Discover Creative Holiday Garnishing Fun: Make a Sandwich Birthday Cake and More!

Celebrate Holidays and Special Occasions!

                Jon Cake-Fruit Jon Birthday Cake-smile

For all people who love to be creative in the kitchen but want to avoid making traditional gooey, high-calorie cakes for birthdays or weddings, consider this fun and delicious alternative. My kitchen creativity previously expressed itself in making 8000-calorie cheesecakes for all of my friends!

When I lost weight, I knew that I needed to find alternatives that were still fun to make and healthful. I started making birthday cakes for my friends and even one for a friend’s wedding. The wedding cake had 3 cakes with a large bouquet of flowers in the middle.

I love using flowers and colorful vegetables in my creations.

  • In the above cake, I used green onions, red pepper circle-slices and red cabbage for my friend JON’s name.
  • The flower is made of carrot circles and green onions.
  • I put red pepper hearts that were cut out using a small, heart-shaped cookie cutter. I also have used a small teddy bear cookie cutter on other cakes.
  • I decorated the sides of the cake using carrot circles and red pepper hearts.
  • Colorful chrysanthemum flower tops were used around the base of the cake for accent.
  • The icing is really herbed tofu dip (you can use low-fat cottage cheese).
  • The cake is really a two-layered sandwich with low-fat tuna salad (It’s green-colored in the above picture because I used green catsup!) on the bottom layer and low-fat Toby’s® Tofu Dip—it tastes similar to egg salad—which could be used instead.
  • Options: I have also used my garbanzo spread and black bean spread for the layers and have used pureed cottage cheese for the icing. See: dinner recipes.

Banana FRUIT art


18 slices Orowheat® Best’s Winter Wheat  Bread (a chewy bread—6 slices/layer)

2 heads red leaf lettuce

3 6½-ounce cans of water packed tuna

catsup, to taste (I used green!)

spicy mustard, to taste

dried onion flakes (or use fresh), to taste

6 stalks celery, diced

1 ½ pints of Toby’s® Tofu Dip or low fat egg salad

dried dill weed, to taste

garlic powder (or minced garlic), to taste

2 12-ounce, extra-firm tofu packages You can also use low-fat cottage cheese.

vegetable garnishes, as desired

keep going

What to do:

  1. Prepare “salads” and “icing” first: the low-fat tuna and egg, or garbanzo and black bean—use any “salad” filling that is desired. Refrigerate the salads, for best results and to keep everything safe from bacterial contamination.
  • For tuna salad: used 3 cans water-pack tuna, 6 stalks of diced celery, green catsup, horseradish mustard, black pepper and dried onion flakes—make according to your tastes
  • 1 ½ pints of low-fat Toby’s® Tofu Dip (found in Portland, Oregon) OR low-fat egg salad—make according to your tastes
  • “Icing”: Blend in a food processor or blender 2, 12-ounce boxes of Mori Nu® low-fat extra firm tofu, dried onion flakes (about ½ cup), dried dill weed (about 2 tablespoons), garlic powder (about 2 teaspoons) and horseradish mustard (about 1 tablespoon)—make all according to your tastes
  1. Get a large 18-inch round platter and line it with red leaf lettuce (washed and patted dry).
  2. Arrange the 6 slices of bread—in two rows of three slices—in the middle of the platter on top of the lettuce.
  3. Use a spatula to spread the layer of tuna salad evenly on top of the 6 slices of bread.
  4. Put 6 more slices of bread on top of the tuna salad—just like you just made 6 sandwiches.
  5. Then put on the low-fat Toby’s® Tofu Dip OR low-fat egg salad on top of the bread using a spatula.
  6. Next put 6 more slices of bread on top. Now you have 6 double-decker sandwiches, in two rows of three.
  7. Now get out the “icing” and using a spatula, cover all of sandwiches, top and sides, to a thickness of ¼ inch—just like you were icing a cake.
  8. Prepare the “names” and garnishes out of whatever you want to use—carrot circles, red or yellow peppers (hearts, teddy bears), red cabbage slices; you can use pretzels to make the names. I suggest that you use tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to place the vegetable or pretzel pieces on the cake.
  • You can decorate the sides of the cake using carrot circles, red pepper hearts, peas, chive flowers, or any other edible delight.
  1. Lastly, put whatever type of flowers around the edges of the sandwich cake for a garnish.
  2. The cake takes about one hour to assemble after the “salads” have been made.
  3. Refrigerate the cake until serving time.

