Sarcastically Southern advice column is written anonymously
by a woman in Bulloch County. To submit a question, please e-mail her at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @SarcasticallyS5,
and on Facebook, Sarcastically Southern.
Dear Sarcastically Southern,
I have a very hard time keeping my New Year’s resolutions. I always promise myself that I’m going to lose the weight, save more money and take more me time… but every year I end up blowing my paychecks on frivolities, fatter than before and feeling like I put myself last. At the end of the year, I feel like a failure because I haven’t done ANY of the things that I said I would. How can I break this cycle?
Sincerely, Broke, Fat and Stressed
Dear Broke, Fat and Stressed,
First of all, don’t talk about my friend that way! I know I don’t know you, but honey… I KNOW YOU. Because I am you. Honestly, I think 98 percent of women are you. We all promise ourselves those things and then break those promises to ourselves. The reason I say “don’t talk about my friend that way” is simple—you are someone’s friend. Someone’s daughter, someone’s wife/girlfriend/fiancée, someone’s niece, cousin, granddaughter, mom. Whatever role you fill, insert it here. Would you want someone to insult your mom that way? Or your sister? No? Didn’t think so! If someone did say such things about your sister, you’d be matter than a wet hen! Then why on earth is it acceptable for us to say those things about ourselves? IT ISN’T. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We are all a work in progress and progress comes in various forms. Just the fact that you want help to break the cycle is progress, so pat yourself on the back!
As for the weight, I know what you mean. It’s depressing to look in the mirror and not like what you see. It’s not easy to be larger than all of your friends. It’s even harder to lose the weight when you hang out with friends over food on lunch breaks, at happy hour or parties. But there are ways to make hanging out healthier. If everyone is bringing a dish, bring a veggie tray; if you’re going out to eat, split an appetizer, order a side salad, drink water, or simply cut out one calorie-filled, sugary cocktail. I would bet my paycheck that you aren’t the only one in your friend group struggling—turn your weekly girls’ night into a weekly girl’s workout. You can catchup on the weekly gossip while strolling around your neighborhood or spend your lunch break doing laps around the office building. Bring your lunch and eat with a co-worker and then get moving for the rest of your hour break. Park further from the building so you have to walk further. Little bitty changes like that can make a huge difference!
Bringing your lunch can also save you money, so I’ll move on into the savings aspect of your question. Again, little changes can make a big difference. Bring your lunch. Plan out your meals for the week—that way you can buy items in bulk. If you know what you’re eating in advance, you can buy groceries all at once instead of having to stop at the store every day and increasing the chance of buying convenience items that are higher prices and often unhealthy.
If you’re anything like me, your “me time” is spent shopping… so at least two of your goals are counterproductive! As women, we tend to take on a care-taker role and feel like we’re going to hurt someone’s feelings if we say no to an invitation. You have to think about it from a different perspective. If your friend/family member wants you to be around/attend their get-together/chit chat on the phone for 2 hours, then you have to be in a good place mentally and physically to want to hang out. If you aren’t taking time for yourself, then you won’t be up to attending events or participate in idle chit chat. (However, phone time is a great way to kill two birds with one stone: walk around your yard or home while you’re talking on the phone and burn some calories while you kill some time!) Don’t feel guilty about having to get off the phone or go home early. Everyone is selfish in some respect. If someone is keeping you on the phone for hours talking about nothing and everything at the same time, they are being selfish by thinking that you have nothing better to do than talk with them. Give them some time and then politely let them know that you have obligations and need to go. If they get angry, then you need to get yourself some better friends!
My advice on breaking the cycle is this: stop saying you can’t and start DOING it. As my Mom has always said… can’t never could.
Dear Sarcastically Southern,
I have an inside dog that sheds a lot. She loves attention. I’m talking LOVES attention. She climbs in our laps, gets in our faces and tries to lick us, and is constantly bringing us toys to play. She doesn’t just do it to my wife and I, but she does it to everyone. She acts like all of our guests are here just for her entertainment. She’s great and we love her to death…but our guests sometimes aren’t dog people or don’t really want to have her in their laps or in their faces. I love her and I love having company over, but I hate feeling like I’m constantly getting onto her and apologizing to people. Short of locking her in another room or not inviting people over, I don’t know what to do!
Thanks for your help, Not-so-Pawfect-Pet Parent
Dear Not so Pawfect,
Is this my husband? Seriously, it sounds like you’re describing my dog! I have to remind myself that these people are coming into my home and it’s also her home. They are aware that you have a dog and if they didn’t want to deal with the dog hair, love licks, and constant need for attention, then they should have invited you to their home. I think that pet owners are more worried about our guests’ comfort more than they are worried about the dog being annoying. I will say that one thing that has helped us was a shock collar. We have rarely shocked our dog because the vibration setting is usually enough to set her straight. If she’s ignoring our commands, we just buzz her and she knows that there is a potential for her to be shocked so she doesn’t want to push her luck.
We all want our guests to “make themselves at home,” but they aren’t paying the mortgage so they do have to remember that they are guests.