Author: Dorothy Sander


Successful Weight Loss is Not About the Diet

Successful Weight Loss is Not About the Diet

“Why are You so Damn Fat!?” ~ Martha Beck Tells It Like It Is!

Our diet is an important issue for all of us. Weight loss, particularly as we get older, becomes increasingly difficult. We need all the help we can get, not only to lose weight but to maintain it.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve asked myself this question more than once!  The first time I heard these words, however,  were spoken to me by a “friend”, when I was nine years old — minus the expletive. Prior to that, the idea of being too fat, too thin, or anything other than just me, never crossed my mind. After that, it never left. And, I wasn’t even “fat”.

At the time I picked up Martha Beck’s book, The Four Day Win, End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace, I was unaware that my self-talk was a problem. I became a fan of Beck after reading Finding Your Own North Star.  She’s straight forward, honest, intelligent, well-educated and very funny. Most importantly, she knows what she’s talking about, as much from her first hand experience as her vast education.

I downloaded the audio version of The Four Day Win, slipped on my walking shoes and headphones and headed out the  door to walk the dog and find my way to thinner peace.  The first words I heard after hitting “play” were, “Why are you so damn fat!?”  What??  I swallowed hard and out of respect for the woman, I listened on.

Beck no doubt used this opening for shock value and she certainly got my attention. After all, who would say such a thing, beside mean girls and siblings?  She went on to make her point and it was a good one. What we say to ourselves is far worse than anything anyone else says to us.  We use words just like this over and over, day after day, year in and year out, not only about our appearance, but a vast array of things. We are not our own best friend. In fact, we’re our worst enemy! Why wouldn’t we want to soothe our wounds with a half gal of ice cream! (Incidentally, did you know ice cream doesn’t even come in half gallons anymore! That was not nice of the manufactures at all! ~ Yes, I am an addict. <— See? I just did it!)


Our daily stream of mental gibber jabber is far less helpful than it could be.  After all,  Beck writes,  when it comes to diet, “who

Not me, but it could be!

doesn’t know the basics of weight loss? Eat less. Move more. That’s all there is to it!” So, it’s not about the “perfect diet”. It’s not about the “right exercise routine”.  They can be  helpful tools, but what really affects our ability to achieve our goals, no matter what they are, is the way we think and what we tell ourselves, both consciously and unconsciously.

If we want to lose weight, or overcome any obstacle we face, our first step must be to figure out what we are thinking.  When we bringing our self-talk into conscious awareness, we can choose self-talk that supports our diet efforts, rather than sabotaging them.

The Four Day Win is not just a diet book. It’s far more and it’s worth the read before beginning any preplanned life change.  If we’re going to succeed at anything we set out to do, it behooves us to become our own cheerleader.

First published June, 2010

© Dorothy Sander

NOTE: Before beginning any weight loss program be sure and consult with your physician. A BMI calculator will help you determine if you are carrying excess weight and how much.

How to Create Conscious Intention

How to Create Conscious Intention

I’m pretty sure she changed her intention!

Do you remember the last time you made a declaration of intention not to do something? I sure do! In fact, a perfect example leaps to mind. Scott, (my husband), loves sardines. He introduced them to my sons when they were teenagers and they shocked me by actually trying them. (He’s always had more persuasive abilities with them than I have had. Sadly.)

Of course, Scott and the boys also thought I should try them, as I never had. I stated it clearly then, and have repeated it dozens of times since, “I have no intention, whatsoever, of trying sardines. Ever. End of subject.” My very clear statement of intent has not deterred  them from trying again every time they open another odoriferous can of something only a feline should find palatable. My intention remains crystal clear and intact.

Can you remember such a time in your life, when saying “no” felt rock solid? Intention is packed with energy. We feel this energy most acutely when we state an intention about something we don’t want to do and have decided not to do.  However, when we apply our intention toward something we would like to do, things get a little more complicated and mind-field a little muddier. The energy doesn’t seem to stick.


A much wiser cat!

An intention not to do something is easy. It leaves plenty of room to change our mind without fear of leaving a trail of guilt or remorse behind. I could eat sardines tomorrow and any remorse I might feel would only be about the discomfort of the experience. It would give the guys a thrill and tomorrow I could restate my intention as if nothing happened. . . or, and it’s highly unlikely. . . I might abandon my intention and sit down with the cats.

