Monday, December 2, 2013

My Young Man is Home

Well, two months just flew by and my 18 year old son has returned from his adventures in Europe. Things went extremely well, aside from a snafu on the last day of his trip, but even that got sorted out and my young man came home on two flights that were so on time, he was actually in the arrival area looking for us by the time we got there.

Of course, I'm relieved to see him, and all in all, I was not a total mess at all while he was away. We kept in touch via Facebook and he always gave us the address of the hostels he stayed at. This was not just a safety precaution: it was also a way for me to enjoy his travels a little bit without actually getting on a plane and going to Europe myself. The secret? Google street view. With the name of the hostel, I could look it up on Google maps, then go to "street view" and take a virtual walk around the neighbourhood. It was wonderful.

My son was in Paris, Munich, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Cracow, Auschwitz (which he called harrowing--probably the perfect word to describe it), Florence, Rome, Nice and Amsterdam. By the time he got home, he was royally tired of living out of a backpack, though not happy to have to leave Europe. I think he'll go back, probably to France, for his 3rd year of university in September 2016. I will again be totally jealous and thrilled that he'll have that amazing opportunity.

In the meantime, I'm counting the days until the spring of 2015 when my husband and I are planning to spend a month in Paris during his sabbatical. As long as my health holds up (between now and then, I'm getting a knee replacement though I don't have the exact date), I will be celebrating spring in Paris, my favourite city in the world.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Women and Body Image

This youtube video is quite extraordinary. Watch it!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Today He Is a Man

In Jewish tradition, a boy has his bar mitzvah at the age of 13. Once he has had his bar mitzvah, he is considered a man--and this probably was very true back in the days when my ancestors lived in ancient Palestine, tilling the land, eating figs and tending goats.

Today, of course, at least in the Western world, a boy aged 13--whether or not he has had a bar mitzvah--is probably only just getting around his home town on his own. And if he lives in an area not served by public transit, he's still counting on a parent or older sibling to drive him where he needs to go. He's still got about 4-5 years left before finishing high school and he probably doesn't know how to make much more than a peanut butter and jam sandwich. A man? You must be joking.

But today, my 18 year old son is becoming a man. As I write this, he's sitting in a window seat in the plane on his way to Paris. He'll be travelling for two months, mostly with a couple of his best buddies, but he starts his trip on his own for a few days in Paris. He'll then head to Munich and from there, well, we don't know yet. He'll just make up his mind as he goes. The guys are planning to spend the last two weeks of November in Amsterdam and my son will then travel back to Paris and take the plane home.

My son is fairly resourceful and aware of his surroundings. He's been travelling around our large city on his own since he was about 12. For the past month, he's been training in Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defence technique. I certainly hope he'll never have to use it. He speaks French and English and he's quite a personable young man. My logical brain tells me he'll be fine. The mom in me worries.

I also have to admit that I'm more than slightly jealous of my boy. As we were walking through the airport with him, my husband joked that the greatest danger he was in was from me bopping him over the head, stealing his ticket and getting on the plane myself! Not entirely untrue ;).

So give a thought to my marvellous D. and his many adventures. May he come home a man, safe and brimming with adventures--not all of which he will tell his mom and dad!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Words to Ponder

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present." -- Lao Tsu

Such simple words, but--at least for me--oh so hard to put into practice.

I continue to flounder, searching for my purpose, my "present".

Monday, August 12, 2013

The "Médium's" Advice

Last week I had coffee with a colleague to talk about some issues that affect our profession. We're both involved in our professional association and we're planning some promotional activities together.

But before we got into talking business, we had our own little "meet and greet" since we don't actually know each other that well. I asked him how he got into our profession and he responded with a long and interesting story--at least it was interesting for someone like me, who's in the same field.

There was, however, one thing he said that really struck me, and that perhaps might interest a wider readership:

Back many years ago, my friend was at a crossroads in his professional life and he knew he needed to make a major change. He knew someone who was, as he said in French, a "médium". Yes, it's the same in English: a medium.

