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2:44 pm - Posted by Gregg

Does eating a healthier food choice like green beans to excess still equate to overeating? Short answer? Yes. And trust me—as someone who once weighed over 450 pounds (and who took off over 250 pounds of excess weight and has kept it off for almost two decades), I should know.

This might seem like a question that didn’t need to be asked in the first place. But I recently saw a segment on a national morning show, during which they spoke to a celebrity who had just “joined” a national weight loss company. No need to mention any names. But said celebrity (AKA endorser) was going on and on about how edamame was a “free food” on the program and thus she could eat as much edamame as she wanted while still on the diet.

In my opinion, this is a potentially harmful theory when it comes to making healthier eating and lifestyle choices—and one of the reasons that so-called “diets” sometimes do not serve us as well as some of these for-profit weight loss companies would lead us to believe they do.

I know what it’s like to binge eat. I used to do it because I was depressed. I used to do it because I was happy. I used to do it simply because I liked a certain food and hadn’t yet comprehended the concept that I could have the food in a healthy portion and then have it again sometime in the future. This was mainly because I’d been taught the “on/off” diet mentality from a very early age. Favorite foods became forbidden fruit (so to speak) and I would eat them in huge amounts, thinking I would/could never have them again when on a healthier eating program.

After years of starting and then cheating on diets, I eventually realized that the issue of my constantly gaining more and more weight had nothing to do with my stomach (a place so many focus on when fighting the battle of the bulge) but, instead, had everything to do with my head (meaning my thinking). After coming to this conclusion, I set out to learn about why I was using food as an emotional crutch. At the same time, I was becoming aware that whenever I started a diet, I would focus on what I was giving up, instead of focusing on what I was gaining (no pun intended).

But even after successfully taking off the excess weight (without giving up certain food groups, without fad dieting, without pills and without surgery), I realized I was still bingeing at times. Sure, I was eating steamed green beans to excess rather than cartons (yes, plural) of ice cream. But I was still binge eating to the point of discomfort.

I soon realized that although the foods had changed, the behavior had not. There is a healthy portion of green beans to eat just as there is a healthy portion of ice cream to eat. And exceeding these portions only works to reinforce old habits that don’t necessarily serve us.

Eating to excess, no matter what the food choices, is still eating to excess. We’re left feeling uncomfortable, bloated and perhaps even feeling some shame about actions.

I have not kept the 250 pounds of excess weight off by eating unconsciously. I think about what I’m eating daily. I still use measuring cups and measuring spoons. Why? Because feeling good is worth any “hassle” that meal prep (and proper portion control) requires. Does this mean I never overeat? Of course, not. I’m human. I still enjoy dining out and will sometimes clear my plate in a restaurant (although sometimes I choose not to).

No matter if it’s food prepared at a restaurant or in a private kitchen, there is no such thing as a “free food.” Overeating is overeating. And binge behavior is still binge behavior. And these are actions that anyone wanting to lose excess weight and/or make healthier eating choices might want to examine. (And for the record, edamame can often be salty, which brings up an entirely different reason as to why it—or anything else—is not a “free food.”)

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March 25, 2015

You are how you eat

9:18 am - Posted by Gregg

Much like me, haven’t you always known, on some deeper level, that you really do embody everything you need — already inside of you — to achieve lasting physical health and a peaceful, happy state of mind (in relation to eating, your body weight and to everything else) you have always dreamed of?

And also like me, I imagine many of you know that nagging feeling that if you just had that one secret to unlock the door to your own innate healing powers, that you would finally shed the unwanted pounds, reclaim your health, and love yourself just as you are in this and all future moments?

I know from your emails and contact that a lot of you have been searching for the truth. And I also know many of you are tired of being told “Eat this not that.” Well, the good news is that I am a part of a free online event that is going on now (and will conclude shortly) — so if you are ready to jump in and get access to being your best self without fads, shame or self-punishment, click here to take advantage of this Mindful Eating World Summit before it’s too late to participate. (Again, it’s free!)

