Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Word Power: A Weighty Matter

A student in my online class recently shared she'd like to "look good" as she ages. I appreciated the timeliness of her post, as I just celebrated my 47th birthday over the weekend.

In addition to giving me pause for personal reasons, her choice of words jumped out at me. Words like good, bad, ugly, pretty, fat, and thin are all subjective terms; that is, they lack a specific meaning. We use words like good or bad, ugly or pretty, fat or thin, to compare one thing to another. Often, we use these particular subjective terms as a way to hurt ourselves or others. A friend of mine once summed this up perfectly by observing that she'd like to be as thin as she was a decade ago, back when she thought she was fat. Because neither fat nor thin have specific meanings, she saw what she once considered fat as thin!  

Not surprisingly, the use of subjective words often slips right by us, leaving us feeling inadequate as we are. It's easy for these subjective words to sneak into our self-talk and throw us off-balance. If I defined "looking good" as "looking like I did when I turned 30," then my 47th birthday would have been a severe disappointment.

Happily, because good does not have a specific meaning, we can choose for ourselves what "looking good" means. I believe "looking good" means the way I look when I'm eating healthy, getting daily physical activity, taking excellent care of my health, skin, and teeth, managing stress, getting adequate quality sleep, and getting enough water. It means taking time for makeup and fashion that flatters me and celebrates my individuality. It means taking time to love, be creative, strive for balance, grow and mature, and develop my spiritual life.

When I'm successfully following through on these activities, I look good, in the healthiest and most holistic sense. Is my hair as thick and healthy as it was when I turned 30? Am I as thin? Is my skin as supple and wrinkle-free? Of course not. But I firmly believe I look just the way I need to look, in order to do the work I was put on Earth to do. And that, my friends, is truly good -- in an objective, not subjective, way.

So, I challenge you to pay close attention to when, why, and how often you use subjective words like good, bad, thin, fat, ugly and pretty -- and question whether you're using these words as a way to hurt yourself. If you are, I encourage you to consider being honest with yourself, and to choose words that are objective and truthful, like overweight or underweight.

What do you think? Are you honest with your choice of words? Or do you choose to hurt yourself or others by using subjective words? Feel free to sound off below! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Do Your Flavor Preferences Predict Your Personality?

We've been working hard all summer here, haven't we? We've tackled all sorts of topics related to weight management, from healthy eating and physical activity while on vacation, to managing anxiety and cravings, to the pros and cons of juicing. We've been busy in the kitchen, too, preparing Spicy Cinnamon-Chipotle Chicken and Mediterranean Potato Salad.

So today, we're going to take a little break, and have some fun! I recently read an intriguing article on NCA's Website that suggests flavor choices and personality are linked.  According to the article, this is because personality and flavor preference are located in the same region of the brain.

For example, researchers found that about half of the participants they surveyed who reported a preference for bitter flavors considered themselves optimists. About 30% of people who preferred sour foods stated they were impulsive. People who prefer chocolate said they tended to be sensitive, while vanilla lovers reported they were extraverts.

These results held true for me: I have a strong preference for sour, bitter, and chocolate, and I'm definitely an impulsive optimist with a sensitive side. So, how about you? What flavors do you prefer? Do you agree with the study's observations with regard to the connections between flavor preferences and personality? Let us know! :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mediterranean Potato Salad

This Mediterranean take on classic potato salad makes a cool, refreshing side dish for a hot summer's day. I've replaced the usual high-fat mayonnaise with Greek yogurt, which both makes this recipe lower in fat, and higher in protein. I like to serve it on top of a bed of chopped greens and garnish it with chopped tomato to make it a meal. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Potato Salad


2 pounds potatoes, waxy-type
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 teaspoon whole coriander, crushed
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground peppercorn mix


Boil potatoes until just soft. Drain and cool. Chop into 1/2" cubes.

Place potatoes, yogurt, celery, onion, dill weed, coriander, and peppercorn mix in medium bowl, and stir gently to combine.