Stating an intention to do something, however, carries with it a different sort of commitment. More importantly, it open us up and begins to expand our awareness.  Imagine this: I create an intention to try sardines. What’s the first thing that happens? Panic sets in. Fear. Uncertainty. A desire to abandon my intention.  It demands that I ask questions. What am I afraid of? Is it the physical displeasure? Or is there something more to it?

Your intentions are probably not about sardines. They are more likely about worthier goals. We all aspire to things that feel a little bit out of reach. When we want to bring our aspirations into reality, forming and spending time with our intention is the perfect teacher and an invaluable guide for the process.  It prepares us for the changes that we are inviting into our lives.

Creating an intention consciously is a request to the Universe for the opportunity to expand and grow; it is opening the door of our creative energy and releasing it into the world. We must be ready to wield this energy and allow it to wield us.

GRANDDAD and the SUMMER SOLSTICE – A Memoir Moment

GRANDDAD and the SUMMER SOLSTICE – A Memoir Moment

Morris Shallcross Wickersham 1947

It’s the summer solstice and my grandmother’s birthday. The connection seems absolutely right, though I know little about her. My mother told me stories of her love of nature. . . a gift passed down from generation to generation. Now, as I watch my son till and plant his garden I see the circle of life unfolding. I never knew my grandmother – she died before I was born – as did all of my grandparents except one: Granddad.

My grandfather, my mother’s father, lived with us all of my life. My first memory of Granddad was of him carrying me on his shoulders to the chicken coop.  I was two.  Granddad and the chicken coop were a thing. It was who he was around town. He raised chickens and sold the eggs to the local people for pocket change. That is, until we moved to Maine where there were no chicken coops. During the dark winter days he took to washing dishes and canning chairs. Occasionally, he watched over me while my mother was at a church function or a tea party. He fed me poached eggs with too much salt as I sat in front of the TV.  I didn’t say a word. Granddad was hard of hearing and I didn’t like shouting at him.  People did not hear me anyway. Silence was my modus operandi.

We moved again right before my ninth birthday. The weather was warmer in our new home further south, but still no chicken coop. Instead Granddad spent hours on his knees in the front yard, hunched over digging dandelions out of the grass with his pocket knife – in a white shirt and tie. It was what he wore every day. It was always Sunday in his world, and each morning began with the sound of his straight razor against the razor strop that hung from his bedroom door. Once in a while I’d sneak in to his room and watch him lather up his shaving brush and paint his face in great dobs of smooth white froth. I so wanted him to dob some on my face too!

Slender and almost 6 feet tall, Granddad was number eight in our family. He made us an even-numbered family. I don’t recall him ever being sick, except once when I was eleven. He was ninety-two. He laid in bed for two weeks with a mysterious illness. The doctor came and went and talked in a conspiratorial whisper with my mother in the kitchen. There was no discussion of what was wrong with Granddad except that he wasn’t feeling well.

One night a kerfuffle coming from his bedroom woke me up. Before I could decide whether or not to get up, I heard my mother’s feet scurrying down the hall. I lie in bed, beneath the safety of my covers, listening to the activity but discovering nothing about its cause. After a time the racket stopped and I drifted back to sleep. Over breakfast my mother told my Dad how Granddad thought the trash can was on fire. She had to take it into the bathroom and run the water to convince him that it wasn’t.  The trash can wasn’t on fire at all, but Granddad’s imagination was!

Finally, after two weeks, he got up, got dressed in his white shirt and tie and stretched out on the couch in the living room. When I passed by on the way to the kitchen for breakfast he was fast asleep. I was encouraged. He was getting well at last. I poured my cereal as my mother washed the dishes. “Granddad’s up!” I said. “He’s dressed and napping on the couch!”.

“He’s not napping, dear,” she said. That afternoon the undertaker came and took him away. Family members always seemed to leave just as I arrived.

INTENTION – What Will You Create?

INTENTION – What Will You Create?


“Every journey begins with the first step of articulating the intention, 

and then becoming the intention.” 