Some of the tools and take-aways you’ll get from this free online event include:

Stopping the “deprivation- and binge-eating guilt cycles.

Creating peace in your mind and your body to create an amazing
life with tools to empower you.

Cooking with “consciousness” and intention (the way nature intended it to be).

Making your mind your greatest asset to creating optimal health
and design a strategy that is unique to you.

Finding your path and live your purpose, because it’s not
what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you.

My friend and colleague, the amazingly inspirational Dr. Kellee Rutley, has created an incredible resource where you can receive all of the tools you need to achieve optimal health, makeover your body and take your life back. Dr. Kellee and I can relate to what you are going through as can all of the experts that are contributing to this Mindful Eating World Summit. In fact, many of the experts on this summit have true-to-life stories they share regarding how they overcame every single obstacle you are facing right now.

Dr. Kellee has interviewed highly credible and respected Doctors, Naturopaths, Zen Masters, Holistic Psychologists, Holistic Chefs, well known Published Authors and true Fitness Experts with decades of experience — all sharing this “virtual podium” to provide you with the answers you have been looking for.

This Mindful Eating World Summit event ends on March 31st — so click here to get access to all experts before this summit is complete in the coming days. And there’s no limit to how many can participate and benefit for from this Mindful Eating World Summit — so feel free to share this free sign-up link with friends.

Photo Source: FitDay

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February 16, 2015

Scaling new heights

1:06 pm - Posted by Gregg

I make no secret of being put on strict diets since the first grade – and then continuing the tradition of different types of diets (the tried, the true, the super wacky) even after I was old enough to fully be in control of what I ate. The one thing they all had in common (besides me cheating on every single one)? They all included the key component of weighing one’s self – whether it be once a day or once a week. Thus, I quickly associated whatever number the scale was showing me with either success or failure. Nothing else mattered except that almighty number on the scale. And as that number increased over the years (to 450 pounds and more), I gave the scale more and more power. Talk about a false prophet.

This obsession with weighing myself to track my ‘progress’ (define that how you will) culminated one morning after graduating from college with my then digital scale registering no number at all. Instead, I found the scale reading, “ERR.” As many of you know, I later discovered in the scale’s manual that ‘ERR’ was the scale’s code for “Error,” as that particular scale didn’t register any weight in excess of 450 pounds.

Although a sobering experience, many more years would pass before I just stopped eating so much – and finally got my binge eating under control. Looking back, I realize that the scale was providing more than just a snarky editorial comment with ‘ERR’. It turns out I was putting way too much emphasis on what the scale was registering, when at over 450 pounds, my breathlessness and general shortage of good health (not to mention miserable social life and total lack of self worth) was already telling me everything I needed to know. I was giving the scale too much power – and this continued even into recent years, long after I’d taken and kept off over 275 pounds.

Finally, about four years ago (even after keeping most of the excess weight off for years), I realized just how much power (mental and otherwise) I was still giving the scale. If the scale was registering a higher weight, I was crushed (and this would lead to some kind of action that would further defeat my self-esteem). If the scale registered a lower number, then I was in a good mood, had pep in my step and would easily choose salad over a milkshake. But the scale was my mood setter to be sure. Thus, I picked the scale up off my bathroom floor, wrapped it in a plastic bag (to protect it from dust) and shoved it under my bed.

That’s right… I decided to just stop weighing myself… And the results were incredibly freeing.

Suddenly, I wasn’t defining myself by a number. Instead, I was getting in touch with what my clothes felt like when on. Was I fitting into my “skinny” clothes without the threat of popping a button and putting someone’s eye out? Was I feeling robust and energetic even after eating a meal? Or tired and lethargic? Without the scale to rely on, I was finding all sorts of feedback about my weight, my health and (most important of all) my attitude. To say the experience has been freeing is an understatement.

