get connected

right tribe — the eighth Power 9®

multi colored circle of people icons



Surround yourself with people who support positive behaviors.



Make connections with others. Don’t go it alone. I’m not just talking about losing weight, I’m talking about life. Make the effort to surround yourself with others who will laugh with you, cry with you, and make the healthier choices with you.

You can…green and red healthy food

Build the right tribe – one reader shared how her work group hosted a salad buffet at an all day meeting; inviting everyone to bring one salad topping to share. This was in place of the usual boxed lunches and snacks. Turns out, not only was it a healthier lunch, but people spent more time talking and connecting with each other.

Find the right tribe – there are a lot of online groups that enjoy the same interests or experience the same challenges that you have; you could join one of them. Make sure you aren’t just lurking at what others post. Share your own comments and make the connection to your new tribe.

I’ll admit though, I prefer live and in-person groups the most, which is why I will always belong to a Toastmasters club. Why do I feel Toastmasters (an amazing group focused on developing better interpersonal communication and leadership) is the right tribe to support positive behaviors? Because at Toastmasters we always cheer each other on. We support each other in growing, stretching, and expanding. I’ve seen the self-confidence that shines through after a fellow Toastmaster pushes his or her comfort zone out an inch or two.

If Toastmasters isn’t an interest, what about checking out groups focused on gardening, sewing, racing, running, photography, advancing the status of women (Zonta), or anything else you might enjoy doing.

Remember the goal is not just to live longer, it’s also to live happier, and being connected to the right tribe can make both of those more likely.

Listen to the “founder” of Blue Zone on TEDx talk about how to live to be 100+


Blue Zone Project Power 9 Infographic.jpg


Nice overview of the Power 9®






How will you get connected this week?


Organizing Tips for getting connected

Cut back on your screen time (television, computer, phone, tablet, and more) and you’re more likely to increase your face time.

Look in your address book and schedule some time with a friend who lifts you up and encourages the healthier choices (more laughter, more movement, more enjoyment of the moment, and more down time).  Make it a routine event now rather than waiting for life to slow down later.  Later rarely comes.

PWP colored three benefits infoSpeaking of building a social community to support positive behavior — that’s exactly what these paperwork parties are:  a group of individuals spending time together and supporting the positive behavior of getting our paperwork done instead of leaving it hanging over our heads.

You could also ask a friend over to do paperwork together, but it that’s not an option (or wouldn’t be productive) join my Paperwork Party.

Find out when the next Paperwork Party is and register at

invest time with loved ones

family first  — the fifth Power 9®

Colorful  Solidarity Design Tree


Invest time with family  (and loved ones)

Back to the Power 9®

However you define family (large, small, related or not, pets), the key here is invest time and build stronger connections to your loved ones.  Make your family a priority.


Blue Zone Project Power 9 Infographic.jpgIf you have a hard time turning off work when you’re with family, start small:

  • Give yourself some transition time between being at work and being with your family by doing five minutes of breathing meditation (or just 5 slow, deep breaths).
  • Establish a technology free family meal, in other words — put your smartphone down and talk to each other.
  • Choose an activity that you can do together that keeps your attention on the present moment such as hiking and games; or plan a family vacation.

If your family consists of you and a pet, get active with your pet.  Take your dog for a walk or play with your cat.  Pets are not a part of the Blue Zone lessons, but they are still family and provide a lot of support and love.  So pet ’em if you got ’em.

Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer suggests creating a family shrine, making a point to purposefully celebrate holidays, and even living in a smaller house to create togetherness. (note: a smaller house certainly works with pets, the two dogs and two cats that I moved from Hawaii are actually getting along much better since we drastically cut the living space we have).

Though the Power 9® states ‘Family First’ that doesn’t mean their needs come before yours or that all your time should be focused around them while you neglect yourself.  It means taking the time to be with them and connect with them, strengthening the ties between you.


What will your Family Time  look like?

Check It Out

5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health from WebMD

Home Offices: How to Stop Working from the Wall Street Journal

100 Fun Family Ideas (try these even if you don’t have kids – put ‘play’ on your to-do list)

Get Your Paperwork DONE! Party February 28.  Click on the link for details and to register if you want to get your paperwork done.

Closet Clearing Party March 21 (early bird pricing ends February 28).  Click on the link for details and to register if you want to create a closet that supports you today.

These are online (virtual) parties so anyone can join from anywhere.

wine @ five

wine @ five  — the fourth Power 9®

enjoy a glass of wine with friends


Enjoy a glass of wine
each day
with good friends.

I was very excited to see this on the list.  Yes, I like my wine and didn’t want to give it up.  But this was a good reminder to stop ‘doing’ at the end of the day and relax with friends and family.
Blue Zone Project Power 9 Infographic.jpg
Too many of us are either working late at the office, bringing work home, or starting the second shift of taking care of the family and home.  We need to stop, smell the bouquet, and take time to enjoy the people in our lives.  We need to be instead of do.

