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5:06 pm - Posted by Gregg

When people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a supermodel, I’m only half kidding. Sure, they chuckle — especially when learning that I’m actually a screenwriter who works behind the cameras rather than in front of them. But if I happen to share that I took off over 250 pounds of excess weight over a decade ago and have kept it off ever since, they then start to notice my model-like swagger. After all, as someone who used to wear a size 60” belt (as long as I am tall), I never thought that I’d be able to fit into and wear clothing that wasn’t purchased at one of those Big and Tall stores. So now that I do, I’m only too happy to strut my stuff — no runway required.

And I’ve got news for you. You’re just as much of a supermodel as I am. Perhaps even more so.

Before moving to Los Angeles, I worked in the fashion industry as both a copywriter and art director. This gave me the opportunity to work with real life models and supermodels — most of whom were surprisingly human. When working in New York City with some of the biggest names in the biz (at the time), I weighed in excess of 400 pounds. You can only imagine the heads that turned when I would walk into a meeting to discuss some designer’s latest clothing line. I was the extra-large square peg trying to fit into the fashion industry’s round hole. But being from the other side (the real world side), I was determined to find out the secrets that these creatures of beauties knew, but that they didn’t seem to be sharing with the rest of us.

To my surprise, most professional models (the ones who wanted a lasting career at least) were pretty darned normal. They put on their pants one leg at a time. They got irritated when their hair didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to. And they also (surprise-surprise!) were conscious of what types of foods and how much of these foods they were eating (all the good things we learn about here and on other helpful websites like joybauer.com).

Sure, there was the occasional girl (an industry term not a sexist one, I assure you) who didn’t have to think twice about what she ate. But most models were careful about their food choices and portion sizes. And it’s while working with them that I began to pick up strategies that would help me eventually shed the 250+ pounds of my excess weight once and for all.

But my initial fascination with supermodels aside, I eventually began to realize that everyone around me was a supermodel in their own right. No matter if they were flying to Milan or trying to get the kids to school on time, everyone had agendas, everyone had schedules. Sometimes they met them. Sometimes they didn’t. But the real champs (whether appearing in magazine ads or not) carried themselves with grace at all times. And yes, I would even see this kind of grace in friends selecting vegetables while at the grocery store or picking random bits of baby food out of their hair after feeding time.

No matter what we do (or are trying to do) for a living, aren’t we all rockstars? (Oops. Sorry. I’ll try and stick to one analogy here.) But hopefully you’re starting to get my drift.

We’re all on life’s runway and all strutting our stuff. We have good days. We have challenging ones. But we’re making life work as best we can. And it’s when we throw our shoulders back, walk with proper posture and keep the right attitude that we can achieve even greater successes. This is true whether we’re trying to take off some excess weight, working to find that dream job or even simply meeting friends for coffee. We are all supermodels. And the sooner we own that, the more easily we can shift into carrying ourselves with a little more self-confidence — the kind of self-confidence that can help us meet all of our goals (even if said goals are going to take a little time).

So now the answer to the question posed in the headline of this piece… Did you know you’re a supermodel? Because, without question, you are one. And yes, with this proclamation, I’m giving you permission to work it however you see fit. As you scan this blog for your next favorite recipe, some fun snack food ideas or tips for looking your best, own your goals. Own your challenges. But also own your star quality… And make it shine.

Photo Source: Grunge Mummy

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4:06 pm - Posted by Gregg

What’s Eating Our Forests and Also Making Us Fat? One Couple’s Cry for Help.

By Carol J. Martens, Special Guest Blogger  to Just Stop Eating So Much!

It’s mid-September and the trees in the mountains are changing color in the beautiful Rocky Mountain region of the Colorado forests. It’s a time of year where many enjoy an afternoon drive  through the scenic mountain ranges to soak up the sights of fiery foliage. The aspens are changing from lush greens to vibrant reds, oranges and golds. It’s a sight to behold! But among the beauty there presents yet another shift of shades: A dreary darkness of grey replacing what where once lavish green pine trees covering millions of acres of forest. Meet the Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle, destroyer of pine trees in epic proportions. These critters lay eggs under the tree bark and leave a blue stain fungus, that in conjunction with larval feeding, blocks nutrient and water transport within the trees whereby completely killing them. Nineteen of our beautiful western states and 88 million acres of forest have been aggressively devastated by this MPB – and this is what is literally eating our forests.

Also concerning is how this issue has affected and continues to affect our mountain recreational areas. Standing, dead, lodge pole pines pose a safety risk when left by roadsides, campgrounds, lakes and trails. State agencies have struggled to clear out the hazardous wood, leaving some areas closed indefinitely for clean-up. And for all you recreational enthusiasts, fitness fanatics and overall outdoorsmen and women, this means our mountain fitness centers have been compromised! Hikers and bikers, backpackers, skiers and snowboarders and lovers of Mother Nature — along with the very activities that we all enjoy so much and that are the staples of our healthy lifestyles — are being threatened.

