Category Archives: Temptation

Back on the Wagon!

Healthy holidays to you and yours!

I hope this end of year post finds you all healthy, happy, and looking forward to a bright new year–that time when we make a fresh start, set those goals, and forge on with determination that this year…we’ll do better about sticking with the plan.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of thinking that gets us off track every time. Setting goals is helpful and necessary, and planning for the future is a great habit. But when we put off making better choices until tomorrow, we subconsciously give ourselves permission to cheat like crazy in the meantime. It’s easy to say I’ll get back on the scale on Monday, or I’ll start that new exercise routine after New Year’s, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires developing daily routines you can’t live without–all year long. Healthy LivingI’m not saying you can’t enjoy a ham dinner and have a piece of pie, but the holidays shouldn’t mean that we get to go completely off the rails and then pay for it later.

This “life on credit” belief system is a toxic cultural mindset that is at the root of many failed diets, unsuccessful exercise programs, and even the outrageous credit card debt that most Americans live with these days.

Developing healthy habits is never easy–especially when we’re faced with constant temptation. We all tend to over-indulge at the holidays and we are conditioned by years of tradition to do so. But when splurging becomes the habit rather than the occasional exception, it’s much harder to get back up on the wagon and be good. And we all know it’s easier to give in to temptation than it is to fight it. It doesn’t help that there are layers of emotional, social, and physiological reasons why we over-indulge. These issues need to be addressed as well if you want to achieve lasting results in your weight management and healthy living goals. I recognize how challenging it is to get on, and stay on, the right track, but it most certainly can be done–even through the holidays.

Real change begins with the belief that we can change.  We must convince ourselves that we CAN eat moderately on a regular basis and still enjoy an occasional splurge in moderation, or a day off from our exercise routine. It simply takes training. Or in most cases–retraining.

The thing is, habits are created through repetition. If you have–like most people–developed the habit of making excuses and procrastinating on making necessary changes, your first order of business (if you want your goals to mean more than words on a page), is to work on developing a NOW attitude. Don’t wait until after New Year’s to start an exercise program. Start today! Never start a diet on Monday. Often, people gain weight on diets when they habitually practice the “I’ll start on Monday” mantra, since this gives their subconscious mind the green light to eat all the goodies in sight over the weekend.

Change starts NOW!

I know Christmas has passed, but with New Year’s Eve right around the corner and Valentine’s Day nipping at its heals with an abundance of sweet temptations, now is as good a time as any to grab the reins and take back control.  Follow these simple rules and I promise, you’ll leave your holiday dinner feeling satisfied, not stuffed… and grateful, not guilty.

  1. Micro-portion control. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your belly! Since there’s likely a feast of foods to choose from, literally take a bite or two of each food onto your plate. Same with desserts. A sliver means three bites. Trust me, if you do this one thing, you won’t overeat, and you’ll feel satisfied rather than overly stuffed. Just remind yourself that there will be leftovers and you can enjoy the meal again the next day–in another round of small portion-sized servings.
  2. Skip seconds. This probably echoes rule #1, but less is more at the holidays and more isn’t always better. Meals should be social times, but the more we associate eating with a feeling of love and belonging, the more we will use food to care for our emotional needs–which leads to habitual overeating. Instead of going for seconds, pour a second glass of water or make yourself a cup of aromatic tea and sip that while people are still eating. Enjoy the conversation and focus on how grateful you are for the loved ones in your life. Remind yourself that love is NOT about food and that you want to stay healthy and fit for them as well as for yourself.
  3. Choose wisely. With all the food and beverage choices we have to make through the holidays, and the abundance of sugary delights, it’s no wonder the entire nation doesn’t suffer a diabetic coma by New Years Day. Egg Nog–spiked or otherwise–is loaded with sugar and saturated fat. Consider the light version and “water” it down by mixing it with skim milk. It’s still plenty sweet and creamy, but it isn’t so filling or calorie laden. Be mindful of how much alcohol you’re consuming and keep track of the calories ( a 5 oz. serving of wine is about 106 calories). Practice the trade-off method, as in…trade-off the second glass of wine for a sliver of pie, but know that indulging in both will probably put you way over your daily calorie count. Think about how hard you have to workout to make those treats go away. In other words, choose consciously and choose wisely.

Making consistently positive choices about diet and exercise is the only way to achieve lasting fitness and succeed with weight management goals.

Visit my website’s Overcome your Sedentary Lifestyle page to get started on the new you, and for more tips on Fighting the Battle of the Bulge or Making and Breaking Habits, pre-order the e-book copy of my upcoming release and have it delivered straight to your Kindle on January 12th.

(Print copies will also be available!)

Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle

(A Practical Guide to Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes)

PJSharon_OvercomeYourSedentaryLifestyle_eCover_800[1]

 I hope you’ll join me in celebrating on January 10th and get your signed copy ahead of everyone else.

