Why January Isn’t a Good Time to Start a Diet

And other reasons why not all New Year’s Resolutions should start with the new year

It’s that time of year again… As 2010 draws to a close, we look forward to 2011 and make resolutions. One of the most popular (inspired, perhaps, by the festive meals we’ve consumed since Thanksgiving) is weight loss. But I’ve got some bad news for you: January isn’t a great time to start a diet, at least not if you live in a part of the world where it’s Winter now.

I certainly don’t want to discourage you from adopting good habits and losing excess weight. I’m only suggesting that this may not be the optimal time to begin. If you start a weight loss program now and don’t stick to it, you risk getting discouraged and giving up.

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I’m Telling You This for Your Own Good

We interrupt the holiday merriment so I can get something off my chest. Back in October, Seth Godin wrote a blog post titled “Do You Need A Permit?” The gist of his piece is that we do not need anyone’s permission to change the world—in Godin’s words, “make a dent in the universe”—or at least to take a stab at it. But the thing that struck me and gnawed at my brain was this:

It’s safer to tear them down (with their best interests at heart, of course).

Have you ever known anyone like that? I sure have! He takes shots at other people’s opinions for sport. The debates are fun at first, but after a while it gets tiresome. He’s forever pointing out problems that don’t exist and warning people of conflicts that haven’t happened.

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Merry Christmas!

Central Park in the snow

Wishing a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to my readers.

Thank you to those who have read and occasionally commented on Circle of Ignorance during its first five months. You’ve made it a wonderful experience as I continue to learn and evolve the blog. Special thanks to my friends on Twitter and LinkedIn (especially Twitter’s #BlogChat) who teach and inspire me through our exchanges. You’ve given me enough ideas to keep posting until the crocuses bloom again in Central Park.


Pressgurka Recipe

Pressgurka is a tradition in our family and was the first recipe I learned to prepare as a child. Mom would peel and slice the cucumbers and I would measure out the ingredients for the dressing. When I was very little I would count aloud the five tablespoons of water and sugar as I measured them. (I’ve sometimes wondered if it was Mom’s sneaky way of getting me to practice arithmetic.)

This is a classic Swedish dish and was always part of our Christmas smörgåsbord (literally a “sandwich table,” but in reality it’s much more than sandwiches). The wonderful thing about smörgåsbord is that it is almost infinitely adaptable—you can add just about anything, and as my family is part Swedish but also part Scottish and French Canadian, we added other traditional dishes. Sometimes I’ve made fish balls (fiskbullar in Swedish), as both the Swedish cookbook and my other Grandmother’s Scottish cookbook contain nearly identical recipes. They were, after all, fishing from different sides of the North Sea.

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