Be the Change You Want to See

In a family or a friend group, the older humans influence the ones who haven’t been around for quite as long. That is simply how things are. The youngsters learn from us every minute of every day — how to solve problems, how to handle conflict, how to offer and ask for help, how to deal with frustration… how to navigate through stressful holidays without doubling our weight and ruining our health.

As we have seen, list-making and delegation are powerful tools. Their combined strength can be shown by creating an efficient roster of tasks and details to be offloaded into someone else’s responsibility basket. A lot of us feel like we have to compulsively clutch the reins at all times. Dr. Jennifer Barton has plenty to say about the wisdom of releasing our grip:

Many people will need to let go of the “if I want something done right, I have to do it myself” mentality or “I don’t want to bother anybody else.” You need to take a deep breath and just let go. Realize that when you delegate something, it’s now out of your hands — and that can be a good thing. As hard as it may seem, wait until the final product before judging how the delegation is going.

Excellent results might come from letting others demonstrate how competent and responsible they can be. Another choice that can be made about a task is: Delegate it to nobody. Toss is onto the pile of things you have decided will no longer be allowed to ruffle your majestic serenity.

How to catch a clue

Do you send out Christmas cards? Great. Must you make time to go to the post office for special Christmas stamps? No, that is not required. You can use any stamp of the correct denomination. Don’t worry, the world at large will not find out about your lapse. People may display your greeting card, but it is doubtful that they will hang up the envelope too.

If you just can’t get comfortable with omitting the seasonal postage stamps, make a deal with yourself: Skip it this year, and print it in capital letters at the top of next year’s list. In 2022, buying Christmas-themed stamps in a timely manner will be your first priority. What the heck, go ahead and promise the same for every succeeding year, too. Then relax and forget about it for 10 months, okay?

Here, from Jessica Maharaj, is a gem of a shopping tip that is valid all year round:

[T]ry to go during the day and park farther away from the stores. Your time in the sunlight walking to or from your car can boost your serotonin levels.

This habit will also, of course, help a lot if you happen to be trying for the recommended 10,000 steps per day.

Miscellaneous coping strategies

Nutrition counselors have handy suggestions like, during holiday time, keep sweets and alcohol out of your own home, because you know you will encounter plenty of them elsewhere. And make sure to get enough fiber, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B; for digestion, the immune system, and stress response, respectively.

Next: If you can possibly afford to, spare yourself the ordeal of putting together a thing. G. Gaynor McTigue, author of Why Make Yourself Crazy?, says if the assembly is required, deputize an experienced assembler, even if there is a fee. They can do it fast, they can do it correctly, they can do it in their sleep, and you can’t.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “10 Tips to De-stress During the Holidays,”, undated
Source: “Avoiding Holiday Stressors,”, 12/03/18
Source: “40 Easy Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas,”, 09/20/21
Image by artistmac/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources