7 Mind & Body Adjustments Before Starting Any Diet

7 Mind & Body Adjustments Before Starting Any Diet

Most diets fail, so what can you do to stay at a healthy weight?

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I came across a startling statistic in an article on a popular health site that claimed nearly 90% of diets fail. Although the article went viral, that failure rate turned out to be a bit exaggerated. Still, we're talking about a failure rate of about 70%, so something is wrong.

So, why are most diets failing? Well, think of weight gain as merely a symptom of a larger issue. Most people focus only on the numbers, and don't realize that their entire lifestyle might have to change to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

#1: Adjust your schedule

Before signing up for an expensive diet like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig, (whoa, pricey!) do what you can to flip those odds from failure to success. How? Here are some free ways to prepare yourself for sustainable weight loss, and a healthier lifestyle.

Starting a new workout routine means freeing up a few hours each week from your already-packed schedule. You may think the real work lies in doing the actual workout when 99% of it is done in rearranging meetings and routines to have the time to workout. That's why a lot of people are willing to pay so much for meal delivery diets, as their #1 priority is convenience.

#2: Adjust your sleep

Sleep is so vital in weight loss and overall health as it affects leptin, ghrelin, cortisol, and growth hormone – among other things. I am a night owl and that used to think it was okay to sleep at 1am and wake up at 6:30am. I could only maintain that until I felt like I had completely run myself into the ground, and my hormone levels have yet to recover. It's digging a deep hole that is tough to get out of.

#3: Adjust your stress

Eating is a common reaction to stress, so this is a huge reason to manage your stress. The other is cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that when elevated for a period of time can really interfere with metabolic processes. If you're like me, your metabolic processes are junk to begin with, so anything that would affect that more should be avoided.

Personally, I had a really rough time with work-induced stress for years, and it was one of the reasons I started my own business. While that may sound stressful to some people, it meant the pressure of pleasing or reporting to someone above me and playing office politics was gone. My clients are theoretically my bosses, but I'm doing work that was collaboratively built and it's an entirely different feeling.

#4: Adjust your shopping

Eating healthier means more meal planning, grocery lists, and reading labels. Add this to one of those time consuming items you now have to fit into your schedule. No more zipping through the grocery store on autopilot grabbing whatever strikes your fancy. It's a tough adjustment for many.

#5: Adjust your family

Reduced dinners out, less fast food for the kids, different dinners with the husband – they're all consequences that they will face because of your commitment to get healthy. It may be rough on them to understand why you need to clean out the pantry, but they'll adjust and all be better for it. Still doesn't make it easy!

#6: Adjust your mind

Unless you adjust your mind to how you got to where you started, you may never reach a place of satisfaction. Identifying root causes and working on rewiring your brain and response mechanisms is incredibly hard. It requires introspection, opening up old wounds, and fighting yourself. Not everyone needs to go to therapy, but many of us do. It's a huge time and monetary investment, and the work is messy for something as seemingly easy as sitting on a chair and talking.

#7: Adjust your body

It's painful to start exercise if you've been sedentary. Heck, it's painful to exercise if you've been away for a couple weeks. It's not a comfortable feeling. You have to work to figure out what to do, and how to do it. You learn certain things bore you and others excite you.

You might get injured and end up having to adjust your body in an entirely different way. If you aren't getting the results you think you should be, you might need to get lots of blood work and become an advocate for you as the patient seeking answers. So while you may think that going to the gym is part of "visible work," there are so many other things that go into it before it is a consistent, enjoyable routine.

I'm not saying all of this to make you think it's impossible to lose weight or get healthy. It's worth it. I'm taking time to meal plan and figure out what will work for me in the long run. I'm testing new eating guidelines to see if they make me feel better, worse, or the same.

My exercise has been limited with my ankle so I've had to adjust my workouts to include swimming again, which means even more time to get ready and then shower afterwards. It requires feeling uncomfortable for the 20 steps from the pool locker room to the water where I fret about having to share a swim lane. It's a lot of work, but it's what needs to be done to make things happen.

The invisible work is where the difference will be made. Do the invisible work.

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My Freckles Are Not A Beauty Trend For You To Appropriate And Immitate

Those with faces full of freckles can't wipe them off like you can after a photo shoot.

