Do You Need an Emotional-Spiritual Tune Up?

Be the change in yourself that you want to see in the world!  Gandhi

Be a lamp unto yourself!


Here are my thoughts that I wrote in my journal last summer when I noticed that I was very cranky, reactive, and fairly miserable. I wondered what choices that I had recently made that led me to feel that way. I contemplated how I could change my perspectives and choices so I could feel happier and restore balance to my life. How about for you? Could you use a tune up?

UPDATE: This last season of 2013 and 2016 has seen many opportunities and challenges: increased work demands (and then retirement after 40 years), family, friends, and in-law illnesses came up. I was also attempting to support them too; lots of housework and gardening, shopping & cooking, and other healthy-lifestyle practices, trying to promote my Playbook; friends requests and having a variety of guests over (all fun…and it takes time and effort to plan and implement)…and I arrived at a place of feeling extremely tired and stressed. I realized I was at a place of burnout. OOPS!

I wanted to be compassionate for everyone in the world….and I realized that I was depleted. I took time to remember that the cycle of compassion is not complete without myself. I can’t drown…I need to keep myself afloat too. It’s essential that I heal my own traumas.

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ASK myself: “Is this compassion for me? Can I take on this commitment and not overwhelm or harm myself?” I can remember that it’s not my job to save the world single-handedly. Plant the seeds that I can–do what I can. That is enough.


It’s essential that I take care of my instrument (my body, mind, and spirit) too so that I can make beautiful music! No one can take care of me–I have to do it. I realized that no one can balance my life for me–I have to do it.


So I asked a friend if we could stay home today (and not take a whole-day trip to Eugene from Portland OR). I slowed down and actually went to the gym for a short while, visited my spiritual group and meditated 2 hours, and then went home and took a nap! Ah…now that felt better!

I asked myself, how can I create my life more skillfully?

I want to become a doctor to my own mind, emotions, and life!


  • When life gets challenging (with lots of busyness, suffering, difficult experiences) then I really need extra meditation, contemplation, and time spent on managing my stress (not less!).
  • Set my daily intentionthis is the way I’m going to do it. I’m not creating more separation from myself and others by my choices. ASK: Does this act of body, speech, and mind serve my highest aspirations for my heart and life? It is my intention that you are not going to be harmed by me in any way. It is safe to be with me.

Relax, Work,Play, and Flirt!

  • Practice stress management techniques. Slow down. Release speed. Allow extra time. Release the need to rush to the next thing. Own my place on the earth. Move slowly throughout the day. Contemplate and celebrate my journey of life!
  •  Relax. Observe and allow. Be aware of and stay connected with each of the experiences that I encounter. Pay attention to my reactions to life’s events.
  • Know what enough is. Watch greed (and compulsion) for accomplishment (e-mails, computers, house chores, social activities, etc.). Notice the heaviness of obligation.
  •  Ask where’s my heart? I shut off my heart when I live in my head (constant thinking—remembering, planning, and judging).
  • Remember all of stories and identities I have about me and others are not true! Everyone, everything, and myself are in a constant state of change all of the time. There is no solid and unchangeable core in anything. Everything is in flux.
  • Don’t buy into the idea that I need a long retreat or a special environment to get happy (have emotional and mental balance and peace). It can happen in my daily life—IF—I set up the daily patterns and choices for it to manifest!

ASK: Would I rather be right or happy? Remember, my serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations!


o ASK: Am I happy, peaceful, and contented? Yes/No? If not, what habits or patterns or mind am I cultivating? Notice that attachment to what I want à anger and unhappiness are the result.

o High and unmet expectations lead to impatience and frustrations. When I have lots of desires, wanting to be right or acknowledged, and have attachment to my views and my desired outcomes (“I want or must have…”) I notice that I’m miserable!

o Do I have strong attachment to my projects, views, and perspectives? If I do, what happens to my peace of mind?

  • I’m in charge of making my choices, trying things out—making the effort. I’m not in charge of the results or outcomes. When I’m attached to the results, I suffer and am unhappy.

