The Power of “Should”

The Power of “Should”

Everything I’m about to write should come with the caveat that this is just an opinion of mine, albeit one I feel strongly about. I won’t pretend to be some sort of half-witted life coach, nor do I even know if I give advice that is considered to be good! I’m an only child, so I didn’t have any practice giving sage advice to a younger sibling. In fact, I’ve always considered myself a loner that happens to have a brilliantly spun web of friends, near and far, distant and close. A dichotomy for sure, but strangely enough describes me to a “T”. But I will say that I fancy myself a good-hearted, kind, balanced person and have been told as such but many. And as a nearing-middle aged woman working in a male-dominated field, I’ve been asked that oh-so-dreadful question, “For young women coming up in your field, what is the one piece of advice you would give them?” numerous times. I loathe that question- everyone expects some Tony Robbins-esque, “Be all that you can be!” answer, and I’m sorry, I prefer something useful…something pragmatic…something that may not light a fire immediately, but can sustain a glow for the rest of one’s days.

So here’s my advice- for career, for relationships, for home, for life- Never underestimate the power of “Should”.

Initially, perhaps it sounds strange, or silly, or pointless…but I feel that if everyone employed the power of “Should”, they’d be happier…healthier…calmer…any number of possibilities. It’s an ordinary exercise that may have extraordinary effects. When you “Can/Could”, all you do is determine ability. Can you do this? Can you have that? But “Should” has so many other parameters- be it ethics, manners, appropriateness, or other, which thus leads to intelligent decision-making, something so many of us fail at time and time again.

One of my proudest achievements is my financial health. Notice I said “health” and not “wealth”, a critical distinction to make. I’m a biologist…”wealth” is really not an achievable goal for me. But in a country anchored in credit card debt, mortgage and banking crises, and overall poor financial decision-making, my financial health is not something I’m shy about. And part of the credit (pun intended) goes to the power of “Should”. Picking out a new handbag, shoes, even a car, I would always ask myself:

“Can I afford this? Yes.

Should I afford this? No”.


I am, admittedly, less disciplined when it comes to things like donuts.


Maybe it’s not universal advice…and sometimes, the answer is “YES, YES YOU SHOULD <fill in the blank>”, especially if it pertains to something in your date’s teeth, or going to the gym. I simply feel that if more of us used this to develop decisions, we’d just make smarter ones overall. I will probably ALWAYS struggle with the donut example, but I’m working on it!

Hanging on to the bad and the ugly…where is the good?

For crap’s sake, there’s been no gymming in my life for days. And when there is no gymming, there is no slimming. So I have very little to update here, but ironically, I feel more guilty for neglecting my blog than I do my body. Thereinlies the problem, folks!

I’ve shopped for my salad fixins’ for the week and have so far enjoyed one lovely salad. Still battling the snacking demon inside me.

I saw some pictures of myself from a couple of weeks ago and was horrified. I just don’t see the same thing in the mirror. Isn’t that funny? Not that I see a pretty, skinny girl…but I don’t see the flabby, bloated thing in the pictures. The day I completely reconcile the two is the day I will truly embrace a better lifestyle. Still looking for that day.

The dog days are over

So I finally, FINALLY went back to the gym yesterday. It was a pitiful workout, but I went…and that was the biggest hurdle of them all. While I only did 20 minutes on the treadmill, I thought intensely about this blog, about my weight, and about my sedentary life. It doesn’t seem sedentary…I mean, I’m busy all the time! But busy in front of my laptop or busy drinking wine with my girlfriends (which I cherish and will never give up) is still sedentary. In fact, I’m coining the term “Sedentary Chaos” as a descriptor for my life. It captures it perfectly, and if you zoom in on the word “Sedentary”, you’ll understand why my ass is so large.

As summer settles upon us, I am ready to begin consuming salads with gusto. Normally, this would cause melancholy and defeat; salads only taste good to me when someone else (aka, a restaurant) makes them for me. BUT. I have discovered, via my friend who I’ll call “P”, the wondrous world of flavored balsamic vinegars that recently made a homemade salad sing. Not only did it sing, but it broke out into a dance routine that was exceptionally enjoyable. This is how I’ll be salading from here on out.

So between gymming and salading (and I mean solid salads with veggie variety and grilled chicken), something has got to give. Hopefully in the form of pounds.

Giving birth to TGIC

So, I started this blog 2 days ago, focusing on weight loss. Well, I haven’t hit the gym yet…BUT…I have tried to take ownership over the food I eat and the drinks I imbibe. I can’t tell you if an ounce of me has changed on the scale…but there is both shame and pride when you truly understand what you eat and drink. It’s like policing myself…without consequence for now, other than occasional twinges of shame. And for me, shame goes a long way…


In the interim, I’ve decided to take on a new challenge. I’m calling it TGIC- Thank goodness I coupon! My goal is to put my couponing/sale-watching skills to work by gathering toiletries, cleaning products, and non-perishable foods for either free or cheap. Six months from today will be December 10, 2011, I plan on donating this stockpile to, a domestic violence non-profit here in Greenville, SC. I’m hoping to recruit some friends for help…either way, it will be challenging, rewarding, and hopefully inexpensive, yet limitlessly effective. I started today by going through my own stockpile:

I’m hoping that while I lose part of myself (weight), I will concurrently gain additional purpose and self-worth. I feel like I’ve been lacking both for quite some time now.

Ground Zero…or Ground not-quite-zero

I’ll be honest- I’m not entirely sure why I’m doing this.


The long and short of the matter is this: my body is out of control. What once was a hall-of-fame is now a ball-of-shame. Even though I know something needs to be done…I haven’t quite found the attitude to match. I’m hoping that if I force myself to actually own my feelings…and share them through a blog…that I’ll find a way to do something about this.


I can’t bear to talk about it with my husband. Is that weird? I mean, we both know I’ve got quite a bit of chub going on. Why I can’t find it in myself to discuss it authentically with him, I don’t know. If you can fart in front of someone, you should be able to discuss fatness. But for whatever reason, I can’t do it.


Ten years ago, I went through a huge body transformation and lost about 75 pounds. It turned me into a dating, sexual dynamo that left no stone unturned, if you catch my drift. I’ll be honest- there is a part of me that is worried that I will unearth that same dangerous but wildly fun persona if I lose the weight. I got to live the Cosmo dream for several years…but at 35 with a very good husband and a thriving career, well…returning to Sarahdise isn’t an option.


So here I go. Today is June 8, 2011. I weigh @$) pounds. That’s in code but I’ll bet my copious ass you can figure it out.