Friday, November 1, 2013


I've been struggling with this pendulum swing of emotion. I think most of us have experienced it at some point or continuously experience it on a daily basis. It is that feeling in which you feel total and utter gratitude and contentment with your lot in life and then on the other side, a complete dissatisfaction with something (or multiple things) in your life...

The feeling is an odd one. At least for me it is, because there is this constant tension, this push and pull, a tug-of-war battling within me. A moment where a rush of appreciation washes over me that is humbling and grounding. And within the same minute or the same hour or the same day or the same week, you feel this frustrated annoyance with something else in your life.

For example: 

An unparalleled appreciation of the fact that your loved ones are surrounding you, even for a short period of time.


A frustrated angst that burns you up until you're dehydrated by it because you feel like no one is listening to you.


Happy you're almost done with school


Anger at the system for not having enough job opportunities.

This back and forth, of random things (not necessarily the example above) is more frustrating, for me at least, than the "frustrated emotion" that was expressed.

How then, do you balance it back out? I don't know if I am romanticizing my past, but I never felt this tug of war before when I was younger, or even about a year or two ago. And I've been mulling it over in my brain trying to figure out, what was different then from now? What did I used to do that kept me so content most of the time? Or stress free?

I haven't figured it out yet. But I'm going to be guess-timating for a few minutes before I hit publish on this blog post.

1) Aggressive Exercise... Daily for multiple hours. 

I guess when you exercise you release endorphins which make you feel happier and more content with everything. It gives you a feeling of success and achievement. It makes you feel like this is your place in the world and everything seems to be in balance.

2) Being busy, busy, busy... all the time. 

I think people function differently and the type of "busy" depends on the person as well. I used to constantly be on the go, constantly involved, constantly around people, constantly working on something. Although I am supposed to be "busy, busy, busy" I don't feel the same level of conscious busy-ness (business?). Now, I am busy but I am always in my own head. From before, I was busy, but I was always conversing with someone, bouncing ideas off of someone, sharing and receiving thoughts and reflections. I don't think I have that kind of busy lifestyle anymore. Yes, I have tons of things to do, but its more solitary and easily prone to procrastination.

3) Procrastination.... used to never happen. 

Actually, I didn't really think about this until I typed it up in #2. But I never ever used to procrastinate. All my work was always done WAYYYYY ahead of time. Maybe procrastination causes stress that doesn't necessarily need to exist. If you just reverse time allocation, you could be doing the same things but stress free. For example, instead of watching a Sabrina the Teenage Witch marathon and then working on your dissertation... you could work on the dissertation first and then go for the TV series marathon.

4) Always having someone to talk to. 

In the morning I had my dad, during the day, my mom/siblings/friends, and in the evenings I kept to my self. Now, I pretty much keep to myself all the time, because the people who I used to have the most meaningful conversations with live across the world. Maybe, my parents spoiled me, in that I always had them to talk to. But once that environment is gone, you have to make up for it somehow... even if its through new friends or at least phone calls.

5) Spoiling yourself without the guilt trips. 

I think I used to never have guilt trips when it came to spoiling myself. When you spoil yourself with something, no matter how small, even if its something like a walk around the block, it feels good and all feels right with the world.

6) Having someone put things in perspective for you. 

When you're having a pity party for yourself, someone is always there to remind you of how great you have it and how not everyone is as fortunate. Again, my mom and dad were always there to remind me to be grateful and appreciative of what you have and to consider what it feels like if it was taken away. I used to blog much more frequently, so sometimes, I would be putting things in perspective for myself.

7) Be grateful for what you have and do something about what you don't. 

I never used to get angry about what I don't have... If I didn't have something that I wanted, I would strive to get it... and for the most part, I would get it. Sometimes, I'd want to have a conversation (like the example I gave above) and I would just seek out someone to talk to... as opposed to dwelling on the fact that I don't have it. I guess this is the most pivotal point. I rarely used to dwell on the "what if" and just went for "what I could". If I couldn't, I'd just assume it wasn't meant to be. Maybe, this is what I need to revive in me.

I basically typed longer than I meant to.