As I type this, I can imagine my husband--a scientist and a confirmed atheist--rolling his eyes. And honestly, I wouldn't blame him. Oh, BTW, I am a confirmed agnostic: no one will ever succeed in convincing me that God really does or doesn't exist. You can't fabricate belief. Either you have it or you don't. I just think that, as Shakespeare had Hamlet say in the eponymous play, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

So, back to the medium...

Basically, the medium told my friend that he should ask for guidance every night before going to sleep. Simple as that. He was not telling my friend to consult the "spirits", the "long-departed" or anyone else, for that matter. He was suggesting that my friend open up his mind to his own subconscious world--actually to his own wisdom-- in order to find the answer. This idea really struck a chord with me.

Now that I'm there myself, I realize that the "mid-life crisis" is not an invention of the media or advertisers. I'm feeling it very strongly myself. It has manifested itself in many ways in my life, the most recent and frightening being my Graves disease relapse, which did a huge number on my self-esteem and indeed my relationship with reality. The Graves is under control, but the feeling that I need to make a big shift is still there.

So now, every night as I go to sleep, I'm asking for guidance. I'm not asking anyone in particular (well, sometimes I speak to my late mother...). I'm just asking to find my way. Any results? Definitely too early to tell. This will probably take a long time and results will probably be in no way related to my nightly request. Who the heck knows. I just want a change.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pictures from Paris!

I now realize that I really didn't take enough pictures while I was in Paris, but here are a few of my favourites!

Couldn't resist this bit of graffitti:

The entrance to the apartment building where I was staying. My little studio apartment was on the top floor, above what you see here:

On every landing, there was a chair to either rest on, or rest your groceries on:

This is a photo of the staircase, taken from the very top of the building, on "my" floor. Every day, at least three to four times a day, I would walk up five flights of stairs. Each flight was 19-22 stairs. Quite the the number of stairs, but actually not too bad. The building dated from the 18th century, a time when people were about my height, so the stairs were rather low and made of beautiful wood, which is very forgiving and easy on one's back:

This is a view of the inner courtyard of my building, taken from the fourth floor. I was on the fifth floor, in a studio apartment that only had skylights for windows, much like the two skylights you see here:

I couldn't resist this photo either. The store's name is  a combination of my two sons' names. Weird.

Most of Paris was rebuilt by urban planner, Baron Haussmann, in the mid-19th century.  Very little of medieval Paris remains, but I did find these two houses, which, according to the plaque on the wall, were built in the 14th century! I found them about 10 minutes walk from my street:

Not surprisingly, there are many plaques on buildings in Paris, noting famous people who lived or died there, famous events that took place or, in this case, a terrible and fairly recent event that should never be forgotten. It reads as follows: "In memory of the little children at this pre-school who were deported from 1942 to 1944 because they were born Jewish, innocent victims of Nazi barbarity with the active complicity of the Vichy government. They were exterminated in the death camps. May they never be forgotten."

Just a little street not far from where I was staying:

The inner courtyard at the Musée Carnavalet, the museum of the history of Paris:

Pinned to the wall of a restaurant: "Friendship is making love without touching one another."

Scene from one of the bridges that crosses the Seine:

It's pretty clear why I want to go back!!

Monday, July 29, 2013


I continue to suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms from my trip to Paris. I have trouble thinking about anything else but how to get back there as soon as possible and for as long a time as possible.

The "as soon as possible" part is probably not going to go all that well. It's a long way from home, it's a lot of money, we have to work, tra la la. However, the "as long as possible" part might possibly see the light of day.

In August of 2014, my husband will be on a one-year sabbatical from work, with 80% of his salary. He has to produce some research during that year, but he can go/stay wherever he wants. In September 2014, our younger son will be starting university (this year, he's doing a gap year that includes two months in Europe followed by more or less full-time work) and we'd like to be around during his crucial first year of university. However, by May 2015, he'll have completed his first year (successfully, we hope) while, by that time, older brother will have completed his third year. On May 3, 2015, we will be celebrating our 23rd year of wedded bliss (OK, there have been ups and downs, but the overall balance sheet is very positive) and we're thinking that a great way to celebrate would be to spend the entire month of May in Paris, the city where we honeymooned in May 1992.