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While it is fun to use makeup to express yourself, one can argue unless you are in costume, it should be used to enhance your features, not create new ones. The trend of artificial freckles puts a nasty taste in my mouth reminiscent to the feeling I get when I see a Caucasian woman apply such dark foundation to her face that she appears to be donning blackface.

To someone who has a face full of freckles, it is offensive to see you paint on freckles as if they were not permanent features of other people's skin that they cannot remove with a makeup wipe. I remember asking my cousin at 5 years old if I could surgically remove my freckles and crying when she broke to me that I'd be stuck with what she called giraffe spots my whole life.

I'm not alone in feeling self-conscious about my freckles. The face is the fulcrum of the identity, and it can feel like my facial identity is like a haphazard splash of orange/brown debris. Another against the fake freckles movement retorts: "you'll soon regret them when people begin to describe you as a polka-dot-skinned troll or a cinnamon-toast-faced goblin. Also, when your eyebags start to sag in middle-age, that 'cute' skin art will probably deteriorate into something more closely resembling oblong blackheads. Sincerely, A Freckled Person"

One woman recalls her struggle with accepting the patterns of her skin from a very young age:

“When I was a young girl, I remember staring at myself in my bathroom mirror and imagining my face without the scattered brown dots that littered my face and body. I dreamed of having the small imperfections removed from my face and obtaining the smooth porcelain skin that I envied. I looked at my bare-faced friends in awe because they had what I wanted and would never know. For some odd reason, I had made myself believe that my freckles made me ugly."

I've come to appreciate the beauty of these sun kisses, and many nowadays have too. However, freckles haven't always been considered cute. There is a history of contempt toward red reader freckled people, just ask Anne Shirley! The dramatic young heroine laments: "Yes, it's red," she said resignedly. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much — the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, "Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing." But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow." (Montgomery).

Historically, freckles on ones face have been seen as dirty or imperfect. It's easy to forget that Irish features such as red hair and freckles have been subject to hateful discrimination for centuries. In some places, the word ginger is even used as a slur.

I am not a red-headed stepchild for you to beat — or for you to appropriate.

My facial texture is not a toy for you to play with.

It is rude and inconsiderate to pock your face for a selfie while those with randomly splashed spots get someone once a week trying to rub off the "dirt speck" on their face.

Greg Stevens has a theory to why there is anti-red prejudice

“Skin tone is another one of those well-studied features that has been shown to consistently have an impact on people's assessment of physical beauty: Those with clear, evenly-colored skin are widely regarded as being more attractive than people with patchy, blotchy, or freckled skin.
Nowhere is this more obvious than when looking at professional photos of redheaded models and celebrities. Even those "hot redheads" that flaunt the redness of their hair usually are made-up on magazine covers to have almost unnaturally even skin tones. Moreover, there is a reasonable theory to explain why the bias against freckles might be more than just a cultural prejudice. Not to be too blunt about it, but freckles are cancer factories."

By that, the author means freckles can be early indicators of sun damage or skin cancer. This illusion that freckles indicate deficiency may also play in negative connotations toward a person with freckles

While I acknowledge the intention of people with clear skin who paint freckles on their face isn't to offend — rather it is to appreciate freckles as a beauty statement — the effect is still offensive. If you are thinking about trying this freckle fad, you should put down your fine tipped brush and consider what it would be like if you couldn't wipe away the spots.

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12 Big Tax Changes for 2018

If you've watched any news this year, you'll know that sweeping tax law changes are coming. But, how will they affect you and your family?

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Big tax changes to consider for 2018: If you watch the news and keep up with current events, you will know that in recent months, the House and Senate have renegotiated and revamped many of the tax laws. After many months of back and forth, the changes are here and there are some things that you need to know. Here are the changes you can expect to see this coming tax season.

1. Tax Bracket Changes

Tax exemptions and rates are primarily based upon income and there are still 7 major tax brackets to consider. Take the time to view the below information to first see where you fall in line with these 7 income levels. Note that there is now a new lower top tax of 37%. This is, in fact, lower than previous rates proposed by the senate and house majority.

