I don’t know about you, but these COVID-19 times have reminded me of the Freshman-15, that extra weight students sometimes gain during the first year of college. Starting in March, many of us have been scarfing down comfort food in vain attempts to find comfort. Homemade mac and cheese, delivery pizza after pizza, munching on potato chips while watching Netflix, slathering butter on homemade sourdough bread, and baking cookies, cakes, and pies. Sigh. A nice slice of pecan pie with vanilla ice cream does indeed make me feel better! But when I weighed in at my yearly physical, I experienced... Read More
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Like many adults, I easily gain weight and I struggle to lose it. I grew up in a fat family—we were always on some new diet. I remember the 1960’s version of the Atkins diet. We were instructed to eat huge portions of meat, which all of us loved. I don’t remember if we lost any weight, although I am sure that our cholesterol went through the ceiling!
Like most overweight adults, I was fascinated with the reality TV show The Biggest Loser because it turned the arduous task of losing weight into a theatrical contest, like Survivor. Of course, it didn’t hurt to have an army of personal... Read More
When I was a young man, I was pretty sedentary. I grew up in a family of physically inactive adults. My parents played tennis every blue moon, but didn’t really move their bodies very often (except maybe to the bakery to buy pastries on Sundays!). I didn’t play sports in high school. I preferred to read long depressing Russian novels. In college, I occasionally played basketball during lunch. That was pretty much the extent of my moving in space.
But, when I met my wife in graduate school, I was influenced by her good habits. She had been a professional modern dancer in New York... Read More
How many times have you considered making a change in your life?
Joe doesn’t really like his job much anymore, but it’s secure, pays well and has good benefits. He wants to do something different, but can’t seem to get started.
Sarah wants to start an exercise program. She knows that being so sedentary is bad for her health, and her doctor has encouraged her to go the gym, but she never seems to get there.
Harold wants to take a yoga class, but he feels stuck in the same old daily rut and hasn’t even taken the first step to find out where he can take a class.
... Read More
I am a recovering shy person. Starting in childhood, persisting through adolescence, and sweeping into young adulthood, I struggled to overcome my shy disposition.
When I was 8, my family moved to a new town. Feeling afraid to introduce myself to the neighborhood kids, my mother brought me around to meet the local children. I felt ashamed of my shyness.
I always admired people who confidently walked over to a stranger at a social function, introduced themselves and struck up a conversation. I marveled at the ease in which they introduced themselves. Their comfort in... Read More
Dr. Friedman (New York Times, October 31, 2014, “A Natural Fix for A.D.H.D“) wrote an interesting article about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D) and how it’s neurological basis, as we currently understand it, collides with modern life.
Why is ADHD the most prevalent psychiatric condition diagnosed in youngsters today? Recent studies show that it affects 11% of children. Many wonder whether this is really a disease after all.
In our practice at the... Read More
Beulah, an older woman born in the South, cleans other people’s houses. She has little money, no car, and few possessions. Beulah is radiant. With sparkling eyes, she confides in me. “I’m rich. Can you believe it? I have seven pairs of shoes, one for each day of the week!” Beulah, who now lives in the South Bronx, surrounded by vacant lots and burned-out buildings, feels wealthy.
Her affluence doesn’t come from a big house. It comes from an inner sense of contentment that’s not dependent on the ups and downs of the stock market. It arises from a stable, positive view of herself. She... Read More
I recently returned from a five-day workshop on “Mindfulness” based Cognitive Therapy for depression. These days we frequently hear about “mindfulness” and it’s application to a variety of conditions and situations. It’s become a popular term.
But what does it mean? When I think of mindfulness, I think of being aware of other people’s feelings or being careful (as in be mindful of where you step). But this type of mindfulness is different. It’s all about being aware of your own experience.
“Mindfulness means being able to bring direct, open-hearted awareness to what you are... Read More
As an adult, I have been mostly overweight. And a quick look around tells me I’m not alone. But when I watch TV, read magazines, or go to the movies, all I see are slim, tall, muscular men and women. When I go to the beach, I see a parade of bathing beauties. Unfortunately, I can’t march in their procession. Growing up, everyone in my family struggled to keep their weight down. My childhood saw a cornucopia of the latest, new-fangled, guaranteed-to-make-you-skinny diets. High-protein, low carb, all liquid, low-fat diets lay littered across a vast wasteland of lost and found pounds.
... Read More