On combating our toxic inner thought lives

30 Mar

Oprah Weight Watchers Ad

“How do you show up in your life?” This is the question Oprah Winfrey asks in her new Weight Watcher’s commercial. It’s a Hulu ad I’ve seen dozens of times in the pursuit of trashy reality TV. Kylei, Oprah’s interviewee who has successfully lost 73 pounds, responds: “I feel like I walk into a room just glowing. I feel like me again.” Oprah and Kylei then revel in their mutual love of chips, and I’m left feeling slightly skeptical of Kylei’s response, yet absorbed by Oprah’s query.

I wish I had a response ready for Oprah, but I don’t. You see, being an adult is pretty weird. You have more freedom than you ever did as a kid, but your brain is far more inhibited. You’re more likely to think, based on past experiences, “They won’t pick me for that job” or “He definitely would never ask me out.” Not because only bad things happen to us, but because we tend to remember the bad more. In the 2001 journal article Bad is Stronger than Good, Baumeister, Finkenauer, and Vohs describe various studies showing that humans more thoroughly process bad emotions, feedback, information, and events than they do good ones.

I know one thing for sure: if I can’t tone down the negativity I send my own way, I can’t ‘show unhappy personup’ in my life all aglow as Kylei is doing these days. Karen Ehman’s recent guest-post on Ann Voskamp’s blog touched upon this very issue. She discusses self-directed viciousness in terms of words we have been depositing into our ‘heart closets’ over years and years. Our self-rejection can be debilitating, making us think less kindly of not only ourselves, but of others, too.

My long-term answer to Lady Winfrey is that I ‘show up’ feeling comfortable in my own skin. I don’t spend much time wallowing in self-loathing because I’m over it. I’m over me. I might not be able to get back to her until I’m an 87-year-old proud denture wearer, and she’s cryogenically preserving herself for the next era. But I’ll have an answer, some day, and it will require putting some work in each day prior. Actually, perhaps that’s the secret to getting older, knowing that our older selves will be easier to bear. The toxic stream of comparisons, self-doubts, and out-of-whack perspectives will have been at least semi-sorted out and subdued. Until then, I’ll be daily reminding myself that all the crazy inside is just that.

Looking back on recent posts, I’m also decidedly protein-crazed. Unabashedly so, as this post is perpetuating that trend with a venture into the realm of high-protein dessert.


fruit tart_1

INGREDIENTS (Makes four 5″ tarts, each of which is good for sharing)


9 dried dates

8 graham cracker sheets

1.5 Tbs. margarine

pinch of salt (~1/8 tsp.)


1 oz. box instant sugar free vanilla pudding

2 cups 1% milk

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 scoop (15 g) vanilla whey protein powder (I use: Optimum Nutrition ‘Vanilla Ice Cream’ flavor)

dash of vanilla


sliced strawberries

sliced kiwis



Crust: Place graham crackers and dates in food processor until ground into fine crumbs. Transfer graham cracker/date mixture from food processor into bowl. Add salt and margarine and mix until crust sticks together. Pat crust into bottom of four 5″ tart pans. Bake crusts 5-6 min. at 350 F.

Filling: Prepare pudding according to instructions. Add Greek yogurt, protein powder, and vanilla to pudding.

Assembly: Once crusts have cooled, distribute filling across them. Finally, top with sliced fruit in whatever manner you find aesthetically pleasing!

CALORIES (per 1/2 tart): 200 

PROTEIN: 12 g per tart

fruit tart_4.jpg


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