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Don’t make a New Year’s Resolution — Start one!

December 30, 2008 --

Your Personal Trainer:
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN

In two days, a new year begins.  Two of the most popular resolutions of the New Year are associated with starting a weight loss program or starting a physical fitness program.  The key word is “starting.”  The New Year is a great motivator for change, but too often our New Year’s resolutions don’t last and our good intentions fall apart.  Why?  Think about it.  “Making” a New Year’s resolution means making a change and change doesn’t happen all at once.  It’s a process.  That’s why I’d like to propose a change to the phrase “Making a New Year’s resolution.”  I prefer to call it “Starting a New Year’s resolution,” or, starting a change.

Researchers and social scientists love theoretical models.  A well-known model of behavior change that I find particularly helpful in my work is called the “Stages of Change” model by psychologist James Prochaska.  You may have heard of it.  I will outline it briefly and add my own twist to it.  The five stages of change are:

1. Pre-contemplation ( you’re not even thinking about it)
2. Contemplation ( you’re giving it a thought now and then, but not doing it)
3. Preparation (you’re doing it irregularly)
4. Action (you’re working on the new habit regularly but for less than six months)
5. Maintenance (you’ve been maintaining the new habit for six months or more)

Think of the five stages along a line with arrows between each stage.  Change happens in stages and sometimes you slip up.  In fact, slip ups will happen.  It’s a normal part of the change process.  One of the arrows may loop back from action to preparation and you’ll find yourself slipping back to a former stage . . . one step forward, two steps back.  You may not go to the gym for a week or two.  Think of it as a lapse.  A longer lapse may become a relapse, perhaps a drop in motivation, an illness, life just “happening,” or an extended snow storm!  Don’t think of a lapse or relapse as a failure to keep your New Year’s resolution.  It’s all part of the change process and change is difficult.  Try not to let a lapse or relapse turn into a total “collapse” by giving up.  You can always start over, but you don’t have to go all the way back to square one.  Consider the pre-lapse practice!

The New Year is a powerful motivator for starting a resolution or a change, a new page, a clean slate.  Think about where you are now and where you want to go.  Start with the first step and make each additional step that follows a small and manageable one.  It takes time to form a new habit.  When you start to see results and to feel good, when you begin to look forward to your new activity, whether it is a new way of eating, an exercise program or if you are starting to stop smoking, you’ll know you’re on your way to a new lifelong habit–a positive change.  This time next year, you won’t be starting a resolution, you’ll be continuing it and maybe starting a new one.  Happy New Year!

Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM

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Balinese Beauty secrets

December 28, 2008 --

by Cathy Rae Smith
Founder of Culture Magazine,

On a trip to Bali earlier this year, there was a certain appealingly radiant distinction to its people.

That certain “something” went beyond surface appearance of gentle features and jet-black hair. For two weeks I saw not a single person slouching or slumping along. There is a physical grace inherent to their movement coupled with a lovely upright posture. As I strolled the tourist town streets or got off the beaten path to remote locations, everyone seemed relaxed, shone genuine warm smiles, and moved with physical elegance.

People still carry bundles on their heads, which is part of where their beautifully upright postures are developed. They also engage in arts and dance as a part of daily life. Children go from school to dance classes with a local master, much in the way that American children go to play on a sport team after school. This cultural embrace of the arts and social manner of respect shown to one another was conspicuously attractive.

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Second Thoughts Anyone???

December 26, 2008 --

Guest Submission:

Written by: Lynne Horner

Oh, goody — a chance to be politically incorrect: Merry Christmas!

Here’s what I did: I asked Santa for a herd of something — a herd of female somethings, to be exact — but so far nothing’s shown up.

Cows, sheep, horses or goats would be my favorites, but what we maybe have room for are a flock of chickens, say, or ducks.

Here’s why.

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The Greatest Gift

December 25, 2008 --

Submitted by Kay Helbling


A trip to the emergency room last month was the impetus for sharing this bit of news to you. And, no better time to share it then on Christmas Day.


It was just a day before Thanksgiving, the beginning of the busy holiday season. The nurse said it is one of the busiest times for them. I assumed it was the slip and falls from the weather or maybe heart attacks from the stress. In fact, the reason she gave left me speechless.


During the holidays, they receive a rush of elderly brought in by their caring children. You see, some of these moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas are only seen by their kids during the holidays. So, when they find them short of breath or having a hard time getting around it scares them. To them the change is drastic. Something must be wrong. Off they go, to the emergency room.


To these elderly, the condition has been slowly progressing but no one noticed, because they weren’t there.  There was no emergency care needed, only some tender, loving care.


