Tricks to help you lose weight

Tell me the color of your dishes, and I will tell you how much you eat.

January 31, 2021

White, the color that most brides choose for their formal dinnerware, is the backdrop for beauty and emphasizes the presentation of meals.  Little did you know that it opens your appetite and affects the portion size of your serving.  At the same time, the size of your plate will also make a difference in the amount of food you serve yourself.

Studies have proven that the color of plates makes a difference in how much food you consume, and the increase or decrease of energy levels after a meal.  For instance, the color red is one that elicits avoidance because it’s highly visible and energizing but, it can also overwhelm and distract people from the task on hand, eating[1].  At the same time, the color red will empower you, meaning that will stimulate a sense of focused eating.

Similarly, blue plates decrease appetite possibly because it’s hard to pair the color with appetizing foods.  There are not that many naturally occurring blue foods other than blueberries and some types of gooseberries.  On the other hand, green is a color that will stimulate your appetite for healthy foods. Green is also a color that we associate with abundance and health[2].

Bottom Line

Tricking the brain into enticing you to behave in a certain way is a fair attempt to control weight.   Though the brain is one of the most complex organs in our body, it can be hoodwinked to make changes.  So, if you are over-eating or making the wrong nutritional choices, you can resort to tricks and traps to keep you in control.  Obesity is one of the worse illnesses in the world; it leads to other diseases and ultimately death.  Start tricking your mind; the treat is a healthier you!

  1. Genschow O, Reutner L, Wänke M. The color red reduces snack food and soft drink intake. Appetite. 2012;58:699–702. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.12.023.

2. Akyol, A., Ayaz, A., Inan-Eroglu, E., Cetin, C., & Samur, G. (2018). Impact of three different plate colours on short-term satiety and energy intake: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition journal17(1), 46.

3. Piqueras-Fiszman, B., Giboreau, A. & Spence, C. Assessing the influence of the color of the plate on the perception of a complex food in a restaurant setting. Flavour 2, 24 (2013).

Getting Back to a Healthier & Slimmer You

Getting Back to a Healthier & Slimmer You

Yo-Yo Dieting, as you all know, leads to weight loss and regaining it as soon as you return to regular eating. It’s a dead-end without an outlet if you let it. To achieve real, lasting weight loss, it’s important to make lifestyle changes for good that incorporate exercise and diet.

Avoid yo-yo dieting at all costs because it can be harmful to health, leading to increased body fat, fatty liver, and depression.[1]   Put a stop to negative impulses by recognizing the triggers and exchanging them with positive behaviors. 

Dietary Changes

So, in this process, you’ve lost weight and then gained it back either through a lack of continued exercise or perhaps some adverse nutritional changes. To go back and shed the weight off again, you will need to commit to the original process that melted away the fat in the first place. Start with slowly making dietary changes. Cutting portion size and sugar are two of the leading ways to do this. [2]


Next, move on to exercise. Perhaps a recumbent bike will help get you going. It’s easier on the back, and you can set a stationary model up in the home and watch TV while exercising. Standard exercise bikes take up less room and will accomplish the same task but will put a little more pressure on the back.[3] Utilizing an upright stationary bike with arm pull bands will also add a good workout for the arms. These are great alternatives to the great outdoors when you are battling mosquitos in summer or cold, rainy weather during other times of the year. There is also the advantage of being able to catch up on your favorite shows while you work hard to take the weight off. Plus, it makes the time fly.

One other item worthy of adding to your workout regimen helps the legs and firms the butt muscles. It is a gadget placed between the legs, and you use your thigh muscles to close the device and allow it to open again slowly. Do this while performing kegel exercises, and you’ve killed two birds with one stone! I know its odd sounding, but honestly, once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked!

Stretch bands that allow you to stand on the center while utilizing the handles to perform various workouts are another exercise you can do in the house that will help with weight loss.[4] Standard exercise bikes are excellent in most cases, but again if you have back difficulties, try a recumbent bike, increasing the time slowly until you gain more confidence and can sustain a half-hour ride. Do the half-hour ride for several weeks and then gradually increase the time again, a little at a time. You can also change the terrain settings on your bike if it has this option and start riding uphill.  Doing this will increase the intensity a bit and make your work out a little more difficult over time.