For perspective, consider the metaphor of looking at a forest floor. You will see trees fallen everywhere, branches, old flowers, shrubs, and leaves all over. They are all in various forms of decay and regeneration to new life forms. So like all of life (humans too) on earth—some falling down, crashing and burning (falling into relapse around harmful behaviors)—going through apparently difficult and chaotic circumstances, there is dying of old ways and regeneration of new forms of life. They are evolving in ways that are right for them!

Perhaps consider too:

Kiss The Earth and Walk as You Touch Peace in Every Moment!

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Various Meditations

On The Spot Stress Managers (new audio relaxation tape)

Prescription for Well-Being!

Overcoming Your Obstacles to Healthful Eating

How to Develop a Loving, Self-Nurturing, Inner Voice For You!

Thich Nhat Hanh questions (Mary shared them with me.)

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Dear Friends,

Consider these questions today. This can apply to a romantic partner, but family or even in the business world…or really to any relationship:

1.      Are you in love?  Creating Healthy Relationships

2.      Are you still in love? Loving-Kindness: Learn to Befriend Ourselves and Others and Love Your Body!

3.      Do you want to reconnect with the person you used to love?

4.      Do you think that he or she is happier than you are now? How to Develop a Loving Relationship with You

5.      Do you have the time for each other or are you both to busy? Overwhelmed? Are You Taking In Too Many Empty Calories? and Help! I’m movin’ too fast! I need to slow down!

6.      Have you been able to preserve your freshness and beauty for yourself and for the other person?

7.      Are you capable to offer him or her freshness and beauty everyday? CELEBRATING The Simple Joys Of Life!

8.     Do you know how to handle the suffering in yourself? Four Foundations of Mindfulness

9.     Are you able to help handle the suffering in the other person? Relax, Observe, and Allow

10.  Do you understand your own suffering and the roots of that suffering?  Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It and Out Of Hell, Into Freedom Thoughts

11.  Are you able to understand the suffering in the other person? Make Your Mind an Ocean: Become Your Own Therapist!

12.  Do you have the capacity to help the other person suffer less? Thoughts On Healing and Helping Yourself and Others

13.  Have you learned the way to calm down the painful feelings and emotions? Dialectical  behavior therapy 

14. Do you have the time to listen to yourself, your suffering, your difficulties, and your deepest desire? Mental Nutrients: What To Say When You Talk To Your Self

15.  Do you have the time to listen to him or her and help him or her to suffer less?

16.  Do you know the Buddhist way of restoring communication and bringing reconciliation? Non Violent Communication

17.  Are you capable of creating a feeling of joy and happiness for yourself? Peace!

18. Are you capable of helping the other person to create a feeling of joy and happiness? Be Happy and Contented!

19. Do you really think you have a clear spiritual path to go? What Is Life About? Heart Advice

20. Do you have the feeling of peace and contentment within yourself? Invent A New Life!

21. Do you know how to nourish your love everyday? Rules For Being Human

Benefits of meditation

Understand Food Cravings, Brain Chemistry, and Body Weight

You BECOME what you think, what you eat, and what you do!

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Consider about how your lifestyle patterns, food choices, self-nurturing, and physical activity choices deeply influence your brain chemistry, your moods, addictive urges, your sense of well being, and ultimately your body weight.


Many brain neurotransmitters and nutrients in foods affect appetite and moods:

Aside from providing great pleasure and enjoyment, the nutrients and energy your body needs to function; food also has an influence on appetite and moods. Research shows that certain foods and lifestyle patterns affect powerful mood-modifying brain chemicals called neurotransmitters:

  • Serotonin — this is a chemical released after eating carbohydrates (sugars and starches). It enhances calmness, improves mood, and lessens depression. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. High levels of serotonin help control appetite, satisfy cravings, and provide a feeling of well-being and inner calm.
  • Dopamine and norepinephrine — these are chemicals released after eating protein (meats, poultry, dairy, legumes). They enhance mental concentration and alertness. These neurotransmitters come from the amino acid tyrosine.
  • Ghrelin — a neurotransmitter that sets up an irresistible urge to eat when elevated
  • NPY, neuropeptide Y — increases carbohydrate cravings when elevated
  • Galanin — increases the desire for fatty foods when elevated
  • Cortisol — the emergency gland of the body, the adrenals releases cortisol as the primary coordinator for the reactions of stress. Cortisol decreases the production of serotonin. If you normally eat to relieve stress, the hormone cortisol places the extra calories (fat) in the abdomen or stomach area of your body.
  • Endorphins — the body’s natural “high'” which gives pain relief and pleasure when elevated

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  How Do Your Lifestyle & Food Choices Affect Your Brain Chemistry?

