Healthy Weight, Healthy Mind: Be Your Own Best Friend

We are pleased to bring you this regular column by Dr. David Creel, a licensed psychologist, certified clinical exercise physiologist and registered dietitian. He is also credentialed as a certified diabetes educator and the author of A Size That Fits: Lose Weight and Keep it off, One Thought at a Time (NorLightsPress, 2017).

Do you have a weight loss question for Dr. Creel? Email him at [email protected]. He may answer your question in a future column.

Some people find it difficult to dispute their own thoughts. If you’ve spent years believing something and feeling a certain way about it, changing your viewpoint is tough. These may be things you learned in childhood and never questioned.

Several strategies can help adjust your perspective. One of the most effective ways to deal with stinkin’ thinkin’ is asking, “What would I tell a close friend who has dysfunctional thoughts about this exact situation?”

Imagine your friend, a single mom, calls you and says, with a note of hysteria in her voice: “I just got laid off at work. I won’t be able to feed my kids. We’ll be homeless and my kids will never forgive me for putting     them through this. I’m such a loser! If I’d finished college, I’d have a better job and none of this would be happening.”

With those thoughts, no wonder she’s upset. As a good friend you would be a voice of reason, helping her calm down and see things differently so she can begin problem solving. After expressing your sympathy, you might start by asking if she has any savings or family members who can help. You might have suggestions for finding another job right away. Plus, what evidence does she have that her kids will be traumatized? You might gently point out that the kids are influenced by her reactions. You would certainly remind her that she isn’t a loser —hasn’t she always provided for her children and found a way when times were tough? In short, you would show your friend a different perspective, talking her down with a combination of affection, calmness, and logic.

Your friend’s emotional reaction to losing her job probably stems from thoughts and beliefs about herself, such as: “I’m a failure. I can’t control what happens to me and I can’t deal with challenges.” You would never say those things to her, but she says them to herself.

I challenge you to see yourself as your own best friend.

Have you noticed we sometimes show kindness to our friends while being cruel to ourselves? You wouldn’t tell a friend, “Yes, you’re a big loser for not finishing school and losing your job. You’re going to be homeless and get what you deserve.”

Hopefully, you also wouldn’t give your friend superficial feedback, like “Stop worrying. Things will work out for the best.” Instead, you would dig into her concerns to help her balance logic and emotion so she could stop worrying so much and find a solution to her solvable problems.

When you’re trying to dispute your thoughts and beliefs, I challenge you do so as if you were speaking to your best friend. Acknowledge negative thoughts, but also look for a functional perspective that will help you calm your nerves and feel hopeful. See yourself as your own best friend. Disarm negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself by providing facts to the contrary. Accept your imperfections, speak to yourself respectfully, and lift yourself up as you work on making better decisions in the future.

Classic Covers: A Dog Is a Girl’s Best Friend

We’ve seen many Post covers with a man and his beloved hunting dog, or a boy and his furry best buddy. And from Wolfhounds to tiny laptops, Saturday Evening Post artists showed us how a dog, not diamonds, is a girl’s best friend.

Woman and Wolfhound by W.H. Coffin

Woman with Wolfhound by W.H. Coffin
Woman with Wolfhound
W.H. Coffin
October 17, 1925

This is no lap dog. The wolfhound and pretty lady were painted by artist W.H. Coffin. Born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1878, Coffin did over thirty Post covers between 1913 and 1931, each one of an attractive woman. His portraits were sometimes stark, but as he progressed he added props for contrast and interest: a spray of flowers, a feathered fan, a dog big enough to rip your throat out…okay, just kidding about the last part. He’s a beautiful animal.

Lady with Riding Crop and Dog by Harrison Fisher

Lady with Riding Crop and Dog by Harrison Fisher
Lady with Riding Crop and Dog
Harrison Fisher
August 28, 1909

Clearly, in the early twentieth century, charming ladies were a popular cover subject for Saturday Evening Post artists. Harrison Fisher did an amazing eighty-eight covers, frequently of ladies in fabulous hats. This one is from 1909. I can’t decide: is the hat or the dog cuter?

Tipping the Scales by Joseph Farrelly

Tipping the Scales by Joseph Farrelly
Tipping the Scales
Joseph Farrelly
October 13, 1923

Okay, so a dog isn’t always a woman’s best friend! Next time, she’ll learn to get a smaller dog. This cute cover from 1923 is the only one we have by this artist, but at least one Post staffer thinks it would make a great framed print for the bathroom. One needs humor by the bathroom scales.

Woman Resting After the Shoot by Edward Penfield

Woman Resting After the Shoot by Edward Penfield
Woman Resting After the Shoot
Edward Penfield
The Country Gentleman
December 15, 1917

Where there was a hunting cover, and there were many, there was a dog. And sometimes the hunter was female. This lovely autumn cover from a 1917 Country Gentleman magazine (a sister publication) was by artist Edward Penfield. His Country Gent and Post covers at the turn of the century were of varied subjects: horses and horseless carriages, Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland…and the occasional pretty lady.

Girl Scout by J.C. Leyendecker

Girl Scout by J.C. Leyendecker
Girl Scout
J.C. Leyendecker
October 25, 1924

The girl scouts started out in 1912 with eighteen members in Savannah, Georgia and today boasts over three million members. It was enough of an entity by 1924 to capture the attention of renowned Post cover artist J.C. Leyendecker. This young lady is practicing her first aid skills and her furry friend is being, well, a good scout.

Woman and Small Dog by Clarence Underwood

Woman and Small Dog by Clarence Underwood
Woman and Small Dog
Clarence Underwood
February 14, 1920

Clarence Underwood illustrated Post covers between 1903 and 1926 – over forty in all. This one is a lovely study in black and white, with a small red feather for contrast. And yes, you can get reprints of thousands of beautiful, humorous and interesting Post (and Country Gentleman) covers at If you’re looking for a particular cover or want to see a certain cover subject in a future Featured Artists column, contact me at: [email protected].