Bryant McGill, author of Voice of Reason


Intention is like going into a grocery store. Every time we step through the door we are greeted with shelves full of opportunity for enhanced health. And, just as many opportunities for the reverse await us as well.  We may carry good intentions through the door, but where we place our attention begets the results. Intention. We can have the best of it, but whether or not we harness and direct its power remains one of our greatest challenges.

When we walk into a grocery store we don’t often think of our intentions as having a life of their own. But they do, if we engage them properly. If you’re like me, you tend to let the power of intention slip right through your fingers. I’m distractable.  I love new shiny things. Especially ideas and new packaging on old items! They launch me forward without effort, because they excite me. But, when it comes time for knuckle skinning work, I easily let go of the power of intention. Whoosh. It vanishes.

Sustaining intention takes work.  It requires a whole new intention to feed the intention!  creating intentionsWhen we become conscious of  how the energy an intended plan works, we can use it to assist us. We can garner the forces of the universe not only to create a plan, but to bring it into reality.  Intentions must be intentionally nurtured!

STEP ONE: Harness your dream with a clear stated intention. Write it down. Understand that the clearer you envision your intention, the more energy becomes available to carry it into reality.  Use every ounce of your creativity to bring it to life both in your mind and in some form in concrete reality.

STEP TWO: Avoid leaving intentions hanging in the air. Lifeless intentions that still hang around in some form are not harmless. They have the power to suck the life out of us. So, get rid of them!

The next time you half-heartedly hope, dream or wish for something, stop. Take a breath. Put space between this thought and the future and ask yourself, “do I really want this to become a reality”? If so, form an intention. Write it down. Put it on your refrigerator or over your desk where you will see it every day. If not, let it go. Completely. Say out loud, “No, I do not want to place my energy there right now. I want to use my energy elsewhere.” Watch the notion evaporate. Let it go. Visualize it going back into the Universe for safekeeping.

STEP THREE: Just like you make a grocery list, put your intention on paper. Bring it to life in every way you can. Draw a picture. Create a dream board with all the visual details.  Research and learn everything you need to know about your intention. Keep it alive by living in the middle of the idea, not around its edges. If you want to eat strawberries instead of ice cream, live in the fresh fruit section, not the frozen food department.

When we write down what we hope to create, it doesn’t get lost in muddy mind chatter of our day to day activities.

STEP FOUR: Live in the intention and do everything you can to feed it, and let go of the outcome. Deepak Chopra reminds us to “Relinquish your rigid attachment to a specific result and live in the wisdom of uncertainty”.  Allow the power of the Universe to help you bring your dreams into reality, and the wisdom of the Universe to provide you with something different if that is what is best for you.

Have you seen the power of intention at work in your life?



“This is how to avoid re-creating painful situations: Take the time to discover your real intention before you act. If it is to change someone or the world so that you will feel safe or better about yourself, don’t act on it, because it is an intention of fear and can create only painful consequences.”  ~ Gary Zukav





mother of the groom cartoonA year ago May, the opportunity arose for me to step into the shoes of the “mother of the groom”. Up until the day I started shopping, I assumed I was too young to play that role! When I began searching for something suitable to wear, I was stymied. Nothing I saw reflected me! They styles were all too old fashioned, too “mother of the bride”, too something my mother would wear!

Clearly I was out of touch with reality.  I was, in fact, ten years older than the bride’s parents! I was the right age for a mother of the groom, and in some cases the grandmother of the groom!  Still, shopping for a dress stirred up a hornet’s nest of conflict. Who was I? Suddenly, a fun and exciting process was morphing into a nightmare of epic proportions, and it was all going on inside of me! (Well, except the part the spilled out on my husband, poor man. I am so blessed.)


I was blissfully happy and over the top excited about the wedding until the day arrived when I had to decide what to wear, and  I was not loving the unresolved issue  I was facing.  After several tumultuous and agonizing weeks, I began to wake up to the unresolved issues beneath this simple decision. It was not about the choice of a dress at all. (I know you know that!)

Unable to step back from the situation, I could not love the questions and embrace the process of discovery. Instead, I went to war with myself. Precipitated by a family gathering, old conflicts brought my tribal insecurities to the surface. I didn’t like it one bit, but it was exactly what I needed. My goal was to show up as my authentic self, and this is what was required.

