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LIFETALK: How to take your own advice

July 25, 2014
By ROBERTA RUSSELL , Lake Placid News

It's easy to give advice, even to yourself, but hard to take it. Nevertheless, I have had some success with logic and motivation as effective remedies for a number of my most recalcitrant problems in living. In the year 2000, I weighed a hefty 69 pounds more than I do now, but have been normal weight ever since then. This surprising long-term result came about after I researched the problem, then designed and implemented a logical, evidence-based, heartfelt plan of action that you can see on

That finally solved, I have another problem to address now.

I am always looking for a surrogate family, thus casting innocent unsuspecting people in a role that is not of their own making. I direct my not-inconsequential energy into finding loving, fascinating characters who seem likely to fill my needs for affiliation. Then if and when they do not, I deflate. Although I have a husband whom I adore, the absence of an immediate family keeps me seeking. My current method has not been working of late.

So I will give myself some advice: Pick people you really appreciate. Keep in mind that they have their own priorities and do not make them wrong for not fitting your mold. Remember that you have achieved the sort of relationships you want before.

There you have it. The sure fire formula for success, but that is easier said than done.

It is this philosophy that I am wrestling with to hoist myself out of an expulsion syndrome that has become an integral part of my own story.

When I lost my family of origin many years ago I successfully used logic and motivation to fill the void. Using a headhunter style game plan, honed in the corporate world and what I had learned in the study of psychology, I switched to heart-hunting, recruiting brilliant former professors and some of my most enchanting acquaintances and friends from the past into my current sphere. Finally, I arranged to engage them all together with familial regularity. Time has taken its toll on this long-lasting and enriching assemblage. So I am at it again.

I am trying to increase the meaningfulness of the task at hand to get to the strength to accomplish step two - to pull out my poison arrow -get out of my own way - recognize my contribution to the problem of feeling excluded and finally deal with it.

Over time, I am looking at the situation from what I imagine is the other's point of view. The veil lifts. This is a fine way to gain the grace to create a life-enhancing change of heart. Consequently I accept reality and cast a wider net to fill my needs.

Your advice to yourself to cure your own problems whatever form they take may also be sound, but hard to accomplish. The added meaning you can provide will give you the strength to take your own good advice. Maybe you drink too much alcohol for your own good? Did you know that regardless of your customs and those of the people with whom you spend time, according to life expectancy calculators, for woman even 1 drink a week will take time from your life expectancy? Check it out on Google. This conclusion is derived from World Health Organization statistics.

So if you want to transform any of your ways and means to create a healthier, more enduring lifestyle, learn what is true, check out what behaviors will contribute to a more advantageous lifestyle and think about the benefits that would accrue to you if you adopt them. You can add more meaning by contemplating why you want to live well and be healthy and what effect your presence or lack of it has on those you love. If giving up a few sweet treats and eating whole foods with lots of fruit and vegetables will really allow you to hold off the grim reaper, why not do it?

Many people eat a sugar-rich diet filled with refined foods that may engender diabetes II and eventually cause a failure to heal, blindness, neuropathy, amputations and ultimately death. Contemplate the fact that all these horrible consequences occur because the imprudent eater can't say no to a doughnut! Although diabetes is becoming more common, it is often preventable if you can just take your own advice and live with the proper diet and energy balance.

Unhealthy diets have a momentum of their own. In the last year I have lived in several temporary places in the quest to find and buy a house in Lake Placid. Even though I remained very active and did not gain weight, the quality of my diet deteriorated until about 50 percent of my calories were derived from dark chocolate, apple strudel and ice cream. I needed a sweet fix. Consequently, for the first time my routine blood test, ordered by Dr. Waickman, turned out to be high normal for blood sugar, making me a prime candidate for diabetes. It runs in my family. I imagined a biological switch for diabetes being turned on by my now-prolonged dietary lapse. So I teamed up with a friend who had a similarly ominous test result and we decided to cut out sugar and refined foods for about 5 weeks and test again, just to see if it made any difference. I did it. Now my blood sugar is once again low normal. I have a reprieve.

Occasionally I will still go with my husband to Donnelly's in Saranac Lake for a twist cone spun like magic out of his ancient machine. Now during the summer at the isolated historic ice cream stand I can safely join the non-stop progression of ice cream fans and savor my twist in the sun. I will not lose my way, though. When the time is right my blood will be retested and I will make sure that I do not lose my nutritional balance by eating too much refined food and sugar. I want to live.

Roberta Russell is the founder of the World-Wide Calorie & Exercise Logging Group ( She is the author of "RD Laing & Me: Lessons in Love" and "Report on Effective Psychotherapy: Legislative Testimony."



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