You’re Invited to the book launch party!

1-4 p.m. Refreshments, book signing, and Q&A

January 10, 2016 (SNOW DATE: Jan. 17th)

Granby Yoga Studio

29-B Hartford Ave. Granby, CT

PJSharon_StandUpForLife_Logo_1LG_900x2300

If you live in the New England area, I hope to see you there. In the meantime, have a wonderful rest of 2015 and make your first goal of the new year adopting a NOW attitude!

What’s your new mantra going to be this coming year?

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The Sugar Crush

Hi, Scribe Friends. Suze here. Glad you could stop by.

I’m working on the second novel in my mystery series (details of which I hope to be able to release soon!), and while I’m excited about it and making progress, I’m also finding myself not making my 1,000 word goal most days. And that’s a problem, because I want this puppy done by August 15.

I’ve also found myself procrastinating on other items on my to-do list, simple things that can and should be accomplished in ten or fifteen minutes (or less) but are nonetheless piling up and stressing me out.

thCABE2757But do I blame myself for all this? No! It’s not my fault! I blame …

Candy Crush Saga. This stupid, insanely addictive game is the world’s biggest time suck! There’s a sister game, by the way, called Farm Heroes Saga, but I just can’t warm up to those overly cute vegetables.

Anyway, the first step to conquering a problem is admitting you have one. Over the last few weeks the game has dragged me deeper and deeper into sweet, sticky oblivion. I’m at the hard-crack-ho stage on the candy thermometer. Just one more game. No, just one more game until I win. What? I’m out of lives? Sure, I’ll gladly wait twenty-eight minutes until I get another one, and in the meantime I’ll just surf the web and ogle Joe Manganiello and Channing Tatum, or google recent archaeological/anthropological finds (did you see the one about the Siberian female tattooed mummy? Click here, but only if you trust yourself to come back!). Wash, rinse, repeat until hours have gone by.

When my son gives me attitude, he loses privileges. It only seems right to give myself consequences, too, when I’m misbehaving. Therefore, daily, until further notice, no Candy Crush until I’ve completed the following:

  • Write 1,000 words on my manuscript
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise
  • Complete the most-pressing thing on my to-do list (the ones that take 15 minutes or less)

I’ve already been detoxing for a couple of days. So any of you Facebook friends out there, don’t expect me to be sending you lives or extra moves for a while until I get this under control. Or until I make my daily goals, above.

And come August 15, when this book is done, there will be one giant Sugar Crush. Tasty!

How about you? What’s your biggest time suck and how do you handle it? What are your personal addictions?

Everything You Never Thought You Needed

Greetings, Scribe friends, Suze here.  Did everyone get their taxes finished and out the door, either electronically or via the good ole Postal Service of the U.S. of A.? Here’s hoping you got a big refund. And when it arrives, or if it’s burning a hole in your pocket already, I’ve got a suggestion how you can spend some of it.

Come back after the flea market closes, and you can have dinner and see a couple of movies!

I’m talking about the flea market. Do you have one nearby? There are a couple not too far from my home, and Mr. Suze and our son visited one last weekend. This one has the advantage of being on the grounds of one of the only drive-in movie theaters left in New England.  (Check out Mansfield Drive-In here.)  So here are my top reasons for loving flea markets:

1.    You can find everything you never thought you needed. Where else can you find a banjo (Son wanted this, but at $350 decided against it), depression glass, knockoff designer purses (I was tempted on some of these), or this stunning planter:

 

Wouldn't this look great on the antique plant stand in the foyer?

 

2. You’re supporting small enterprise. Some vendors actually buy up other people’s unwanted stuff, clean it (sometimes!), pack and transport it, then set it up in a jumble on on their tables or on tarps on the ground, all for your viewing and purchasing pleasure.

3. You’re assisting someone else with her fung shui. Clearing clutter is good for increasing your energy and creativity. That person who is getting rid of unwanted items may now go on to achieve her dreams, all because you bought her barely used George Foreman grill for $5.00 (haggled down from $8.00).

4.  You can observe people for hours, getting necessary fodder to store away in your idea silo. This is one of my favorite things about the flea market. See that woman in the sunglasses and floppy-brimmed hat? Is she the careful, cautious type who wears her sunscreen without fail, exercises and eats right, calls her mother every Saturday morning, and is about to meet the man who will change her life forever? Or is she a spy-gone-rogue, on the run from a secret government organization, and the only thing that can save her is the long-lost information hidden in that dusty trout mounted on a varnished wooden board?

Now, you do have to be careful at places like this. It’s very easy to go overboard and come home with a lot of stuff that will actually make your life worse (see #3, above). Over the years I’ve developed some rules about what I can buy. If it’s just one more thing to store or dust, no. If it is a piece of my discontinued wedding china pattern (Mikasa Imperial Rose — anybody got some cheap?), yes.  I really have to keep my love of a bargain in check, and I have a weakness for antique dishes, vintage costume jewelry, and of course books, books, books.