Serving Suggestion:

This cake is a delightful alternative for people with diabetes or for those who want to avoid eating lots of sugar, fat and extra calories. People always LOVE receiving this cake (except children, because they expected REAL icing!).

Cut the cake using a sharp knife after letting everyone see it.

This cake serves about 15 people, with serving 1/3rd of a sandwich to each person. 

Serve with a fresh fruit and cut up vegetable platter.  

 Make a Sandwich Wedding Cake Too!

Sandwich Wedding Cake-2 Sandwich Wedding Cake-1

I have two friends who were married and they did not eat sugar, but wanted a wedding cake. So I offered to make them one. A sandwich cake!

Use the same process as described above, but make several cakes. Then I cut the flowers from the yard and made the center arrangement and added the flower garnishes to the cakes.

I went to the wedding reception and set the cake up on a table.

It was a Spring wedding, and so all of the flowers in the garden were blooming. Take a peek and see how it turned out. It was SO fun and everyone enjoyed it!

Christmas Relish Tree

                                                          Christmas Relish Tree Think Light For The Holidays!                                                                                           

To clearly see the type click on the thumbnail then print off the page.


Simple Garnishing Creates a Colorful Easter Celebration!

2 4

Create a feeling of consciousness, delight, and pleasure about your eating!

I love mixing flowers (some are edible) from the garden,  along with cut up fruit. 

The meal also includes a low-fat mini pizza and coffee.


Garbanzo Appetizer

Bob’s Garbanzo Spread Appetizer (See Dinner Recipes)

For a wedding-brunch appetizer:

I lined a platter with red leaf lettuce. I formed the garbanzo spread by using an empty yogurt container. I then emptied it on top of the lettuce. I added a few flowers around the base.

Next I topped the Garbanzo Spread with borage flowers, carrot circles, red pepper hearts, and teddy bears.  I made the teddy bears and small hearts using small cookie cutters that I purchased from a kitchen store. 

I served the appetizer with Lavache heart-shaped crackers on top of red leaf lettuce.

Pickled Beets and Asparagus Platter


BE WHO YOU ARE. Be happy for this moment--it is your life!

Learn to Effectively Manage Social Gatherings

 Holidays are Here! So Be a Lamp Unto Yourself!


Failing to plan is planning to fail!  An ounce of preparing is worth a pound of fat!

Prior Planning Prevents Painful, Poor Results!

Get to know your DANGER ZONES. Where is it difficult for you to stand up for yourself and make healthful choices?

autobiography in 5 chapters

Which situations and times do social groups influence you the most? At work? During pot lucks? At your church or spiritual group? With family and friends? At the neighbors? On vacations and holidays? At restaurants? When you’re feeling overwhelmed (too many needs and requests for your time) and out of balance? What’s your challenge?

Consider that you probably have been through these situations numerous times in the past. What can you LEARN from them? HOW can you make more effective choices next time?

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Take into account the mindset of  holidays or special occasions:

  • Special occasions are filled with people, food, and emotions. Because of this, the events may be enjoyable and stressful at the same time!

  • Notice that the gatherings frequently center around FOOD! You’ll probably find tempting treats everywhere!

  • Many times you may find that overeating is encouraged, “Oh you can go off your diet, just this once!”

  • Because the events may involve lots of preparation (cleaning up the house, shopping, food preparation) you may not find time to go for a walk or to practice other stress reduction activities (like taking a NAP!)

  • Watch out for being:  P-HALT? Are you too: P=Pressured, H=Hungry, A=Angry, L=Lonely, T=Tired?

  • You may discover that family dynamics may increase stress for you.


SHORT-Journal tips and ideas-1.pdf

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Get to KNOW yourself as you develop wisdom. Pay attention to your choices as you notice a lifetime of holiday habits automatically play out. Prepare yourself to be successful on special occasions by exploring the following sections:

Use the Stages Of Change  and The Daily Personal Check-In for suggestions on how to become a more effective self-manager.

Remember, progress not perfection! Easy does it, but DO it!

Think Light For The Holidays!    Christmas Relish Tree

                                                                                                                                                            Think Light for the Holidays!                                     Christmas Relish Tree!

Cultivate Twelve Essential Skills: Achieve a Healthier Life, Weight, and Vibrant Friskiness… Step-by-Step!

Skill Power, Not Will Power, Is the Key to Success!

