening stuff. Not a veggie person? Try V8 or tomato juice.

9. Cut back on carbs. If you keep them in moderation, you’ll notice an immediate change in belly fat and will likely have less cravings. When eating carbs, make sure they are high in fiber, low in refined sugars and have no trans fats.

10. Finally, remind yourself that it’s more stressful to be heavy and have health issues than it is to change your eating habits.

Hope you found these 10 tips helpful! If you’ve got some of your own to share, please let us know by posting a comment.

Villains and Vices

This Friday I’ve got some fun and different things to do!

For starters, run by Chasing Heroes to find out about all the nasty villains in SINS OF THE FLESH and follow the instructions to possibly win some goodies. The link to Chasing Heroes is: http://chasingheroes.com/guest-caridad-pinero/

As for vices, if you’re like me you love to read! So here’s a chance to fulfill that vice by
heading over to Fang-tastic Books for a Free Book Friday giveaway where you can possibly win a $25 Amex gift certificate and copy of SINS OF THE FLESH. The link to Fang-tastic books is:
http://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/2010/01/free-book-friday-sins-of-flesh-by.html

Thoughtful Thursday – Determination and Heart

With the big Jets game just days away, it makes me think of determination and how that can sometimes overcome the greatest of obstacles. How the strength of heart can move mountains or cross oceans.

My grandparents had determination and heart. They were from a small village, an aldea, in the province of Galicia in Spain. My grandfather’s family was poor – just a small family farm. His determination for a better life was what made him leave Spain and head to Cuba, then the land of opportunity for many Spaniards. As the daughter of the village blacksmith/gunsmith, my grandmother was the wealthier of the two, but she followed her heart across an ocean to be with my grandfather.

Their daughter, my mother, had both. When she didn’t like what was happening in Cuba, she decided to try and change it. When the change was worse than what had existed before, she was determined to make it better. It almost cost my mother her life. It did cost her the country that she loved and one and half years without my sister and me. That’s how long it took her to get us out of Cuba.

But she never lost heart during those one and a half years and she always thanked this Nation for the gifts it provided. I think my mom identified greatly with this Nation because it is one of determination and heart.

Born in dissatisfaction about unfair taxation and a distant king who would not listen to his subjects, the People of this Nation have prospered due to their determination to work hard and try to do better. As for heart, look no further than the reaction of the People to crises like the tsunami and now Haiti.

It’s the People who make a Nation what it is.

Which I guess leads to the Jets and their upcoming game against the Colts. Peyton Manning is arguably one of the finest quarterbacks ever with one of the best teams in football sharing the field with him. It’ll be a tough game for the Jets to beat the Colts. No doubt about it.

But I’m hoping the Jets have greater heart and determination much like my alma mater Villanova did back in 1985 when they pulled a Cinderella upset over what had been a dominant Georgetown team throughout the regular season.

Of course, if the Jets do win, I may be faced with a difficult dilemma if Minnesota also wins (Go Vikings!!).

Why? Because it’s tough not to root for the old guy especially when Favre is probably having one of his best seasons ever.

But I grew up watching the Jets practice at Hofstra. Even saw Jo Willy Namath throwing some passes one day on that practice field during his final years with the Jets. I guess you know where my allegiance will be if it does end up a Jets-Vikings Super Bowl.

For now . . .

GO JETS!!!
Game Ball Presented to Jets Fans used under Fair Use provisions
For this wallpaper and other Jets info, you can click here to visit the official Jets site.

Welcome to the Three Kings Today!

It’s the Epiphany! Little Christmas to some and Los Reyes Magos to Latinos in many countries. Los Reyes (The Three Wise Men/Magi) is celebrated with a variety of festivals and parades as you can see by clicking to view this video of a parade for Los Reyes in Madrid.

Los Reyes bring small gifts and toys much like they would have brought gifts for the baby Jesus. In my house, my parents would leave little gifts near the fireplace and my sister and I would leave carrots and other vegetables for the camels to eat. One year my sister woke up the entire house because she had heard the camels on the rooftop and had seen one of them looking in through the window!

We still keep this tradition in my household and when I get home tonight from work, we’ll open up the little gifts that Los Reyes have brought.

