Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.



Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.



Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…


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We learned to give ourselves credit and how to plan what we were doing the day BEFORE instead of recording what we did the day after. We practiced using the skills we were learning even if we didn’t feel like it, putting our health and diet before other activities. We started talking about how it felt to tolerate cravings, knowing they are not emergencies, and resisting the habit of giving in. We started exercising a little bit at a time and tried to research and figure out the importance of sleep in our overall health.

We began learning and believing we can be loose with our good health habits and be unhealthy OR we can get on track by using our skills and support for each other and be healthier. We chose the latter. At the four-week mark, we have lost a total of 24.7 pounds as a group and felt energized by each other and this process.

At this point, we don’t know how long we are going to continue meeting weekly. Certainly, friendships have strengthened and we may be on a monthly five-year or forever plan after our 12-week commitment. What we do know is that having four people provides more accountability and brain power than just dieting with one pal. We also learned it is not about the diet (we all are on different eating plans), but it is about our THINKING regarding food and health!   


All four of us in the group had been on multiple diets and had been successful in short-term bursts, but none of us had maintained weight loss or settled into a right-size body for any length of time. The diets we tried included everything from Weight Watchers to Jenny Craig, HMR, the Daniel Plan, keto, Atkins, the Diet Center Plan, the Virgin Diet and many others. They are all excellent, but somehow our THINKING about food and overall good health had not changed. Again, the Beck Solution was NOT about a diet; it was about our minds. Everyone purchased the workbook and we dove in.

The idea was to have weekly Zoom meetings for 12 weeks with high levels of support through the week and accountability for our eating, sleeping, exercising and any area of life that was creating barriers to our good health. We would move through the workbook, learning about ways to succeed and have thin-thinking habits. One of the women dubbed our group the Thin Thinkers. What a positive, beautiful image that became. We started learning how to choose an eating plan that was complete and nutritious. We spent considerable time learning and practicing thin-thinking skills, such as distinguishing between hunger and cravings. We learned to sit down while eating, even if it was a quick snack.

This is a story of a group of women who were essentially in stay-at-home mode during the pandemic of 2020-2021. Two very close friends began a conversation about their overall health and weight and life. This led to them realizing and admitting to each other that a whole lot of “pandemic pounds” had found their way to their bellies and thighs. Our histories regarding weight were all different. I was an obese child and overweight throughout my life, while others in our group had not gained weight until middle age. Those pandemic pounds, however, made all our situations worse.

Feeling discouraged about the weight gain and concerned about our physical health, we set a date for a Zoom “come to Jesus” meeting to make a plan on what we could do to get on a path to healthier living. Before that life-changing meeting, two other women asked to join in. Now there were four women, all over age 65 years, all professionally accomplished, community-minded women who were battling a problem but had no clear direction on what to do.

But we did know how to problem solve, and so we began. As the cognitive behavioral psychologist in the crew, I did some research and discovered a workbook that had crossed my path long ago. I had discarded it among the boxes of diet diaries, books, food plans and cookbooks in my attic. The workbook, by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., is titled The Beck Diet Solution: Weight Loss Workbook – The Six-Week Plan to Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person. This workbook was NOT about a DIET. It was about THINKING in a new way.