Discover Below Guidance-At-A-Glance!

Have you ever wondered how all of that excess stored energy (fat) ended up stored on your body anyway? Were you just walking down the street and it jumped out and stuck to you? To learn about what happened–the mystery–requires you becoming a detective. As a detective, you will need some tools to figure out clues to your mystery.

The Twelve Essential Skills below will provide answers for you. You use the skills and different tools to discover how you do what you do, right now.  Then you figure out strategies to practice making healthful substitutions–to substitute new choices that will, over time, help you achieve a healthier weight, a healthier relationship with your food and life. You choose which areas you are ready to look at now.


Success at achieving a healthier weight, transforming addictions, and finding increased well-being, for a lifetime, requires learning a series of new lifestyle skills. These skills allow us to create our lives in a NEW way. Before I started my weight loss journey, I didn’t know any of these skills. Learning these skills opened for me the prison door to my isolation cell of overweight and various addictions. 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.

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My Web site (Balanced Weight Management) is a blueprint for self-change. It’s a toolkit–tools don’t do anything. YOU do as you use the tools to discover how you do what you do. This is self-directed learning. With self-directed learning you can discover the issues or problems that are most relevant to you at the moment. They are based on your own experience. You set your own agenda and your own pace. Have FUN with your exploration!

Why Would Someone Try My Approach?

How To Use This Site: Where To Begin & What To Do

As you explore below, ask yourself, “What are YOUR root causes?” Your patterns?

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I encourage you to explore  the Resource Sections 1 and 2 for an extensive list of resources in each topic area.  There you will find an invaluable collection of weight-loss and addiction-free life wisdom. I Have learned most of what I know from other people. Many of the resources that I and many other people have found to be invaluable are listed there.

Time and time again, I have seen people’s lives blossom after they made the decision to invest the time in themselves to study and practice the twelve skills listed below.  I encourage you to just pick and choose those themes that you would like to explore. Remember, your health is your greatest wealth! Answer the questions, “Oh my, how did I get to where I’m at now? and How can I begin to make enjoyable and lasting changes?”

  1. Taking the First Steps In Your Journey of Change

  2. Cultivating Balance in Your Life

  3. Write Away Weight: Keeping a Food and Lifestyle-Choice Journal

  4. Discover the Power of FUN: Celebrate Enjoyable Ways to be Active for Life!

  5. Cultivating a Sustainable, Healthful Plan of Eating

  6. Planning and Preparing Delicious Recipes, Meals, and Snacks in a Hectic World

  7. Eating With Awareness and Pleasure

  8. Transforming Emotional Eating and Addictions

  9. Self-Nurturing, Self-Esteem, Heal From Depression, and Transform Emotional Wounding From The Past

  10. Seeking Support, Counseling, and Outside Resources

  11. Maintenance: Learn How to Cultivate Life-Long Well-Being.  

  12. Cultivate Daily Quiet and Personal Introspection Time 

Developing and Maintaining a “Personal Plan of Eating”


Before you begin, it would be helpful to review the insights and suggestions from the Dieting VS. Non-Dieting section. Remember that all of this is an experiment. As an example, for me, I discovered that super-chunk peanut butter is a trigger food.

There are some schools of thinking that suggest that if you always have the food around and allow yourself a small amount of it whenever you want, without any denial or guilt, that you will come to a place of eating it in moderation. I tried that out, time after time, and for me found that it did not work. I would almost always end up eating more of than I had planned.



So I came up with another plan that worked better for me which I share in the section of how I discovered new foods. For most foods that I eat, having unlimited quantities around the house works very well. I don’t overeat them. It’s really important to develop your own inner kind-wisdom and self-discipline for yourself and your life.

Perhaps read over my story of how I learned about myself and found new foods and choices that were more effective. Remember that you are on a journey towards increasing health and well-being and you are planting the garden of your life with seeds of well-being–and nurturing them, and will reap your garden of health and friskiness!!

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You learn about yourself through:

  • Personal discovery through experimentation and practice in making skillful choices that honor and respect ourselves at every level of our lives.
  • There is no “right or wrong”. It’s just what works for you. You update or change your strategies depending on what you notice about yourself through your daily self-introspection.
  • Once you recognize the pattern, you can plan a new response for a situation.

EXPLORE: Notice The Web of Existence: Patterns, patterns everywhere. Not a moment’s peace! and  Which Puzzle Pieces Contribute to Your Overweight?, and What Does It Look Like When Things Are Going Well?


