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How to lose weight.

51V5skn-eJL._SX368_BO1,204,203,200_ “Lose weight” and/or “eat better” will appear on many a New Year’s resolution list — just as they did last year, and will again next year. Such plans often gang agley for a number of reasons.

We aren’t really invested in them. We miss our old comfort foods. We don’t know how to adjust the rest of our lives to support a new way of being in the world.

That’s why I’m giving away a Kindle copy of Victoria Hay’s “30 Pounds, 4 Months: How to Eat Well and Lose Weight – Painlessly.”

Her approach is fairly simple: Dieting isn’t something you do. It’s something you are.

“You change your way of looking at food, work light exercise – nothing extreme! – into your daily habits, and learn to eat better food, not necessarily less food,” says Hay, a former journalist and professor and current owner of The Copyeditor’s Desk writing and publishing service.


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th-1Seasonal affective disorder has hit hard this year. Despite the aptly named S.A.D. light I’ve been eyebrow-deep in doldrums.

Having battled depression and anxiety in the past I can say the past weeks feel both familiar and different.

The glumness is just as I recall it: a cement straitjacket that impedes my ability to move, let alone achieve much. What’s new, and worrisome, is that I’m having a devil of a time talking myself down from it.

In years past I got through the season – heck, through my life – thanks to the sheer number of Things That Must Be Done. Should those things not have gotten done I would have been letting someone down: my child, my then-husband, my employer, my friends.

Or I’d do what I privately think of as a Full Pollyanna and create my own personal glad game. Just look at what I’ve got going for me: a daughter I love, health (mostly), family, friends, a job I love (mostly), a roof over my head, plenty to eat, etc. etc.

Generally that worked, either because it made me realize how lucky I was or because it embarrassed me off the self-pity path. Hasn’t worked lately, even though I can add astounding midlife love to the plus side of the ledger.

In fact, it’s made me feel worse. To be clear: I’m fully aware of how blessed I am. It’s just that sometimes none of those blessings can get through the fog. As Sinclair Lewis put it, “It has not yet been recorded that any human being has gained a very large or permanent contentment from meditation upon the fact that he is better off than others.”

 


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Finishing your holiday buying in person? Get ready for warfare on wheels – and not just as regards scoping for prime parking spots.

Combat shopping can be murder on your ride. Whether you leave it in a garage, on the street or in a mall parking lot, you’re at risk of being tagged by a clueless driver and/or having your purchases stolen before you can even get them home to be wrapped.

While some consumers prefer to shop entirely online nearly six in 10 will do at least some brick-and-mortar visits, according to the National Retail Federation. Excited, distracted or stressed-out shoppers may dent your fender or scrape some paint on the way into or out of a parking space.

The honest ones will leave contact information on your windshield. The others just keep driving, which is not only bad manners but could also be a hit and run, legally speaking. Most states don’t define this as taking place on roads or highways, and many include parking-lot incidents in the hit-and-run definition.

One of my recent NerdWallet articles can help.


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thJust got a press release from a company suggesting “fun and affordable” stocking stuffers. What got my attention was how it defines “affordable”: items under $50.

Um…no. I don’t spend $50 altogether on the stuffers for five stockings. In fact, I generally don’t spend anything at all (more on that in a minute).

On what non-frugal planet is “under $50” considered a low price for a small item? And when did stocking stuffers graduate from candy canes and stickers to things like $50 iTunes cards, Sharper Image six-port USB charging hubs ($29.98) and $30 bottles of perfume?

Little things mean a lot, but they shouldn’t have to cost a lot. Thus I refuse to pay a lot. Here are some ways to save.

 


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IMG_20151210_113500This week’s giveaway achieves two of my favorite goals: supporting the local economy and helping readers finish up their holiday shopping.

I only wish that my meh-photography did justice to the two pendants up for grabs this week. They’re quite striking and hand cut- and hammered by my friend Linda B.

She started by cutting two disks of aluminum: one a deep maroon and the other a vibrant violet. Onto each she riveted a five-armed, gear-like circle that makes the pendants look, at first glance, like sheriffs’ badges or combat medals.

The colors below seem richer, possibly because you’re seeing them in concentrated glimpses. The overlays give a suggestion of motion that I like to think of as, “Hey — get your life in gear and start moving!”

Know anyone who needs an accessory with a built-in kick in the pants? Or maybe you need it yourself.


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