Now that I have made the move to Pennsylvania, I will be building new routines. Two of them will be enjoying time with new friends each week and ensuring some relaxing time with my husband each day.


What will your Wine @ Five  look like?

Check It Out

5 Questions to Simplify Your Life During the Holidays from zen habits

For those who will be traveling for the holidays (these stretches would work for car travel as well) –  Release Tension on a Long Flight with These Stretches from Lifehacker


reduce * simplify * experience * live!

down shift

Down shift  — the first Power 9®

Blue Zone Project Power 9 Infographic.jpgThere’s two parts to down shifting – finding strategies that help you relieve the stress and preventing the stress in the first place.

The stress relief strategy that I’ve been working on for the past several weeks is taking breaks.  Whether it’s a break during the work day or a break from slaving away on that project (in my case — packing and moving).

Productivity actually increases if you take breaks.  You’ll come back refreshed and re-energized.  You might even come back with that brilliant idea that makes everything easier.

Another strategy that I will put back in play this week is breathing.  Yes, breathing.  When we’re stressed, our breathing changes.  It’s more shallow and rapid.  We get less oxygen.  So next time you feel overwhelmed, tired, stressed, or grumpy, take 3-5 deep, slow breaths.  Make each one deeper and slower than the last.  Then jump back in.  You’ll find that you land in a better place.

The other aspect to down shifting is prevention.  Sometimes this means saying ‘no’ to the next opportunity that someone offers you.  Just because it needs to be done doesn’t mean that you’re the one that has to do it.  My Dhucks‘ motto — reduce * simplify * experience * live! — applies to activities and responsibilities too.

Remember, taking the time to relax, re-energize, and re-connect with yourself, friends, and family is very important and it makes the world better.

What strategies will you use to down shift this week?


Courage to Create Your Life on Purpose

would you do anything differently?

Woman stressed and overwhelmedWhat do you do when you’ve had a stressful week (or month) and you look back at all the poor choices you’ve made?

This week (and month) have been stressful for me and I’ve made many, many, many poor choices.  Looking back, I asked myself would I have done anything differently?  The first thought that comes to mind is – sure, I would have bought a lottery ticket and won so that I could pay someone else to paint the walls.

Once that fantasy is over, I seriously look at my choices of food, physical activity, and added responsibilities (additional stresses).  I ask myself, “would I do anything differently?  Could I have done anything differently?”  My answer is “no, not really.”

I did the best I could; I knew ‘it’ would end; and I knew that I would be able to get back on track once ‘it’ was over.  I’m not going to kick myself for choices and actions that I  would probably make again.  Besides I was making some good choices.  They weren’t all bad.  And maybe, just maybe, this week will present better choices because I’m not kicking myself for the past.

Would you do anything differently?
Do it!
If not, let it go.

Check It Out


pink hibiscus
Wishing you a wonderful week!


Leave a comment and share what (if anything) you’d do differently. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.



Would you do anything differently?

Do it!

If not, let it go.

there’s more to the equation

You’ve probably heard or seen the basic weight loss equation

less food plus more activity equals weight loss

But I’ve discovered there’s a bit more to that equation:

less food plus more activity plus less stress plus more support equals weight loss

(& maintenance)

This week, I will be working on less stress and better ways of dealing with the stress (going for a walk, taking time with friends, getting the next step of the project done, setting more realistic expectations, saying ‘no’, making a self-care appointment and keeping it,  etc).

Which part of the equation would you like to focus on this week?

Check It Out

Personal request:  If you’re on Facebook would you like my page — Your Own Slice of Paradise — and share my posts.  We’re selling our home in Hilo, Hawaii and moving to Pennsylvania.  Steve has actually been there since March and it’s time for me to join him.  Your Own Slice of Paradise is my way of getting the word out about the house (plus guest cottage) and sharing what I’ve loved (and will miss).

PS – I will continue to write (and live) Small Steps and my Tips & Tricks.

Leave a comment and share part of the equation you’ll focus on. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.


What can you reduce this week?  Here are three possibilities that I’m considering.

  • Reduce screen time:  I’ve been checking my email while eating breakfast lately, so I could enjoy my breakfast and my view from the dining room instead.
  • Reduce my wheat intake:  I’ve been reaching for the quick fix breakfast which usually ends up being a bagel or muffin which just sets me up to eat more throughout the day.  I could plan my breakfasts as well as my dinners.
  • Reduce stress:  I’ve asked (and am receiving) the help I need for moving; I’ve begun (and will need to continue) to say ‘no’ to new responsibilities; and I’ve dhucked my responsibilities. I could take time to enjoy the ocean, a movie, or friends and I haven’t been doing enough of it lately.
What will you reduce this week?