AIM FOR The Inner Oval–Focus On: Healthy Maintenance Schedule

  • Daily choices of foods, skills, and activities that support a healthy lifestyle, as well as, mental and emotional well being.
  • Foods, activities, and daily patterns that naturally keep you feeling balanced, happy and glad to be alive.
  • List all foods, beverages that do not cause you to want to overeat and activities that support your flexible plan of eating.

The Middle Oval: The Gray Area

  •  “In this situation it’s best that I not do it for now…and in this situation, I can handle it quite well.
  •  Foods of which we are uncertain about
  • Foods and situations that could lead us to the outer oval of imbalances and problems
  • Potential binge foods—come up with behavioral strategies to manage them

The Outer Oval: The Problematic Area

  • Be honest and gentle. List all foods, beverages, and activities that trigger you to eat much more than you had planned. Be specific. These are the foods and activities that will go in your outer oval.
  • Foods and activities in this oval are carefully chosen (for now) and should be monitored to observe your reactions to them. Be gentle. Be honest. Be aware.
  •  List foods and activities that keep us in isolation and fantasy.
  • List the foods and activities that many times have triggered a binge.

What works for you? To print off the EXAMPLE: Defining A plan of Eating-EXAMPLE.pdf

To print off a BLANK Ovals sheet: Blank The Ovals.pdf


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The Grace Of Eating


In this food,

I see clearly the presence

of the entire universe

supporting my existence.

Taken from Present Moment Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh

Food. The Magical Gift–Eating is essentially an act of communion

 with the living forces of nature.

We often take it for granted. We forget that food is precious.

Let us bless the source of life that brings forth bread from the Earth, let our lives be a blessing to the Earth that sustains us, and to all the creatures that, like us, call this planet home.


A Grace Before Our Meal


In this food we see the mysterious creativity of nature and the hard work of the countless people who participated in producing it, to whom we give thanks.  Just as this food provides sustenance to us, may we, through our work and our moment to moment interactions, help to benefit others.  Bon appetit! Provided by Jon Dickman


Kiss the Earth
By Thich Nhat Hanh

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

Adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh: Buddhism in Action, by Maura D. Shaw (Skylight Paths, 2004). Shared by my friend Michelle.

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

Taking time to say grace not only blesses the food,

it blesses the people who take the time to say it.

  • Bless this food.

  • Bless these people.

  • Bless this house.

  • Bless this world.

  • We give thanks for this food.

  • We give thanks for each other.

  • We give thanks for our lives.

Adapted from: May All Be Fed, by John Robbins

Before eating, practice breathing to calm down:

  • Breathing in, I calm my body.

  • Breathing out, I smile.

  • Dwelling in the present moment,

  • I know this is a wonderful moment!

Taken from Present Moment Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Four Gratitudes: to parents, teachers, friends, and all organic and inorganic species that support and enrich our lives. Taken from Present Moment Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh

Five Contemplations before Meals


  1. I contemplate how many blessings I have accumulated in order to receive this food given by others.
  2. I contemplate my own daily practice (of generosity, ethics, kindness, patience, gentle awareness, healthful choices, joyous effort, and compassion), constantly trying to improve it.
  3. I contemplate my mind, cautiously guarding it from wrongdoing, greed, and other spiritual and emotional defilements.
  4. I contemplate this food, treating it as wondrous medicine to nourish my body.
  5. I contemplate the aim of spiritual, mental, and emotional evolution, accepting and consuming this food in order to accomplish it.

By seeing this food as medicine, I will consume it without attachment or hatred, not to increase my arrogance, strength, or good looks, but solely to sustain my life.

May all those who offered me food attain happiness of total peace. May all those who offered me drink, who served me, who received me, who honored me, or who made offerings to me attain happiness which is total peace.

The five contemplations and other thoughts are from Thubten Chodron ( Slightly edited.

Finishing Your Meal

The plate is empty.

My hunger is satisfied.

I vow to live for the benefit of all beings.


Consider dedicating everything in your life for the benefit of all people: Dedication for a Meaningful Life

Bob’s Strength-Training Food Bag…Helps Me Maintain Healthy and Delicious eating!


An Ounce of Pre-planning Keeps You Healthy and Frisky!