Hubby will be able to work on his sabbatical project and I will be able to do the odd translation via the Internet and just hang out in my favourite place in the world, reading French books, going to French movies and generally taking a bain de français à tous les jours ("a bath of French every day"). If I'm lucky, maybe I'll even be able to sit in on some conferences with colleagues and get a feel for the freelance market in Paris, though there wouldn't be a hope in hell of my being able to actually work in Paris without jumping through hoops of fire, filling out interminable paperwork and then making a sacrifice or two to the interpretation gods.

So, now the countdown begins: only 21 months and two days...

P.S. I'll post some pictures as soon as I figure out how to download them en masse from my phone to my computer. Shouldn't be long.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Paris and "To Blog or Not to Blog"

I haven't written a blog post in ages. Well, that's not entirely true. I have written the same blog post over and over in my head. It's the one about how ridiculous this whole weight thing is. It's the one about the fact that some of us are heavier than others, but that quite possibly living in the modern world, any number of food additives (in particular hormones) that weren't in the food chain until fairly recently and most importantly dieting, have made many of us with a naturally chunky build into much larger versions of ourselves than our heredity had ever meant us to be.

That's the short and sweet version of my recurring blog post.

In the meantime, my life has gone on and surprised me more than I ever could have imagined.

I'm writing this post at the very end of an eight-day trip to Paris where I took a week-long course offered by my professional association on French language and culture. The course was, to say the least, fantastic. From classes on current language in the press and on the street, to an amazing cooking class followed by eating the delicious supper we'd made, to a guided walk around an area I never would have visited otherwise (La Défense), to attending an amazingly energetic performance of Beaumarchais's "The Marriage of Figaro" (yes, the opera is based on an 18th century French play) to an explanation of how the French trade union system works (believe me, it's complicated and very different from what we have in North America), plus many, many other topics and discussions, I had one of the best weeks of my life.

Contrary to previous visits, I found Parisians to be quite pleasant and certainly not the supercilious snobs I had met in the past. Is this due to the economic crisis? Do Parisians feel they now have to--how can I say this politely?--suck up to the tourists so they can earn their living? I'm not quite sure. All I can say is that it was an "agréable surprise". Incredibly agréable.

The food in Paris is expensive but fantastic. What surprised me most, though, was the portions. They were gigantic. I really can't remember dishes being so big the last time I was here, over twenty years ago. Most of the time, I was often full long before the plate was finished and left a lot of food uneaten. It was really interesting and very bizarre. Have I lost any weight? Knowing my body as I do, I doubt it. Despite my dodgy hip and knee, I walked a great deal, but that seems to make little difference to my weight. Anyway, we'll see when I get home.

I'm really going to miss Paris. I've often said, with a nudge and a wink, that I was French in a past life. Definitely, I am drawn to France and to Paris in particular. If I only had one more trip left to do in my life, I would come back to Paris. When I emerged from the métro station last week after taking the train into Paris from the airport, I practically cried at how beautiful this city is. I will probably not cry as I leave today, but there will be a certain heaviness in my heart. I'm desperately hoping to come back next year.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fat Talk

An interesting take on the common and vile habit of "fat talk" in the New York Times: Fat Talk Compels but Carries a Cost. Read it here.


Monday, May 6, 2013

International No Diet Day

What better way to return from my blogging hiatus than to remind my readers that May 6th is International No Diet Day!

I've been frantically busy with work, in addition to experiencing a (hopefully) minor medical emergency (more on that perhaps a bit later--when I have time!).

In the meantime, I hope you're all passing a peaceful day and not obsessing about every morsel of food that passes your lips. And if you enjoy moving your body, do so! I hope that we can all--for at least one day--be at peace with our bodies, no matter what shape or size, we are!

