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12:35 pm - Posted by Gregg

Why Dieting Can Be A Turnoff JustStopEatingSoMuch.com

Recently I’ve been reminded of a disturbing trend in the billion dollar diet industry—albeit one that has been pervasive for years. I refer to it as the “Light Switch Mentality” that’s being sold by many organizations, programs, books and so-called experts who proclaim that to lose excess weight, you (we) should be on a diet. But this kind of thinking often leads to the opposite of being on… Being off.

Certainly being on or off has become part of the dieting vernacular. But in my humble opinion, it’s a way of thinking that can potentially lead to more weight gain than weight loss. In fact, it’s while many of us with a dieter’s mentality are on our diets that we’re focused on when we plan on going off. It’s a mindset we’ve been sold as the way to success, when in reality, it can be the way to put on extra pounds.

As someone who started gaining excess weight around first grade, and whose parents immediately took me to a doctor who put me on a strict diet (yes, even at a very young age), I can attest to the fact that the on/off cycle contributed to my continuing to gain weight throughout my youth. Sure, I would take off a few pounds (when I was on). But then I would gain even more weight back (when I was off). By the time I graduated from college, I was clocking in at over 450 pounds. And this was after years and years of constant dieting—the very thing that was supposed to be helping me was actually doing more harm than good.

Thankfully, I was able to remove myself from this cycle after my home electronic scale started reading “ERR” (its internal code for error, since it was not programmed to register any weight above 400 pounds). It’s when I stopped thinking of “dieting” (and being on and off of one) and started embracing healthy eating that I began to make some real headway. Within a year’s time I had dropped most of my excess weight. And sure, I yo-yoed up and down the scale for a couple years after that. I was, after all, recovering from a lifetime of “on and off” behavior. But once I nailed it (reaching a healthy weight for my height and body frame), I’ve stayed at this weight for well over a decade.

But this is where I quickly bring up that damned light switch thinking again. Because many people who see my before pictures want to know my secret to losing over 250 pounds of excess weight without any kind of surgery or medication. They’re not too thrilled when I tell them the secrets are eating less, moving more, getting plenty of sleep and drinking enough water (AKA common sense). And they sometimes go onto register abject horror when I tell them I have to keep all of these mandates in mind even today (otherwise right back up the scale I’d go).

Successfully losing excess weight has nothing to do with a light switch. There’s never a time that we should be on or off. If we’re prone to gaining weight or if we choose to lose excess weight to benefit our mental and physical health, then it’s going to take some work. This doesn’t mean food plans can’t be extremely helpful. But whether we choose to have a salad for lunch or even if we opt to have some ice cream for dessert, we’ve got to always think about portion size and ingredient content (yes, even when it comes to the salad).

This doesn’t have to mean we are always on and never off. Instead, we can adopt new mindsets and start living life as healthy minded individuals. You know—like those those fantastical types who can eat half a donut and then declare they’re full. (Yes, even I’m dumbfounded by this kind of behavior to this day.) But what these people know that we do not, is that they can have another donut (or whatever) in due time. But those of us on the endless on/off cycle of dieting often think, “I will be on my diet tomorrow (or Monday or come January 1st),” so I better have eighteen donuts today.

On. Off. Not always helpful.

Healthy thinking. A move in the right direction.

And healthy thinking can include well made (meaning clean ingredient) treats that can be easily and moderately worked into our eating plans—whether we’re taking off excess pounds or simply maintaining a healthy body weight.

Although somewhat baffling, this can be triumphant news if we allow it to be. Thinking less of on and off can mean reduced shame and self-punishment (also part of many dieting cycles, mentally speaking). Fact is, you are beautiful at your current weight (inside and out). If you choose to get healthier and drop some of the excess weight, then do so in a fashion that embraces all that life has to offer and try leaving the on/off Light Switch Mentality behind.

At the risk of an eye roll or two, what do you have to lose?

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5:10 pm - Posted by Gregg

Old Haunts From Our Past JustStopEatingSoMuch.com

As a grown adult who has not only survived child abuse, but thrived in spite of it, I never imagined I’d suddenly be dealing with the pain (and even shame) all over again at this stage of my adult life—especially since I spent a lot of time examining and processing the goings on and then even writing about them in my recent memoir.

So imagine my surprise when similar issues cropped up anew—in this case at the hands of my father—and I’ve found myself having to once again defend and explain my position to strangers, even though I (and my sister) are the ones who were abused for years and years.

People who’ve read my book often ask me what my father, who’s still alive, thinks of it, given that he’s not portrayed in a positive light (albeit a very truthful one). My answer is simple: My father, who is a textbook definition of a narcissist, hasn’t read my book. And he never will. This isn’t because he’s bitter. It’s simply because he’s just not interested in any subject (or tome) in which he’s not the central character.

