Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
Do you think about the struggle with dieting, losing weight and keeping it off? Do you think about the emotional ups and downs that always follow living on the same diet “roller coaster?” The frustration of “cheating” on your diet, the constant tinge of hunger that goes along with starvation, and the realization that it’s just too easy to put all the weight you might lose after a diet right back on again…
The good news is that all of this can come to an end if you learn how to change your habits, behaviors and the relationship you have with food. Losing weight doesn’t have to be a struggle, doesn’t have to be hard – and your body doesn’t need to make it a challenge. The “trick” (which, really, isn’t a trick) is to learn new habits and change your mindset when it comes to food and eating. And yes, doing so is really possible. It’s just a matter of having the right tools at your disposal.
This is why I’m excited about participating in a new (and free) digital summit the features 22 nutritionists, doctors, fitness experts, psychologists, coaches, therapists and other transformational health experts who will be on-hand (well, on screen anyway) for 11 straight days to share all of their expert techniques, tips and advice with beautiful you. It’s my good friend Lisa Goldberg’s Right Mind, Right Weight Summit for 2017. And it’s something anyone who has struggled with weight issues isn’t going to want to miss.
This isn’t just another “diet discussion” that will lecture you about what you can or can’t eat, or how much you should exercise to see results. This event is focused on changing your actual mindset in regard to healthy eating. It’s also going to help any participant learn how to change one’s thoughts, habits and relationship with food. This summit will strive to provide the missing ingredient to overcome anyone’s struggle with lifelong yo-yo dieting. In fact, you’ll have the opportunity to discover that losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult because you don’t need to “diet.”
All you need to do to participate for free is register for this summit and learn how to create the habits, behaviors and beliefs about food that can result in losing weight without actually going on a diet! And, once again, yours truly has been invited to be a guest panelist for the event this year! That means that I get to invite any I’d like to “attend” this event – 100% free of charge. That means you (along with whomever else you would like to invite – just share this link for free sign-up)!
Spots are limited so you’ll need to register via this link: Register Here (And remember, this incredible tele-summit event is 100% free for you.)
Photo Source: WeightLossResources.co.uk
Doesn’t it seem like Starbucks and other coffee houses come out with their Pumpkin Spice Lattes sooner and earlier each year? I guess I’m okay with this since I’ve always loved the season of fall most of all. Perhaps because while living in New England as a child, the changing leaves offered a range of beautiful colors. Or maybe it was the crisp Northeast sweater weather (that demanded clothing that hid some of my figure flaws — which I was admittedly concerned about as an extremely overweight kid). Or it could have been that autumn acted as an annual sign that Christmas was on its way. Whichever. Suffice it to say, I consider autumn to be a golden time of year.
Today, living in Los Angeles, there’s not a lot of autumn to be had. Sure, there are a few maple trees (with changing leaves) in Beverly Hills. And every now and then we get a cooler day that requires a sweatshirt in the morning hours (before the temperature gives out to LA’s warm sunshine by noontime). Thus, one must be creative when it comes to feeling like it’s autumn. Some of you may be familiar with warm-weather-autumn drill: plastic fall-leaf wreath hanging on the door, a mini Styrofoam pumpkin or two lying around the house, an autumn-scented candle burning in the evening (even as the air conditioner blows), etc.
Those who know me won’t be surprised that one of my go-to items for a “hit” of autumn is an edible (well, drinkable) one. For years now, I’ve been addicted (potential 12-step-group-addicted) to Pumpkin Spice Lattes (AKA PSL or, as I refer to them, “fall in a cup”). And as someone who once weighed over 450 pounds, I was risking the encouragement of my past food addiction by ordering an extra large size and drinking down every last autumn-y (read: sugary) drop.
I was not only committed to downing this drink throughout the fall season, but virtually every day of the fall season. Needless to say that even before Thanksgiving, the results of this annual endeavor would start to show themselves in the form of tighter jeans and more pronounced love handles. In other words, my love of fall was adding up (calorie-wise) fast.
Thus, one sad day, I decided I had to abandon my love of “fall in a cup” and simply make do with the plastic wreath. But as usual, the denial of something led to the over-consumption of it. It did not matter that I’d lost over 250 pounds of excess weight over a decade before and had kept it off ever since. When it came to “fall in a cup,” I was going down. Or my weight was going up as it were. As usual, denial led to obsession and obsession led to… Well, let’s just say I feel like I have personally funded many of the more recent coffee places that have opened up in my area.
Then I hit upon an amazing, original, highly innovative idea… To treat these magical and seductive Pumpkin Spice Lattes as a treat (yeah, that’s right — categorize them in an appropriate way). I decided I was going to indulge — but was going to do so in a fashion that wouldn’t harm my psyche or extend my waistline.
So I blew out my autumn-scented candle, hopped over the Styrofoam pumpkins, trotted past my plastic wreath, and marched into my nearest coffee joint, where I ordered up a small Pumpkin Spice Latte.
As I pressed the smaller sippy cup-like lid to my lips, I wondered if I’d get the same autumnal rush that I did from lifting the larger size to my mouth. And, to my surprise, I did. The smallest Pumpkin Spice Latte was just as delicious, just as tasty, just as soothing — and offered just as much “fall in a cup” as its giant predecessor had before it. In fact, I didn’t even suck out the last sip like I usually did with the larger size (as if I were Sandra Bullock’s astronaut character in Gravity, trying to get a last gasp of oxygen in space). Instead, I enjoyed most of the drink, decided I was finished and tossed it.
Of course, the next day, I wanted another one. And here’s where I tried out another innovative tactic. “Sure, Gregg… You can have another one… Next week.” Yeah, that’s right. I acknowledged I wanted it, let myself know when I could have it, and then gave myself several days to anticipate it. And when that “lucky day” rolled around, I got another small one and enjoyed every reasonable ounce.