Ok, let's meet the tax brackets:

• 10% Tax $9,525 individuals; $19,050 for married couples and those filing jointly
• 12% Tax between $9,525 and $38,700, individuals; $19,050 to $77,400 filing jointly
• 22% Tax between $38,700 and $82,500, individuals; $77,400 to $165,000 jointly
• 24% Tax between $82,500 and $157,500, individuals; $165,000 to $315,000 jointly
• 32% Tax between $157,500 and $200,000, individuals; $315,000 to $400,000 jointly
• 35% Tax between $200,000 and $500,000, individuals; $400,000 to $600,000 jointly
• 37% Tax over $500,000 individuals; over $600,000 jointly





2. Deductions

This year, filers have the ability to deduct lower than their taxable income. This is due to the double standard deduction policy. Single filers can utilize between $6,350 to $12,000 and those filing jointly can file between $12,700 and $24,000 deductions. These higher figures are the result of eliminating many of the traditional deductions allowed to tax payers. It is likely that more tax payers will choose this avenue as opposed to itemizing deductions. If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is below $66k, you might even be able to file simple taxes for free.

3. Personal Exemptions Scrapped

This year, filers have the ability to deduct lower than their taxable income. This is due to the double standard deduction policy. Single filers can utilize between $6,350 to $12,000 and those filing jointly can file between $12,700 and $24,000 deductions. These higher figures are the result of eliminating many of the traditional deductions allowed to tax payers. It is likely that more tax payers will choose this avenue as opposed to itemizing deductions.

4. Higher Medical Expense Deductions

Medical expenses could previously be deducted for up to 10% of your gross adjusted income. The figure has been lowered to 7.5% for this season and beginning in 2019, there is no longer a penalty in place for not having medical insurance.

5. Fewer Taxpayers Hit AMT

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is placed on those claiming higher income as a separate tax. The new exemption amount for the AMT is up to $109,400 for those married and filing jointly and to $70,300 for those filing as single. Exemptions phase out at $1 million for married filers and $500,000 for single filers. This means that fewer people will reach the AMT threshold.

6. What About Family Exemptions?

As stated above, the $4,050 that was the standard for filing dependents has been eliminated. Those will larger families will be affected most as they will no longer be able to take advantage of that sometimes large tax break.

7. Higher Child Tax Credit

The above deduction being taken away might seem like a let down to some families, but luckily, the government has made up for it. They have chosen to increase the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $2,000. This tax credit is for single parents with a reflective income of up to $200,000 and married couples and those filing jointly for up to $400,000. There is also a new $500 credit for adult dependents.

8. 529 Plans Used Outside of College Expenses

Private school kids are getting a bit of an upgrade with 529 plans coming available for use in grades K-12. Up to $10,000 per year can be used from the college savings program for primary private school education. These funds, however, do not cover homeschooling expenses. The top tax software actually offers special codes just for students.

9. Lower Mortgage Interest

Homeowners get a break with the ability to deduct interest on their current home up to $1 million, but those looking to purchase a home will have to contend with a cap of $750,000 for deducted interest.

10. State, Local, and Property Tax

The debate lingers as to which states allow for state and local tax deductions, but it is still available for taxpayers to deduct their property tax, and either sales tax or income, but only up to $10,000. So, can you get out of that state tax bill? Um, no. Haven't you heard that quote about death and taxes?

11. Corporate Tax Rate Drop

Corporate taxes were on the table this year and those taxes have been reduced drastically from 35% to 21%. This is currently the largest drop in history and as of 2026, the change will become permanent. This tax cut has certainly given a short-term boost to Wall Street, but the jury is out on the long-term benefit to Main Street.

12. Pass Through Business Lower Tax Rates

Partnerships, S Corporations, and Sole Proprietorships are known as pass through businesses. These businesses have historically been saddled with high self employment taxes while larger businesses benefit, but these companies are now allowed a bit of a break. Pass through business owners are now allowed to deduct up to 20% of their total annual income instead of resorting to itemization as in years past.

In conclusion: Taxes evolve with time and this year has certainly been a doozy of change for the 2018 tax season. If you have yet to brush up on the new laws and see where you stand, it is time to take advantage of the space between now and filing day and find out which laws you are subject to following and which ones you may be exempt from. As always, file your taxes responsibly to ensure that you never have to hear the most frightening word of all, "AUDIT." Happy (almost!) Tax Season!

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