  •   As you lower calories to lose weight, you starve your brain first and that depletes serotonin (a neurotransmitter which helps you feel calm, peaceful, and contented, and has a pivotal role in regulating appetite). This leads to increasing cravings for different foods, depression, anxiety, lethargy, feelings of hopelessness or rage all increase. Typical dieting means an immediate cutback on the production of chemicals that support health of your mind, your psyche, and your spirit.
  •  If you skip meals, this will lead to your blood sugar levels going abnormally low and intense cravings start. This also this causes an increase in ghrelin (a neurotransmitter that sets up an irresistible urge to eat) and also lowers neuropeptide Y, which increases carbohydrate cravings. This will lead to an unstoppable desire to eat lots of food and increases your eating frequency, which leads to binging on extra foods. Oops, not what you wanted to happen!
  •  As you lower calories to lose weight, this will lower insulin and thyroid hormone, which lowers your metabolism and also lowers the release of fat from your body (you can’t lose weight as easily and may end up on a plateau).
  •  As you eat more dietary fat, this will increase endorphins (the body’s natural “high”, which gives pain relief and pleasure). Research has also shown that the neurotransmitter galanin increases the desire for fatty foods. The more fat in a person’s diet, the more galanin is produced and the more galanin that’s produced, the more one prefers or craves fattier foods.  Research has also shown that eating less fat for several weeks reduces galanin levels and the desire to eat fatty foods. So the less fat (and refined carbohydrates you eat), the less you want.
  • Eating extra dietary carbohydrate (starches and sugars) will raise serotonin, which makes you feel calm and relaxed. So you can see how the usual combination of sugar and fat (many desserts) set you up to feel calm and contented, and can easily set up cravings for additional desserts because you want that inner state of calm and contentment.
  •  Stress is also a common reason given for overeating or emotional eating. Two out of three people eat more under stress. Plus, we don’t usually overeat vegetables when we’re stressed (Did you notice that “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards?) You can make small changes over time to improve your eating habits. Do your best to choose foods rich in nutrients when you are under stress–vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, fat-free dairy, and healthy fats in moderation. Limit sugar, unhealthy fat, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • When loneliness or stress increase, this leads to an increase in cortisol, which leads to deposits of abdominal fat and makes it more difficult to lost weight or keep it off.
  •  Do you sleep enough? 7 – 9 hours of sleep is vital to your health. There is a strong link between the amount of sleep people get and their risk of becoming overweight. Sleep deprivation leptin, a blood protein that suppresses appetite, and ↑ grehlin, a substance that makes people want to eat. After a night of sleep deprivation, people typically consume 10% more calories! Check out sleep disorder information online in NHLBI’s Diseases and Conditions Index (DCI) at  Also Read the Comprehensive Booklet Your Guide to Healthy Sleep here a PDF file: Healthy Sleep.pdf
  • If you feel inferior, have the “blues,” think you need to find something or want a reward, this leads to the increase of dopamine, which will lead to an increase in desire for food and an increase in attention to searching out enjoyable eating experiences or rewarding actions.
  • Calming and positive thoughts lead to an increase in serotonin, which lowers your desire for food, and increases your satisfaction, all of which helps control your temper, improve your sleep, while balancing sexual urges, and enhancing your memory.
  •  When you eat favorite food this will increase endorphins which may also lead to an increase your eating speed, which causes you to eat more eating more.
  •  A rise in norepinephrine causes an increase in negative feelings, feelings of distrust, and increasing the desire to fight or flee from unpleasant situations
  •  Endorphins (the body’s natural opiates which give a “high”) when they are low, this leads to an increase of the urge to get relief or pleasure, desire for junk foods, excess exercise, or alcohol.
  •  Exercise naturally raises endorphins and control NPY (neuropeptide Y) which lowers anxiety and carbohydrate cravings and increases feelings of contentment.
  • After a person exercises, abnormal cortisol levels lower, dopamine lowers (arousal hormone), and norepinephrine lower, which leads to appetite suppression and mood stability…ah…you feel better.