Although initially blaming most of the horrors of my sister’s and my childhood on our mother (a textbook definition of a monster), with time and growth, we can now see that my mother was mentally ill (her claims to her second husband, who enabled her up to and even after her death, included that she was a French princess who escaped her country to escape tyranny and later adopted me from Iran and my sister from Germany). For the record, my mom was born and raised in Florida. Oh, and neither my sister nor I were adopted—despite everyone believing we were; and then thinking we were the pathological liars because we tried to convince them otherwise (even when we were young, school-aged children).

This hindsight about my mother is important because, in my humble opinion, it makes my father and my mother’s relatives more culpable for my mom’s sins against her children since they left us alone with her and never interceded—not even when her flights of delusion went public. Then and now, my father was only interested in serving his own interests.

I once joked to my sister, it’s amazing that she and I can tie our own shoe laces given some of the horrors we’ve lived through. Many of the events were so horrific that people think we’re exaggerating to this day. Thus, despite my recent book that shares my story, my sister and I don’t talk about our childhood often. And thankfully, there’s usually no need to. That was then—this is now. And through insight, self-love and inner strength, my sister and I are both not only able to tie our shoes, but are living very happy lives and even have very contented marriages (despite the suggested mold offered by our parents).

But recently, our father has once again put my sister and I in positions in which where we’ve been forced to explain to strangers why we aren’t closer to him and why we don’t have all the information they’re seeking. My father (still a narcissist and still stubborn) was in an accident (a result of his own ignorance) and ended up in a far away hospital, delirious. Out of the blue, we received phone calls from caseworkers (who had to initially hunt us down via internet), needing to know why my dad was in the circumstances he was (at the time of the accident) and why we weren’t able to answer more questions in regard to such and beyond (inquiries regarding his health, contact numbers, etc.).

After a couple phone calls with the hospital caseworkers (who I must admit were very understanding and nonjudgmental), I admitted to my sister that the pain, humiliation and shame of being an abused child had all come rushing back. There I was, on the phone with strangers, trying to get them to believe me when I explained why circumstances were what they were. These calls brought me right back to a time during my teen years—when I called the local police to report my mother’s abuse. Because most of what I was reporting wasn’t physical abuse, they didn’t take me seriously and never responded to my call for help.

Because of these recent incidences with my dad, my sister revealed that she was feeling the same kinds of things I was. And although we live in separate parts of the country, my sister and I were connected by an unspoken bond of emotional numbness for several days after.

I suppose that carrying the title of an adult survivor of child abuse never really goes away. There are always going to be circumstances that bring issues up—especially when the abusers have never admitted their wrongdoing or asked for forgiveness. This can apparently happen even after we have forgiven the offending parties in our own minds (and for our own benefit).

It wasn’t too long ago that my sister and I got word that our mother had passed away—long after her actual death. We hadn’t been notified at the time. We hadn’t been asked to attend the funeral. We hadn’t been considered at all. It became a little clearer why this was the case when we tracked down her obituary online, which stated that my sister and I were [still] “adopted” children. The real kicker to all this is that a few of my mom’s relatives—who know we are not adopted—not only attended the funeral, but also did not question why we hadn’t been invited to attend or even wonder aloud about the obituary full of untruths.

So it seems being a “survivor” of child abuse would be a verb rather than an adjective. And the biggest reminder my sister and I take away from these recent events involving our father is to never feel guilt or shame—not only when describing circumstances, but also (and especially) if people don’t understand or even think we might be being dishonest when talking to them about such.

No matter what any of us has survived in the past, the fact that we’re able to talk about it, find understanding in it—and eventually freedom from it—is worthy of a gold medal of courage. And it seems there will be times when, even after we’ve moved on, people who haven’t (perhaps even our abusers) will force us to once again get mired down in the process that requires us to extract ourselves from otherwise horrific situations (even if just memories from our past).

But just as it was during our healing periods in the past, the mental work—and belief in ourselves—is worth it.

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August 13, 2016

Friendly reminder

4:29 pm - Posted by Gregg

Diet Motivation JustStopEatingSoMuch.com

This moment counts more than any other before it. It’s your chance to recommit to what matters: your health, your happiness, your fabulosity. You really do have it goin’ on — no matter how much you weigh right now. If you choose, this can be the last time your weight or clothes size reflect their current numbers. Just make sure you make the choice for this kind of positive change from a place of wanting to feel better, look better and be better. But do so without any shame or guilt. Feeling down about yourself or past choices does nothing but hold you back. Nothing in the past matters like this moment does. Make it count. And remember — I believe in you.