LUNCH BAGMY CARDINAL RULE:  IN house, IN sight, IN mind, IN MOUTH!  I keep the refrigerator and cupboards stocked with LOTS of healthful foods. Visit Bob’s Healthful Kitchen and Pantry: What’s In It?

I BRING them with me to work and times of play in a food bag—I’m willing to go to any length because I can easily overeat when I get over hungry and when there is no healthy food available.  I kept hoping that healthful foods would just fall out of the sky for me, but that didn’t happen!

This one tool, my food bag (affectionately referred to as Bob’s Strength-Training Food Bag on account of its incredible weight), helps me eat whenever I’m hungry and to stop when I’m just satisfied. I’ve used this tool for 30 years.  I don’t eat everything in it within the course of a day; however, my carrying it with me provides me with healthful food choices and guarantees I will make it throughout the day without nagging hunger, which could lead me to purchasing fat-enhancing and unhealthy snacks.

Even though I can see the value of this now, it took me quite awhile to be willing to bring foods with me. In 1979 I had just graduated school in dietetics and was working on a new job as a food service supervisor in a hospital kitchen. The kitchen had a wonderful bakery and it was my job to sample the foods before they were sent up to the patients. I could have all of the food that I wanted. Since I could sample the foods for free, I didn’t bring my meals and snacks along with me.

coffeehousecookies1pecan pie

As my diaries showed, on many occasions, one bite led to another: On one Wednesday evening: “I was fighting the desire for sweets all day until 4:30 pm when I tasted 1 cookie in the bakery–> 4 more–>4 brownies–> 2 cookies–>2 chocolate milks–>10 raw cookie dough balls–> 2 candy bars as I went out the door. Oops, I did it again. I need help.” And later in that week on Saturday evening: “I was tired so I ate 5 pieces of pecan pie from tray line. I told myself I was tired and the pie would give me energy. It didn’t!”

I went through countless experiments like this until I realized at a deep level that free food comes with a profound cost to me. I could, at last, see the value of bringing a food bag along with a variety of snacks and foods for mealtime. I clearly saw it would be best NOT to sample all of the foods in the kitchen. I ultimately decided to work in the diet office and to get out of the kitchen because that environment was too stimulating for me.  

How I Do It

The BAG                          

I have a canvas outer bag (actually a Sears tool bag, cost $9) with double-thick paper shopping bags (like the picture below) inside of the canvas. That acts as insulation to keep the foods cold.  I also use frozen bread for sandwiches when it is HOT outside. I find that foods will easily keep cold for 5 hours or more this way. You could also just bring along a insulated cooler.


Extra Stuff

I keep napkins, plastic silverware, plastic bags, and of course, lots of different foods! I also keep a meditation book so that I can take time to “nourish my spirit.” 

I may even bring along a banana with a LOVE NOTE ON IT. HPIM1088.JPG I write on the banana using a pen. I also share these BANANAS with friends! It’s lots of fun.

A fun thing to do is to write a message on a green banana and mail it to a friend. Just wrap it in a tissue paper, put it in a small box and mail it. When it arrives at its destination, it will have ripened to its normal yellow color and greet its recipient with cheery tidings. You’ve heard of F.T.D. florists? Well, this is B.T.D. banana—Banana Trans Delivery! A sample message could be, “My love has ripened for you.” Or “You drive me bananas.” Or “I find you so appealing.”

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I keep a meditation book  in my lunch bag so that I can take time to “nourish my spirit.”  I may bring along some sticky notes (or bananas) with affirming messages from Nourishing Affirmations! and find that these can help really make my day. They are fuel for my soul and lift me up when I feel drooped. When I’m feeling the need to be embraced by kindness, I review Loving-Kindness: Learn to Befriend Ourselves and Others. If I’m feeling really confused I look at Out of Hell, Into Freedom Thoughts.

For a printable version On-The-Go Packed Lunches.pdf

 The Foods

I will bring along: leftovers from meals in plastic containers, raw veggies in bags, various salads in yogurt containers, different kinds of raw fruit, Mexican-flavored soy beans, raw nuts, dried fruits, and yogurt with fruit added, (pay a visit to Nutritious and Yummy Snacks, Lunches,  OR Quick Vegetarian Main Dish Ideas, Quick Menu Ideas for Home and On the Go,and Stoveless Meals for additional ideas). I frequently take along sandwiches to eat. Fillings may be: tofu pate, hummus (or garbanzo spread) or other bean spread, low fat cheese, soy meats or low-fat pastrami or ham, tuna, turkey breast, or salmon salad.

