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Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

September 27, 2017

Who loves ya, baby?

5:59 pm - Posted by Gregg

One early morning while sucking down my coffee like it was oxygen, I looked out of my kitchen window, down into the courtyard of the apartment building across the way. I noticed a man placing a box with a small plant into the sunlight. At first, I assumed he was doing some gardening. But then noticed he left the box in the sunlight and had walked away. Upon further examination (AKA “not minding my own business and staring out the window”), I saw that the small plant was actually a beautifully maintained Bonsai Tree.

A few days later, I saw the same man once again placing the box with the Bonsai into the sunlight, then leaving it there for a couple hours. I now deducted that after allowing it to soak up some Vitamin D, this man then takes his carefully cared for plant back into his home. (Who says I couldn’t run a detective agency?)

Seeing this man take care of his Bonsai Tree (which is clearly thriving) from time to time warms my heart—and it’s a sight I look forward to seeing when I’m lucky enough to notice this ritual in motion. Whether witnessing the man placing the tree into the sunlight or even just seeing the tree already in its spot fills my heart with joy. This man’s beautiful ritual reminds me of the level of care I need to make sure I’m giving to myself. And this is also the same level of care you might want to be giving to yourself, as well.

When we care for something, it thrives. This can be seen in my neighbor’s Bonsai Tree or even in the happiness level of my dog, Latte. It’s therefore important that we give the same kind of love and care to ourselves—as well as our health-minded goals. This might initially seem like common sense. But often, when we discuss our goals with others, we frame things in the negative: “I haven’t been able to do this” or “I am such a loser when it comes to that.”

When people I know tell me they need to lose weight, I can often detect a degree of self-loathing in their tone. I can relate—knowing how much I hated myself when I weighed over 450 pounds.

This disdain for ourselves is an approach we’ve been taught is beneficial and will likely facilitate change. The thinking being, “You hate how you look, so do something about it.” But after learning to love myself at any size (both before and after I took off 250 pounds of excess weight), I am grateful to pass along what I’ve learned. If we actually love and care for ourselves — even as we are now in this very moment (no matter how many pounds overweight or how far from any goal)—we become more likely to encounter faster success.

If you know a good friend or family member that’s facing a challenge, you want to help them. But if it’s someone you have distaste for, you don’t really care if they succeed in their quest or not. Well, time for you to think of yourself in a more affectionate way and afford yourself the very same degree of care that my neighbor gives his Bonsai Tree or that I give my dog.

Do something kind for yourself today—throughout this day and everyday. And remind yourself why you’re a supermodel (which, for the record, you are). Suddenly, if you’re wanting to lose weight or reach any goal you’ve set out for yourself (health-related or otherwise), you’re doing it because you care, not because you’re disgusted. That’s going to make the journey a lot more pleasant and, I imagine, a lot more successful.

Just like my neighbor’s Bonsai Tree, it’s time for you to position yourself in the warm sunlight of tender loving care—and thrive.

Photo Source: Non Profit Self-Care

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1:09 pm - Posted by Gregg

As we all know, the season of Pumpkin Spice Everything (including PSLs — the now famous Pumpkin Spice Lattes) is upon us. People familiar with Just Stop Eating So Much! know that as someone who’s lost over 250 pounds of excess weight and kept it off for over a decade, I’m a big fan of moderation vs. depravation. But for anyone needing a reason to limit the amount of PSLs and/or sugar-filled autumn-themed coffee drinks, here’s a meme revealing what your body (and health) go through when you consume this type of a beverage.

Are you a fan of PSLs or another “fall in a cup” coffee drink? How often do you allow yourself to have them? Are you addicted like I can sometimes be? Do tell in the comments section below. And, in the meantime, enjoy in healthy portions and (again) in moderation! Cheers!

Photo Source: Yahoo! Health

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4:11 pm - Posted by Gregg

Those who know me will tell you I’m a big caffeine addict. Granted, I treat caffeine (in the form of coffee) with the same regard I treat all food and drink in my life: With moderation. But “Back in the day,” having coffee meant having a whole lotta cream and sugar with it. Actually, way back when (or weigh back when, as I like to say), I would drink coffee with artificial sweetener and artificial, nonfat creamer. The thought of consuming these totally unnatural, chemically altered substances make me shudder today.

As I learned more about health and nutrition, I gave those artificial substances up when drinking coffee. And I replaced them with real sugar (Sugar in the Raw was my choice) and real cream (Half N’ Half in this case). You might be surprised to read about the sugar and Half N’ Half. But based on how my body metabolized these more natural substances, I knew they were better for me than the artificial “fat and calorie free” crap (key word) that I’d been using up until then.

