Promises Guys Must Keep

When you tell her you'll do something, she assumes you mean it. And slacking won't just piss her off, it may make her doubt your word in the future. So do both of you a big favor and follow through on the phrases below.
By Jennifer Benjamin

"I'll call you right back."

We know how it is: You're talking to your girlfriend when you get hungry. You tell her you're going to make a sandwich but reassure her that you'll phone once you're done eating.

Flash forward two hours: The sandwich is long gone, and you're engaged in a bloodbath on your PS2. Meanwhile, she's wondering where the hell you are. "When you tell her you'll call right back, assume she's thinking it'll be about five minutes," says psychotherapist Robert Mark Alter, author of It's (Mostly) His Fault. If you know it'll be two hours, say, "I have to deal with a few things; can I call you later?"

"I'll take care of it."

You're a busy guy, and you may have more important stuff to do than fix a leaky faucet in your beloved's bathroom. But when she asks for help and you agree, she's counting on you to get the job done. "Women these days are independent and don't like having to ask for anything," says Bobbie Reid, author of Clueless. "When you don't take care of it, she has to keep bugging you, which makes her feel like a nag."

So the next time she makes a request that you can't get to right away, Reid suggests telling her that you'll totally be able to take a look at it, but not until a specific day the next week. That way, she won't keep asking, and you won't be the ass who never did what he said.

"We should go there."

Making plans tends to be more of a woman's forte, which is why it means so much when you come up with a cool date idea of your own. That's also why it can be a major letdown when you don't follow through. "By suggesting it, she assumes you're now going to make all the arrangements, and that makes her feel special," says Alter. So the next time you mention trying that new Moroccan restaurant, make a reservation or tack on the addendum "...just remind me."

"I'll be there at seven."

Okay, admittedly women aren't always ready when they say they'll be. Still, there's an expectation that if you tell a girl you'll be showing up at a certain time, you'll be there. "Being late is inconsiderate and makes her feel like you don't care about seeing her," says Reid. So if you're going to be tardy for a legit reason (like your boss has you chained to your desk), call! She's a lot less likely to bitch if you give her a heads-up.

Content By: Cosmppolitan

[via MSN]

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Listen and Lose

Tuning in to your normal hunger signals will ensure that you never overeat again. Follow this 6-step plan.
By Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, RD, Prevention

Humans have an instinctual (even good) fear of getting hungry. Take the film Into the Wild—when the main character can't find food, his hunger drives him to a screaming, shake-his-fist-at-the-heavens rage, a stark example of the primal nature of our need for nourishment.

Today, most of us know where our next meal is coming from, yet our reaction to hunger has not evolved with our convenience-centered world. This is why even the thought of being hungry may send you running to the mini-mart for sustenance.

If you want to lose weight, however, you must tune in to your body's signal to eat. "Hunger is a physical cue that you need energy," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD. It can be your best diet ally; if you listen to your body, you'll instinctively feed it the right amount. But fall out of touch, and hunger becomes diet enemy number one: You may eat more than you need or get too hungry and stoke out-of-control cravings.

These six tips teach you to spot hunger and eat to stay satisfied—so you control calories and shed pounds without "dieting."

1. Learn to identify your spot on the hunger scale

Do you really know what hunger feels like? Before you can rein it in, you must learn to recognize the physical cues that signal a true need for nourishment. Prior to eating, use our hunger scale below to help figure out your true food needs:

An uncomfortable, empty feeling that may be accompanied by light-headedness or jitteriness caused by low blood sugar levels from lack of food. Binge risk: high.

Your next meal is on your mind. If you don't eat within the hour, you enter dangerous "starving" territory.

Moderately hungry
Your stomach may be growling, and you're planning how you'll put an end to that nagging feeling. This is optimal eating time.

You're satiated, not full but not hungry either. You're relaxed and comfortable and can wait to nosh.

If you're still eating, it's more out of momentum than actual hunger. Your belly feels slightly bloated, and the food does not taste as good as it did in the first few bites.

You feel uncomfortable and might even have mild heartburn from your stomach acids creeping back up into your esophagus.

To slim down: The best time to eat is when you are "moderately hungry" or "hungry"—when you hit either of these stages, you've used most of the energy from your last meal or snack but you haven't yet hit the point where you will be driven to binge.

2. Refuel every 4 hours

Still can't tell what true hunger feels like? Set your watch. Moderate to full-fledged hunger (our ideal window for eating) is most likely to hit 4 to 5 hours after a balanced meal. Waiting too long to eat can send you on an emergency hunt for energy—and the willpower to make healthful choices plummets. When researchers in the United Kingdom asked workers to choose a snack just after lunch, 70% picked foods like candy bars and potato chips; the percentage shot up to 92% when workers chose snacks in the late afternoon. "Regular eating keeps blood sugar and energy stable, which prevents you from feeling an extreme need for fuel," says Kate Geagan, RD, a Park City, UT-based registered dietitian.