I'll end with this... exercise, keep busy, don't put things off, be grateful (mentally, verbally,  physically), spoil yourself every once in a while, talk to people, make sure the people closest to you keep things in perspective for you (as you should do for them), and do something about "it".

Any other suggestions?

Okay. Bye. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a mama

People keep asking me, so, how does it feel to be a mother? I don't know how to answer the question, but I'll try.

Its been a short while. A week exactly, since I've entered into the ranks of motherhood, as others have done before me and others will continue to do so after me. And although my thoughts are not very significant, I felt that I needed to share the immediate, instantaneous changes one feels when becoming a mother.

You suddenly understand what it means to love so unconditionally, that its an overwhelming sensation. If you ever felt love before, it is nothing compared to loving your child. Even the love you feel to your spouse, your own parents, or your siblings just feels so different. You may love them so much that you can't help it, but its not the overwhelming sensation that one feels towards their child.

The power of dua'a (supplication/prayers) suddenly makes sense. A level of sincerity when you're praying for your child is unparalleled. I literally feel like I never really prayed for someone sincerely in my life. Suddenly, I want to read Quran with her, make dhikr (remembrance of god), or just murmur small day-to-day prayers with her that you're encourage to make before eating (like making grace), changing, or even going to the bathroom.

Appreciation. You feel so much appreciation for your parents, other parents, anyone who comes and helps you out. You appreciate the help around the house, the meals, the heat in the house, your health. You appreciate the support system you had as a child and appreciate things that you've long since forgotten or neglected your entire lifetime. You appreciate everything. You literally feel blessed from all angles of your life.

Understanding. Its so weird that, in one week, a flip will switch in your brain, and you begin to understand your mother a lot more than you did before. No matter what, there is always a level of understanding that won't be reached, because everyone is essentially different. But, you start to understand the nuances of your mother and develop a sense of empathy. You can't help but to think 'how did my mama feel when she did this? or said this? or advised me on such and such'. You can't help but think about all the times you put her (and baba) through hell by being rebellious, or 'bored all the time', or just plain annoying.

Tears. Tears. Tears. Tears. Tears. My doctor told me its normal, LOL, to feel this need to cry all the time. But literally, you look at your baby, and your eyes fill up with tears. Maybe its that overwhelming love that just brings tears to your eyes, not because of sadness, but because it is a love that occupies your whole being, your whole consciousness, that you no longer can control your eye ducts.

There is so much more. But, I guess I'll end with this:

Responsibility. You feel a sense of responsibility that is both heavy but worth it. It doesn't matter that your time and life is no longer your own, but shared with this tiny human being, who is still so dependent on you. You can't help but to feel responsible for every aspect of their well-being, especially at this stage, when you are their source of food, protection, and comfort.

Good luck future mamas, past mamas, and current mamas. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

You think you know me, them, whomever.

Today, a fleeting thought passed my brain as I scrolled through my facebook newsfeed and the various updates that were posted there. I lingered on a couple of pictures of old friends and thought....

Dang, they've changed a lot.

And the connotation was not a positive one. In the split second, I almost felt bad for them, pitied them, looked down on them or whatever you want to call it.

Half a second later, I realized how wrong I was to even think that way. Not only because it was such a arrogant thought, but because I thought I knew the person just by one status update, one picture, one link, one post, one whatever.

So, this got me thinking.... and I am freely writing, since this happened like a minute ago.

First, and most obvious, our definitions of a good or bad lifestyle differ from person to person, family to family, city to city, and country to country. For the most past, it really depends on your context. Therefore, what I want for myself will never be what everyone else wants for themselves and vice versa. What I think is a "good change" doesn't necessarily mean that they had a "bad change," people change. No one stays the same forever.

Second, yes, its about change. No one is static, the same way time is continuously moving along. Therefore, to expect a human being to remain static is oxymoronic. Their body changes, their cells change, their lives and minds change as well. Therefore, anyone scrolling through my facebook wall may think... "dang, she's changed a lot". The only consistency in life is its lack of consistency. Try as we might to hold onto things and think that we've never changed, but the reality is, we've changed, we just are pretending not to trace those changes.

