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Posts Tagged ‘healthy weight’

January 13, 2018

Up, Down, On, Off

9:35 am - Posted by Gregg

Now that we’re further into January (AKA a most popular month for dieting), I’m 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.

OnOff. 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?

Photo Source: Zazzle

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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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May 30, 2015

Portion size savvy

9:13 am - Posted by Gregg

Sure, when preparing meals at home, we can pull out our measuring cups, tablespoons and perhaps even a digital food scale (not that we necessarily do… But we could!). But what about exercising portion control when out at a restaurant or even when traveling? I’ve known some hardcore dieters who carry their measuring tools with them and even pull them out when dining out. But fact is, we’ve already got the best portion size measuring tool attached to us. (Who knew?)

Checking out this handy infographic from Guard Your Health will show you that your hand and fingers can be a great aid when trying to decide how much is just right when it comes to eating outside of your home. Take a minute to study this hand-y (yeah, I went there) graphic and commit it to memory. After all, portion control is key to getting to and maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes even more so than what we’re actually eating. Arming (or hand-ing) ourselves with simple strategies like these really can make a difference in our winning the battle of the bulge. (Plus, no one we’re dining out with has to know what we’re up to when comparing a teaspoon-portion-size of butter to the tip of our finger!)

Note: You can click on the image for a larger view.

Photo Source: Guard Your Health

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12:45 pm - Posted by Gregg

Is “artificial” the opposite of “all-natural?” If so, I’m reminded of my artificial past… When after years (and years!) consuming diet sodas and other beverages and foods containing artificial sweeteners (and other potentially dangerous additives and chemicals), I finally cut all of these substances out of my diet – all about the same time I learned to Just Stop Eating So Much! and to eat healthier, fresher and purer.

It’s no wonder that up until this breakthrough I felt compelled to induce these chemically laced “food” products. After all, I was taught that the way to lose weight was to reduce calories through any means – including by consuming substances that my body didn’t necessarily know how to process (or even properly metabolize). After learning to pay more attention to the food and beverages I was downing as well as how I felt after doing so, I realized that a 16-calorie teaspoon of real, all-natural sugar left me feeling better than a packet of no-calorie whatever-it-might-be. And since that wakeup call, numerous scientists and studies have been continually proving why chemically altered foods aren’t necessarily even being registered as ‘foods’ by our bodies.

Hopefully we can all agree that one of the nourishing paths to a healthy weight and body (inside is out) is one that utilizes pure, natural foods. This means as little salt/sodium as possible and absolutely no added chemicals or preservatives. And as many of you are also learning through the pink slime situation, food labels cannot always be trusted. In fact, the FDA allows food makers to be very “creative” when listing ingredients. (For example, did you know that the pink color in Yoplait’s Strawberry Yogurt comes from crushed female cochineal beetles and their eggs? Try checking for that on the label!)

As for artificial sweeteners (something many consume daily without any thought), series of news articles site findings by Purdue University Scientists who studied rats that were fed food with artificial sweetener saccharin and rats fed food with glucose, a natural sugar.

The results of the study showed that in comparison to rats given yogurt sweetened with glucose, the rats that consumed yogurt sweetened with saccharin went onto consume many more calories and put on more weight and, as a result, body fat.

These researchers determined that sweet foods may prompt the body to get ready to take in a lot of calories, but that when the sweetness in the form of artificial sweeteners is not followed by a large amount of calories, the body’s internal system becomes disoriented, which might then lead to eating more, while expanding less energy than normal.

Said Purdue researchers Susan Swithers and Terry Davidson in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, published by the American Psychological Association: “The data clearly indicate that consuming a food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body-weight gain and adiposity than would consuming the same food sweetened with high-calorie sugar.” Furthermore, they went onto state: “Such an outcome may seem counterintuitive, if not an anathema, to human clinical researchers and health care practitioners who have long recommended the use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners as a means of weight control.”

The researchers also confirmed that additional artificial sweeteners such as aspartame that also taste sweet but do not lead to the delivery of calories may have similar effects. “Animals may use sweet taste to predict the caloric contents of food. Eating sweet non-caloric substances may degrade this predictive relationship.”

“With the growing use of non-caloric sweeteners in the current food environment, millions of people are being exposed to sweet tastes that are not associated with caloric or nutritive consequences,” noted the researchers. This research has been part of studies to examine the question of whether artificial sweeteners – used in an incredible number of today’s foods and beverages – actually assist or hinder people who are trying to lose weight.

Whether or not the findings in the rats translate to similar findings in humans remains to be seen. But one aspect of all these studies seems to be true: the less pure and the more chemically enhanced certain foods are, the less likely our internal system is to recognize and, therefore, be able to process them – thereby slowing down our metabolism. (To say nothing of wondering how these chemicals might be adversely affecting our overall health.)

You read it time and time again on this blog: Keep it pure. Keep it simple. And as your taste buds become less reliant on these chemical and man-made additives, you’ll find that you enjoy the flavors of pure and natural food more and more. To say nothing of the benefit they bring to your overall health and well-being!

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October 16, 2013

Mouthing off

9:54 am - Posted by Gregg

Recently, a friend told me about a writeup she read written by someone who had their mouth wired shut in order to lose weight. I couldn’t believe any of what my friend told me was true… Until she shared the link.

In this writeup, the author chronicles how she just “can’t stop eating” and claims that she’s “too lazy/overweight to exercise.” Thus she looked up a website for a dentist who wires mouths shut (and then details how she paid for the procedure with credit that she applied for online).

While I appreciate the writer’s honesty and candor, I have to question her reasoning.

It seems to me that wiring your mouth shut will never work for permanent, healthy weight loss given that it doesn’t address the real issue of wanting/needing to lose weight. Too often we try to cure our life’s weight loss struggle through surgery (gastric bypass for the stomach) or mouth (wiring jaws shut) when, in reality, the real issues are in our head.

The mind (and our thinking) is the place we need to investigate. The place we need to spend time. The place we need to heal.

Sure, the writer of this piece who had her mouth wired shut promises that she will exercise and work to maintain the weight loss once she’s reached her goal of fitting into a size 10 dress. But what about learning sane and healthy eating habits? Too often when we go to extremes (like being “on” or “off” a diet — to say nothing of wiring one’s mouth shut), we are setting ourselves up for failure. To truly attain and maintain a healthy weight, we need a life long plan — not a temporary one.

There’s a reason we label something like wiring your mouth shut for dieting purposes as “Extreme.” That’s because extreme is exactly what these kind of things are.

Am I being too harsh? Am I not seeing something in the author’s prose? Is this something some of you would even remotely consider? I promise to keep my mouth closed (sans wires) if you’ll be kind enough to share your opinion.

Photo Source: CranioRehab.com

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