Passive Exercise

Remember this when you are trying to lose weight, moving is better than not moving. Try to increase your movement in any way possible. If you go to the store shopping, park further away from the store. On days when you don’t feel like using the recumbent bank, spend a little extra time walking through the stores. Get a pedometer to track your steps and see how far you usually walk during the day. Note this as your baseline. Work to increase the number of steps and distance over time. Passive exercises, such as walking through a store or parking further away, are just the tip of the iceberg. Movement, portion control, and subtle changes to the diet are critical factors in sustained weight loss.[5]

For a discussion on diet as relates to weight loss, look at Weight Loss Maintenance: A Review of Dietary Related Strategies that offers some tips and tricks to help you along the way. 


  1. “Deep body composition phenotyping during weight cycling: relevance to metabolic efficiency and metabolic risk.” Accessed February 26, 2020.
  2. Smith, M., Segal, J., & Robinson, L. (2020). How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off. Retrieved 26 February 2020, from
  3. Cronkleton, E. (2020). Stationary Bike Workout Benefits and Exercise Plans. Retrieved 27 February 2020, from
  4. 20 Resistance Band Exercises To Strengthen Your Entire Body by Amy Winderl –
  5. How Much Should I Walk To Lose Weight? by Wendy Bumgardner –


Learning from home:
When the parents are also the teachers

Author: M. Dickinson

Now that parental roles have temporarily changed to academic educators, it’s imperative to get organized before the new school year begins. Keep in mind that first and foremost, you are the parent, and that teaching from a syllabus is only a profession you osmotically obtained.

The start of the new school year is just around the corner and getting ready for it includes organizing your workspace. If possible, have a space dedicated to teaching, even better if you can separate the area from any distractions.

In addition to physically making changes to your home, it’s crucial to establish a schedule close to what the child or children have in a school environment. Homeschooling children during a pandemic is undoubtedly no easy task, and it involves juggling office work, housekeeping, and family management.

Though virtual school may seem laid-back in many ways, teachers expect from their students the same amount of classroom participation. Students are required to follow the rules, meet deadlines, and dress according to the established school code.

So, create a routine, set physical boundaries, and keep track of your children’s progress. If within your means, purchase a room divider that will keep distractions at bay.

  • Turn off the phone during class-time.
  • Mind the time; kids need a break, and so do you. Take breaks!
  • Make sure that kids do their homework during study time or after virtual school time.
  • Avoid ‘he said/she said’ and stick to your plan and the teacher’s guidelines.

When it comes to lunch and snacks, make those meals nutritious yet enjoyable.

  • Vegetable                   
  • Fruit
  • Protein
  • A small portion of carbs

By the time recess rolls around, you will need a breather. The school’s Physical Education teacher may have excellent ideas but, if you need more check out Activity Books. During the students’ recess, engage with them, be part of the team.

There will be days when your students will act out and refuse to follow instructions. These are the challenging times, and most parents and teachers need to take a similar attitude to discipline.

Some good practices to remember are:

What to do and not to do


Lose your temperEncourage the student to complete hi/her work
Send your child to another roomAsk “how can I make it better for you?”
ThreatMotivate, ask the student “what are your goals?”
Punish‘Try’ to ignore unacceptable behavior and praise
whenever possible

As social beings, parents and teachers should encourage students to engage in age-appropriate virtual groups and outdoor activities while maintaining at a safe distance from each other.

Some fun and safe activities for kids and teens may include stargazing, cycling, hiking, and throwing frisbees.  Most important of all, enjoy being an essential part of your child’s education experience. You will feel a sense of satisfaction. Helping your children obtain the education necessary for a brilliant tomorrow.

From Unsplash photo by Robert Collins

101 Homeschooling kids

Author: M. Dickinson

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Introduction to 101 Homeschooling for parents

By now, as a parent, you appreciate teachers more than ever.  They know their stuff like the back of their hand, and even better, they handle most classroom situations pretty well.  It’s great if you have the time and patience to homeschool, hats off to you. 

The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates that there are 2.3 million children homeschooled as of 2020[1].  Yes, right there, at the kitchen table!  Little did they know when this article was published, a few weeks ago, that the percentage would skyrocket, be it temporary, to near one hundred percent, thanks to Covid-19.

