Food and Dining, Work and Occupation

Two by Four

A friend I’ve known since grade school is an aspiring actress. She was an “extra” as early as age 16, and has had bit parts in a few TV shows, and a movie she says is set to come out this year.

She recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of a career in acting, and I know she’s going to make it. She came home for Christmas break, and we got to talking about the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary to get good roles. She’s facing one of those decisions right now.

One for the Team

fat woman considering whether she should overeat or exercise
Think it over

The studio wants her to gain 30 pounds. Now, this girl has been fit for as long as I can remember. She was a cheerleader in high school, and taught aerobics part-time once she turned 18. She always eats right and pays attention to her figure. Don’t get me wrong. She’s not a huge dieter, and she’s not vain. She just likes to keep fit and healthy. So I was floored when she said she’s probably going to gain the weight!

She brought up an interesting point, though, by saying that people gain and lose weight every year and don’t even think about it. She says she would be ‘smart’ about the weight gain, and not pig out on junk food to get there. Then, after the film is over, she plans to get right back down to where she is now. She said it’s a good role and she needs to make a name for herself, so has decided getting fat is worth it in this case.

For Love of the Job

I just think it’s interesting. I mean, I tend to put on at least 15 pounds in the winter (during what I call the “fat/sweater months”), and I don’t get anything out of it but a sour mood and bad attitude. At least she’s going to get paid, and hopefully this will open the door for something else.

I know her, and I know she’ll get the weight off, too. She does what she says she will. I just think it’s a different way to look at things. Kind of a reverse New Year’s resolution, I guess, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

by Samaris Nuñez

Suri Says

(Not So) Sweet Connection

Dear Suri, I’m part of a ‘networking’ group. We meet formally every month to discuss things, go over agenda items, etc. Every few weeks, we also have an informal get-together, where we have fun, meet new people and just enjoy ourselves. Now, the group wants to start a monthly ‘birthday bash,’ and they’re trying to get everyone to sign on to the idea. The thing is, I am just not into it.

It’s not that I don’t like them, or don’t want to have a good time and celebrate their birthdays, and I’m not one of those people who tries to keep their own birthday all quiet.  There are other things happening here.

First of all, I am on a diet. I really need to get a handle on my weight, and I’ve decided to start eating better and exercising more. I know I don’t have any self-control, so I really don’t want to put myself in a situation where there will be cake and sweets. I just know I will fall off the wagon!

Don't let this be a monthly dilemma
Don’t let this be a monthly dilemma

Also, everyone who participates in the birthday bashes would have to bring something, either homemade or store bought. I don’t want to make stuff at home for the same reasons as already stated. I can see myself making an extra portion of whatever I would bring to the party, and then just eating that in front of the TV. I don’t want to buy something, either. I’m not cheap, but taking on an extra monthly expense is not something I want to do right now. I know that might sound bad, but I just don’t feel like it.

But with all that said, I don’t want to seem like I’m not a ‘team player,’ or have people alienate me from the group because of this. I can’t really tell anyone there about my feelings. They might not understand, or might get mad and kick me right out of the group! I just don’t know what to do. — Cheryl T. | Bozeman, Montana


Dear Cheryl, Networking is important to both social and professional advancement, however your involvement in any group that would turn its back on you for such a personal conviction may need to be reinvestigated. This is assuming your notion of alienation would prove correct.

If an explanation is warranted, could you not detail the reasons you have just expressed? If not the expense portion, perhaps focus on your new health regime? Surely no one could fault you for wanting to keep in shape. You may find others are feeling the same way and, perhaps, the idea will be abandoned altogether.

Kudos for your social involvement, as well as your commitment toward personal health. Best of luck to you in both endeavors. ~Suri 


Suri Says™

by Suri Syrtawnya Advice | Residential Life Magazine 

Suri Says


Dear Suri, My wife has decided to ‘go veg’ this year, as part of her New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and stay fit. The trouble is… she doesn’t like vegetables! It’s so stupid. I want to be supportive and all that, but I just think she’s going to have a real tough time with all of this, and then I’ll have to say “I told you so.” Maybe I should tell her that now and get it over with! Ha! — Steve Sakks | Payson, Arizona

Dear Steve, The decision to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle — whether for ethical or health reasons — is often a difficult one to make. People typically devote a great deal of time and effort toward weighing their options, and determining the rewards and risks of such a choice — the latter of which sometimes includes potential fallout from family and friends.