To slim down: If you're feeling hungry between meals, a snack of 150 calories should help to hold you over. Here are a few ideas:

Munch on whole foods such as fruit and unsalted nuts—they tend to contain more fiber and water, so you fill up on fewer calories. Bonus: They're loaded with disease-fighting nutrients.

Avoid temptation by packing healthful, portable snacks such as string cheese and dried fruit in your purse, desk drawer, or glove compartment.

3. Eat breakfast without fail

A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition tracked the diets of nearly 900 adults and found that when people ate more fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the morning, they stayed satisfied and ate less over the course of the day than those who ate their bigger meals later on. Unfortunately, many Americans start off on an empty stomach: In one recent survey, consumers reported that even when they eat in the morning, the meal is a full breakfast only about one-third of the time.

To slim down: If you're feeling full-blown hunger before noon, there's a chance you're not eating enough in the am. Aim for a minimum of 250 calories and make it a habit:

Prepare breakfast before bed (cut fruit and portion out some yogurt).

Stash single-serving boxes of whole grain cereal or packets of instant oatmeal and shelf-stable fat-free milk or soymilk at work to eat when you arrive.

Eat a late breakfast if you can't stomach an early one. "Don't force anything," says John de Castro, PhD, a behavioral researcher and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Sam Houston State University. "Just wait a while and eat at 9, 10, or even 11 am. It will help you stay in control later in the day."

4. Build low-cal, high-volume meals

Solid foods that have a high fluid content can help you suppress hunger. "When we eat foods with a high water content like fruits and vegetables, versus low-water content foods like crackers and pretzels, we get bigger portions for less calories," says Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan and a professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University.

Bottom line: You consume more food but cut calories at the same time. Rolls has found a similar effect in foods with a lot of air. In a recent study, people ate 21% fewer calories of an air-puffed cheese snack, compared with a denser one.

To slim down: Eat fewer calories by eating more food:

Start dinner with a salad, or make it into your meal (be sure to include protein such as lean meat or beans).

Choose fresh fruit over dried. For around the same amount of calories, you can have a whole cup of grapes or a measly 3 tablespoons of raisins.

Boost the volume of a low-cal frozen dinner by adding extra veggies such as steamed broccoli or freshly chopped tomatoes and bagged baby spinach.

5. Munch fiber all day long

Fiber can help you feel full faster and for longer. Because the body processes a fiber-rich meal more slowly, it may help you stay satisfied long after eating. Fiber-packed foods are also higher in volume, which means they can fill you up so you eat fewer calories. One review recently published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association linked a high intake of cereal fiber with lower body mass index — and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

To slim down: Aim to get at least 25 g of fiber a day with these tips:

Include produce such as apples and carrots—naturally high in fiber—in each meal and snack.
Try replacing some or all of your regular bread, pasta, and rice with whole grain versions.

6. Include healthy protein at each meal

When researchers at Purdue University asked 46 dieting women to eat either 30% or 18% of their calories from protein, the high-protein eaters felt more satisfied and less hungry. Plus, over the course of 12 weeks, the women preserved more lean body mass, which includes calorie-burning muscle.

To slim down: Boost your protein intake with these ideas:

Have a serving of lean protein such as egg whites, chunk light tuna, or skinless chicken at each meal. A serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand— not including your fingers. For more on sizing up protein portions, visit Prevention's Handy Portion Control Guide.

Build beans into your meals. Black beans, chickpeas, and edamame (whole soybeans) are low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with protein.

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How Marriage Helps Your Brain

Does matrimony make you smarter? The latest science says: I do
Thomas Crook, PhD, Prevention

I dedicated a recent book, The Memory Advantage, to my wife, Kay, writing: "I knew when I met her that she would be unforgettable." One of the reasons Kay made such an impact on me is that she is devoted to the pursuit of knowledge — about everything from movie blockbusters and interior design to 18th-century epic poetry and primitive art.

Each day, Kay makes a point of learning new information and passing much of it on to me in the evening. For example, she recently read a book called The Intellectual Devotional (published by Rodale, which also publishes Prevention), from which we both learned the origin of John Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost," the history of the Lascaux cave paintings in France, and more. I, too, share with Kay much of what I learn every day, and after years of doing this, we've become each other's best teacher.