For those of you who love sending off your kids to school, we thank teachers daily for their juggling efforts to give our kids the best education possible.  Here’s a partial list of the benefits your children enjoy in schools:

  • Schools follow a planned, tried, and authentic curriculum.
  • Teachers teach that’s why they have degrees in education and take continuing education courses that make them more than educators; they are listeners, referees, highly intuitive individuals, patient, caring, makeshift nurses, and so much more.
  • Schools offer sports that include the equipment you don’t have. Okay, maybe you are an avid bowyer (I had to look that up), but are your bows and arrows made for students?
  • Educational institutions also offer afterschool extracurricular activities such as chess tournaments, spelling word bees, etc.
  • Breakfast and lunches, though in most cases not delicious, it’s nutritious.
  • A structured setting.
  • Opportunity to practice socializing with peers. [2]

Sticking to teacher’s recommendations

Do as your told and go the extra mile to share your experiences with videos and photos. Ask away, teachers are expecting a lot of questions, trust me. Share with other parents, and very important, have your child communicated with classmates.

Suggestions from the grandma

Provide your kids with as close to a structured setting as possible.  For instance, most schools don’t offer to view TV during break or playing video games for recess.  During this time of social distancing, make sure that your children log in to classes and follow through with teachers’ recommendations.  I know it’s hard, but it’s imperative to follow through and have a seamless transition from the school structure to the homeschool environment.  Yes, your kids should ask you for a break to get up from their worktable. 

Supplies and activities can get expensive, and keeping costs down are essential to being able to provide them with their necessary teaching and leisure supplies.  There are many places where you can purchase items reasonably priced.  Paper, crayons, coloring books, arts, and crafts supplies, and even snacks can be bought online from where you least expected.  So, make a list and place your order today.

After a couple of hours of parent/teacher-child interaction, it’s time to take a break.  What better time to do your exercises than during break! I am providing you here with a link to products that I use, my friends’ love, or have great reviews.  Check it out.


  1. Research Facts on Homeschooling – National Home Education Research Institute. (2020). Retrieved March 29, 2020, from

Fishing for Fun, Health, and Other Water Treasures!

Author: Myrene Dickinson Date: 03/22/2020

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Photo by Ben Wilkins on Unsplash

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes, you are ready.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Don’t throw in the towel, hang in there, the next cast may be the one that brings in the big one.Are you a newbie or an avid fisherman or woman?  Regardless, the time spent outdoors, enjoying nature, and losing yourself in your thoughts while waiting for a nibble is priceless. 

Just lay back and relax as you imagine yourself there, by a riverbank, a lake-shore, or maybe leaning on a wharf or pier rail breathing in the salty sea breeze.  Gently, lose yourself in your imagination and be there in a vivid daydream.  The truth is that fishing is one of the best sports that stimulate self-reflection and unity with nature.  Just lose yourself in thought and rediscover who you are, what makes you tick, and what your real goals are all about.

Less Stress!

                                   ― Robert Lee

Not a fish have I caught
Not a rhyme have I thought
An empty creel and an empty mind
What a lovely way to just unwind

Imagine fishing only for health reasons, and it’s one of the most natural means to lower cortisol levels! The best part is that the results of one leisure fishing experience can last up to weeks.  Amazing, right! Stress reduction while having fun and catching dinner! That sounds pretty healthy to me!   The health benefits of managing our stress and, therefore, our cortisol levels allow us to be more mindful of our health.

  • Improves our cognitive function
  • Strengthens our immunity system
  • Clears our mind and helps us put things into perspective
  • Relaxes our muscles preparing us for good stress such as exercise

While you are out there fishing and lost in meaningful or inconsequential thought, don’t forget the benefits of all that Vitamin D you are soaking up!  There’s nothing like sunshine warming the skin and making you feel renewed. Vitamin D provides a boost to the immune system, and it puts you in a good mood! How many unhappy people do you see out enjoying the sunshine? I rest my case.

Healthy Eating!

Is all this talk about fishing, spending time with loved ones, and relaxing after a hike to your favorite fishing spot making you hungry? Making your way back to shore and cooking up that catch from your trip is both exciting and healthy! Fish is loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids[3].  Omega 3s are great for reducing blood pressure and decreasing your risk of stroke. Eating fish has also been known to help eyesight and even childhood asthma (Heding, 2019)[2]. Google “Fishing Guide” and the zip code of your favorite fishing spot to figure out the types of fish you will catch. Keep in mind that you have to check and make sure your fishing area has safe fishing.

Family time!

Kids love to fish! Their innate sense of adventure will open their minds to endless possibilities.  Kids are inquisitive, and being close to nature will quench their thirst for knowledge about nature.  Life jackets are a must even if they know how to swim! Don’t forte bug repellent and earth-friendly sunblock.  It’s not just the fishing that is exciting but getting to spend that special one-on-one time dad and/or mom. These are fun experiences that create memories that last a lifetime.