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Nutrient, Food & Mood Links:

  Think about this nutrient depletion……………..Might cause some common symptoms   

Sodium Confusion and poor memory
Potassium Apathy and confusion
Chromium Depression
Iron Confusion, lethargy, and difficulty learning
Magnesium Depression, confusion, and change in personality
Maganese Seizures
Selenium Anxiety and depression
Zinc Mood changes
Vitamin B1 Mental confusion, personality change, poor appetite, memory loss, mood swings, short attention span, irritability, depression, and fatigue
Vitamin B2 Depression
Niacin, Vitamin B6 Mood swings, depression, sleeplessness, restlessness, disorientation, and irritability
Vitamin B12 Memory loss, confusion, and senility
Folic acid Irritability and depression
Choline Memory loss
Vitamin E Lethargy and depression
Essential fatty acids Lethargy, irritability, and depression
Amino Acids (protein) Mood changes

“Stop Gaining Weight” (Second Edition) by Dr. Laura Pawlak Taken from page 228
Reviewed by Gudrun Zomerland, MFT

For additional exploration about how vitamins and minerals affect our emotions and health see resources below The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.

Review below some excellent resources that can assist you in meeting your essential nutrient needs that contribute to emotional well-being:

How can you balance brain chemicals, achieve natural well being, as well as, reduce food cravings?


Are you feeling a bit stressed out or overwhelmed? Agitated or grumpy? Exhausted? Burned out? Do you feel like running away from all of your daily responsibilities? The first essential skill to explore is to restore balance to your lifestyle choices. Consider taking some time to simplify your life. Relax a bit and consider an emotional-spiritual tune-up. Ah… Now, frolic around and explore the following suggestions:

  1. The first step to achieving a healthier weight is practicing healthy thoughts. Nothing has a greater ability to change your brain chemistry and your desire to eat, more than the way you think! Think of your brain as a computer that is impacted by everything inside and outside your skin. Since our moods (and brain chemistry) are dramatically affected by our thoughts, practice thinking positive, uplifting, celebratory, and thankful thoughts! Ah…doesn’t that feel better?  Stress-related thoughts lower serotonin, which increases cravings.
  2. Don’t forget to eat! Don’t allow yourself to get overly hungry.  Most people find that if they wait too long between meals that they eat very fast and end up overeating. Running many errands on an empty stomach or leaving home without a snack sets you up to make a bad choice. Take fruits and veggies, whole grain low-fat crackers along with you. Perhaps bring along a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
  3. Eat healthy meals, with fewer amounts of junk foods. Buy plenty of fruits and vegetables for snacking and meal preparation. If you’re short on time, consider ready-cut or frozen items for convenience (and bring along a food bag). Make sure you tune-up your brain by eating enough healthy fats. Explore Healthy Fats and Risky Fats
  4. Keep problem foods out of the house. Avoid buying foods that are high in calories and bringing them into your home: i.e. potato chips, chocolate, cookies, brownies, cakes and pies, candy, etc. You can’t eat what’s not there! That doesn’t mean that wouldn’t ever have any of these foods. You just might purchase single-serving sizes and eat them when you’re out of your home.
  5. If you’re feeling low, practice self-nurturing techniques, and go for a walk or talk yourself into a stable mood before eating. When we remind ourselves of the benefits for changing, it can help us get back on track and keep us motivated.
  6. Note the benefits for physical activity. Physical activity can lessen stress, control blood pressure, decrease resting heart rate, etc. But it also helps to deal with stressful situations be increasing your mental sharpness, concentration, problem solving skills, and creativity. Shifting our attitudes will also help us overcome our resistance to doing exercise.
  7. Get support from other people, find a clan.  You don’t have to do it alone! Remember, HUGS are euphoric and non caloric! Frolic around: Various Hug Coupons!

To explore Douglas Bloch’s Your Personal “Brain Maintenance” Program

from Healing From Depression


Make an investment in you!

For a PDF version of Make An Investment In You–Learn Core Skills.pdf

21 Steps to Aging Successfully!

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To Cultivate Holistic Well Being: Know Yourself! How?