I keep non-perishable foods in the bag at all times: various dried fruits, raw nuts, soy beans, and soy jerky, candied ginger, and crackers.


I put together the foods in the A.M. (but you certainly could do it the night before). It takes only a few minutes. I then have enough food with me for all the day’s meals and snacks.

When I’m hungry, I can listen to my body and eat. That saves me from getting too hungry and then overeating. It also saves me from the temptation of raiding the vending machines at work, and saves lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

What’s inside the bag?


Click Here to see a Windows Media File (Need DSL, takes 8 minutes to upload)

Remember Food For the Spirit!


To see a Windows Media File movie description click here. (Need DSL, takes 2 minutes to upload)

Explore also: On-The-Go Packed Lunches  and What Does Bob Typically Eat In Any Given Day?


Explore the Dieting VS Non-Dieting Approach: Be Healthy At Any Size!

We try SO many things to achieve weight loss!

DIET = Die + “T” for Torture!

Have you ever been on a diet before? How did they work for you? What problems came up? Did the programs or approaches that you tried promote healthy, long-term changes in your life?

Did they promote respectful, empowering changes that you could follow for a lifetime? Most people don’t find permanent, enjoyable suggestions and strategies that help them make lasting adjustments in their lives.

This website does it differently. If you’re tried of all the OLD approaches, then read on to discover a fresh, FUN, new way!

All of the sections of this Web site apply my focus in Balanced Weight Management, that of cultivating Health-At-Any-Size.

This includes eating well (with pleasure and awareness), living actively (celebrating the joy of movement), and feeling good about yourself and others–really celebrating your life!  Every section discusses an aspect of whole-person health: health of body, mind, and spirit. Frolic around  the Essential Skills!  Discover that as your life comes into greater balance…your weight and health will come into balance.

Before you begin your journey, I encourage you to set your motivation, your intention—your reason for making the effort. Fertilize your new growth with If You Would Grow. Bask in A Daily Reminder and Practice Kind Discipline: Transform The “Good/Bad” Paradigm, and lastly Life-Long Companion.

Encourage yourself with How to Keep Motivated: Remember Each Day Your Motivation! Doing this will help you weather the ups and downs of your life’s journey. Consider also that you want to free your heart, mind, body, and spirit from choices and patterns that don’t work. You want to be a healthy, happy camper! Perhaps explore How Can You Begin to Make Changes? and use the guidelines of the Daily Personal Check-In.

           You Desire to Celebrate Your Life! What Does It Look Like When Things Are Going Well?

                        Dieting                                 versus                               

        Grim (harmful) approach

  • Believing that being thin is good, being overweight is bad.
  • Thinking you must weigh XXX pounds.
  • Hating your body–always at war with yourself.
  • Thinking your life will be better when you just lost weight
  • Losing pounds is the focus
Non-dieting* Gentle (nurturing) approach


  • Seeking to improve health, energy, fitness, and well-being.
  • Appreciating body differences of all people, including you
  • Respecting your body and honoring yourself with your daily choices.
  • Accepting yourself for the wonderful person you already are, right now.
  • Cultivating more nurturing and healthful inner attitudes and behaviors is the focus. This happens from an understanding of how lifestyle, familial, genetic, and cultural factors influence your daily patterns.

  • Seeking a quick fix (impatient)
  • Planning to change behaviors only temporarily.
  • Being rigid and perfectionist–all or nothing–abusive towards ourselves and authoritarian.
  • Not wanting to spend the time to explore the “root causes” that have led to your present lifestyle imbalance.

  • Progressing one step at a time (patient) while having FUN!
  • Developing new respectful lifestyle habits that can last a lifetime.
  • Remaining flexible and open to new ideas as you celebrate the joy of learning.
  • Be gentle with ourselves as we practice kind-discipline. We see our unborn wholeness and trust for it to emerge.
  • We set the intention to free our hearts and minds from suffering and desire to cultivate choices that bring lasting well-being to us.

  • Relying on “experts” and exterior guidelines.
  • Attempting deprivation and restriction.
  • Judging food, eating, and exercise behavior as good or bad.
  • Allowing a program to control what you eat, how much, and when.
  • Needing to force yourself to exercise and being very obsessive.

