Beware the False Promise of Diets – and What to Focus on Instead

With New Year’s just around the corner, more and more people will be thinking about diets and losing weight, at least if prior trends are any indication. Last year, for example, 12% of people said they wanted to lose weight, which shared the top spot with people resolving to become a better person. And it’s not too surprising when you think about what diets promise. It’s not losing weight, despite what the ads say. Diets promise happiness. When you go on a diet, you’re told that you’ll lose weight, and suddenly your life will be better. You’ll be a happier person. The problem is, it’s a false promise. Even worse, chasing happiness this way is likely to backfire. The good news is, you don’t h

Learning to Appreciate the Dark

We’re in the darkest time of year, especially here in the northeast where we don’t even have 9 hours of daylight. It can be easy to view this, or any kind of darkness, as something negative. This happens all the time in our culture, where we consider dark things bad, or if we don’t like something, we consider it dark. We even have the release of the latest Star Wars movie this weekend, which is all about defeating the Evil of the Dark Side. (And yes, I’m going to see it this afternoon.) You might also think of certain emotions as negative or dark, such as anger, sadness, loneliness, and more. Perhaps when you experience those emotions, you feel dark yourself and try to lift yourself up by ea

Should You Break or Keep Holiday Traditions?

One of the things that makes the holidays so difficult for mindful eating is that many of the traditions revolve around food. Thanksgiving is all about specific foods. People celebrate Hanukkah with latkes and pancakes. Kwanzaa is celebrated with soul food. Christmas often has sugar cookies, candy canes, and much more (here’s a list of Christmas foods with a subjective ranking from best to worst). What’s more, those foods connect us to our past. The memories might not always be happy, but many of them are. And the more difficult our adult lives become, the more we might yearn for those earlier connections. As a result, you might find yourself wanting to eat more cookies this time of year not

Reflecting on Peloton Bike Ad, or Giving Exercise Equipment for Christmas

In case you haven’t heard about it, controversy emerged this week about an ad for a Peloton bike, a fancy kind of indoor exercise bike. Titled “The Gift that Gives Back,” the ad shows a young, fit-looking mom going downstairs with her daughter on Christmas morning and being surprised to receive a Peloton bike from her husband. The wife shows excitement and starts using the bike regularly and recording her progress in videos. At the end, we see her saying how much her life has changed after a year of using the bike. Why the Ad is Problematic Critics say that the ad promotes body-shaming since the young woman is thin and appears healthy. Therefore, it looks like this could be a gift from the h

Why You Shouldn't Reduce Yourself to a Single Story

Do you ever find that you categorize yourself, or others that you meet, based on one thing about them? Maybe their weight, or gender, or culture – anything that might differ from the norm. Have you noticed if you do that, that suddenly you see everything that person does through that lens, as if they only have one story? This is all too easy to do, but I didn’t think much about it until recently attending a workshop at my church. The workshop was to help us get beyond the biases that encourage us to categorize people based on one thing about them, and one of the key messages was not to reduce someone to a single story. This is important to apply to other people, but something else occurred t

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