Third, thinking we know people. This is a common topic. People think they know each other via facebook or instagram or any other social media outlet. But we don't. We see "snaps" of people's lives but we don't see the full picture. In fact, without social media, you can live with a person and think you know them, but know nothing about them at all. Think about all those friends you had in person, not cyber space, and reflect on how much you truly know their ins and outs, their thoughts and their actions. Do we really know what another person is thinking? Do you really think you can read the mind of your loved one that easily? Well then, how about a person you haven't seen for years, let alone haven't seen them in person?

We need to stop pretending we know people and let people just express themselves. And every piece of them that we discover along the way is just one piece in a larger, jumbled puzzle of life that is constantly changing. One minute you're playing "pick-up-sticks" and the next second you realize that the game you've been playing has actually been "chess" all along.

Fourth, get to know someone. Its so easy with social media to build passive relationships. No matter how much a person "announces" about their life online, it is just a hyper reality, a pseudo-image, a moment released into the atmosphere (or cyber-sphere). I guarantee that if we start talking to real people, engaging and hanging out with real people, that judgment tendency decreases. We our humbled by our realities and the realities of other people. You no longer are a far away person who can pass judgment on someone else's life. You become a person in someone's life. The lines or standards of "good and bad" may still be the same for you, but you will be unlikely to think, let alone verbalize, the idea that the person has "changed in a bad way". This is because you've discovered the nuances of another person's life. And if they are changing, for whatever reason, in a REALLY "bad way," as a real friend, you can help them through their difficulties.  The solution that you think is most viable may be unrealistic for their reality, but you can be there for them to discover their own solutions along the way.

Fifth, trace your changes. Reflect upon how you've changed over the years. Reflect on whether you think its good or bad. Reflect on how you think others may think it was good or bad. Reflect on what you think your priorities are. Reflect on how those priorities are situation in your reality. And consider whether you truly know yourself. Do you constantly make excuses about yourself? Do you constantly criticize yourself? Do you need to be more relaxed and less self deprecating? Basically, reflect about yourself, how you've change and consider the implications of those changes on who you are and where you want to go in life.

I guess that's all I have to say.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

If I could do something over

I am not a proponent of the mental exercise "If you could do something over, what would it be..." because that change or wish for change, would have never come to fruition, your current level of consciousness would have never emerged, had you not lived life the way you lived it. I'm all for change, but it has to be grounded in the present.

This question has come up quite a few times recently. And I could never come up with an answer that I found worthy of a traveling through space and time for a life change.

However, today, well, last night, I think I found my answer. The change that I would have, would be a non-changer. I wish that I didn't drift apart from certain people from such a young age.

I think back of some individuals when we were kids. They were loving, self-less, creative, passionate, playful, innocent, and above all, kind. Somehow, over the years, maybe because my parents started to pray at a different mosque, or we lived in a different town, I just didn't get to see these individuals anymore, and we drifted.

I think about them now, not with a romanticized idealism, but with the memory of an elementary school child. They never were hurtful, always positive, they sought fun in everything they did, and always hoped for the best for everyone. We grew apart and for a few of my middle school years, and my new friends were not the same. I remember too many incidents of petty selfishness, preferentialism, and out-right mocking/bullying in ways that can destroy a person. Then, I got to late middle-school and early high school, and my relationships changed slightly. But the bullying, the mocking, the picking on each other was couched in love, friendship, and "fun". I didn't realize it at the time, but I hated it.

It has never been part of who I am as a person to mock or tease someone, even in the name of fun or "just joking". I have gotten to the point that as an adult, its extremely difficult for me to take a joke. Not that I am a super serious person... I'm silly as puddy... but in that same, childish, elementary school way... Not the average mid-twenties form of humor.

Anyway, the purpose of my post is this: I know I can't go back and "undrift" from people.... but I will make some changes (or unchanges?) in real time.

1- I will seek out friends who are positive, even in their humor.

2- I will stop trying to tease people, since obviously, I can't do it "right" and I'm sick of being pressured to do it just in the name of "getting along" with people my age group.

3- When people (i.e. close people) tease me, I will tell myself... this is their love language... and walk away. I will not think about it beyond the time it takes for the words to escape their lips.