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Begin with the end in mind….to learn how to become your own personal trainer…your own lifestyle coach. How do you do that?

Set your intention–a goal–to cultivate health. What is the process?

uncondition love ROSE
It works better as you bring attention to  your life and take time so STUDY YOURSELF.

Through that study and exploration you come to KNOW YOURSELF!

What works? What doesn’t work? What influences you?

A Diet of Self Love

You will remain more motivated if you cultivate the inner attitude to HONOR YOURSELF…with every choice that you make..moment by moment…day by day.

You might ask yourself: Am I cultivating health of body, mind, and spirit today by the choices that I am making?

Am I cultivating a Happy Mind???



Small Baby Steps Lead to Success. YES, I Can Change!

Whether you believe you CAN, or you believe you CAN’T, you’re right!

Many people can feel defeated and unsure they will be able to make lasting changes in their lifestyle because they haven’t been successful in the past. They hold their PAST unsuccessful history against themselves.

To change our INNER VISION and self-perception, it is really helpful to try out “baby steps” of new lifestyle options. Focus on an area that you want to change, explore resources, come up with a PLAN for change and try it out. 

BELIEVE that you CAN  do it! IMAGINE that you CAN succeed! VISUALIZE that this IS possible for you to accomplish. Belief, imagination, and visualization strengthen the actuality of your achieving lasting change.

Take action! If you have not been successful before, you CAN BE this time! Seize the Moment.

A National Weight Control Registry survey found that 91% of people who were ULTIMATELY successful at losing weight and KEEPING IT OFF had tried numerous times before they finally figured out a strategy that worked for them. I found that this was also true for me with my weight loss and also my FINALLY stopping use of alcohol and drugs.

You can BEGIN in any area of your life that you want to.

The steps that you select should be FUN and enjoyable! Self-care does not have to be torture. You can learn to celebrate a healthful lifestyle! In fact, making FUN your focus will insure that your new patterns naturally become your new way you create your life.

Skip off to visit:

We find our way one step at a time.

 For a printable PDF version: Small Baby Steps Lead to Success.pdf

Here are some examples:                                                   Take Small Steps Today!


1. Walk to work (at least part way); or park in the far-away parking spot.
2. Use fat free milk over whole milk.
3. Do sit-ups in front of the TV (during commercials).
4. Walk during lunch hour–at least for 10 minutes!
5. Drink water before a meal.
6. Eat leaner red meat & poultry.
7. Eat half your dessert.
8. Walk instead of driving whenever you can.
9. Take family walk after dinner.
10. Skate to work instead of driving.
11. Avoid food portions larger than your fist.
12. Mow lawn with push mower.
13. Increase the fiber in your diet (see my article).
14. Walk to your place of worship instead of driving.
15. Walk kids to school.
16. Get a dog and walk it around your neighborhood or in a nearby park.

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17. Join an exercise group.
18. Drink diet soda (or just water!).
19. Replace Sunday drive with Sunday walk.
20. Do yard work.
21. Eat off smaller plates and use smaller glasses.
22. Get off a stop early & walk.
23. Don’t eat late at night.
24. Skip seconds.
25. Work around the house.
26. Skip buffets.
27. Grill, steam or bake instead of frying.
28. Bicycle to the store instead of driving.
29. Take dog to the park.
30. Ask your doctor about taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
31. Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV.
32. Use vegetable oils over solid fats.
33. eat more carrots, less cake.
34. Fetch the newspaper yourself.
35. Sit up straight at work and stretch once each half hour.
36. Wash the car by hand.
37. Don’t skip meals and have healthier snacks.
38. Eat more celery sticks.
39. Run or walk faster when running errands.
40. Pace the sidelines at kids’ athletic games.
41. Take wheels off luggage.
42. Choose an activity that fits into your daily life.
43. Park further from the store and walk.
44. Ask a friend to exercise with you.
45. Make time in your day for physical activity (even 5 minutes!).
46. Exercise with a video if the weather is bad.
47. Bike to the barbershop or beauty salon instead of driving.
48. Keep to a regular eating schedule.
49. If you find it difficult to be active after work, try it before work.
50. Take a walk or do desk exercises instead of a cigarette or coffee break.
51. Perform gardening or home repair activities.
52. Avoid laborsaving devices.
53. Take small trips on foot to get your body moving.
54. Play with your kids 30 minutes a day.
55. Dance to music.
56. Keep a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes in your car and office.
57. Make a Saturday morning walk a group habit.
58. Walk briskly in the mall.
59. Choose activities you enjoy & you’ll be more likely to stick with them.
60. Stretch before bed to give you more energy when you wake.
61. Take the long way to the water cooler or restroom at work.
62. Explore new physical activities.
63. Vary your activities, for interest and to broaden the range of benefits.
64. Reward and acknowledge your efforts.
65. Choose fruit for dessert.
66. Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all.
67. Take stairs instead of the escalator.
68. Conduct an inventory of your meal/snack and physical activity patterns.
69. Share an entree with a friend.
70. Grill fruits or vegetables.
71. Eat before grocery shopping.