(I had a terrific image to add to this post, but the good folks at Blogger, like all IT types, have "improved" Blogspot to the point where I couldn't add the image. Thanks (major sarcasm), Blogger!) 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Toronto Public Health DOES Get It

This is a poster I saw at a bus shelter a few days ago in downtown Toronto:

It's self-explanatory, but let's go over what it says--and perhaps even more importantly, given the hysterical, anti-obesity environment we're living in--what it doesn't say.

What we see is a public health poster on certain things we can do to prevent type 2 diabetes. It is made up of some text and three pictures. The picture on the left shows a family going for a walk. They're pretty ordinary people, not particularly slim nor fat. Just ordinary folk, not two ripped young people running through the woods, making sure their arm muscles appear to their best advantage.

The picture on the upper right shows a man of about 60. He's a little on the heavy side, again, not some super, lean and mean senior showing off his incredible physique despite his age. The gentleman is holding some fruit. He's standing in front of the fresh produce section of a grocery store.

The picture on the lower right shows a young man drinking from what is clearly a (non-plastic) water bottle. Just an ordinary guy.

The messages are simple, clear and POSITIVE: "be active - eat well - be tobacco-free". The question, "what's your small step?" simply encourages people to do their best.

This kind of inclusive public service message tells us that we can all do something to improve our health, rather than telling us that we are BAD and FAT and destined to be SICK.

Compare this poster with the fortunately short-lived Georgia campaign to stop childhood obesity:

That's a mighty positive message, isn't it (sarcasm alert)?

Contrary to the state of Georgia, I think Toronto Public Health has got it right.

Monday, March 4, 2013

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming bring you pictures of our two new furry family members.

This is Bro:

And this is Ella:

This is their third day with us. We adopted the siblings from Toronto Cat Rescue on Saturday. They were being boarded at a pet store and cared for by loving staff, but with almost no space to roam and play.

Bro and Ella are four years old and were given up for adoption when the family they lived with split up.

Our family was looking for two adult cats with sweet personalities. Our previous cat, Jelly Bean, was a supremely neurotic female orange tabby. Apparently, they can have really difficult personalities and Miss J.B. was up there with the best of them: a combination of Greta Garbo ("I vant to be left alone") and Miss Destruction (carpets, furniture, pee and poo everywhere but in the box). J.B. did not brighten our lives, but we stood by her until her sudden and untimely death from a blood clot.

This time around we were looking for some real cat love. I think we've found it.

Yes, that's the sound of the whole family purring...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bullying is Just Not a Good Thing

The Weight-o-Sphere has its share of bullies. They're scary people. Really.

Read this article: Effects of Bullying Last into Adulthood, in the New York Times, and watch this:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Michelle Obama REALLY REALLY Doesn't Get It

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder. One of its most disturbing symptoms is the complete  inability to feel satiety. People with Prader-Willi are always hungry. Those who have this syndrome are born with it and there is currently no cure.

According to Wikipedia, other symptoms include "low muscle tone, short stature, incomplete sexual development, cognitive disabilities, and problem behaviors". Low muscle tone means that engaging in physical activity is more difficult and less productive, although now PW children are treated with growth hormones, which improves their muscle tone.

But what does Prader-Willi syndrome have to do with Michelle Obama?

Well, as we know, Mrs. Obama is leading a crusade to eliminate childhood obesity. So who are some of the experts she has called upon to help her slay the obesity dragon? Why a couple who have a child with PWS, of course!