4- I will not dwell on any negativity. I used to be an extremely positive person, where doubts would be banished with a bat of an eye. I miss that part of me, who was instrumental in who I am now today. I don't think I would have gotten so far in life, had I been a negative person. But over the last few years, cynicism has taken a hold of me and refuses to allow me to progress or enjoy my progress.

5- Reward myself. I know, selfish. But it was a habit I always used to have. I would reward myself with small things. A nice cup of coffee. A hug from a person that I love. A long, long, long solitary walk. An intense work out. A nice book to read from the library. An extra hangout with friends. I know happiness doesn't come from "things" but I do believe it comes from an appreciation of what you have. Therefore....

6- Consider all that I have, express gratitude and appreciation, and be content.

I'm going to stop here. I could probably go on for another 6 years of typing... 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Ma'am (insert insult here)"

It has been a while since someone said anything to me regarding my faith or ethnicity in a manner that was insulting. I mean, maybe even years. Despite the media attention on people of my faith tradition, individuals, neighbors, co-workers, and so forth have been more than silent. I mean, yes, occasionally people ask me honest questions, including my students. They ask me questions about stereotypes. They even perpetuate stereotypes in my presence, but they are being honest, sincere, and curious.

It has been a while that a random stranger has just approached me with a verbal insult.

The odd thing is, today I was talking to my friends about how this used to happen to me all the time, but at the back of my mind I was thinking, I am so happy it hasn't happened recently....

But, anyhow...

I was on my walk around the neighborhood. Usually, I pass at least 10 people while walking the 3 mile jaunt, but this time I only passed two "groups". One a group of teenage boys and the next a couple of teenage girls. I am used to saying hello, nodding my head, smiling at people as I pass by and today was no different. But I have learned that over time, teenagers are unlikely to respond to even a head nod, so I just smiled in their direction and that was it.

I didn't even realize that this teenage boy was speaking to me, I wasn't even thinking about them... but after half a second passed I processed "Ma'am... do you...." and the rest was overshadowed by some laughter from the other boys. So, apparently he insulted me in some way. I wouldn't have even noticed if one of the boys hadn't turned to me with a mixture of pity and sympathy in his eyes and said "I'm sorry about my friends."

This all happened in a matter of seconds, no one paused their step, no one stopped talking in the group, all of it happened as though it was an everyday occurrence.

So, why am I blogging about this?

I realized two things today:

1) I have officially gotten over it. 

I don't know if I have become desensitized or I just don't care what people think... but today was the first time I just moved on without commenting nor the urge to comment. I just continued smiling, nodded my head, and said "take care". For about 12 years of my life, I would get so frustrated and angry that I was mocked, belittled, or mistreated... I would write poetry, paint, or completely dismantle the person intellectually through use of a more than verbose statement with my grad school talk... But today, it was different. All I wanted to do was pat these boys on the head and be like, good luck in life.

2) I don't need to defend anything about myself. 

I always had this feeling that I needed to defend myself or my religion against these statements. But honestly, there is no point. I used to say things like "If you're so American, name the first 10 presidents of the U.S. consecutively..." or "name at least 20 states in the United States...." or "you better not register for my American government class, because I may teach you a thing or two about what it means to be American..." and so on....

But now, I no longer feel like I need to justify my Americanness. I don't need to prove it any more or any less than anyone else. I don't need to down play my "Arabness" despite the fact that most people (who have sincerely met me) don't think "ARAB" when they meet me...

I don't feel like I need to defend my identity to anyone.... not to those who attempt to discredit me nor to those who try to force me into an identity label. I just am...

The title of my blog has been "Just Be..." for a really long time. But today, I felt like it was me "just being" and, for lack of a better word, screw anyone who tried to tell me any differently.

So, a message to any people who may be reading this....

Get over it... whether it is because you are the one insulting or the one receiving the insult... just get over it... people will say things or do things... and by dwelling on it, you hinder yourself from any potential movement... just smile, nod, move on and live life to the best of your ability. Because in the end, we're all just trying to live life.... right? 