And yes, there are days the jeans are a little snug. So I amp up the exercise and add a little more vegetables and fruits to my eating repartee until the clothes are looking and feeling good again. For me, this has become a much better barometer for staying in shape than numbers on a scale that could send me into total depression were it to register 180 instead of 175.

In fact, I consider the scale such a potential downer to my self-esteem, that these days even when I weigh at the doctor’s office, I insist on keeping my eyes closed and tell the nurse to write my weight down on the chart and not to announce it. Is this a little extreme? Who the heck cares? I used to weigh over 450 pounds and now I don’t. So I think I’m allowed to be a little extreme. And I think you’re allowed to be, too!

Now, I’m not saying that using the scale to track your progress as you get rid of excess weight can’t be a good marker of your progress. But I do urge everyone reading this to think of the scale as just one tool in the battle against obesity. Do not make it your be all, end all in terms of how you’ll feel for the rest of the day, mentally. Body weight can be affected by so many different things (your hydration levels, your recent sleep patterns, salty foods you might have consumed, stress, etc.).So don’t put all of your worth into a number (whether it be higher or lower).

Think instead about how your tight jeans feel. Are they looser? Can you breathe when you sit down? And speaking of breathing, how do you feel when you’re out and about? Are you moving easily and without any shortness of breath? Are people noticing the twinkle in your eye? Do you find yourself smiling more? These are all indicators of your success and, quite frankly, mean a heck of a lot more than whatever number that scale’s registering.

So whether you follow suit and put away your scale forever, or decrease your weigh-ins from once a day or week to once a month or intervals even further apart, I urge you to take away the power that you (we!) have given the scale all these years. The number its registering has absolutely no reflection on who you are as a person. And, like me, you just might find that paying attention to other indicators proves to be a healthier – and happier – way to track your fabulosity.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your scale? Or a tape measure? Or some other tool you’re using to battle the bulge? I’d love to hear all about it. So please – post away (or a-weigh, as the case may be).

Photo Source: Momastery

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June 12, 2014

Joy to the world

11:50 am - Posted by Gregg

I first met rockstar diet and nutrition guru Joy Bauer when appearing on NBC’s Today Show to mark my 250+ pound weight loss by being inducted in the Joy Fit Club, which celebrates people who’ve lost over 100 pounds of weight through common sense diet and exercise.

Having been a lifelong dieter (and someone who still has to think about health and nutrition daily in order to maintain the weight loss), I was in awe of Joy, knowing that the kind of information she shares on the air and writes about in her New York Times best selling books are helpful morsels of knowledge that anyone can use to get or to stay healthy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Joy also has a razor sharp wit and is as energetic off the air as she is when cameras are rolling.

Besides being NBC’s Today Show nutrition and health expert, Joy is also a contributing editor and columnist for Woman’s Day Magazine as well as the resident nutritionist for the New York City Ballet. Her recent book releases include The Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan & Inspiration, Slim & Scrumptious and Joy Bauer’s Food Cures.

Joy has a new television special, Joy Bauer’s Food Remedies, currently airing on PBS stations that focuses on easy nutrition fixes for various health ailments and issues. In celebration of this, I recently sat down with Joy to not only get the scoop on her TV special and pick up a few tips we can all use to win the battle of the bulge, but also to find out about Joy, herself — including which food tempts her the most.

Gregg McBride: Joy, you have a lot of initials after your name (when seen in print) — MS, RD, CDN. Do you think these professional affiliations are important for someone letting people know how they can lose weight and get healthier?
Joy Bauer: I’ve met a lot of wonderful counselors and people who can guide others to better health who do not have professional affiliations. There are individuals who have an innate gift for helping others as well as knowing which articles and books to recommend. But at the same time, there are certain advantages to working with an RD (Registered Dietitian) or an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) because it means they’re affiliated with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association) and can apply that level of nutrition and even medical education to peoples’ needs.

