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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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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Early Posts from TED Women: Embracing the Beauty of Balance

The video posts from last week’s TED Women are beginning to appear on TED‘s website. My brain is still swimming from all the wonderful talks I saw, but two of  the first to be posted are from Tuesday’s session, which I didn’t see.

One of the few men to speak was Tony Porter. (There was another man who spoke on Wednesday, when I attended TEDxTribecaWomen. He was terrific and I’ll share it with you when it’s posted on TED’s website.) He tells some very personal stories about growing up and what he thought manhood is supposed to be—and how he later changed his mind. As I suspect is often the case, part of his realization came from being the father of a little girl.

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DIY Gift and Donation Combinations

In Monday’s post I suggested that making a donation to a non-profit organization can be a terrific gift for someone. But even when you have carefully considered the recipient’s interests and know their favorite charities, it can be more fun when you have an actual gift to offer, wrapped up nicely. So today I’m going to look at ways to combine donations with tangible gifts in creative ways.

My inspiration for this is the World Wildlife Fund‘s “adoption” gifts. For a small donation you can symbolically adopt an endangered animal for yourself or a friend. For a little more money, you get a cute plush toy that looks like that animal.

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