Monday, April 8, 2013


I have been thinking about the nuances of faith. Usually, we assume that we can only learn about our faith from those who share the same faith. Often times, Muslims seem to only find Muslims scholars are the legitimate teachers of faith. However, I disagree. To teach about faith is something completely different than teaching about religious tradition. Even so, I still think you can learn about your religion from, what I will loosely use as, "people of other faith (or no faith) traditions". 

Today, when visiting my doctor, she reminded me to focus on my faith and reflection. She told me to pray and meditate. To constantly remember God. She told me to make it a daily habit. The thing is, she is Hindu and I am Muslim. You would assume that I wouldn't seek spiritual advice from a doctor, let alone someone from another faith tradition. Yet, that was the best spiritual and practical advice I had received all week. 

Throughout my graduate career, my advisor has always reminded me to turn back to my spiritual roots. To look at my faith, both with a loving and a critical eye. He would remind me to visit my mosque, to pray, to seek spiritual guidance, and constantly seek God's help at times in need. He taught me to balance the secularity and the critical thinking of academic life, while always striving to fulfill my spiritual life. Needless to say, we share different faith traditions as well. 

One of the best spiritual experiences that I have encountered, was visiting a Sikh temple during their weekly service. The entire time, I had no idea about what was being chanted, but I kept reflecting upon God and the blessing I have been offered. The whole time, despite my prayer being different, despite the mantra on my tongue, heart, mind, and soul being in another language, I felt the goosebumps that you get during a spiritual high. 

There are two narratives in Islamic tradition that I, over time, fell in love with. One is a prayer (a dua'a/supplication) another is a story from prophetic tradition. 

I'll start with the story. Totally paraphrased, by the by. 

A companion of the prophet named Abu Huraira used to live in the mosque, and one day a man came and began to steal from donations (I believe it was food). Abu Huraira caught him and the man claimed to be needy. When he shared the story to the prophet, the prophet told him, this man was lying to you. The man ended up returning for three consecutive nights, making the same claim. On the third night, he told Abu Huraira, "if I teach you something will you let me go" and Abu Huraira said sure. So, he taught him to recite a famous verse called "ayatul kursi" stating that if one read it before bed God would appoint guards for you that will ensure that Satan would not be able to come near you until the morning. Then Abu Huraira asked the prophet if this was true, and the prophet said yes, and the one who taught you this, was Satan himself. 

For me, this story always reflects that we can learn from anyone. We just have to be willing to take in the information being shared. Of course, I am not saying that people from other faith traditions are like satan, HECK NO, but what I am saying is that you should limit yourself to who you can learn from spiritually. I could write a book on this hadith/narration, but I am going to keep it concise. I always remember this story, whenever talking to people I really don't want to be around. I used to be around people who I would think, "why are they still talking", harsh, I know. But now, I think, "listen attentively Reem, you may learn something new. If not something new, a different angle or perspective". And since then, I feel like I could listen to any one talk. I learn things from 3 year olds, 30 year olds, and ancient books. You just have to be willing to keep your mind open. 

The other narration is a prayer/supplication. It comes from a verse in the Quran, which just says "those who listen to speech and follow the best of it" (39:18). People often turn it into a prayer by saying, "May God make me from those who listen to speech and follow the best of it". In this case, I never limit what is meant by "speech". I take it to mean all types of speaking, from all types of people. And I take whatever resonates with me and adopt it into my own personal frame of reference. 

I have read so much philosophy in my lifetime, which albiet has been pretty short, a mere 25 years. But so many people have asked me, "Reem, how have you studied so much philosophy without abandoning your faith?" assuming that philosophy and faith are paradoxical or oxymoronic or incompatible. Actually, that is not true. Many early philosophers wrote their philosophies parallel to their faith beliefs and traditions. Even Socrates, a man who epitomizes the concept of logic, wrote parallel to the religious tradition of his time, despite the fact that he was put on trial for introducing new gods into Athens and corrupting the youth. Thomas Hobbes did the same, as did many philosophers. So, have we become so post-post-modern that religion and philosophy are no longer compatible? 