Tanya and Keegan Johnson are travelling from Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto, to Washington to help Mrs. Obama out. Here's a quote from a recent Toronto Star article on the family's upcoming visit to Washington:
"If you can keep a child with Prader-Willi at a healthy, thin weight, then you can keep anyone thin [my emphasis]. We have the answers to obesity," [Mrs. Johnson] said. "We feel strongly that we have a lot to offer Michelle Obama and her team."
Here's a picture of the Johnson family:

Though it shows very little of their bodies, the parents both appear to be slim, as are their two children (one with PWS, one without). I would be curious to know whether either parent has ever had issues with keeping his/her weight at a "thin, healthy" level (to quote Mrs. Johnson). Please don't get me wrong: I'm sure the Johnsons are brave parents and totally dedicated to their child. Dealing with a PW child must be incredibly difficult. I just seriously doubt that they have any real understanding of the complexity of childhood obesity for children who do not have PWS.

Under "Dietary Management" on the International Prader-Willi Organization's site, it says the following:
The vast majority of people with PWS show excessive eating behaviours including stealing food, stealing money in order to buy food, taking food from others, breaking locks on cupboards, and so on. They often display an extraordinary ability to find food and just when you thought it was safe to leave the room for a few moments, you'll return to find something missing! Added to this is an inability to reason bewteen right and wrong when it comes to food-seeking, and you have the makings of some serious behavioural challenges.
Unfortunately it is also very easy for people with PWS to gain weight, due to the combination of the overriding desire to eat, coupled with the low muscle tone (if growth hormone has not been used) which makes exercising difficult, slow, and therefore no fun. Therefore managing weight gain in PWS becomes even more critical.
Management also means locks on pantries, fridges, food cupboards - not straight away, but when food-seeking becomes apparent. Although this might seem antiquated and unfair, it is incredibly helpful to the person with PWS to know that food is secure and is not a temptation to them. [my emphasis]
Well, there it is, ladies and gentlemen: the secret to eradicating childhood obesity. Let the "disordered-eating-for-life games" begin!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I've been hugely busy with work and helping a friend who's just had a hip replacement and has absolutely no family in town, so posting has been extremely sparse recently.

However, I overhead a bit of a conversation today that I could not NOT comment on:

I was at the Pilates studio, waiting for my instructor to arrive. There was only one other client in the room--a woman in her mid-sixties--who was almost at the end of her private lesson with another instructor at the studio.

Instructor: I can see that you take care of your body.

Student (surprised): No.

Instructor: You must be doing some sort of exercise. At least walking.

Student (not sure what to say): I always tried to look good in a bathing suit. You know, fifteen years ago.

As I heard the instructor praising her new student (they were obviously just getting to know each other), it was absolutely clear why she assumed that this lady worked out and therefore "took care of herself": she was slim. So "obviously", she took care of herself.

Remember: slim = healthy. That's what they all tell us.

The funny thing is, there's another instructor at the studio who's built--pardon the expression--like a brick shithouse. If you just glanced at her in passing and applied the same assumption as the instructor I  quoted above, you would think that she should really lose weight. But if you watch her at work, you can see that she is no doubt very muscular, though those big muscles are covered with a nice layer of padding. She was not in the room while this conversation was going on but I thought of her and wondered how she would feel if she heard a comment like the one I heard. Hopefully, she wouldn't give a hoot. But I gave a hoot for her.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Food Fears: Now Let's Laugh

A friend of mine sent me this hysterical take-off on food fears (see my previous post, "It's All Poison").

What a wonderful antidote to fear-based eating. Enjoy! With copious thanks to the brilliant Michael Bihovsky (

Here are the lyrics. If this doesn't brighten your day, I don't know what will. Of course, if you're part of the food police, you'll probably ask the judge to issue a warrant for Bihovsky's arrest!


One grain more
A dash of millet flour might be the key
This never-ending road to gluten free
This horrifying food I eat
Will never taste the same as wheat
One grain more...

A quarter cup of cornflake crumbs
To meet my carbohydrate quota

One grain more

A teaspoon of some xanthan gum
And still it tastes like...baking soda

One more dairy substitute

Will I ever eat again?

Drinking oat milk from a carton

What I'd give for pizza pie

Now I spend my days confused

Or a slice of beef on rye...