72. Choose a checkout line without a candy display.
73. Make a grocery list before you shop.
74. Buy 100% fruit juices over soda and sugary drinks.
75. Swim with your kids.
76. Flavor foods with herbs, spices, and other low fat seasonings.
77. Remove skin from poultry before cooking to lower fat content.
78. Eat before you get too hungry.
79. Don’t skip breakfast or other meals.
80. Stop eating when you are full!
81. Snack on fruits and vegetables.
82. Top your favorite cereal with apples or bananas.
83. Try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.
84. Include several servings of whole grain food daily.
85. When eating out, choose a small or medium portion.
86. If main dishes are too big, choose an appetizer or a side dish instead.
87. Ask for salad dressing “on the side”.
88. Don’t take seconds.
89. Try your burger with just lettuce, tomato and onion.
90. Try a green salad instead of fries.
91. Bake or broil fish.
92. Walk instead of sitting around.
93. Eat sweet foods in small amounts.
94. Take your dog on longer walks.
95. Drink lots of water.
96. Cut back on added fats or oils in cooking or spreads.
97. Walk the beach instead of sunbathing.
98. Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling them.
99. Carry your groceries instead of pushing a cart.
100. Use a snow shovel instead of a snow blower.

For a terrific summary of 171 lifestyle change ideas upload: SMALL STEP GOV IDEAS.pdf


Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!


Practice Skillful Contemplation and Meditation in Our Lives


Last Sunday PM we had a terrific discussion in the Question & Answer session at meditation group, in response to a question:
HOW do we make life meaningful and a practice skillful life choices even after our meditation sessions?

Here us a summary of the excellent discussion:


Serenity Prayer

Bob’s Story…How Did I Continue Healthier Choices for Over 43 Years???!!??

Be Free to Climb Up Mountains!  Meet Bob.

Losing about 250 pounds allowed me to achieve my dreams. How did I do it? I climbed up the mountain—step-by-step—and transformed my life in the same way.  


   246Wil-R1-36 (I’m hiking in a  wilderness area–I’m the guy on the right with a 50-pound back pack!)       

bob wilson jpep-FAT PICTURE-2                              

Bob above at 260 pounds—my high school graduation picture. At my maximum, I weighed over 100 pounds more.   I could NOT have gone hiking!!                                    

Hi! I wanted to share with you my step-by-step journey. I lost about 250 pounds and have kept it off for over 43 years, and have been drug and alcohol-free for over 28 years. I weighed about 400 pounds in the eighth grade.

My story shows an example of how one person worked with the process of making lifestyle changes. For me, it turned out to be pretty easy to learn about new foods and to become more active in my daily life. I found the difficult areas to transform to be life-balance, self-esteem and self-talk, my depression, intense emotional eating, and learning the skill of problem solving when things weren’t going well. These are all steps up the mountain of lasting lifestyle change. All of these areas influenced my food and activity choices.

When I started my journey, my lifestyle behaviors were out-of-control and unhealthy. I was always the fattest kid in school. My eating habits and lifestyle kept me that way.

I found that success at achieving a healthier life requires learning a series of new lifestyle skills. These skills allowed me to create my life in a NEW way. Before I started my journey, I didn’t know any of these skills. Learning them opened for me the prison door to my isolation cell of overweight. I was no longer a victim of my out-of-control, unhealthy habits. It was so ENJOYABLE to discover the freedom of new options for living.