Fishing also works to help with kid’s physical dexterity, not to mention older folk’s spatial and mental nimbleness. While enjoying the sport, learning new skills, and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, we are using essential muscle groups.

  • Deltoids and shoulder ex-tensors
  • Pectorals
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Thighs Back

Steps to take before you cast the line

  1. Get a fishing license
  2. Fishing kit
  3. Fishing pole or rodbamboo or fiberglass, graphite, etc.
  4. Live bait – red-worms, crickets, crayfish
  5. Bucket for bait
  6. Line
  7. Hooks to match your bait
  8. Bobber – attached to a baited hook
  9. Needle-nose pliers
  10. Cooler and ice

Now you are ready to watch your bobber.  When you see the bobber suddenly immersed in the water, quickly raise the lope up to hook the fish.  Then with a slight movement, lift the pole up so that the line swings toward you.  Once you have caught your fish, using needle-nose nose pliers, disengage the hook from the fish.  You are now free to gently throw the fish back in the water or place it in an ice chest to cook for dinner later that day.

Enjoy every step of the way to catching your prize, the sunshine and the time on your own or with the family will only benefit you. The experience will be imprinted in the memory of everyone involved for a long time to come. Take a few photos to commemorate the afternoon away from digital devise, gadgets, and computer screens!

Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels


1. The Poet Angler by Robert Lee retrieved for All Poets website. Retrieved on March 22, 2020, from

2. 11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Levels, Written by Matthew Thorpe, MD, Ph.D. on (2017). Retrieved on March 22, 2020, from

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Tied to Fewer Childhood Asthma Symptoms. (2020). Retrieved March 22, 2020, from

Taking the Rat Race to the Woods!

Describes the article

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Defying all rules of city life and taking the route less traveled is the dream of a real camper. It starts with the desire embraced in our hearts, that feeling of just letting go of all that is mundane and mechanized. Forget the laptop, the cellphone, the tablet, and listen carefully to the sounds that mother nature offers. Don’t let go of this moment when you notice the first bird’s chirp, the cicadas’ singing, or the rustling of the brush. All that fresh air, the stars and even the wildlife! If only nature knew all the goodness that it provides us.   

Whether you are undertaking an adventure all alone and hauling the household, pets included, the primary purpose of this endeavor is to appreciate and enjoy life in the great outdoors. So, leave your digital devices behind, and if you forget any camping accessories, improvise.  

The fresh air promotes a perfect night’s sleep, so be prepared to cozy in a comfy sleeping bag or a cot. There is just something beautiful about letting go of everyday life and finding that perfect camping spot.

Finding the perfect campsite

So, what is the ideal campsite where you picture yourself being part of nature, just another creature? Though there are plenty of regulated state parks that have camping areas, as well as cabin rentals, you will still need to pay attention to where you hang your hat. Here’s my list 

  1. A flat piece of ground to pitch your tent, make sure it’s not too hard.
  2. Select an area where others have camped before you but not to close to other campers.
  3. Make sure there’s water source not too far off your site. 
  4. Take a paper map where you have marked various exciting points and hiking trails.
  5. Pitch your tent where you might get some share and, if windy, pitch your tent so that its skinny portion faces the wind.

Once you have settled, you enjoy the moment, that feeling of accomplishment. But, don’t get oo comfy yet, get organized so you can enjoy this adventure.  

Here’s my next list of items to haul into your tent and your immediate vicinity.

Depending on how far you are from a town, you will need additional supplies. But, always keep cash hidden in a safe place.  

Camping with Kids

Don’t forget to bring their favorite book or toy, something that helps them go to sleep and some outdoor toys to keep them occupied, maybe a pail and small shovel. You can send them on scavenger hunts right around the campsite. Bring a bunch of little prizes and keep them hidden, so they know there is a reward at the end!

Other games to take:

Keep in mind that the whole point of the trip is to unplug, have fun, and experience nature. The health benefits just keep coming because getting away from it all will leave you feeling relaxed and stress-free. Enjoy spending time with the family or alone, whatever the case may be. Consider purchasing a Search and Rescue Assistance card and leave information about your whereabouts with close relatives or friends.

Relax and enjoy your adventure; you will be amazed by how aware you’ll be of your surroundings. Don’t forget that your biggest fears are not predators, but your brain.