Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The positivity diet

Today I realized the fatal flaw in my positivity campaign: it’s essentially a cold-turkey, don’t-touch-that diet, and, hence, unsustainable and destined for failure. I’ve turned negativity into a craving, a guilt-ridden indulgence. I’ve been slipping, and apologizing, but then slipping a little more—the negativity version of “just one cookie” turning into a full-blown junk binge, stopping to buy a bag of chips and eating it on the way home. The bag of chips is not part of the metaphor so much as what I actually did this afternoon. (Unrelated, I’m sure.)

I realized that I need to turn the positivity campaign into a lifestyle change that incorporates balance—negativity in moderation as a supplement to lots of positive thoughts and actions. I realized I’m going to have to try again, before I become a behavioral yo-yo dieter, obsessed with restrictions, unhealthy and unmotivated.

It’s just that trying is hard. And trying again is harder. And to keep trying is the hardest. Especially when not trying is so easy. That’s how I feel today about everything. See also: everything feels like the worst. 

So, to try to jumpstart the positivity campaign, I’m going to do what my mom always suggests when we are feeling low and write down five things that aren’t the worst, and are, in fact, pretty great:

1. We went to dinner at Nightwood to celebrate Alex having 59 more years left on our marriage contract. Unlike today, everything was the best. 
2. It’s Brussels sprouts season.
3. I made a dinner for friends and family that started with an Oktoberfest-themed cheese plate and ended with smores pudding pie.
4. It’s also pot pie season.
5. Travis rocked Chicago and I loved it. I loved every second of it.

This has been therapeutic. How much do I owe you?


  1. Gratitude list is the best! Especially yours. Bags of chips anything! Were they salt and vinegar? Love the aerial shot of your dinner feast. And your fall cookery!!! Sent you a text re: a book idea. You're inspiring and I have some blog ideas to pass on too. Will when I'm not keep on swimming!

  2. Hi Hanna-
    I'm working with a start-up for food bloggers in Chicago called Tabelog ( They're a subsidiary of the largest company in Japan (similar to Yelp here in the US).
    We’re bringing their annual restaurant awards to the US that are judged solely by a panel of local food bloggers (all online). The winning restaurants get a framed 2014 award and the food bloggers get an 'official judge' icons/etc and related PR for their blog. We’re looking for bloggers from the Chicago area to invite as an official judge. Is this something that you would be interested in?
    You can contact me at
    Thanks in advance!