From my perspective as a neuroscientist, this is ironic because the changes that occur in the brain during the early stages of love are not conducive to intellectual pursuits. The feeling of euphoria, the sometimes obsessive desire to be with your beloved... all make concentration on anything else almost impossible.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers have actually observed the effects of love on the brain. When people in the early stages of infatuation are shown photos of their sweethearts and told to think about them, areas of the brain rich in the chemical dopamine are activated. Dopamine produces very powerful pleasurable sensations. Cocaine and amphetamine, for example, produce their effects by spurring the release of dopamine.

As relationships mature, however, those areas are less responsive to the mere sight of one's lover. To be successful, the relationship must evolve from dopamine-driven euphoria to a more mindful cultivation of love and respect. Flowers and candlelight dinners help, but so do exploring and experiencing the world together. In fact, one area of the brain that "lights up" in these later stages of love is the cortex, the same place where information is stored and rational decisions are made.

As I've stressed in previous columns, new information builds fresh neural networks at any age. Here are some ways to strengthen your marriage (and get smarter in the process):

Take dancing lessons
The combined
physical and mental challenge is a great brain workout.

Watch movies and discuss the plot and characters

Research shows that men and women use different areas of the brain when viewing films, resulting in different perspectives and insights.

Throw a party for a diverse group and then debrief each other the next day

Areas of the brain involved in learning and memory can be stimulated by social interaction, and you may be surprised at how differently the two of you interpret the evening's party politics.

Learn a language together

Gradually incorporate new words and phrases into your conversations. Or sign up for Merriam-Webster's "Word of the Day." It's a free service ( that delivers the definition and origin of a new word via e-mail each day.

Take on a home project to learn each other's skills

There is no reason a wife can't rewire a lamp or, speaking from experience, a husband can't learn about wall colors other than white. At the very least, learning new skills together gives you and your spouse something to talk about other than the kids and work

Get some game!

Try to outsmart your spouse at one of our all-new fun and challenging games at

Thomas Crook, PhD, a clinical psychologist, has conducted extensive research to improve our understanding of how the brain works. He is a former research program director at the National Institute of Mental Health and is CEO of Cognitive Research Corp. in St. Petersburg, FL.

[via MSN]

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Nine Ways to Win at Office Politics

By Rachel Zupek, writer

Politics in the workplace can get vicious – and we're not talking about the governmental kind. Rather, office politics, or how power and influence are managed in your company, will be a part of your career whether you choose to participate in them or not.

Some workers say they don't want to get caught up in politics at work, but most experts argue that playing the game is crucial to your career success. By not getting involved, you may find your talents ignored and your success limited, and you may feel left out of the loop, says Louellen Essex, co-author of "Manager's Desktop Consultant: Just-in-Time Solutions to the Top People Problems That Keep You Up at Night."

"Politics get nasty when an employee is out for his or her personal gain alone," Essex says.
"Think of playing office politics as a game of strategy through which you are able to get the resources and influence you need to accomplish your goals. Most often those who are diplomatic, respectful and build coalitions with effective people win."

Here are Essex's nine tips to help you win at office politics and still gain others' respect.

1. Observe how things get done in your organization.
Ask some key questions: What are the core values and how are they enacted? Are short- or long-term results most valued? How are decisions made? How much risk is tolerated? The answers to these questions should give you a good sense of the culture of your organization.

2. Profile powerful individuals.
Pay attention to their communication style, network of relationships and what types of proposals they say "yes" to most often. Emulate those traits by drawing on the strengths you have.

3. Determine strategic initiatives in the company.
Update your skills to be relevant to company initiatives. For example, don't lag behind in technology, quality or customer service approaches that are crucial to you and your company's success.

4. Develop a personal track record as someone who gets results.
Style without substance will not gain others' respect, especially in today's organizations that focus on outcome.

5. Don't be afraid to toot your own horn.
If no one knows of your good work, you may lose at the game of office politics – when you really deserve to win. Let others know what you've accomplished whenever you get the opportunity. If you don't know the fine art of diplomatic bragging, you might get lost in the shuffle of your co-workers.

6. Treat everyone with respect.
Don't show preferential treatment or treat co-workers badly. You never know to whom someone might be connected, and rude behavior may come back to bite you.

7. Don't align too strongly with one group.
While an alliance may be powerful for the moment, new leadership will often oust existing coalitions and surround themselves with a new team. Bridging across factions may be a more effective strategy for long-term success if you intend to stay in your current organization for some time.

8. Learn to communicate persuasively.
Develop an assertive style, backed with solid facts and examples, to focus others' attention on your ideas and proposals. Good politicians can adjust their messages for their audience and are always well-prepared.

9. Be true to yourself.
After analyzing the political landscape in your company, if you decide the game is one you can't play, prepare to move on. It's not typical, but some organizations actually condone – even promote – dishonest, ruthless or unethical behavior. The game of office politics in this situation is not one worth winning.

Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

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