It turns out what I’d always heard was true: Less is more. And I marvel at this fact as much today (at around 175 pounds) as I did when I weighed over 450 pounds. I guess there will always be lessons we can learn and new adaptations we can make (to the way we consume treats) no matter what end of the scale we find ourselves at. And this is good news. Because it means we can treat ourselves, when appropriate — as long as it’s with portions that are equally appropriate.
Now, one should keep in mind that Pumpkin Spice Lattes contain calories we all should be aware of and factor into our daily totals. But when these calories are consumed just once a week (or even less often), they’re not going to hurt your weight loss or weight maintenance plan one bit. Again, it’s all about moderation. This means not denying one’s self as much as it does not overdoing it. (Win-win for “moderation,” y’all.)
At long last, my love of autumn (and devotion to “fall in a cup”) can be celebrated without worry — even here in hot n’ sunny Los Angeles. And this means whatever food or treat obsessions you have can be handled in the same way. Less is more. But not too much less. Get it?
Photo Source: Eater.com
Visiting the farmers market during summer months is always a delight because one of my favorite farmers picks out a watermelon for me to enjoy during the next week. When fresh, crisp and sweet, I find watermelon as enjoyable as a bowl of ice cream. And yes — I still enjoy naturally made ice cream or frozen yogurt from time to time. But I balance those treats out with fresh fruit. And during the summer, I do everything I can to enjoy watermelon for all it’s worth.
Studies have revealed that besides being delicious, watermelon delivers several health benefits, including being an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamins A and B6. It also contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, which can help neutralize free radicals and help prevent prostate cancer. Watermelon has been shown to reduce the risk of other types of cancers as well. Plus, its high water content makes it great for hydration. What’s more, it’s a terrific dessert or snack for kids and can help them understand that not every “treat” has to come covered in fudge.
When given the option at the farmers market, I always go for seedless watermelon. I’m not a happy camper if I must interrupt my chewing with spitting seeds into a nearby napkin (even though I suppose it burns a few more calories).
According to produce specialists, Mid-June through mid-August is when watermelon is at its ripest (with July being the most prized month of all). So let’s go watermelon shopping, shall we?
When picking a whole watermelon, size matters since 80% of a watermelon is water. Pick one of the largest you can find, while making sure the exterior doesn’t have any visible cuts, bruising, dents or soft spots. Experts also suggest looking for a yellowish area on the melon’s exterior, which indicates its ripeness after sitting in the sun.
Next, do what you’ve likely seen other shoppers do — knock-knock on the exterior with your knuckle. You’re listening for a slight echo to your knock, which indicates that the fruit is ripe. A dull thud could indicate otherwise.
When preparing watermelon for guests, or myself, I make sure to make the eating experience as relaxed and “special” as possible — therefore I don’t usually serve it in wedges. Giving food a more delectable presentation is something I strive for almost every time I eat. This helps my brain, eyes and other senses know that I’m eating, which helps ‘up’ the enjoyment factor — and, therefore, the satisfaction and fullness factors.
I suggest slicing watermelon into quarters, length wise, then taking a quarter and carefully running a knife along the red center’s outer edge and the whiteness of the rind. Cut all the way around on both sides, so that the whole quarter of the red stuff could slip out. But don’t slip it out just yet. Next, cut the fruit from side to side, on both exposed sides of the quarter. Finally, cut across your long slices, from left to right, leaving about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch between each slice.
Next, slide your perfectly prepared chunks into serving bowls. But before you serve the fruit, put the bowls into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to give the fruit an extra kick of crispiness.
When time to serve, pull the bowls from the freezer and serve with a napkin underneath (to keep the bowl from being too chilly to the touch). The watermelon chunks should have a minimal layer of frost that kicks up the flavor and the crunchy quotient, making for a texture-y, sweet and delicious eating experience. (Careful not to keep the chunks in the freezer too long or the pieces will freeze and require a little defrosting before being comfortably edible).
Saving the uneaten portion of the watermelon can be handled two ways — either by “chunking up” the remaining portion and putting it into airtight containers and storing in the fridge; or wrapping up the other half or quarters (rind and all) in cellophane wrap and then wrapping them in an additional plastic bag before putting into the fridge (to avoid having to clean up leaked watermelon juice at a later time). Plan on consuming the leftover fruit sooner rather than later to enjoy it at its freshest.
Watermelon. When enjoyed at its peak, it can kick ice cream’s butt anytime. Or, at the very least, tie it in deliciousness.
This Easter Sunday, why not borrow a little humor from comedian and actress Caroline Rhea, who reminds us that dieting is allowed to be a laughing matter. In fact, the more of a sense of humor we have in regard to ourselves and even our life goals, the better. Life and dieting don’t have to be so serious.
So instead of stressing out about chocolate and Easter candy today, take a breath. Inhale in. Exhale out. And remember today is just one day. Enjoy yourself. And if that means taking an extra power walk to balance out some of the extra calories, then do that (perhaps while listening to a podcast that makes you laugh). It’s all about balance… And humor… And loving yourself every step (and nibble) of the way!
I love treating myself at restaurants that use clean, organic ingredients and serve even decedent foods in healthy portion sizes (along with fresh fruit or vegetables). Pictured here is one of my recent breakfast meals: A Belgian Waffle with Berries and Cream at Le Pain Quotidien. (And no, this is not a paid endorsement!)
Bonus round when I can walk to and from the restaurant (in addition to other exercise I’ve already done or will do on the same day). This quick tip is proof that even those of us watching our (or trying to lose some) weight can live life to the fullest even when working toward our best selves!
Photo Source: @GreggMcBride/Instagram