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Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Posted: 12/13/10 05:37 PM ET

I will start after the holidays. I will change right after the New Year. This is my year to take control of my body. To boldly go where no man has gone before (well, maybe not that far).

Sound familiar? New Year's resolutions time again. People trying to figure out how to adjust their attitude. And then after the first, far too many start a string of excuses, rationalizations and outright denial until it is Christmas next year already. And all you are is another year older.

Many resolutions revolve around diet and weight gain. As a longtime nutritional counselor, I have heard every excuse under the sun. And just when I thought I heard them all, I get awed by the level of imagination and hear new and more creative ones. I should be taking notes, maybe there are some I can use myself.

The only obstacle between you and a healthier, fitter and more attractive you is you. When you look in the mirror, that is the face of the person in charge. Are you happy about that or would you rather put someone else in control of you? Sounds like a ridiculous question, but it really is all about who is the boss.

So who exactly is the boss in your case?

The argument rages as to the role of the individual in our society. I myself believe strongly in personal responsibility as I know in my area of expertise, no one is going to eat or move your body for you. Not your spouse, not your friends and certainly not your government officials.

As this is a political website, I cannot help but note there is finally one item that is shared in the most bipartisan way by our soon to be Speaker of the House John Boehner as well as President Obama. They are both addicted to nicotine and have a hard time kicking the smoking habit. Luckily they know it would be a political disaster to smoke in public as it would set a bad example for the kiddies. So excuse me if I think that they should all get their respective houses (no pun intended) in order before they go off telling any of us how to eat or take care of ourselves. The best way to lead in anything is by example. I am certain both of them would love to quit for this new year. It would be interesting to hear what their rationalizations are. However, not to be judgmental, I respect that change is not an easy thing, especially when that change is of one's attitude.

How to change an attitude is as personal as it gets. I make no claims to know how to do that. If I did, I would be very rich and famous. My role is to educate and as it is in my nature, try to be as encouraging and supportive as I am able.

So back to New Years resolutions. At this point of reading this you have probably figured out that you are in charge, even if you do not want the job. Sorry, life sometimes is not the way we would like.

So go ahead and make yet another list and prioritize what you think is really important. If you put it on the computer, you will not be able to use the "dog ate my homework" excuse.

If you understand that most poor eating is habitual and traditional, the trade off seems to be that of taste and comfort vs. health, fitness and vitality. Ask yourself if what you are eating is really that tasty or pleasurable that it is worth the current body that you have. It is a myth that natural foods do not taste good. They might be different, but they're still delicious. It will actually broaden your horizons. You would be surprised at how many so called sophisticated gourmet types never even heard of let alone experienced many grains and vegetables that are readily available.

Here are some simple suggestions and always remember that even small steps in the right direction will get you where you want to go.

  • Keep it simple.
  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Don't forget to chew (two bites and swallowing is not chewing)
  • Try eliminating or at least greatly reducing your intake of, sugar, dairy, processed food, meats, fried foods and what you know is junk.
  • Use some common sense.
  • Try not to fool yourself too much.


As to exercise, do something daily. I do not care if it is nothing more than putting your sneakers on and walking around the block to start. But do it daily as part of your life. I do not buy the "I don't have the time" excuse. If you do not have the time, your priorities are out of whack.

It is never too late to change. I believe in second chances. Hell, I believe in third, forth and fifth chances for that matter. Yogi Berra an early hero of mine said it best. "It ain't over till its over."

I hope you enjoy the Christmas season and indulge if you must, and best of luck with your New Year's resolutions.

Happy New Year!



Sandy Pukel has been involved with the natural food movement for over forty years. He owned and operated the Oak Feed Store which became a Coconut Grove, Florida landmark and crossroads for those seeking lifestyle change. He is considered a guru to those who have come in contact with because of his geneorisity of spirit. He has recently co authored a vegan cookbook, Greens and Grains On the Deep Blue Sea which features receipes that can be enjoyed on his annual inspirational, educational and gourmet natural food cruise Holistic Holiday at Sea
He welcomes comments or questions at SandyPukel@gmail.com.