That's a big TBR pile!

On this latest trip to the flea market, nothing fit my criteria. So I bought nothing. Mr. Suze bought a fold-up fishing chair and a reel for an 8mm film projector (the old projector, we already have). Teenage son bought a hot dog.

How about you? Love flea markets or tag sales (in other parts of the country you might call them yard or garage sales)? What items can’t you resist? What’s the most unusual item you’ve seen at one?

Brushes With Greatness

Hello, my loves. Suze here. Welcome!

This weekend my extended writing posse, Connecticut Romance Writers of America (click here for more information!), is having a very special guest visit our monthly meeting: Historical Romance Goddess Julia Quinn! Woohoo! (If you live within driving distance of southern Connecticut, there’s still time to get a ticket)

The fan girl in me is salivating at this opportunity to meet JQ. And it got me thinking about other brushes with greatness I’ve had. Here’s my list:

1.  Janet Evanovich and her daughter Alex.  Sister Scribe J Monkeys and I drove out toward Beantown, had a long boozy lunch, then went to Janet’s book signing for Wicked Appetite. We visited with Alex while we waited in line for our turn to meet Janet. Awesome!  Still hoping we absorbed some of that magic …

2.  Doug Henning. The youngsters among us may not recognize the name, but back in the day he was quite a famous illusionist.  I was waiting to go up into the CN Tower in Toronto, and Doug and his very Bohemian girlfriend/wife — she actually wore a beret and a peasant skirt — were

Wish upon that star, baby!
in front of me.  I recall he had a HUGE head of long, black, curly hair, and kind of a bunny-like smile. He was extremely thin, and very short. I’m only five-three, and he was shorter than I if you subtracted the high eighties hair. Did not get free tickets to his show. Crap.

3.  Unknown 1950s/60s comic. Mr. Suze and I got married at a resort hotel in New York State. There was a gentleman getting some quietly special treatment when we went to breakfast the next morning. He looked familiar, and we knew he had to be some comedian from the Red Skelton era, but we never did figure out who he was. This is one of those things that will likely bug me forever!

4.  Richard Chamberlain. I went to NYC with my bestie from back home to see The Sound of Music. We were in a very small theater, and we had really great seats, right up front. Now, raise your hands. Who was in love with Father Ralph in The Thorn Birds? Every one of you, right? Well …. hang onto those memories because he didn’t look so great a few years ago as Captain Von Trapp. I mean, I know the man was getting up there in years, but he was wearing an inordinate amount of makeup that did NOT help the situation. Also guyliner.  Let’s just go back and think about Father Ralph again, shall we?

5. Katherine Hepburn. Mr. Suze and I used to keep a boat down at the shore, until I “made” him sell it (still a sore subject in our house). While we were out on Long Island Sound once, we were traveling behind a yacht. Up on the top deck sat an elderly woman, bundled up against the wind, all alone save for her captain at the helm. There was no mistaking her. She looked happy. She didn’t invite us back to her place for tea. Sigh.

So spill! What celebrities have you seen up close? Was the experience monumental? Or was it monumentally disappointing?

Chocolate Cupcakes of Doom

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here.

Let’s talk temptation. We’re all tempted by something. My particular culinary weakness is cupcakes. Throw in chocolate and peanut butter and my will power is toast.

These are chocolate cupcakes filled with peanut butter cup filling, topped with homemade chocolate icing. Mmmmm. I made these for a party. It was tough to give them away.

Yeah, you know you want one.

It doesn’t matter how many “points” the cupcake may be (for all you Weight Watchers folks, you know what I mean). Put cupcakes in front of me…ahh one won’t hurt right? Stay tuned at the end of the post for the recipe for these bad boys.

Temptation is a requirement in romance novels. No one wants to read a story where the hero walks into a room and sweeps away the heroine away at first contact (the book would be over in one chapter).

No, first they have to suffer. They have to pine. To squirm.

Like the evil cupcakes, the hero and heroine have to want each other first, but can’t act on their desires immediately. They’ll each have different reasons why they can’t be together. They must travel the road of trial and tribulation before their happily ever after is a reality.

Kind of like I’m making you wait for the cupcake recipe. But, seriously, while it seems counterintuitive, readers want your characters to have to climb mountains to be together. Temptation makes a page turner. The push, the pull. And if you notice, even if/when they consummate the relationship, the situation grows worse!

Just when it seem impossible for them to be together, there will be a breakthrough and happily ever after will be in sight.

Yay!

What is your temptation? Do you fight it? And what makes a good romance novel (or any story) for you?  As promised, the cupcake recipe is here.