GM: What will people learn when tuning into your PBS special?
JB: I’m really excited about Food Remedies because for the first time I have more than 2- to 3-minutes to share how approaching food differently can change someone’s life for the better — both mentally and physically. People are used to seeing me via small segments on the Today Show. But in this new special I have enough time to show how various foods and food combinations can boost energy, increase memory, get rid of unwanted weight, alleviate aches and pains, assist with Type 2 Diabetes and more. It’s a fresh approach everyone can implement to feel and look markedly better. In fact, people that watch will get a lot of the same benefits and knowledge I give to my one-on-one clients. Everything I discuss in this special is on the cutting edge of science and nutrition and has the potential to change viewers’ lives starting almost immediately. I even share a recipe I call my “Pretty Potion” (or “Handsome Helper” for the guys) that can help give people a glowing complexion, thicker hair and improve overall appearance, naturally.

Why do you think there are so many confusing messages about how to successfully lose weight? And how can people clear the clutter?
JB: Sad to say, but freedom of speech can be a potential culprit when it comes to weight loss and health-related advice. Anyone can say, write or publish virtually anything they want. This equates to a lot of confusing — and often incorrect — messages about what it really takes to get control of one’s health (whether to look better, feel better or both). At the same time, there are experts out there who have all the book knowledge, but don’t necessarily communicate it in a way that people can easily apply to everyday living. This is why I’m thrilled to be part of the Today Show and Woman’s Day. Both provide me with opportunities to take complicated information and deliver it in a way that’s inviting, realistic and helpful (not to mention easy to digest — often literally).

What do you think the biggest mistake people embarking on a diet plan commonly make?
JB: Without a doubt, it’s having an “all or nothing” mentality. In other words, people starting out on a healthier eating (or living) routine without allowing any leeway. Then, once a cheat (or momentary binge) has occurred, these people give up and go hog wild in the other direction — as far away from common sense nutrition and good health as they can. But the fact remains that no one gains weight from a couple cookies or a slice or two of pizza. In fact, every one of my success stories admits to yo-yo-ing in the past (going up and down the scale). It’s when they learned to forgive and even allow themselves the occasional treat or slipup that they finally began to win the battle of the bulge. Eating well and living a healthy life isn’t about 100% perfection. It’s about balance, forgiving yourself and getting right back on track once the slipup has occurred. Too many people wait for the next week, next month or even next January 1st to try again. I promise that getting right back to your commitment to better health will definitely be the differentiator from all the other times you’ve tried to lose weight in the past.

GM: If someone wanting to get healthier was only going to make one change, what would you recommend that single change be?
JB: I would suggest incorporating produce into every meal — mainly because produce offers high volumes of food at lower and better-for-you calories, while also being loaded with fiber and other nutritional benefits. For breakfast, add sliced tomato to a toasted English muffin with melted cheese; or simply add fresh berries to your bowl of cereal. At lunch you can add roasted peppers to virtually any sandwich. Grab a handful of baby carrots as an afternoon snack. And try my Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna recipe or something similar at dinner time. Produce instantly ups the health quotient of a meal and is easier to incorporate than people might think.

GM: Which of your many best-selling books is your personal favorite?
JB: That’s a tough question because I have different reasons for loving each of my books. Your Inner Skinny is a great resource for dieters, while Slim and Scrumptious offers a bunch of great recipes that anyone (even people who aren’t trying to lose weight) will enjoy. For the “feel good” and “inspiration” factors, I recommend Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan & Inspiration, which features amazing success stories, tips and recipes from the very people who lost incredible amounts of weight. But if I had to choose one of my books as the crown jewel, it would likely be Joy Bauer’s Food Cures, which I poured every bit of of my 20+ years of experience into — making it a go-to resource for anyone who wants to increase bone strength, improve mood, lower cholesterol, take off unwanted pounds, boost memory, reduce risks for certain kinds of cancer and more — all through different foods and easy-to-whip-up recipes.