  • Trusting yourself to find what works as you tune within your own self, for your own answers.
  • Being moderate and positive.
  • Doing what you want–with personal responsibility for your choices. Learning where your choices lead you.
  • Eating what you want–with awareness and pleasure.
  • Learning to move your body in ways that bring you pleasure.

  • You may lose weight, but will usually gain it back–plus more.
  • Setbacks will cause guilt, self-blame, and self- hatred.
  • Reinforces binge eating and a preoccupation with food.
  • Lowers your metabolism
  • You’ll feel like a failure when weight is regained.
  • You’ll become even more discouraged that you’ll ever find a solution that is safe and effective.
  • Reinforces an unhealthy relationship with foods and yourself.
  • Diets don’t work for long and they are harmful to us!

  • Your small steps will lead to successfully becoming more fit, healthy, and frisky from within.
  • Setbacks (which are normal and a part of the process of learning any new skill) will encourage forgiveness and increased self understanding and self-mastery.
  • You’ll feel more in charge, as you become more skilled.
  • You’ll learn more about yourself than you might have ever thought possible and make changes that you really want to make.
  • You have learned to develop a more unconditional and compassionate friendship with yourself!


  © 2004, adapted with permission, Kaiser Permanente Northwest Health Education Services, Cultivating Health™ Weight Management Kit


                                                                           Feast on…

                   Visit to Feast on a “Diet of Self-love” and Self-Care

 Check out Linda Bacon, PhD for an exploration of HAES principles: and her book :

Feast on a diet of self-love

A Diet of Self Love

Stir up and savor nurturing thoughts and actions

Discover How to Develop a Loving Relationship with You

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The Diet VS Non-diet graph above expresses a holistic and respectful focus. This BLOG and Web site (see 12 Essential Skills section and others) make suggestions on how to apply this new paradigm. My intention is promote this new way of cultivating life-long health and well-being.

This BLOG and Web site is VERY ECLECTIC, that is I have included many different approaches from numerous authors. I have NOT found that there is any one approach that will work for everyone. The issues that I have explore have been all of the ones that influence the 20 – 60 people that I have seen every week during the last year and during the last 25 years that I have taught healthier lifestyle programs.

I have found that NO ONE approach, book, resource, or process provides the COMPLETE answer to personal transformation. So, take what you like (what works for you) and leave the rest (what doesn’t work for you).


Engender a sense of tolerance.

There are many paths to well-being.

Use what works. Release what doesn’t.

These tools and information are supplied as a initial support to promote self-management and self-awareness (guided learning) in certain areas. They are to provide FLEXIBLE–NOT RIGID–STRUCTURE and a “tool kit” of OPTIONS to try out. They are to be experimented with, using the suggestions and ideas FLEXIBLY and respectfully. Take what you like–what is helpful, and leave the rest–what isn’t helpful to you.

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It is also essential to explore Do You Experience Overwhelming Circumstances? section if you find your life at present is touched by many challenging circumstances that make achieving a healthier weight seem impossible. You might feel helpless and hopeless about changing. Is this how you are feeling? I have felt that same way before. Things CAN change for the better.

To achieve a healthier life and be healthier–permanently, (health maintenance), you will need to change the way you live your life. An essential skill and practice is for YOU to become your own personal lifestyle coach. To begin, see How To Use This Site.

This process can be FUN and enjoyable! Self-care should NEVER be torture, or in any way personally disrespectful. 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.

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Frolic around:  CELEBRATE Healthful Eating! Yum! Make It FUN. Make It Colorful!, CELEBRATING The Simple Joys Of Life!, The Power of Fun: Celebrate Enjoyable Ways To Be Active!, Frolic in Nature, An Alphabetical Guide to Zestful Living, and Sprinkle Dollops of Delight and Self-Care Towards Yourself for ideas of how to begin.

My intention is that you DO NO HARM to yourself through your exploring and using any of the materials on my BLOG or Web site. You guide yourself with intention–the vision to be the happiest and healthiest you can be– but NOT torture or any form of self-disrespect!

uncondition love ROSE

Know when to focus out. Stop trying too hard. Make learning all of these new skills more like a enjoying a hobby rather than doing a tedious and difficult job. Practice the Essential Skill #9-self-nurturing and self-esteem when you find your “well of reserve” a little depleted and you feel drooped.


Along your journey of change, be gentle with yourself!

Be respectful towards yourself:


“Don’t shout at the apple and demand that it ripen!

It won’t ripen any faster and all you’ll get is a sore throat!!!”

—Advice given to me by my counselor