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4:36 pm - Posted by Gregg

 

What did you have for breakfast the day before yesterday? Do you remember? And aside from what you actually ate, how did you actually eat it? Or were you so rushed to get your day started that you skipped breakfast on that day all together?

Too often in our multitasking-oriented society, we rob ourselves of the quiet moments in life that we not only deserve but require. And for those of us with a dieter’s mentality, this can be especially destructive. Fact is, if we ate more mindfully, many of us wouldn’t even need an actual diet plan to lose excess weight and feel better about ourselves and our bodies in the present moment.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking diet plans all together. When I weighed over 450 pounds, I was so out of touch with healthy eating (as were my body’s “hungry” or “full” sensors), that I required an actual plan (based on sound nutrition and pure, clean eating) to head in the right direction (in my case, down the scale). But my weight loss success (dropping more than 250 pounds within a year’s period without fad dieting, pills or surgery) came more from mindful eating than it did a so-called diet.

Learning to pay attention to what tasted good (sans additivespreservatives and other potentially harmful chemicals) and paying heed to how my body felt after a meal, led me to being more mindful about almost every aspect of my life — from exercise to walking my dog to even being more present when talking to someone on the phone (e.g., no more checking facebook on my smartphone while on a phone call, listening to my mother-in-law tell me how a recent doctor’s appointment went).

Me. In the now. And being aware of it. Crazy concept, right?

And yet mindfulness doesn’t have to be a mystery that we spend a lifetime trying to decipher. True mindfulness is simply about being fully present in the moment. That means being still and recognizing everything going on around us and being fully aware of it all.

Take a moment to stop reading this blog post, and just sit still (or stand still — reader’s choice). Feel the cushion of the chair beneath you? The comfort of the seat back? The hardwood floor underneath your shoes? Or maybe whatever you’re sitting or standing on isn’t so comfortable. You might be reading this while on a subway train. Or while standing in line. Or perhaps while lying down.

Notice the elements surrounding you at this moment. Is there a clock ticking? Is someone talking loudly nearby? Can you feel the heat of the sun? Or maybe a cool breeze? Whatever is going on around you, take note of it. Soak it in. It’s not bad. It’s not good. It simply is. And now you get a gold star for noticing what’s happening around you, being aware of your surroundings, and taking it all in.

Next, turn to your breathing. Are your breaths short and shallow, perhaps signaling that you’re anxious about something? Or are they soft and deep? Maybe your calm breathing is letting you know that you’re very confident, that life is good (even with all the many challenges you’re facing), and that you know you are enough, in this moment.

Let’s now take this fully aware mental state and apply it to our eating. All of our eating. That means being as mindful when we’re planning or preparing what we’re going to eat as when we’re sitting down to actually consume the food. (Yes, sitting downEating at the kitchen counter while on the go doesn’t often compliment being mindful.)

Too often the choices we make about food have less to do with what we’re really craving (whether regarding a specific food or even a portion size) and more about what is habitual. Our routines can turn us into zombies. And living life like The Walking Dead is no way to… Well… Live.

This is now. And since this moment is all we really have, we might as well choose to enjoy it — and all of life’s subsequent moments — fully. As we learn to embrace the now, we can allow ourselves to make choices about our food, our eating, and our self-acceptance that can literally transform life around us — and, perhaps, even transform our bodies in beautifully positive and healthy ways.

Photo Source: Existential Soft Rock

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October 28, 2014

Confessions of a zombie

9:39 am - Posted by Gregg

All Hallow’s Eve is the perfect time to confess that I often compare myself to a zombie. And not because I’m on a constant quest for “Brains… Brains…” — although certainly some people who know me might argue that a mission like that would be appropriate. But no… For me, the “zombie comparison” comes from my commitment to constantly moving — and often stumbling — forward, no matter what kind of odds or circumstances I’m facing.

Picture, if you will, a zombie in a field, moving toward its goal — one (often ungraceful) step at a time. Although this zombie might be missing a limb or two — or even if it’s being shot at — it just keeps on going. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny — only with more blood and guts. Still, there’s something to be admired about the zombie’s drive. And that’s why I often liken myself to one of these undead creatures (even during times of year when All Hallow’s Eve isn’t nigh).