Skill power, not will power, is the key to success!


SKILL #1: Take time to create a new life. I found that choosing to take the time is absolutely essential. If I don’t make the time to evaluate my patterns, select skills to try out, and practice them, I will find myself stuck with the same old habits (patterns) that keep me overweight and unhealthy.

For me, the pattern of “over commitment to others and under commitment to myself” sets me up to make unhealthy choices in my life. This pattern has been a key obstacle in being healthier. Does your brain and heart dream up commitments that your body can’t keep? Mine sure does! I had to find out how to slow down and chill out!

Footwork of Recovery

SKILL #2: I couldn’t change what I didn’t observe. Keeping a food & lifestyle journal is like looking in a mirror. I can see the type and amounts of food I eat each day, and how my emotions, people, places, and events, influence my choices. I can notice my problem eating and lifestyle patterns. I can also see the benefits of trying out new foods or different lifestyle choices. Keeping a journal allows me to “write away” the pounds. I can learn new things and try them out. I discovered how to be my own lifestyle trainer and coach.

 Cabbage-carrot steam HPIM0285.JPGJon Birthday Cake-smile

SKILL #3: Make great tasting, healthy eating a priority-even in the midst of a hectic lifestyle. I plan ahead. An ounce of preplanning is worth a pound of fat! I take time to plan meals and snacks for myself (and my family). To help me, I discovered menu planning that celebrates vegetables and fruits! I use food to fuel my busy lifestyle and to provide energy for all the activities I enjoy. I found a new, healthful style of eating happens one new recipe and new food idea at a time. Also, mouth fun, enjoying what I eat, is essential if I’m going to make my new choices a permanent part of my lifestyle and not just a “diet.”

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SKILL #4: The reward for consistent physical activity is vibrancy! I tried to be flexible and jump into a variety of different physical activities. I began to feel the power, to celebrate the inner strength and sense of well being that come from allowing my body to experience the joy of movement.

I make fitness a priority. I plan family and personal vacations around fitness, or invite a colleague to “do business” over a walk rather than lunch, coffee or drinks. I walk to the bank to use the teller machine. It’s like winning the lottery. I put your card in and money comes out!

My increased physical abilities brought me a sense of awe and appreciation for life. The quality of my life has improved dramatically because I lost weight and became more full of zip. I never would have been able to hike to the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area if I hadn’t made a commitment to myself of regular physical activity. I am SO grateful for the miraculous changes in my life!

 Bob on hike

 Bob’s Workout!

 My normal workout is with daily activities—that is I have a home in NE Portland—so I mow my own grass, edge the lawn (with a push edger!!), do my own gardening, paint the house, repairs, etc. Then there is the inside of the home too…mopping, scrubbing, cleaning…cooking!  That burns off many extra calories, and saves $$$ too. Even my garage door doesn’t have an automatic opener—I’M IT!

  • I also blend two activities at once—take a 30-block walk as I walk up to the bank, post office, or store, etc.
  • I walk 6 times/week—just around the neighborhood—in a number of large loops, OR, plan walks in the many, beautiful Portland parks and gardens & green spaces.  I love going on walks with friends—and plan them regularly. Instead of going out for dinner, we get together for activities, and perhaps bring along healthy snacks!
  • Then, there are the weekly hikes to many of the beautiful sights in Washington or Oregon—wow!  Cheap fun!  I get into my aerobic zone for hours—and it is enjoyable!
  • Then, lastly I make a date with—ME! I put my gym & yoga appointments on the calendar—every Wednesday & Friday mornings—there I am at Yoga from 6-7 am, then I do an hour strength training, and 15 minutes on the stationary bike.  I also plan another days— just strength training.  I’ve done this for the last 15 years and have raised my metabolism by 300 calories/day (I know this because I kept records of my calorie-weight-maintenance levels). This has also kept me injury-free and pain-free.
  • WHAT’S THE BENEFIT TO ME??  Blending in regular physical exercise has been an important part of helping me maintain a healthy body, mind, and emotional life.