So I began to slow things down.  I took time to breathe and meditate, and to live with the unanswered questions.  I let go of my need to know the answers before I even knew the questions. The cause of my conflict slowly rose to the surface.


I was not looking for a dress, I was looking for an expression of my authentic self.  Conflict arose because I was unconsciously trying to live up to the expectations of my childhood tribe. And, they were in conflict with who I am now.  The intensity caught me off guard, but it was a new opportunity for growth and self-actualization.  Even though I believed these issues were resolved, another layer was about to be peeled away.

Choosing a dress for my son’s wedding was a much bigger decision than I understood at first. The decision was a symbolic one, an act of self-expression and an excellent opportunity for me to bring forth another piece of myself.  In order to show up as myself, it was necessary to dispense with any concern I had, both conscious and unconscious, of what I believed others expected of me.  This included, most especially, my big sister and my deceased mother! That’s where the real healing needed to take place.


Mother of the Groom
Much ado about nothing. . . on the outside!

As I reduced my resistance, the details of the conflict became clearer and my choice of a dress was then a breeze! I knew exactly what I wanted, I just had to let go of all the history that was keeping me locked in indecision. What I chose was not what either my mother or sister would have chosen. It was not what I had perceived initially as appropriate attire for the “mother of the groom”.   What I chose, however, was exactly what I wanted to wear. Poof. The conflict vanished!

I walked out of the store giggling with self-satisfaction, dress slung over my shoulder. I truly did not care what anyone thought of my decision. To me this was proof positive that I had made the right decision and had chosen from the very center of me. It was a lovely feeling and one that continues to bear fruit. Resolving conflicts such as the one that still lived in me prior to this time, doesn’t just make a dress buying decision easier, it gives us back a piece of ourselves. And, it’s ours to keep.

Each time we make a choice from our authentic self we take a step toward inner peace. It is not the absence of problems, but the growing ability to trust the process and our inner guidance with each challenge we face.  Being patient with the process of self-discovery is essential when traveling the path of authentic living. We will never resolve all of our issues, but what we can learn to love the questions and trust the process a little more each day.

Dorothy Sander © 2016


Dare to Dream Another Dream

Dare to Dream Another Dream

Will you dare to dream another dream? 

I meet women over 50 everyday who are dreaming big. They are changing their lives, and perhaps more importantly, they are changing the

dare to dream
“The Old Astronomer”
Artist: Charlie Bowater

way they look at life. It’s exciting, and, it energizes everyone around them.  Letting go of regrets and expectations, they are grabbing onto to the moment with a different kind of enthusiasm than they had when they were young. Now, their enthusiasm is tempered with wisdom and experience.

I’ve experienced this feeling and it’s amazing. It doesn’t happen every day for any of us, but even just once in a while is enough to keep me going.

When my kids left for college I decided I needed, no wanted, to make significant changes in my life. Up until that point, I was driven by the desire to meet the needs of my children and family. I spent most of my life in hyper-put-everyone-else-first mode – you know the one that seems to have taken over the psyche of women of our generation?


Nurturing and watching over the less able is hardwired into our DNA as women. And as the expression goes, it’s a blessing and a curse. The problem for me has been that this mindset can become ones whole identity. Then, we tend to forget, or shove aside, other aspects of our personalities, abilities and interests.  Boomer women who chose the career track , some with children and some without, are telling me that they have come to realize that there’s more to life than achieving and being successful and they have gone to work realigning their lives with a fuller version of themselves.

Women over 50 are taking advantage of the opportunities allotted them via that better health and longevity and writing a new chapter in their lives. We forget that is also a new chapter in history. Women are starting second careers, traveling, giving back to the world in whatever way their essential selves are calling them to do.  Jan, at 50, started a home care business in Knoxville, TN. She saw a need and decided to fill it. Mary sold everything she owned and moved to a farm where she is living a simpler, more fulfilling life. I left our family business and began to write full-time. The sky is the limit for anyone who is willing to take a risk and follow their dreams. Will it be perfect? Nothing ever is, but it is always an adventure.

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