By KRS Edstrom

Dear KRS,
I am a single person and often have difficulty cooking healthy meals for one. I am so hungry when I get home from work that I often just throw something together quickly. Do you have any suggestions on pre-planning or making single-serving portions?    
Cooking for One

Dear Cooking For One,
The challenge in cooking for one is usually more psychological than anything else. Single people often have a hard time getting motivated to “make a big mess” for just one person. It seems like too much trouble. When clients give me this excuse, I ask whether they feel they DESERVE a nice tasting, nice looking, healthful meal. I can elicit actual laughter if I suggest they light a candle, put on some music and use their best place setting.

You pull out all the stops for guests, running to this store and that, collecting the very finest morsels to present to them on a silver platter. Don’t you deserve that same treatment after a hard day’s work or a fun day’s play?  
Ponder the answer to that question and you may find yourself cooking up a storm before you know it. Tip: In the beginning stages of eating-alone-reform, I often suggest people assume the mentality of “cooking for company” i.e. pretend someone is coming for dinner. Eventually the idea of treating yourself like a king or queen becomes more comfortable.

Conquering the psychological blocks in cooking for one is part of the battle. The other parts to be conquered are the logistical blocks. I dedicate a whole section of my book “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise” to how to cook fast, delicious, economical, nutritious meals, appropriately titled “The Speed Cooking Plan.”  

One of the concepts is to cook large amounts and then freeze it in serving sizes appropriate for your appetite. I call it “Freezer Stocking.” Having ready-to-go food in the freezer is like having money in the bank! It requires that perhaps once a week you cook something in large quantity. The idea is not that you pull that same meal out seven nights in a row, but that you build a freezer supply of various meals. It works like magic if you do it right. Happy, healthy dining to you!

Dear KRS
How can I increase my mental strength so that petty, inconsequential things do not have a stressful effect on me? Can you suggest some techniques? I am aware that this is a tough problem and there cannot be one single answer, but there must be ways by which a person can rise above the trivial things that bother him and thwart his progress in life in general.
Wants Mental Strength

Dear Wants Mental Strength,
One of the most powerful techniques for gaining inner strength is meditation. In fact, that’s why I call my meditation tapes “Inner Mastery Series” — it’s about conquering your internal world. There are many techniques I use in this series and in my seminars, but here is a powerful one that you may find helpful:

When you feel stressed, for example by a driver who cuts you off in traffic, name the area of your body that is reacting to that situation. It may be your chest, your pinky finger, or your whole body, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is identifying it clearly. Then, try to allow that sensation to “be there” as you focus your attention on every detail of it. How big is it?  How deep is it?  What does the sensation feel like — is it sharp, dull, tingly, etc?  

Try to relax and surrender into the sensation as you observe it, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first. It will eventually break up, but more importantly, it will teach you how to work with stress — and grow from it — instead of contracting against it and reacting in destructive ways. It takes practice, but this is a good way to start. Good luck.

Dear KRS,
I am a 37-year-old mom with two children, ages 9 and 12. After giving birth to my first child, I lost a significant amount of weight by seeing a diet doctor and using the pills he gave me. Then I became pregnant again and after having my son I went back to the diet doctor, again used the medication he gave me. This time it was harder. The motivation was there, but my metabolism was already used to consuming small amounts of food and now I can’t seem to stop taking these pills.

I just need to be able to keep moving and get motivated to where I could get up in the morning and tackle the day without these pills. The pills don’t speed me up anymore — but if I miss a pill I get a huge headache and all I want to do is get back in bed and SLEEP ALL DAY because I have no energy anymore. HELP
Diet Pill Nightmare

Dear Diet Pill,
You are addicted to diet pills. I just thought I would say that in clear language. I hope others read this letter and are motivated to stop taking similar pills, or decide not to take them in the first place. Your letter is a perfect example why not to take these pills and where it can lead. Doctors still prescribing “diet pills” are acting irresponsibly in my opinion. If they don’t know how to work with people behaviorally, they should have a list of referrals for these desperate people.

First, you need to wean yourself off the pills a little at a time. Don’t worry about the weight right now, just focus on getting the drug out of your system, one day at a time. Drink lots of water, eat balanced meals and EXERCISE!  Exercise is the best thing to move a sluggish metabolism and restore an efficient fat-burning system. It also will help your headaches as it releases endorphins, the body’s own natural pain-killers.

Start with walking and slowly increase your pace so that you work up a sweat. You may only be able to do 5 minutes the first day. Fine. Congratulate yourself and gradually add a little time each day. You will need to bite the bullet until the toxins are out of your system, but I promise — there is a quality life waiting on the other side.

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an auth-or, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at   For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail:

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