For example, all their friends have an iPhone 10. Of course, we all understand the appeal of gossip. It's human to enjoy the surprise at a sudden disclosure, the impact of a scandalous revelation. But as forcefully as I can, I'm telling you: gossip has absolutely no place among friends. It's very destructive for the whole group. Avoid it: run a clear mile from it. If you ever find the people around you light-heartedly gossiping, do not be drawn in, don't show any interest at all. I promise, the long-term result of your eloquent, dignified silence will be stronger friendships and real group trust. If you do speak about other friends, only be positive. Speaking behind people's backs is corrosive, but not when you're saying good things. It's a beautiful moment for a friend when they hear second-hand that you paid them a compliment. We eat too many calories. Twenty-five years ago, the average American consumed about 1,850 calories per day. Now we eat over 2,000 calories, which is enough to (theoretically) add thirty-one pounds per year. Eat fewer calories, fewer processed foods, and work to keep your weight down. If you work toward healthy behaviors, you'll be rewarded with improved health, potentially increased longevity, more money in your pockets, and more time spent with your family. Telling patients that they can make simple changes--whether it's to stop eating white bread and white potatoes or cutting out desserts and sugary drinks--to lose weight sometimes frustrates people. They believe it's more complicated than that. But most diets fail when they're impossible to follow on a daily basis. Sometimes it really is that simple to reduce weight--just by altering a few of the ways we eat.

Calories aside, 90 percent of Americans eat more sodium than recommended. Every one of them. We had no idea! Our poor Oliver Twists have to make do with passed-down phones, because, when we have an available upgrade, the people who get the new phones are named Brandon and Jen Hatmaker, and the reason is because we pay for the phones with the money we earn from our jobs. Good to know that all the other parents, I'm guessing, still use landlines so their eighth graders can take better selfies with their thousand dollar phones. Noted. Also noted is that none, exactly zero of their friends, have bedtimes or curfews. This is so interesting! We didn't realize. Here we are, like officers in a detention camp, making our children, nay, our hostages, go to bed on school nights. This is remarkably unfair, and our spawn have helped us understand that. We condition ourselves to wonder if compliments are truly meant when they're made to our faces, but when they're via a third party we much more readily, and happily, believe it. Saying only good things and never bad behind someone's back also has a positive effect on your immediate listener, too: it shows you're pure and true in your interactions, and by inference pure with them, too. To become the prized confidant and the best friend, you must treat people with this honour and respect. And if you really can't say good things about your friends and so many things about them bother you, you need to find new friends and wean yourself off your current social group. Among the cast of characters of our acquaintance, opinions on issues are usually firmly held, and this becomes a great test of our persuasive skills. It's also a powerfully attractive quality if you make yourself a thought-leader in your coterie. The prelude to this is, we all know where being honest with friends leads. From time to time we will disagree. Disagreements can become arguments, can become fights, can become rifts, so let's pause for a look at how we can change friends' minds and never disagree over disagreeable disagreements.

To change someone's mind your best course is this: keep entirely away from setting up a me vs you situation, as then the issue decays to become as much about winning as it is about actually being right. Guess who's one of those Americans? My husband. When we got married, I never added salt to anything except hard-boiled eggs and cucumbers. Since getting married, my salt intake has increased dramatically. We get into loving arguments at times because I refuse to eat meals that he cooks with far too much salt in them. According to the CDC, if Americans reduced sodium intake by 1,200 mg per day, it could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs. 3 Mind you, a regular slice of pizza averages 950 mg of sodium. Add a soda or glass of juice and you are above 1200 mg. 4 Unfortunately, I'm the rarity. Finally, they are key reporters in the various ways other adults conspire against their basic success. For example, our son's football coach deliberately overthrew passes to him, so he'd look bad enough at practice to not make the A Team. It was an obvious conspiracy to favor his preferred players; everyone knows this. HOW DARE HE? Additionally, one of our sons actually earned a C, but his teacher made him get a D. She did this. Here I thought teachers were educating the next generation, but apparently they are just out here failing children willy nilly, children who did nothing wrong. Someone should alert the authorities.

Recently, one of my kids explained the FDA's attack on imported cheeses containing cheese mites as another example of government overreach, Mom! First, you must connect and show understanding of their distinct stance -- only then do you gently lead them over to your way of seeing things. Although it shouldn't be important just to constantly change peoples' minds, you will find that you regularly end up doing so, if only you'll just present your position in the right way. It usually goes like this: You notice that you have a point of disagreement. Either they contradict you, or they say something that challenges a position you haven't yet revealed. You draw them out, ask them to elaborate. Ask why they have that opinion and encourage them to talk; follow up with questions until their point is fully exposed. Do not intone the Why? as if saying, Are you insane? Most Americans eat as much salt as he does. Sodium can directly increase blood pressure and cause kidney damage by causing a swelling effect in the vessels, which increases the pressure. It then must be filtered through the kidneys, which results in more stress on the system. Hence, too much salt overloads the body and causes illness. Drinking sugar is as bad for us as smoking cigarettes; they both directly cause disease, and yet half of Americans drink an average of two to three sodas per day. When Michael Bloomberg was mayor of New York City, he wanted to address rising obesity among New Yorkers. In 2012 he proposed a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks (16 ounces or more. ) There was backlash, of course, and the ban was killed in the courts.

To be frank, I applauded the mayor's efforts at the time. What is the bleak future of artisanal cheeses in North America? I mean, are we just going to let the Deep State mandate our cheese options? Is this the life we want for our children and grandchildren? So, I helpfully responded: LET'S ORGANIZE A MARCH. The child was deeply aggravated by what appeared to be a sarcastic reaction to this authoritarian threat, but I was just suggesting a great tool for activists against unjust regulations on our snacks. I am relatively new to the world of marches. My first was the MLK March here in Austin six years ago. I've since laced up my shoes for many, like the Women's March, Pride, March for Our Lives, all so impossibly exciting, I can't believe it took me so long. Coming together in peaceful solidarity with thousands of like-minded people in support of human rights and civic change is absolutely inspiring. I cry every time. Carefully keep your tone neutral and all your non-verbal communication friendly and inquisitive. Next, validate their position and reflect it back to them: For many years I also thought X because - or Lots of influential people think the same, and I guess it's because - Never use the word but - never. But negates anything you have said previously. If I tell you, I like you BUT - then you don't feel any positivity from my saying I like you, and you just wait for the pain that will follow the but. Instead of saying But I think or But my position is, you instead: Say, I've read lots on the subject, and my thinking goes like this, or Now my position is that - Then make your strongest point in a friendly way. If they then disagree, give them room to speak and keep validating their position with Sure, yes, I totally understand that. If they keep interrupting your view and just can't talk reciprocally, ask them if they're open to hearing other ideas, as a way of encouraging them to let you finish.