Believe it or not, this comparison can be especially helpful if one has suffered a crisis of spirit due to a recent loss or disappointment. It’s tough to stay committed to one’s goals after experiencing a setback (no matter what aspect of life it pertains to).

Similarly, it’s sometimes tough to walk out the front door when your heart and spirit are heavy — perhaps feeling like you’ve gone one step forward and two steps back (feel free to insert your own analogy here). We all have days where matters of the heart, our health, our career or another seemingly crushed desire (even if just temporarily crushed) seem to weigh us down due to original intentions evading us (no matter how hard we’ve worked to achieve said goals).

Some days it feels almost impossible to keep on moving in the direction we’d originally intended for ourselves. It’s these kind of “down days” that seem to call out for staying in bed and hiding under the covers. Or cheating on our diets. Or picking an argument with a loved one. Or telling our boss off. Or giving up completely.

Again, this can all be likened to the life of a zombie.

After all, it’s not any easier to reach a lofty life goal than it is to dig yourself out of a grave — not to mention move across a large field fast enough to catch up with someone who has two working legs and can likely run faster than you can stumble. Think about it… Neither we nor the zombie totally knows exactly what he or she is doing. And yet the zombie just continues to stumble forward, sure that his or her goal will be worth it. In other words, zombies never give up. And this is something we can definitely take a cue from — whether wanting to reach our goal mindset, goal weight, goal promotion, goal marriage or goal whatever.

Just as a zombie is committed to stumbling forward to reach those sought-after brains — even when being shot at, attacked or even pulled apart (torn limb from limb, for crying out loud) — we can do the same when approaching our goals.

Sure, we don’t always know what obstacles lie ahead of us (setbacks that we can’t predict — even ones that seemingly block our efforts and require us to rethink our strategies from another starting point). But no matter what knocks us down, we have the option of considering it to be a temporary thing and then getting back up and recommitting to stumbling toward our goal. Because eventually — even when stumbling — as long as we’re moving forward, we’re going to reach our desired destinations.

So this Halloween, whenever you happen to see a zombie on TV, in a movie or at a costume party (hopefully as opposed to seeing a real one that’s sizing you up like a Thanksgiving dinner), take a moment to acknowledge that you have something in common with the walking dead.

And, of course, if you do happen to see a real zombie, run (don’t stumble) the other way. After all, we need all of the brains that we can hold onto. Besides, the run will potentially do your heart — and spirit — some good.

Picture Source: 20 Funny Zombie Pictures

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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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10:31 am - Posted by Gregg

The other morning, while working out at the gym, I had a work-related stress playing on an endless loop in my head. Even though the incident had happened a week earlier, I was still obsessing over the whole ordeal (wishing I’d said things I didn’t say at the time, wishing the other party would come to their senses, wishing the whole thing would go away, etc.). Needless to say, my worrying about this incident only made things worse in my mind and even though I’d had a productive workout, left me in a gloomy state of mind as I left the gym.

It was while driving home from working out that I remembered one of the key commands I picked up during dog training that I use pretty frequently with my puppy, Latte.

As anyone who has a dog probably knows, our canine friends occasionally come across a smell, a chicken bone or some other foul object that excites their senses to no end. It’s at this moment that we must command them to “Leave it!” in a terse, authoritative way so that they don’t get into trouble, hurt themselves or (heaven forbid!) end up rolling in something disgusting.

Even though I had been expertly trained to use this command with Latte, I realized after my workout of mental duress that perhaps I needed to use this command on myself. After all, as mentioned, this particular stressful situation had happened a week earlier. So at this point, no one else (not even the offending party) was responsible for my stress and worry other than yours truly. On a virtual level, I was “rolling” in something disgusting. In this case, my own self-defeating thoughts.

So in this case, I was the one who needed to “Leave it!”

When Latte is told to “Leave it,” he usually jumps (having been “caught” doing something that he should know better than to do) and then quickly moves away from the offensive object and is soon distracted by another smell, a passing pooch or some other form of whimsy. Similarly, by telling ourselves to “leave” something that’s weighing us down (figuratively or otherwise), we then, too, have the opportunity to move on to other things — more pleasant things, and with a cleared mind, perhaps even a potential solution to whatever we think we can’t solve while in the throes of “Why me?” We can’t undo what’s transpired. But we can move on if we choose to.