Anyway, to answer that question.... I have studied philosophy and have adopted many philosophers theories into my own consciousness, not as a replacement of my spiritual and faith beliefs, but that coincide with them. Despite the fact that Karl Marx said that "religion was the oppiate of the masses," I think that much of Marx's theories are intriguing. Despite the fact that Frederich Nietzsche said that "god is dead" and many many many other problematic statements, I have found his writings to be stimulating in a way that helps me deeper understand my own perspective of the world. 

I guess what I am saying is this. I am sick of people being on their high horse, pointing fingers, and delegitimizing everyone else's beliefs. I think the beauty of what I've learned in my faith tradition, is that one must always keep an open mind, to understand their faith the best they can, and to learn from people from all different walks of life. I feel that to turn down a piece of knowledge, on the basis of a source, is an extreme form of arrogance. I am not saying that one should blindly follow someone or everyone or no one at all. But that they should stick to their instincts and try to seek out truth and spirituality where ever it may stem from. I have encountered so many people and more often than not, rather than be deterred from my faith, my spiritual beliefs have been cemented even more. 

Maybe, I have been blessed with people who have always supported me in seeking out my faith and what it means to me. But I pray, that anyone who may encounter me, feels that same vibe from me. That they can be truly expressive of their faith, despite the differences in our religious backgrounds. That we can come together striving for something great, rather than fighting over the nuances of differences. 

I dunno what made me go on this long discussion. Maybe it was my encounter with my doctor. She brought tears to my eyes, gave me a sense of hope, and the minute I got home, I began praying. And I pray that all people find whatever it is they are looking for. 


Friday, March 8, 2013


Good Morning!

Again, its been a while since my last blog post... but I've been wanting to post about eating healthy because, although we all have those horrible "binge" moments, for the most part, as a society we're learning to eat less and less healthy and more and more junk.

I am not an expert. But for all of those people who have commented to me "how do you always have something healthy to eat" this is how.


Whenever I know I have to be somewhere for more than an hour (and this includes driving time), I pre-pack some snacks. Usually, I over-pack just in case. But I typically have at least one type of fruit, one type of vegetable, and one bag of pretzels/air popped pop-corn/wheat thins. If I know I'll be gone the whole day (which typically means I'll be too sleepy for dinner when I get home), then I'll add a home-made sandwich or salad (with some bread), an extra fruit, and extra veggie, and depending on my mood maybe some extra pretzels.


I realize that when I start to get those "binge" cravings for something not quite healthy its usually after the fridge only has run out of fruit options... and all that is left is a rotting apple, orange, and a grapefruit from three weeks ago that doesn't seem safe to eat. And I'm talking about fruits, not veggies so much. Maybe fruits fulfill any sugar cravings because of the fructose, but if there are yummy fresh fruits as an option, I rarely want junk.

3- Pre-cut veggies and have some dip.

Sometimes, I want to snack on something but I'm too lazy to prep it. I don't buy baby carrots, but cut my own carrot sticks. I don't buy pre-sliced mushrooms, or chopped broccoli. On the whole, I believe and I may be wrong, that pre-cut veggies tend to go bad faster. Plus, they taste better, at least to me, when I cut them myself. Anyhow.... Sometimes, I know I'm in a snacking mood (like today!) and in an hour or so, I'm going to want to attack the fridge, but am too lazy to do so. So, I'll just cut up enough veggies for two days worth of snacking, seal it in some Tupperware, and then pull it out when I'm ready to attack.

4- Always have a water bottle.

I think we tend to know this by now.... but always have a water bottle (or if you're at home, a tall glass) at hand. I am always drinking water, and I'm not going to list all of the benefits of drinking water, but overall, water makes me feel better. Energized, light, and more conscious of my food intake. Here is a WEBMD's 6 Reasons to drink more water.

5- Friends (lol, and family) make a difference...