WHEN A BABY CRIES YOU PAY ATTENTIONShine the Light of Loving Self-Care

SKILL # 5: Learn the skills for emotional nurturing. They’re euphoric and non-caloric! Learning and practicing these skills helped me transform emotional eating and low self-esteem. I learned to celebrate my life! I became a compassionate and loving friend—to  me. I make a commitment to give myself more pleasure and enjoyment in my life, to nurture myself. I remember that I deserve the best! I try to be kind to the being that lives inside of my own skin.

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SKILL #6: For me, counseling and support groups have been invaluable. I tried to fix the “unfixable family, friends, and work places!” This proved to be quite frustrating, unproductive and self-destructive. I didn’t have any role models about how to live a healthy life and to find out about wholesome relationships, problem solving, and conflict management. Through reading books, individual counseling, and various support groups, I was able to dismantle unproductive conditioning and responses to life events. Ah. I’m so GLAD this help was available. It saved my life.


SKILL #7: Cultivating life-long health: Learning and practicing all these skills can bring friskiness and life-long well-being throughout all of the seasons of our lives. Weight and a healthy life is managed, not cured. It’s an ongoing investment in ourselves. It is similar to good dental hygiene. There is brushing, flossing and use of a periodontal tool, and regular visits to the dentist and hygienist. Making the investment in yourself pays rich dividends: you can chew foods of any texture without problems, you don’t experience the pain of gum disease or cavities, you save lots of money, and you feel self-empowered and capable because of your self discipline.

It is rare to have someone tell you that your life may be out of balance due to MANY different choices you make on a moment-to-moment basis. It is your environment, lifestyle, genetics, and personal habits that keep you off track. It’s not JUST diet or exercise, but ALL of the factors in your life that influence your choices. Your life is an ECOSYSTEM.

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As you learn about your choices and the patterns they form, make small changes, and learn new skills, then day-by-day, overtime, you form new habits. These new patterns gradually bring to you NEW RESULTS (being healthier, happier, and thinner). This happens as you learn to practice problem solving when you relapse to old ways of doing things. Over time, you learn what works and what doesn’t work for you. You cultivate within yourself the answers and skills to manage the challenges that you face!

Explore Bob’s EXPANDED STORY for additional ideas about how I applied all of the Essential Skills that I listed, plus lots more. See also Bob’s Story, Be Active!

For a PDF version of this story: GUTS TO GLORY Walk About Article.pdf

I encourage you to check out the rest of  this site. I share all of these Essential Skills for life-long success, plus TONS of other fun ideas. Happy exploring. May your life blossom into friskiness! 

:-)  Hugs and love, Bob

Explore Making Yearly and Life Vows


I went to the Silver Dragon retreat at the Great Vow Monastery and went outside on a sunny day and visited the Shrine of Life Vows.



A vow is a deep commitment to see something through no matter the obstacles. Vows ask us to continually return, over and over again, to our deepest intentions. Vows help us orient our life to what is most beneficial. And vows emerge from our own unique life and circumstances.


To consider making a vow, perhaps spend time in prayer and reflection about any changes you want to make–major–or minor, lifelong or temporary. Think ahead to the ways this vow may affect your life, your friendships, future plans, etc.

Then work on wording of your vow. Mature planning makes for a mature vow.


The most important thing about a vow is, don’t take if until you know you will keep it….

or perhaps say “I will strive to..”

Make a practical time limit also…one that you can keep…a day, a week, a month?


Once the vow has been properly prepared, the next step is to “”declare it” in a little ceremony with one or more friends as witnesses.


Implementation– Then comes the bottom line: day by day, abiding by the vow you have taken. I encourage you to repeat your vow out loud, along, at the beginning of every day. Read it or recite it as sincerely as you did that first day, and remember the feelings which prompted you to take this vow. It’s very useful to repeat your vow every day…like even taking your marriage or commitment ceremony vows. Both the husband and wife take them every day to actually keep the vows very fresh.


Remember to respect all vows equally. Whether you vow to stop eating sweets for a week, or to never take a sip of alcohol for the rest of your life, a vow must be respected fully. A sincere vow is an expression of our willingness to work, to sacrifice, to change and grow emotionally and spiritually.


Adapted from VOWS PRACTICE from Deep & Simple by Bo Lozoff.



Our friends, family, and the whole world are affected by our vows to open to life fully!