I imagine that, like myself, many of you reading this are sometimes plagued by situations, incidences or predicaments that sometimes can’t be washed away from our brains — as if obsessing over them might offer a solution (which, really, the obsessing never does). Instead, we need to just let it go, move on and welcome another scent (or situation) that can offer us not only new ideas, but also peace.

All together now: “Leave it!”

I’ll conclude by adding that if you ever see me working out with a scowl, feel free to walk over and tersely tell me to, “Leave it!” Like my puppy, Latte, I might jump (having also been “caught”). But I’ll appreciate the reminder that some things need to be left where they belong… In the past.

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October 24, 2012

The Walking Dread

9:27 am - Posted by Gregg

Photo Source: Night of the Living Dead

Halloween seems like an appropriate time of year to let you know that I often compare myself to a Zombie. And not because I’m on a constant quest for “Brains… Brains…” — although certainly some might argue that a mission like that would be appropriate for me. But no… For me, the ‘zombie comparison’ comes from my commitment to constantly moving — and often stumbling — forward, no matter what odds or circumstances I’m facing.

Picture, if you will, a Zombie in a field, moving toward its goal — one (often ungraceful) step at a time. Although this Zombie might be missing a limb or two — or even if its being shot at, it just keeps on going. Kind of like The Energizer Bunny — only with more blood and guts. Still, there’s something to be admired about the Zombie’s drive. And that’s why I often liken myself to one of these undead creatures (even during times of year when All Hallow’s Eve isn’t nigh).

Believe it or not, this comparison can be especially helpful if one has suffered a crisis of spirit due to a recent loss or disappointment. It’s tough to stay committed to one’s goals after experiencing a setback (no matter what aspect of life it pertains to).

Similarly, it’s sometimes tough to walk out the front door when your heart and spirit are heavy — perhaps feeling like you’ve gone one step forward and two steps back (feel free to insert your own analogy here). We all have days where matters of the heart, our health, our career or another seemingly crushed desire (even if just temporarily crushed) seem to weigh us down due to original intentions evading us (no matter how hard we’ve worked to achieve said goals).

Some days it feels almost impossible to keep on moving in the direction we’d originally intended for ourselves. It’s these kind of ‘down days’ that seem to callout for staying in bed and hiding under the covers. Or cheating on our diets. Or picking an argument with a loved one. Or telling our boss off. Or giving up completely.

Again, this can all be likened to the life of a Zombie.

After all, it’s not any easier to reach a lofty life goal than it is to dig yourself out of a grave — not to mention move across a large field fast enough to catch up with someone who has two working legs and can likely run faster than you can stumble. Think about it… Neither we nor the zombie totally knows exactly what he or she is doing. And yet the Zombie just continues to stumble forward, sure that his or her goal will be worth it. In other words, zombies never give up. And this is something we can definitely take a cue from — whether wanting to reach our goal mindset, goal weight, goal promotion, goal marriage or goal whatever.

Just as a Zombie is committed to stumbling forward to reach those sought-after brains — even when being shot at, attacked or even pulled apart (torn limb from limb, for crying out loud) — we can do the same when approaching our goals.

Sure, we don’t always know what obstacles lie ahead of us (setbacks that we can’t predict — even ones that seemingly block our efforts and require us to rethink our strategies from another starting point). But no matter what knocks us down, we have the option of considering it to be a temporary thing and then getting back up and recommitting to stumbling toward our goal. Because eventually — even when stumbling — as long as we’re moving forward, we’re going to reach our desired destinations.

So this Halloween, whenever you happen to see a Zombie on TV, in a movie or at a costume party (hopefully as opposed to seeing a real one that’s sizing you up like a Thanksgiving dinner), take a moment to acknowledge that you have something in common with the walking dead. And, of course, if you dohappen to see a real zombie, run (don’t stumble) the other way. After all, we need all of the brains that we can hold onto. Besides, the run will potentially do your heart — and spirit — some good.

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