How about you? Do you celebrate the coming of the Three Wise Men? Do you have a special tradition that you do on Christmas Eve or through the 12 Days of Christmas until the Epiphany?

threekings

When the Going Gets Tough by Mary Kennedy

DeadAirFront92I’m really lucky to have with me today my friend and fellow author Mary Kennedy. Mary is a national best-selling author, and a clinical psychologist in private practice on the east coast. She has sold forty novels, all to major New York publishers, and has made the Waldenbooks, BookScan and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists. Her early novels included middle grade fiction and young adult fiction for Scholastic and Penguin.

Mary is currently writing an adult mystery series, The Talk Radio Mysteries, which is set in a fictional town in south Florida. The first title, DEAD AIR, will be released in January, 2010, and the second, REEL MURDER, in June, 2010. The Talk Radio Mysteries was pitched and sold as “Frasier Meets Murder She Wrote.” The heroine is Maggie Walsh, a psychologist who closes up her Manhattan practice and heads to sunny Florida to take a job as a radio talk show host. And, yes, she solves a murder in every book!

Please join me in welcoming Mary and I hope you enjoy this very inspirational blog about resiliency!

When the Going Gets Tough

“When the going gets tough, the tough keep going.” This is the Cliff Notes version of a concept known as “resiliency,” the ability to bounce back fast from adversity. As a practicing psychologist, I try to build resiliency in my clients, helping them to withstand the stresses and disappointments of daily life. All of us possess resiliency, but how much? A lot depends on genetics, learned behavior patterns, personality traits and life experience. I’ve seen patients make a remarkable recovery from traumatic events; the death of a spouse, chronic illness of a child, even financial ruin. And I’ve seen other patients in tears over a bad haircut or a thoughtless remark by a relative.

Why is resiliency so important for writers? Because rejection is part of the game. Like all artists, writers put themselves on the line every time they send out a manuscript, leaving themselves open to judgment from editors and agents. So much of our identity is wrapped up in “being a writer,” that rejections are brutal, and go to the heart of who we are.

How can you build resiliency? I’d recommend four simple steps. Let’s take the example of an editor rejecting your manuscript.

First, take a cold hard look at the situation and determine if your first impression is accurate. Artists tend to “catastrophize,” meaning they put the worst possible spin on a situation. Does the editor really dislike the manuscript as a whole, or can you tweak it a little and resubmit it? Re-read her comments when you’re feeling calm and reflective. Panic can lead to cloudy thinking.

Second, ask a close friend for feedback. It’s always good to at least consider a situation through another set of eyes. Since your friend is less emotionally invested in the outcome, she may have a totally different–and more realistic–impression than you do.

Third, try to reframe the situation. Yes, the editor may not like this particular manuscript, for whatever reason. It may have nothing to do with your talent, or the quality of your work. It may be she’s just bought a book with the same theme or that the market is flooded with similar books. Let’s try reframing the situation in a more positive light. She’s not interested in acquiring this particular manuscript at this time. But is it realistic to say she never wants to see anything else from you? Ever? This is known as “depressive” thinking, or looking at something in a negative light. Reframe the situation and you realize that you can submit other projects to her, down the road.

Finally, immediately take action to seek a solution. Ruminating and drowning in negative thoughts will not help. Taking action will. List three things you can do–today–to get back on track. You can polish up another proposal, start something new or spend two hours in a bookstore, checking out the new releases. All these are positive steps you can take. Action leads to power, and a sense of control, which makes for a happier outlook. You will find that you are more resilient than you thought!

Mary Kennedy
For more information on Mary, please visit www.marykennedy.net
DEAD AIR (Penguin, January 5, 2010)
The first of the Talk Radio Mysteries.
“Frasier meets Murder She Wrote” in this entertaining new series by a real-life psychologist.”

Guilty Pleasures Monday – Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood from NASA photographsWhat can you say about this Hollywood icon and totally sexy man, even now!

From those marvelous Spaghetti Westerns to movies like Gran Torino, Clint has proven to be a Hollywood mainstay as well as an incredible director.

I hope you enjoyed this morning’s Guilty Pleasure. Make sure to visit tomorrow for a visit from my friend and fellow author Mary Kennedy.