Photo Source: Bonnie Pfiester

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August 11, 2016

Simple choices

11:54 am - Posted by Gregg

Simple Choices JustStopEatingSoMuch.com

Don’t take this image the wrong way. Muffin tops are beautiful. Heck, muffins themselves are beautiful. Every body is beautiful – exactly as it is right in this moment. You can be sure of that (and anyone who tells you different is full of crap).

But that being said, there are many of us who want to make healthy changes that can help us to not only feel better, but to also put on our clothes without having to hold our breath or offer up a prayer for strength (literally) when zipping up.

This can require making choices a little differently than we have in the past. Like choosing water over cake for example. Not always. But often. Changes like this remind us that cake is a treat (as opposed to an everyday requirement). We can’t say the same for water, which is absolutely necessary for our survival and for our transformation.

So without shaming yourself (which is never productive), ask yourself what you really want next time you’re tempted by something sweet (that might add a few too many calories or artificial ingredients to your daily intake). Maybe a glass of water and vigorous walk is what your body, mind and soul are really craving. If so, give your body that. And if you absolutely must have the cake (and I’ll admit there are times that’s true), then have a reasonable slice – and then have a glass of water and go for a vigorous walk. (See what I did there?)

It’s all about balance, moderation and your overall goals. And you, my amazing, beautiful friend, are worth it!

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July 21, 2016

Word to the wise

12:11 pm - Posted by Gregg

As someone who used to weigh over 450 pounds, I’m not sure what people are more impressed by… The fact that I managed to take off over 250 pounds of excess weight through diet and exercise (as opposed to fads, pills or surgery) or the fact that I’ve kept the excess weight off for well over a decade.

I must admit that these two facts still manage to “Wow” me as well. Not in an egotistical way, but in a humble one. After all, I know that if I were to forget about these monumental feats and let my guard down, I’d be in trouble. That’s because maintaining my health and weight loss is something I have to constantly work at. But when I share this tidbit with people, sometimes their “Wow” smile takes a sharp turn and becomes a “That’s awful” frown.

I admit that back in the day, before losing all of my excess weight, even I used to visualize losing all of my blubber and then being able to ‘Eat whatever I want, whenever I want.’ And yeah, it was kind of a slap in the face to realize that steamed green beans and broiled chicken were going to remain a part of my life forever n’ ever. This didn’t mean I couldn’t revel in the occasional cup of frozen yogurt or gluttonously dip the occasional sweet potato French fry in a puddle of ketchup. But the key word with these kinds of treats is “Occasional,” as opposed to “Everyday.” And that’s because my everyday requires work to stay lean, mean and healthy (minus the mean – just going for the cliché there – sorry).

I often liken to my staying healthy to riding a bike. I must constantly keep pedaling. And the minute I stop pedaling, I fall down, skin my knees and gain back over 250 pounds. But in today’s society, it seems like people shy away from the word “Work” – especially when realizing the word – and the effort – need to be constantly applied to things in our life that really matter.

The concept of ‘Work’ doesn’t just apply to a healthy weight, of course. One of my dearest friends is madly in love with her husband of over 11 years and has what I consider to be one of the happiest marriages I know of. And yet she’ll be the first to tell anyone that asks that being happy and in love requires a lot of ‘Work.’ Again, people balk – perhaps wondering why something like ‘Love’ should require that particular 4-letter word. And yet when you think about it, it makes all the sense in the world.

Having to work for something doesn’t mean you have to be miserable doing it. It just means you are hopefully committed to whatever it is you’re working toward or working on maintaining. Whether it’s losing weight, maintaining weight, getting healthy, nurturing a relationship, raising children or any number of other activities, ‘Work’ is often the common denominator. And why shouldn’t it be? Aren’t all good things worth working for? Of course, they are. And when we put the required amount of work into things, the outcomes usually turn out better and, just as important, feel better.

Rather than sigh and haunch our shoulders when considering what ‘Work’ will be involved in accomplishing a goal, why not embrace the effort it’s going to take and approach said work with happiness and commitment, knowing that whatever we’re setting our sites on is worth it? Suddenly, ‘Work’ isn’t such a 4-letter word and, instead, is a healthy conceit that we don’t have to groan and moan about.

It’s all about a positive attitude, right?

So even though maintaining my healthy weight (and holding off the 250+ pounds that would love nothing more than to settle back onto my body) takes daily work (365 days a year), I do the work knowing that it’s worth it. I feel better, I look better (yeah, I said it) and I am better – not so much because of the actual goals I’ve accomplished, but because of the work I’ve been willing and remain willing to put forth toward attaining and maintaining these goals. So why not try readjusting your mindset toward this particular 4-letter word? You might be surprised to find out that the concept of work is suddenly one you embrace, rather than begrudge.

Have something you’re currently working toward? I’d love to know about it. Please share below (even if the sharing does require a little work).

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