Check It Out

Reducing the amount of stuff in your home can also help your weight loss journey.  Here are some East Hawaii resources that can help you find a home for the items you let go.


Leave a comment and share how you are balancing, prioritizing, or multitasking. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

the day after (evaluate, replace, improve)

My thoughts go out to those on the Big Island and elsewhere in Hawaii that were hit by Hurricane Iselle.  My family and I are fortunate in that there was no damage to our home and we have power.

Last year I wrote prepared for your health which focused on making your emergency kit support healthier choices in the midst of a disaster.

This last week I actually put our emergency preparedness kit and supplies to the test, even if it was just for one night.  It’s now time for me to evaluate, replace, and improve on what I had.

If you broke out your emergency kit and supplies this week: make note of the things you wished you’d had;  jot down what you want to replace; and make plans for the next emergency using your experience from this one.  But most importantly, be gentle with yourself for awhile.  Don’t make Iselle an excuse to overeat on the less-than-healthy options, but don’t get down on yourself if you temporarily return to old coping behaviors.

For those not affected by Iselle or other emergency, take time to check your disaster preparedness kit this week and be prepared for your health.

What will you add or replace in your emergency kit this week?

Check It Out

Get a kit | Make a plan | Be informed | Get involved – my Dhucks‘ posting on how to be Better Prepared for disasters

it’s stress not hunger

There I was, standing with the refrigerator door open, searching.  Stress or Hunger -eat or build a better coping habitMy eyes passed over the apples, as if they didn’t exist.  I was searching for answers, for relief, and for peace.  I couldn’t  find anything in the refrigerator that would help.  My mind went to the pantry, wondering if I had the ingredients for brownies or cookies.

It has been quite awhile since I turned to a batch of chocolate chip cookies as a solution to my stress and discontent.  It’s been more than nine years since I whipped up a batch of sweets to quite my distress and here I was thinking, “did I want to jump in the car and go shopping or should I call my sister to bring home the goods?”

bigstock-Detail-Of-Overweight-Woman-13897697 (1)I knew what was going on.  I understood that my mind was turning to old (and ineffective) copping strategies.  I also knew that my general crankiness was adding to my suffering.  I was fully aware that eating a batch of brownies was not going to solve the problem, but it was an old routine that never quite went away.

The good news is that I choose to put a heaping spoonful of cocoa in my coffee and go curl up on the couch and watch TV.  Okay, okay, I know.  The best solution would have been to either take my mocha java outside and let nature soothe my soul or better yet, forget the coffee and take a walk.  But hey, I at least chose a better solution than eating my feelings.

There are three things that reinforced my healthier stress relieving choice:

Environment was free from the foods (and ingredients) that I have used as an emotional crutch before or have a hard time limiting.

Support was provided by my sister because she chose not to bring home ice cream.  She was having a similar day and was thinking about a couple of quarts of our favorite ice cream.  She decided against it because we were both working on our weight and our health.  Thanks, Anne!!!

It's a journey, celebrate your successes and accept that your doing the best you can in the momentAcceptance that this is a journey; that a decision today does not mean the entire goal is derailed; that even if I’ve gained weight back, the fact remains that I have made some major changes that have stuck (such as not making a batch of brownies); and that I’m doing the best I can.  Though it may not be the best I’m capable of on other days, today… today, I did the best I could in the moment.


What can you do this week to:

Make your environment healthier?

Your support system stronger?

Your acceptance deeper?


Check It Out

Step #1 from Organize for Weight Loss … …place your portion control tools where you’ll use them.

Six Tips to Design the Ideal Bedroom for Sleep from the National Sleep Foundation


Share your journey.  Tell me about your environment, support and acceptance – leave a comment.

play more

Play more.  Laugh more.  Think fun!

Watch a funny movie.  Read your favorite cartoons (lot’s of them).  sunflowerSkip. Dance to your favorite song.  Play a game of jacks.  Blow bubbles.  Plant sunflowers.  Add more fun to your week because laughter burns calories.

In a previous post, add some fun and laughter, I suggested that you:

  • Choose your playground and play.bigstock-Little-boy-spending-happy-time-43429318
  • Share playtime with a friend.
  • Find something that makes you smile

Here’s what makes me smile:

  • filling my office with balloons; balloons
  • buying a coloring book and crayons – just did it;
  • posting pictures of what makes me smile to Facebook


How will you play more this week?

Check It Out

The Stress Management and Health Benefits of Laughter by Elizabeth Scott, M.S.,

Looney Tunes of Wiley E. Coyote – Roadrunner cartoon made with today’s technology at

Drug take back 2014If you have expired prescription medication to toss, save the date – April 26.  It’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and there’s probably a drop off location in your area.  I know there’s one in Hilo, so check here for a location near you.


If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.