GM: Do you test out recipes on your family (husband Ian, daughters Jesse and Ayden and son Cole)?
JB: In a word? Yes. But I can never trust my husband Ian’s opinion because he attests to liking every new recipe I try (and he’s a wise man to do so). Because of this, I rely a lot on my kids, meaning two out of the three have to be won over by my new creation in order for me to pursue it further or present it publicly. At the same time, I have a whole extended family (including friends) who live close by and who I often refer to as my “Guinea Pig Taste Testers.” I’ll throw big picnics and encourage people to fill out anonymous comment cards so I get their feedback on what they liked or didn’t like about a new dish. (And yes, there have been a few duds! But don’t tell my husband that.)

GM: What is your go-to snack for filling up without filling out?
JB: My name is Joy. And I’m a nut-aholic. Whether it’s walnuts, pecans, pistachios — you name it — I’m nuts for nuts. Seeds, too. I love sprinkling pumpkin or sunflower seeds on salads, Greek yogurt and just about any other kind of food. They’re packed with nutrients like omega-3 fats, zinc, niacin, and vitamin E, nuts and seeds can help boost eye health, reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, and slow the progression of vision loss — not to mention reduce your risk for a slew of other health conditions.

GM: Aside from the PBS Special, what else is coming up in the world of Joy Bauer in 2014?
JB: I’m actually jumping out of my skin with excitement over my very first food venture, Nourish Snacks. For the past two years, I’ve been searching the globe for the most premium and mouth watering ingredients including naturally-sweet pineapple from Sri Lanka, crunchy chickpeas from 4th and 5th generation family farms here in the United States, and rich dark chocolate made in France from the highest quality share of the cacao bean crop. Now I’m using these ingredients to create snack blends with the perfect mix of nutrition and flavor. There’s an amazing variety including Posh-tashios spiked with EVOO and Mediterranean spices, Cashew Colada made with roasted cashews, toasted coconut and dried pineapple, and Cocoa Loco which is loaded with dark chocolate, cacao nibs, chia seeds and puffed quinoa. Each is formulated to keep people feeling energized and full — all for no more than 200 calories. There are no GMOs, no artificial sweeteners, no harmful preservatives, no soy protein isolate, no hydrogenated oils — in other words, no B.S. Plus, all Nourish Snacks are naturally gluten free, dairy free and vegan.

GM: Do you ever have days when you feel like your clothes are too tight?
JB: [Without any hesitation] Absolutely. Doesn’t everyone?

GM: If I wanted to make you gain 5 pounds, which tempting food would I need to send you that you wouldn’t be able to resist?
JB: Please promise not to tell anyone — but it would be vanilla ice cream with some sweet mix-ins on the side (chocolate crunchies, peanut butter chips, granola, coconut… Yum!).
GM: Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me.

You can click here to find out when Joy Bauer’s PBS special, Joy Bauer’s Food Remedies, is airing on your local PBS affiliate. You can also pick up more of Joy’s recommendations, recipes and tips by visiting Joy’s website.

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September 5, 2012

Small change, big results

9:33 am - Posted by Gregg

Photo Source: Personal Money Network

Did you know that there’s one small change you can make to your daily regimen that could have a profound effect on both your overall health and your body weight? That change is simple: Cut soda out of your life. All of it. Immediately. Period. (Yes, all soda!)

Trust me when I tell you that years ago (when gaining excess weight and eventually maintaining a body weight of over 450 pounds), I was keeping the soda makers in business. Diet soda makers, to be precise. I would begin every day with several cans of Diet Coke (since I usually woke up “stuffed” with a “Food hangover” from the previous night’s binge). I would then continue to drink Diet Coke throughout the day – often going through up to 12 cans during one day’s time. Just one look at Diet Coke’s ingredients tells us how potentially worthless this 12-ounces of soda is to our bodies.