Wond'ring how you milk an oat

It's so good to see you, Quinoa!
You're the protein source I chose
Still, you look as if I've seen ya
Coming out of someone's nose

Flax instead of eggs
Try to make it whip
Now what do we use
Instead of chocolate chips?
Carob doesn't work
Carob is a trap
Anyone who's had it
Knows it tastes like crap!

When the hell is this stuff dated?

Burned and bloated day and night

Why's it smell like something died?

What on earth is "lecithin"?

Love, I fin'ly defecated!

This does not feel like a bun...

Do you hear the people sneeze
And cough and wheeze
From allergies?

One grain more!

So I added wheat -- I'm sorry
We still had some left in stock
Nothing says "it's time to party"
Like anaphylactic shock
So I guess this must be Quinoa
It's not so gross, I suppose
Still it looks as if I've seen ya...

Will I ever eat again?
What if there's a trace of tree nuts?
Someone get my Epi-pen
I'm not supposed to breathe in peanuts!

Have you ever milked an oat?
Guess it's better than a goat
Try a little nog
Smoother than a silk
Even though it's made
Of neither eggs nor milk!
Have another roll
Harder than a rock
Better hold your breath,
Because it tastes like-

Tomorrow we will bitch and moan
Tomorrow we'll need cortisone

Tomorrow we'll discover foods
That even vegans have forsworn!
Wish me luck
One grain more...

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's All Poison

I have been on the mindful eating journey for about four years now. I can't believe it's been that long already. As my readers know, I initially viewed mindful (or intuitive) eating as a way to ultimately lose weight and indeed it did result in an approximately 10% weight loss over about two or three months. Since then, my goal of intuitively eating down to a more socially acceptable weight (yes, dieting, though by another name) has evolved into the realization that I will be much healthier and happier focusing on healthy practices at the weight I am at NOW (which is about half-way between where I started in January 2009 and the 10% loss) rather than longing for a size that I can only reach through strictly adhering to what I consider disordered eating practices (aka, dieting).

In the past four years, I have become much more attuned to my hunger and satiety patterns while coming to enjoy physical activity to the best of my somewhat limited abilities. I do what I can and try not to compare my arthritic, orthopedically challenged body to that of a younger, less damaged body (my thoughts regarding the pediatric orthopedists and the treatments they prescribed to me as a child and how these treatments contributed to my unfortunate condition today cannot be expressed in a "family" blog...).

So far, so good.

However, my blogging and blog reading over the past four years have led me to wander down paths and develop food fears that I must now fight every day. Based on all the reading I've done, most food is POISON and I'm clearly poisoning myself on a daily basis (yes, I'm being sarcastic).

I regularly eat poisons such as dairy, whole grains, nightshade vegetables, bananas, legumes, red meat, high cacao chocolate, wine. It is truly frightening. It would seem that most food, unless it's been sanctioned by the paleo/ancestral/low-fat/no-carb/nightshade vegetable hit squad is BAD BAD BAD, not mention HORRIBLY DANGEROUS DANGEROUS DANGEROUS.

If someone, forty years back, had looked at what I ate on this typical day, they probably wouldn't have batted an eyelash. And no doubt in forty years time, the food police will have found other foods that are bound to kill us before we know what's hit us.

Meanwhile, back at my ranch (so to speak), I continue to mindfully eat a wide variety of foods, in reasonable quantities and avoid an undue reliance on highly processed products. These are my choices. I also continue to fight the voices of FEAR FEAR FEAR that permeate today's food landscape though sometimes the continuous fear mongering makes me practically sick to my stomach.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thank you, Michael Moore!

I follow film maker and all-round muckraker extraordinaire Michael Moore on Facebook. What follows below is a post he made a few days ago. Yes, it's long, but well worth the read. What an inspiration!