To sum it all up, dead trees are affecting our recreational areas causing closures or temporary closures due to increased fire risk, increased flooding and erosion are devastating our trails (biking, backcountry skiing, hiking), the landscape of ski resorts is changing and the list goes on. We are losing out on enjoying our mountain outdoor fitness opportunities and need to find a way to help clean up our forests.

My husband and I founded Studio Re3 on the core values to repurpose, reclaim, and restore materials. Holding to a dream of restoring our forests one tree at a time, we are focusing on using discarded blue stain pine to build furniture and other accessories, all the while, helping to return our recreational areas to the safe and usable space we all once enjoyed. You see, forest restoration IS good for our health!

You can learn more by clicking to our RocketHub project where you can join us in our efforts to make a difference in our forests, which in turn can help us all to keep both ourselves and the land and forests fit! To find out more, click to  www.studiore3.com and click on the RocketHub link.

About the Author 

Carol J. Martens is an artist and philanthropist writing from her home in Northern Colorado. She and her husband have founded their business on the pledge, “to do their part in keeping waste out of landfills and helping restore natural resources.” The eclectic mix of education and life experiences they share, coupled with a love of the Rocky Mountains, continue to shape their vision as showcased in the stunning and unique products they create.

© 2014 Studio RE3

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6:36 pm - Posted by Gregg

Today is my #NewBook Weightless‘s official release date! And I’m thrilled and humbled to announce that I got a starred review from Library Journal, which is a pretty big deal according to my publisher. There are so many people who made this happen. Feeling so grateful for so much love and support (including from my blog family who has been so full of love and encouragement). Thank you! Here’s the review in case you’d like to take a peek:

(starred review) McBride, Gregg. Weightless: My Life as a Fat Man and How I Escaped. Central Recovery. 2014. 297p. ISBN 9789376126965. pap. $17.95. HEALTH
Film and TV producer/writer McBride (Just Stop Eating So Much!) relates his lifelong battle with weight, from 175 pounds at age eight to 464 at age 22, and now, back to 175 today. The author survived an abusive childhood by bingeing on sweets and snacks, eating until the physical pain from his full stomach overwhelmed any other emotion. As an adult he tried many diet programs without success, finally shedding the weight through exercise and proper nutrition, without gastric bypass. McBride is brutally honest about his struggles as he details his problems with self-esteem, shopping for clothes, dating, and the loose skin that remained after his weight loss. He eventually had surgery to remove the skin, and bluntly describes the pain and scarring associated with his recovery. The story is ultimately one of triumph, as ­McBride has maintained his current size for more than ten years. The last section includes his tips for losing fat, a few recipes, and a fascinating list of observations of the behaviors of slender vs. overweight people. VERDICT: Anyone who has lived with excess weight will appreciate this book. Teenagers and young adults in particular may identify with and benefit from McBride’s story.
­Rachel Owens, Daytona State Coll. Lib., FL

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September 3, 2014

Shortsighted shortcuts

9:20 am - Posted by Gregg

The other day while trolling my facebook newsfeed (when I admittedly should have been doing a million other things), I noticed a couple of my facebook friends had “liked” a site proclaiming “Fast And Effective Diet – Lose 10 Pounds in 7 Days.” Although I knew I’d be doing so for amusement (as opposed to doing so to gain any valuable insights), I clicked on the link. And boy, was I appalled at what I came across.

This supposed “10 pounds in 7 days” solution seemed to offer anything but (anything but a solution that is). The prescribed breakfast consisted of a glass of cold water with lemon juice, followed by two apples or two oranges (or one grapefruit). How they came up with this count is not explained. Breakfast could also include one handful of nuts. Next came lunch, which consists of cooked chicken or veal (no measurements or cooking instructions given) — along with one “pot” of “sour milk yogurt.” (Huh?) An afternoon snack is a fresh seasonal salad with olive oil and “very little” salt, followed by a prescribed dinner of “two hard boiled eggs plus cucumber salad or green salad with olive oil and a little salt”…followed by a warning that after 6:00 p.m., nothing was to be consumed other than a liter of green tea.

Come again?!

I am truly baffled that in this day and age, with all the knowledge we are getting about what constitutes a healthy diet (as opposed to a crash diet or one that’s not nutritionally sound) that people would actually think this is something healthy to incorporate into their lives. Then again, it’s on a site that calls itself “Healthy Food Team” (then it must be true! not!) and promises the reader he or she will lose 10 pounds in 7 days.