If you are like me and live thousands of miles from a parent or grandparent, maybe the greatest gift we can give them is not wrapped with a shiny bow & ribbon but in the warmth of a big, strong hug. Not just at Christmas but throughout the year.


This Christmas, as we leave their home or make our annual Christmas call, besides telling them we love them, maybe we should offer them one more present—a promise. A promise to call and visit them twice as often. To stay in touch with their life and that we want them to stay in touch with ours. I think that would be the best gift we can give them because, most certainly, love is “the greatest gift of all”.


Kay was an insurance adjuster and executive for 15 years, a small business owner and a teacher for 10. But, her most fulfilling work has been as a mother of her two boys. She is now looking forward to an empty nest with her best friend—her husband







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It wasn’t my fault I blew my Christmas diet

December 24, 2008 --

By Evergreen,

I want everyone to know that I did try to follow Oregon Women’s Report fitness instructor, Olivia Rossi’s advice on diet strategies for the holidays.  I must announce that several extraordinary circumstances made it much more difficult for me this year.

The worst example came when someone dropped by a huge plate of Christmas cookies the day before the snowstorm.  I had no intention of eating any of them but rather leaving them around fro everyone else in the house.  After a few days trapped in the house with limited food the allure of those cookies broke down my will and I devoured the entire lot in 48 hours.  That started a ravenous chain of events within itself.

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Memories of Baby’s First Christmas

December 23, 2008 --

By Your Personal Trainer:
Olivia Rossi,

It was as tough, if not tougher than I had imagined, to let go of my son and watch him walk away.  Parenthood is the only job in the world with the goal of becoming unemployed in eighteen years.  It was 1998 when he left for college.  I found myself dwelling a lot on his birth and his early months, kind of like I was reliving them.  I had written a lot of insights and poems when he was a baby which seemed to provide me comfort in those early days of his absence.  I thought of the quote I had on my desk at home, “Children are like snowflakes–unique, but only here for awhile,” and of the mother who told me to “Savor each moment” when she gave me his “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament in 1979.  He was two-weeks old.  That ornament is always the first one on my tree and the last one off.

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Comedy Moment: Bad Christmas Decorations

December 22, 2008 --

By Sharon Lacey, Portland comedian

I travel all across the country doing stand up comedy. Now that the holidays are over, I have a moment to reflect on all of the creative ways people decorated their yards this Christmas.  In Tucson, tall cacti wore red Santa hats. In Pendleton, little twinkling lights adorned the tumbleweed.  But somebody crossed the line into “tacky” when they lined up life-sized blow-up dolls, put wings, halos, and white robes on them, and called them “Caroling Angels”.  My neighbors suggested I never do that again…..

Portlander Sharon Lacey performs stand-up comedy all across the U.S. and Canada. She’ll be entertaining our troops in Iraq in January. Clips & contact info: or

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Warrent out for Convicted Rapist Rickey Allen Robbins

December 19, 2008 --

Guest Submission

A convicted Lane County predatory sex offender who was released from prison last week after serving time for sex-related crimes has absconded from parole supervision, authorities announced Monday December 16th 2008.

Rickey Allen Robbins has been convicted of rape, sexual abuse and burglary.

His whereabouts are unknown, county authorities said.

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The Real Christmas Elves

December 18, 2008 --

Submitted by Kay Helbling


There are some folks who are the real oil that makes the holiday machinery run smoothly. These are the many family businesses across Oregon that are too small to hire staff to work around the clock, doing the work that allows you to carry on your season’s traditions. Their only option is for the mom and dad to take shifts 24/7 during the months of November and December. Even the sons and daughter’s have to put in their weekend and evening hours after finishing their homework. For these folks Christmas is not only about the importance of the season it is about making payrolls and breaking a profit after a long, hard year of effort.  

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So Many Christmas Movies – Here’s My Favorite. . .

December 17, 2008 --

By Erika Weisensee

The video store I rent movies from has an entire section of holiday films. Every year, it seems, there are more and more choices, but of all the movies in this growing seasonal genre, my favorite is “A Christmas Story.” Oh, I can feel the messages coming in already, so let me add this little disclaimer: There are many, many great Christmas films out there, and I would love to hear your opinions.

The original “Miracle on 34th Street” is magical, and “It’s a Wonderful Life” really is wonderful. I also love “Elf,” a delightful, heart-warming, and funny movie, thanks to the comic talent of Will Ferrell. But of all the holiday flicks on the shelf, “A Christmas Story” is the movie I long to see every December, sometimes again and again.

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