While advice in this regard can be insightful, it is ultimately a choice we all must make for ourselves. Once the decision has been made, however, it is important that the person can depend on loved ones to embrace their cause and support them, rather than belittle their choices or “wait for them to fail.” I wish you and your wife the best of luck in your endeavors, for this year and beyond. ~Suri

Suri Says
by Suri Syrtawnya

Work and Occupation

When ‘Best Practice’ Isn’t

Best practice. Industry standard. The latest workplace buzzwords share similarities with every other slogan that preceded them. Like Janet Jackson’s “Nasty Boys,” they don’t mean a thing.

After all, what good is best practice if it doesn’t help people do or understand things in an easier and more efficient manner than they were able to before? What good is industry standard if it goes against basic ‘common sense’ and/or people’s specific requests and concerns?

Consider this analogy: You own a store that sells — among other things — ice cream sandwiches. You store them in a freezer at the rear, left of the building (on the top shelf), because “everybody knows that’s where ice cream sandwiches are located.”

But if you don’t put up any signs indicating that ‘fact,’ and never tell anyone where the treats are — even when it’s clear those kind folks are specifically looking for ice cream sandwiches —you are (literally!) allowing potential sales to ‘walk out the door.’

You know where to get 'em.
You know where to get ’em.

And when those hungry shoppers get frustrated at the confectionary confusion you’ve created, it’s also likely they’ll stop dropping by your shop for the other things they need.

“If I couldn’t find something as simple as ice cream sandwiches, how on earth would I find quinoa?!”

Many of us make blunders like this every day and (hopefully) don’t even realize it. We must train ourselves to not only listen intently to what customers are saying and explaining, but also put ourselves “in their shoes.”

We have all played the customer role at some point. Think about the times when you’ve become frustrated (or worse) during an interaction with an agent. Learn from the poor treatment you received and make sure you’re not turning around and doing the same thing to others!

Above all, stop hiding behind buzzwords solely to prevent having to say ‘no,’ or to actually entertain someone’s concerns. Interaction (no matter how heated it may become) can only bring about insight, understanding, and — ultimately — resolution.

by Emily Souwto | Feature & Human Interest Editor | Residential Life Magazine 

Health and Wellness

Get Real

Fitness is not a New Year’s resolution.

How many years have we “resolved” to lose weight, only to gain it all back a few months later? How much money have we wasted on those gym memberships that are never used? It’s time to begin our commitment to life-long fitness. More than just losing a few pounds or fitting into a summer swimsuit, it’s time to focus on long-term goals that will keep us healthy and happy for years to come.

Of course, the “magic formula” is still diet and exercise. We need to eat fewer calories than we are able to expend, and make a conscious effort to get in at least some exercise each day. It’s also a good idea to keep a food journal.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I’m not even trying to pretend I’m perfect. I still love a good “cheat meal.” Through the years I’ve lost (and gained back!) my fair share of the pounds. But when I let myself get 85 pounds overweight, I knew it was time to act. So, along with healthy eating and regular exercise, I started to log a food journal.

A month into my journal, I had to face a harsh truth. I had been “rewarding” myself with pizza, BBQ ribs, Chinese food, and candy every other night. But because it wasn’t every night, I didn’t even realize it! Time goes by fast, and it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking we’re just having a “little treat.” But those treats can quickly add up!

I don’t like to preach, so I’ll bring this entry to a close. My only hope is that come July, we’re all still “chugging along,” losing weight and feeling great, and not full of regret at our good intentions from six months earlier.

Get Up. Get Moving. Get Fit!

by Raul Lisneski | Health & Fitness Editor | Residential Life Magazine