In the words of actor Geena Davis’s character in the remake of The Fly, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

As someone who has taken off over 250 pounds of excess weight and kept it off for over a decade, I can assure you that there are no shortcuts, no quick fixes and no magic wands when it comes to healthy and lasting weight loss. And any “diet” that prescribes any salt, much less a liter of green tea before bed and no measurements of the prescribed “chicken of veal” should potentially be avoided.

As explained in the bonus section of my brand new book, Weightless: My Life As A Fat Man And How I Escaped, the tenants of losing weight are easy. And they do not necessarily include “one pot of sour milk yogurt” (whatever that is). Instead, why not eat less, move (exercise) more, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep? Yeah. It really can be that simple. And you can even enjoy an occasional cookie while doing so. It’s all about making healthy choices for the long term. And while you might not “lose 10 pounds in 7 days,” you just might do something else instead: keep the excess weight off once and for all.

Photo Source: Weight Loss Advisor

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9:33 am - Posted by Gregg

As many of you faithful readers know, I’m up at the crack of dawn and at the gym before 5am (7 days a week, 365 days a year – yes, really). Going to the gym is an important part of my health regimen (both physical and mental). And although I’m not a happy camper when the alarm rings around 4:30 in the morning, I can’t imagine starting my day without visiting the gym. And because of this, I know how important it is to choose the right gym. After all, I don’t need any excuses to not go.

Thinking about adding a gym membership to your own routine? If so, consider these suggestions before making any decisions. This way, you’ll find the right atmosphere for achieving all of your health and exercise goals (as opposed to so many others who join a gym only to go a couple times and then never set foot in it again).

Location, Location, Location

Choose a gym that’s within close proximity of your home or office – depending on what time of day you’ll be using it. You want one that’s close by, easily accessible and with easy (and cheap or free) parking. Studies show that if people have to travel too far to their gym, they stop going pretty quickly. Don’t become part of that statistic by choosing a gym that’s easy to get to.

Atmosphere

You want to choose a gym that’s accommodating to all fitness levels. Sure, it might be fun to workout amidst models and actors (good ‘eye candy’ while on the treadmill). But this could also result in your self-esteem taking a dive. Choose a facility that caters to people of all ages and sizes. It’s about community – and feeling comfortable wherever you’re crunching, bench pressing, or cardio-ing .

Try Out Any Freebies

Taking advantage of any “free workouts” or trial memberships is an important step in deciding on a gym because you truly do need to get a feel for what it’s like to workout there, atmosphere wise – and crowd wise. Be sure to test out the gym at the time of day you’ll most likely be using it. In other words, if you’ll be working out in the mornings, don’t take advantage of your free workout or visit during afternoon hours. You want to experience the conditions that will be going on at the time of day you normally workout.

Well Equipped

Training equipment should not only be plentiful (you shouldn’t have to wait too long to use certain equipment), but should also be well maintained and clean. Equipment should also accommodate people of all skill levels. Look for posted charts and graphs that can help you through your workout.

Friendly Advice

What is the gym’s staff like? This is important to note, as it says a lot about the facility. Do you see people on staff readily helping other members? Are they on-hand to offer advice or solve problems? And what’s their attitude like? You want to workout at a place where you’re not afraid to ask questions. Also, you don’t want to feel like a sales statistic. If someone on staff comes on too strong to make the sale, make it clear you’re there to get information and won’t be making your decision during the initial visit. However they respond to this will tell you a lot about the atmosphere and attitude at that particular facility.

Lone Star

It might be tempting to join a gym with a friend or coworker, but don’t make that your sole reason to join. Sure, it’s fun to have someone to go with on a regular basis. But ask yourself, will you keep going even if your friend doesn’t? Whichever gym you decide on needs to feel comfortable to you even if you’ll be there by yourself.

Getting Personal

Be careful in regard to the possibility of getting talked into hiring a personal trainer. This can be a very expensive endeavor that isn’t always beneficial unless you can afford personal training more than once per week. Most gyms come with a complimentary training session when you join. Definitely take advantage of this, but be wary of signing up for more intensive (and expensive) training unless your budget and schedule can afford it. After all, you are a supermodel who is becoming more informed about achieving overall health and can find training info elsewhere.

A Touch of Class

If you’re able to “test” the gym for free, try taking one of their classes. See what the instructors are like, how information is related to students and if instruction is easy to follow. Also take a look at the schedule and ask how often it changes. You want a variety of classes to be available. Bonus points go to gyms that offer yoga, Pilates and stretching classes. These types of classes can be as important to your fitness routine as sweating (and variety is the spice of life).

Lastly, if there are a few different gyms for you to choose from, take time to visit and try out each of them. That way you end up at the place that’s right for you – and your fitness goals – from the get go!

Do you have any tips of your own? Or gym-related war stories to share? Information you wish you had checked into before joining a gym? If so, don’t hold back! Please comment below, as I’m all ears. As opposed to all biceps (but I’m working on that).

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