But that was then. And this is now. And when I started on the path to permanent change and better health – eventually reducing my size by taking off over 250 excess pounds, I cut out soda from the moment I began that journey – yes, even the so-called “diet” kind that touted itself as having virtually no calories. And I’ve never looked back. And boy, does my body continually thank me for that decision.

A quick check-in with the Nutrition Research Center lets us know what happens to our bodies within an hour of drinking regular soda. And no, none of it’s beneficial. The Nutrition Research Center reports that within the first 10 minutes, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system (which happens to be 100% of your daily recommended intake). After 20 minutes, blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Within 45 minutes the body increases its dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain (the same exact way heroin works, by the way – so who says soda isn’t addicting?). Within 60 minutes, the sugar crash begins. For the full article on what happens to our bodies when we drink soda, click here.

Based on the above – and based on my own personal experience – in my opinion, there is absolutely no value to canned soda whatsoever. The ingredients are questionable at best and offer nothing nutritious that you can’t get (in a more natural way) from a piece of fruit or other “clean” and “whole” foods.

Water is not only a great thirst quencher, but is also what our body needs – not only for hydration, but also to keep our vital organs functioning (this includes the liver, which helps us to “detox” in natural ways). Add the money you’d save from no longer buying soda and the fact that drinking water would be better for you across the board, and you have every reason to make this “One small change” that could affect your life in so many positive ways.

And water doesn’t have to be boring. Often, I’ll drink sparkling water throughout the day. You can add a slice of lemon, lime or orange to jazz it up, of course. You can also try keeping a pitcher of filtered water in the fridge with added slices of cucumber and lemon to give it a “spa like” quality. You’ll be surprised how refreshing this is. Sure, it might take a few days to change your taste buds, which might be used to the sugar and chemicals found in your go-to soda of choice. But trust me, getting through the change is worth the effort. And, if you’re like me, after a while you’ll never crave (or want) soda again.

Soda makers know people like me are speaking out against them. That’s why their marketing efforts are more pervasive than ever. Take the recent article in The Atlantic, which reports that in the most extensive analysis of the marketing of sugary drinks to kids ever conducted, the Rudd Center has discovered that marketing of these types of drinks to teens and kids is as strong as it’s ever been.

This insightful article goes onto list many of the reasons that canned soda is one of nutrition’s worst enemies:

  • Sodas are the single greatest source of added sugar in the American diet and add little or no nutrition
  • The body does not seem to recognize calories very well when they are delivered via liquids, hence sugary drinks appear to fool the body’s feelings of being full
  • There is very clear evidence linking consumption of these beverages with elevated risk for obesity and diabetes

The Atlantic also reports that the health consequences of consuming sugary drinks are well known. It is not surprising, therefore, that groups such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other groups have said that soda consumption is too high and needs to be reduced.

Need more reasons to stop drinking soda? Check out the list of 22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda on WiseBread.com. The helpful list includes the following reasons:

  • The out-of-pocket cost of drinking soda adds up
  • The long-term health consequences lead to high medical expenses
  • Soda increases your blood pressure
  • Soda destroys your teeth
  • Soda contains an ingredient banned in over 100 countries (Brominated Vegetable Oil, which is also banned by the World Health Organization)
  • Soda makes you fat
  • Soda may lead to diabetes
  • Soda may lead to heart disease

The list goes on. For the full list of all 22 reasons (with additional explanations), click here.

Need even more reasons to abandon your soda addiction once and for all? You can find an alarming slide show on 9 Disturbing Side Effects of Soda presented by Rodale.com by clicking here.

Sure, cutting out soda might seem like a big thing to do. But it’s really a small thing. One small change, to be exact – and one that can have maximum impact on your body, your health, your life – without having to change anything else (at least not at this time – LOL!). Come on! You can do it! Join me in leaving soda behind – and off of your daily menu – once and for all.


Photo Source: Fresh Healthy Vending

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