One of the reasons I tend to avoid some subjects is not that I’m afraid of them. It’s not that I don’t have enough data. It’s just that some of these topics attract trolls from near and far. Gun control and “right to life,” or more to the point, the right of the unborn as opposed to the rights of the already alive. These are two of the hottest spots on the Internet. Like moths to lights in the dark of night, the trolls will flock to you.

How do you know you are being trolled?

You may not notice it —  at first. It’s usually a new follower. They start a conversation, but they never quit. By the time a second day of conversation arrives, they have stood on every side of the “discussion” … and are becoming aggressive. Mean.

I have been trolled on places like Amazon. You wouldn’t think a review about a book about Alexander Hamilton would be trolled, but you’d be amazed at the damage they do. I think Amazon has done something to control these jerks, but not nearly enough. If they want reviewers, they will have to end the trolling. Places like Facebook are obvious trolling sites. If you are fool enough to open yourself to that sort of thing, you will get whacked for your effort.

This isn’t Facebook. My site is not public. In this place, I am Queen. This is uncomplicated for me. I’ll put up with conversation as long as that is what we are having. The minute it starts to edge into trolling, I will end it. One warning from me — and if there is another murmur from the aforementioned troll — he or she is blocked. The end.

Sometimes, you get an apology. “Oh, I was just trying to make conversation.”

Don’t believe it. Trolls know what they are doing. They do it wherever they go. They aren’t stupid and they think it’s funny. If you ask them they will say they like “stirring the conversation” by which they mean insulting and harassing anyone else on the site. They like to think they are just “getting conversation moving.”

It’s trolling. If it is making your nervous system jangle, you can bet it’s trolling. Unless it is someone you know who has just gone a little over the edge, it’s trolling. Do not let them turn your site into a battleground. Spam them, block them, get rid of them. They will drive your real readers away and inflict a lot of damage — to you and many others. Trolls are ugly.

I sometimes wait a while to see if the commentary is going that way, but when it’s a “new reader” with a flurry of nasty, sharp things to say? It’s a troll. Bet on it.

There are things we need to say and sometimes they are controversial. People argue, sometimes with considerable fervor, but I think you will know the trolls from regular readers with strong opinions.

Shut down the trolls. Don’t let them back on your site, no matter what they tell you.

Once a troll, always a troll.


I’ve lived with dieting my whole life. Growing up, my Mom gained and lost the same 40 pounds many times over. She was only 5’1” tall so that was a substantial amount of weight for her. She was also on a low sodium diet for her heart, so watching what we ate was an everyday thing. We loved food, but always ate healthy.

From my twenties to my forties, I got lucky and could eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight. I had a hyper active thyroid for a while which might have been part of the reason. Anyway, when my husband and I ate our way through France for two weeks, I gave up desserts for a week or two to lose the five pounds I had gained. Those were the days!

In my forties, maybe due to perimenapause, I suddenly put on twenty pounds. I didn’t think anything of it until I tried to lose the weight and couldn’t. For the entire twenty years since then, I’ve been struggling with weight. It may only be 5 to 10 pounds, but for me, it’s a big deal. My metabolic rate seems to hover somewhere around zero. I have to starve to lose weight.

I was thrown out of Weight Watchers. On their lowest level of points, I maintained my weight, but didn’t lose. They refused to ‘allow’ me to go below the minimum calorie count they deemed ‘healthy.’ So I left and tried Jenny Craig. They are much more flexible and I’ve been with them, on and off, for four years.

I love Jenny Craig. Many people don’t like having to buy prepared foods to eat every day. To me, it’s a Godsend. I hate spending the time and energy to shop, plan and cook meals when I can only eat a fraction of what I really want. I hate having to weigh all my food. It feels creepy and obsessive to me. I don’t want to think about food at all.

That’s what Jenny Craig lets me to do – not think about food. The six or so times a day I’m supposed to eat something, I just go to the freezer or cabinet, pick something out and eat it. No worrying about what to eat or how much. I can also snack on vegetables and salsa whenever I want, so I’m a happy camper.

I left Jenny after reaching my goal weight and maintaining it for a full year. Big mistake. I went back to eating regular food, but being careful about what I ate and how much. I still always eat healthy and love fruits and vegetables. Things were fine until my daughter came to visit for Xmas in 2015. I decided it was a bummer to have to ‘diet’ all the time when we were eating out with friends a lot. So I stopped monitoring what I ate for ten days. I didn’t binge, I just didn’t pay attention.

I gained six pounds and you guessed it, I had trouble taking the weight off. Again. In fact, over the next year of self-help ‘dieting’, I managed to gain two pounds. I continued to struggle for more than a year, going down a few pounds, then back up a few. I seemed to always be  perpetually dieting but not losing weight.

I recently reached a critical level of frustration. Suddenly, I remembered I didn’t have to go it alone. I could go back to Jenny Craig. Get meals, counseling to get me back on track. I hadn’t even thought about that for the past year. I made an appointment and immediately felt more in control. With the packaged foods, I’ll go back to knowing exactly what I can eat each day. And they add some fiber, or something, to their foods, so I’m actually satisfied eating their small portions. I didn’t mind doing this diet – why didn’t I think to go back to it earlier?

I think the answer is we all suffer from the myth that dieting will be easy. For me, it’s mostly common sense and self-control. I was beating myself up when I couldn’t drop the weight on my own. I should have reached out for help sooner.

I just started Jenny again so I haven’t lost any weight yet. But I feel more in control, less agitated and less obsessed with dieting. I still have to watch what I eat when I go out, but for the most part, I know what I have to do. And, I know I can do it. Just — not necessarily alone.