If you eat junk with your friends, you're eating junk. If you eat healthy, you eat healthy. I'm not saying that you should never go out for dessert (I mean those cupcakes yesterday were great!). Overall, though, every time you hang out shouldn't be for junk. For example, whenever I visit of friend of mine, she always offers water/juice/tea and popcorn. So, I never regret going to her place (yes, I know you know who you are ^____^). Then there are some friends who just encourage not as healthy eating habits, (that may be me I'm talking about!) where you're always eating candy and more candy and more candy when you're together. For example, because I usually eat healthy during the weekdays, when people come over or we go out, I want to just loosen up a little. However, if you have these types of sessions multiple times a week, you've just splurged on junk 4/7 days... and you've entered into a cycle of need. Once you get junk into your system at large doses, you literally need to detox it to get it out... I guess in this case, just be upfront with your friends and family and be like "do you have anything healthier?" or if you don't want to sound rude by implying that their food isn't healthy, you can just ask for some fresh fruit/veggies.

6- We pick up habits... and quirks

Okay. So, sometimes I used to get so sad that my parents NEVER let us eat junk as a kid. So, we'd sneak behind their backs just to eat some junk food. This turned into a cycle of binge eating. So, maybe for some parents, find alternatives to "NO!". But, this is about something else. My dad used to walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, and grab a head of lettuce. He literally would just eat lettuce like it was a bag of chips. Now, you may think that is weird, you may never have seen someone do that before, but I can tell you, that seeing that happen as a kid, makes me crave lettuce every once in a while. I will do the same, I'll go into the fridge and grab some lettuce. This also happened with yogurt (homemade), grapefruits (which both seem a bit more normal), and carrots. So, I'm guessing that kids, to some extent, pick up their parents habits. Hopefully, your parents were pretty healthy, so you picked up some good eating/cooking habits. But if not, maybe start a new cycle with your kids.

7- Exercise is a deterrent for junk.

Well, one it depends on what you consider "junk," but I typically will avoid foods that make me feel extremely lethargic, "food-coma" "itis" inducing, situations. So, usually fried (and breaded) food isn't an option for me. This is because exercise is a central part of my life... I use it to reduce stress, to get rid of migraines, and to just feel good about myself. Without exercise, I literally can't function. On top of that, no exercise + junk makes me feel like a zombie, rotting on the ground, too lazy to function....

8- Make your own stuff

When I first lived on my own, I used to buy frozen meals, frozen dough, anything that was just easier to make. The problem with that is you are never really conscious of what your food contains. For example, biscuits. When you buy them, you just think, "oh dough".... but when you make them at home and you scoop tons and tons of butter and flower into the mixture, you start to recognize the reasons why you should exceed the recommended serving size. On the other hand, pre-packaged meals really taught me to portion my meals more effectively. So now, although I don't really buy pre-packaged meals, I am a lot better at portioning my homemade meals into healthy servings.

9- Buy the big packages, serve in smaller ones.

Its a rip off buying things that are packages in "100 calorie bags".... or in individual servings. Seriously, a giant bag of pretzels can cost roughly $2... an individual sized one (which is probably one-fourth or one-fifth of the size of the larger bag typically costs $1. Its a rip off. Just buy the bigger package, and give yourself the serving size and no more. It took me a few years to get used to the process of only eating recommended serving sizes as opposed to a whole bag... and sometimes, I can slip up. But for the most part, just get the snack sized baggies or containers, and just fill it up with your snacks.


Everyone is different... but you need to find out the best method that keeps you on top of your eating game. If stress makes you eat, then try and find ways to relax yourself before attacking that family sized bag of Doritos.

You could always do what my mom used to do when we were kids... she bought a container with a lock, and would only give us our "snacks" in the morning before school. Otherwise, during the day, we had no option...

If you're worried about your self control, make sure a friend, a sibling, a spouse, or a parent (ect) can monitor what you eat. Not aggressively, but so that you never have to hide what you eat or how much you eat. One thing that works for me, is if I buy candy (and I am ADDICTED TO CANDY) I will leave in the pantry for anyone to have access to it, just to make sure I don't eat the whole bag in one sitting. So, when the bag suddenly finishes, and someone says to me "where'd all the jelly bellies go?" I basically have the walk of shame and avoid eating the whole bag in a day or two. And because I love having "goals," I typically have a goal that if I have candy, I have to make the bag last a whole week... then I won't feel guilty. A twisted sense of logic, maybe.

Anyway, thats it... those are my suggestions...
Good luck.