OneSmallChange.

But wait. There’s more.

Having succeeded with my “Small change, big reward” theory with the artificial sweetener and cream, there was a day I decided to take it one step further. Thus, I gave up the cream and sugar entirely and, instead, started to drink my coffee au natural (AKA “Black”). This took some getting used to because I like my coffee strong and bold. So the first couple sips of black coffee would elicit the kind of facial expressions that not even graduates of clown colleges could make.

But eventually? I got used the taste of black coffee. And – surprise, surprise – I even began to prefer the taste of black coffee. I liked how the flavor worked in tandem with my morning cereal or toast (never overwhelming the taste of breakfast and never being overly sweet like a milkshake). Another small change. Not to mention another big reward in that I had reduced my calorie intake by no longer having cream and sugar with my coffee.

For a time, I would allow myself to have cream and sugar on special occasions. At first only on weekends. Then only on special occasions (like my birthday). But eventually? I went all black coffee, all the time. And since then, I’ve never looked back. Although I do still occasionally make the ridiculous clown faces during the first, somewhat bitter sips. But I’ve learned to enjoy that moment for what it’s worth, figuring these ‘facial exercises’ might be burning up a few  additional calories.

The great thing about small changes is that once you’ve successfully achieved them and made them part of your life, they will start to affect other decisions. For example, if I’m running around town and have to grab breakfast on the run, if I’m getting a black coffee I don’t want to completely negate that healthy choice by having a donut with it and instead will opt for a bran muffin or piece of fruit. Again, everything in moderation.

Now, I’m not telling you to join me on the black coffee bandwagon. But I’m am suggesting you look at different areas of your life and see where there might be room for one small change. Accomplishing that change could affect the rest of your life – and perhaps your health – in a positive, beautiful way.

Planning a small change? Or have an accomplished change to brag about? Do tell! I’m waiting over my cup of coffee with bated breath (and a promise not to react with a ‘clown face’).

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March 26, 2014

Fast n’ furious

9:25 am - Posted by Gregg

I got a well-deserved slap from the universe the other day. Well, it wasn’t as much of a slap as it was a gentle nudge. I’m grateful for the reminder to step outside of own head… And happy to share it with you — just in case you can use one yourself (a nudge, not a slap).

It all began one morning while driving to my favorite coffee place in town. While I usually make coffee at home, every couple of days I treat myself to a stronger brew that I didn’t make myself. To get to this spot during the morning hours, one has to deal with rush hour traffic — something I don’t normally have to contend with since I work from home. Adding to the journey is an awkward (yet legal) left hand turn into this local coffee place’s parking lot.

On a recent outing, as I waited in my car to make my turn, I noticed an older man and woman walking across the driveway entrance. Thus, I waited to turn, even though there was no oncoming traffic.

“Look at me,” I thought to myself, “Being nice to the walkers.” (Sure, the law dictates that pedestrians have the right of way, but I was still mentally applauding myself.)

Only it turns out that the man was taking his sweet time walking across the driveway entrance. And we’re talking about a short distance here. Minute turned into minutes turned into… Well, more minutes.

Don’t worry. I didn’t honk or do anything crass like that. But I did have a little passive aggressive hissy fit in the confines of my brain, wondering why the man was lollygagging and/or why he just didn’t check to see if a car needed to enter the parking lot and wait if he was going to be so slow about walking across (and therefore blocking) the entrance.

After what seemed like an eternity (one song had ended and another had started on my car stereo — a true mark of time passage if ever there was one), the man finally made it across, which allowed me to make the turn (after some oncoming traffic went by). No big deal, right? Except that once in line at said coffee place, I happened to start talking to the woman who was with the man.

This wasn’t my choice. I saw them both in line in front of me, recognizing them from what would forever be known as “The Great Slow Walking Incident of 2014” and thus I judged them harshly in my brain. After all, they’d robbed me of 2 to 3 minutes of turn time.

(Yes, I know I’m being ridiculous here… But please, stick with me!)

After the man left the line to get a table, the woman turned around and offered me a smile. What could I do but smile back? And after that, a conversation ensued (how dare she!). During the course of what turned out to be a surprisingly nice discussion, the fact that my dog, Latte, is a trained therapy dog came up. At which point the woman started raving about therapy dogs and how much they had helped her husband who had just gone through a series of surgeries and lengthy hospital stays.

UniverseSlappingMe. (In a gentle, nudge-like fashion.)

Yeah, Gregg… This man had taken a longer than usual time period to walk across the parking lot entrance. And what a celebration that may be have been for him (and his wife). After several surgeries and multiple hospital stays, he was up and walking — and even enjoying a sunshine-y day while out for coffee with his spouse.