I am now in Week 42 of my walks. Each day, 30 minutes, that's it. Thousands of you have joined me since that Sunday night on March 18 when, as a joke, I said I was going for a walk. I had read that morning in the paper that there were now more people in the U.S. on anti-depressants than those who go to the movies. I tweeted out that maybe that's the problem -- perhaps if people got out and went to the movies more they might feel better. This unleashed a lively conversation about mood-altering drugs, the lousy movies these days in theaters, the rip-off prices for 3D films, etc. Finally, someone wrote: "Sometimes I think what I need is just a brisk walk." I tweeted, "Hey, there's an idea! I'm putting my shoes on right now." I went out and came back home after 30 minutes -- and a few hundred of you had amazingly joined me where you live. So I went walking the next night, probably out of some sort of obligation because so many had written to say "please let's do it again tonight!" So I did. And the night after that. By the end of the week it was hard to determine how many thousands were now going out with me on these "virtual walks" in hundreds of cities and towns, but it had taken off like a rocket and so we all went walking every night from that point on.

Now it's 250 days later. What a simple, great idea that person had! Some have asked, "Why are we walking?" "What's the cause?" There is no cause other than to go for a walk. We do it just because it feels good. We do it because we can. We do it because it's free and it takes no time. All you need to know is how to put one foot in front of the other (or, for the disabled who've joined in, by any means necessary). It's the perfect slacker/schlub activity.

I am often asked "How much weight have you lost from all this walking?" For a while I didn't understand the question. I mean, why would I want to lose anything? I have enough trouble finding my keys! Then I got it -- skinny people (1/3 of the country) want us, the majority, to be like them. That's so nice of them.

But the truth is, exercise does not work, diets do not work, feeling crummy does not work. Nothing works. My advice: Quit trying to be something you're not, be happy with the life you've been given, and just go for a pleasant walk outside. With me. Wherever you are. Get off the treadmill, stop drinking diet Coke, throw out all the rules. It's all a scam and it conspires to keep you miserable. If it says "low-fat" or "sugar-free" or "just 100 calories!" throw it out. Remember, one of the main tenets of capitalism is to have the consumer filled with fear, insecurity, envy and unhappiness so that we can spend, spend, spend our way out of it and, dammit, just feel better for a little while. But we don't, do we? The path to happiness - and deep down, we all know this -- is created by love, and being kind to oneself, sharing a sense of community with others, becoming a participant instead of a spectator, and being in motion. Moving. Moving around all day. Lifting things, even if it's yourself. Going for a walk every day will change your thinking and have a ripple effect. You'll find yourself only eating when you're truly hungry. And if you're not hungry, go clean your room, or have sex, or call a friend on the phone. Without knowing it, you'll starting eating like the French (there is no French word for "fast-food") -- and you will feel better. You do not feel better admonishing yourself or beating yourself up or setting up a bunch of unrealistic rules and goals with all the do's and dont's that are just begging to be broken. You wanna know something? I eat ice cream every friggin' day. I drink a regular Coke every single day. I put butter on things. But I also walk every day. Some days now, I walk twice. And now I've started to do some push-ups and lifting stuff. It's building muscle, and in doing so, has created an extra furnace to burn stuff and create energy. Weird! That, in turn, makes me sleep 7-8 hours a night which is another game-changer. And all the walking and lifting makes me thirsty, so that makes me drink more water -- another huge plus!

So, you can see from the photo of me up in the box that something has changed. I have no idea how much weight I've lost and I don't care. I don't care about that or diets or home gym equipment or rules about what I can or cannot eat or anything other than making sure I go on my walk today. That's it. That's the big secret. It costs nothing. I feel great. I can see my feet! There they are! Hello, feet! Wanna go for a walk? The feet say YES! Ask yours right now. And if you want, join me. But do NOT go on that walk with me if you are doing so to "get fit", "be healthy", or "lose weight". You are fine just the way you are. Only walk outside with me right now because you know it might just feel good, because it's a beautiful day, or someone is joining in with you, the fresh air is invigorating, you have to drive down to the drug store but you realize you can walk there, or simply because it's just nice to be alive for one more day. Walk to walk and nothing else -- and the other stuff will take care of itself.

I'm heading outside in an hour. Join me. And let me know how it went!