And yet, when in my car, observing all this, I made it all about me.

I’m tempted to shame myself here. But we all know (or at least are hopefully learning) that shame doesn’t do much to encourage change. So instead, I’m admitting my ridiculous response to what I thought was dilly-dallying man and celebrating the fact that I was not only able to learn why he was “walking slow” (by my silly standards), but also that his situation offered cause for happiness… Not just in regard to his health and his wife’s appreciation for it, but also for my own mental health and inner joy.

It’s often when caught up in life’s to-do list (or quest for a stronger cup of coffee) that we can also get caught up in our own mental interpretation of what’s going on in the world around us — and then make it all about us, when in fact, it has nothing to do with us. And if we would instead take a moment to breathe and observe, we just might learn something and/or find a reason to count our (and others’) life blessing(s).

I probably don’t have to tell you that my coffee tasted even more delicious that day. And that now when I see someone doing something that I don’t understand, I do my best to stop myself from decoding what they’re agenda is and lamenting about how it’s affecting me. Instead, I think of this older gentleman and his wife and send out a nonverbal thanks to them. Not only for the valuable reminder, but also for not being as caught up in their own mental drama (as I had been) so that they were able to unknowingly share a valuable life lesson/reminder with me, the guy who really needed to slow down that day.

Photo Source: Exchange3D.com

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July 12, 2012

OMG – indeed!

9:07 am - Posted by Gregg

Photo source: ego-living.com

Even with the countless fad diet books that have been out on the market for years, there always seem to be new ones popping up. The latest garnering attention is the book Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends by personal trainer and actor Paul Khanna (writing under the pen name of Venice A. Fulton).

During the author’s July 10th appearance on The Today Show, he balked at claims that his book was targeting young girls even though the book uses “OMG” in the title and even mentions that “Your parents think you probably shouldn’t read this book” in the opening pages, claiming instead that his diet book isn’t targeting anyone except for those who want to lose fat.

Among some of the more attention-grabbing claims made in the book, the author suggests:

Skipping Breakfast to Burn More Fat
(Writing that “Breakfast is for wimps” and that skipping breakfast will help stop you from becoming a “Fadult” – a fat adult)

Eat Less Fruit
(Writing “Fruit can be a cheeky devil” because it contains fructose, which can turn to fat)

Taking Cold Baths to Rev up Your Metabolism
(Writing that cold baths “Help you lose calories fast”)

In regard to the book’s advice to skip breakfast, Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer reponds, “We know that people who eat breakfast have a much easier time losing weight because it regulates your appetite and also revs your metabolism in the morning.”

The author claims that studies that claim that eating breakfast helps people succeed at dieting haven’t actually proved that.

The author also claims that when eating carbs, it doesn’t matter if you get your carbohydrates from a can of Coke or broccoli. “To get skinny,” he writes, “It makes no difference whether they get their daily carbs from cans of Coke or from broccoli… For six to 12 weeks there’s no harm in using this knowledge to get super-skinny.’”

As you might imagine, many fitness and nutrition experts disagree with many of the author’s claims, including personal trainer John Templeton of Mount Cross Fit, and dietician Rachel Scrivin, who both shared their views on a recent write up appearing on Bay of Plenty Times. After debunking much of what the Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends book suggests, Scrivin adds, “The energy-in, energy-out principle needs to be followed in order to lose weight. Eat less and exercise more for a healthy body and healthy mind.”

Anyone who’s investigated or even dabbled in nutrition can recognize that many of thsee claims are questionable at best. Ask anyone who’s successfully lost their excess weight and kept it off for years and they’ll likely tell you they did so without any fads or any tricks. This is because we simply can’t trick our bodies in the long run. Even people who undergo surgery to assist with their initial weight loss have stories of eating very little and very healthfully after the surgery in order to lose all of the excess weight and to keep it off.

Taking cold baths? Skipping breakfast? Choosing Coke over broccoli? Authors such as Paul Khanna (AKA “Venice A. Fulton”) should really be ashamed of themselves – not only for taking advantage of desperate people looking for a way out of their excess weight predicament, but also for potentially putting people who follow these suggested methods into a nutritional danger zone.

At the end of the day, in my experience, it’s the simple truths that work the best:

Eat less.

Move more.

Drink lots of water.

Get plenty of rest.

And ignore any diet book or method that seems suspect.

Perhaps the “OMG” in the book title should stand for “Oh, My Gimmick” because in my humble opinion, that’s what the weight loss methods in Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends smack of.

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