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Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

2:58 pm - Posted by Gregg

I know I’m normally blogging (blathering on?) about food and nutrition. But can we just take a moment, pre 4th of July weekend, to acknowledge that summer’s finally here? Of course, this  can be a great time to get outdoors to add even more physical activity to your day. Not only will being outdoors add to your bottom line (or lack thereof) when it comes to your healthy life outlook, but it will also allow you to soak up some healthy Vitamin D in its natural form from the sun.

But whatever your outdoor activity, make sure you remember the sunscreen. The FDA recommends that we apply SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 at the very least. But that rule doesn’t apply to everyone. My personal dermatologist says we should be wearing an SPF level of 30 to 40 even for daily activities. Thus, you’re encouraged to take your own “sun history” into account.

If you rarely burn and tan easily, SPF 15 is might be right for you. But if you are very pale (like moi), have numerous freckles and/or red hair, then you should use a much higher level of SPF. If you’re not sure which level of SPF you should be using, make a quick call to your doctor or dermatologist to get their professional opinion. After all, the skin you save may be your own.

And no matter which level of SPF you’re using, this same rule applies to us all: Reapply the sunblock every 2 hours (moreso if you’re sweating or just getting out of the pool or ocean).

To find out which SPF level is right for you, click here

For more information on the FDA Guidelines regarding SPF levels, click here

Photo Source: WeeklySauce

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January 29, 2015

Mourning cereal

10:49 am - Posted by Gregg

Believe it or not, way back when when I was tipping the scales at 450+-pounds, I would go through a box of cereal in 2-3 days. My “trick” for accomplishing such a feat was to nibble as much cereal as I was pouring into the bowl. Had I bothered to check the suggested serving size, I would have seen that I was eating for 4. Of course, my 60-inch waist sort of made that clear already. Needless to say, I wasn’t paying attention.

To this day, I crave and love breakfast cereal. To the point of obsession. Because of this, there have been times that I’ve considered cutting it out of my diet altogether. But with a bunch of healthy cereal options available today along with the fact that cereal is a fast, convenient and delicious way to have breakfast (one of the most important meals of the day – whether on or off a diet), cereal is something I wanted to learn to live with.

But even when preparing cereal today (at 175-pounds), I still feel the urge to pour cereal into the bowl while also having a ‘cereal appetizer’ while standing at the counter. If I didn’t regulate myself, I could easily go through a third of a box of cereal or more. That’s why I never trust myself to pour cereal freely. Instead, I pour it into a measuring cup before I pour it into my breakfast bowl and add my sliced banana. And for what it’s worth, I measure the 2% milk I use, as well.

This might come as a surprise to some of you reading this. Most people assume that because I’ve kept my 250 pounds of excess weight off for over a decade, that I’ve got this weight thing beat. That’s true in some respects. But part of what keeps the excess weight off is knowing that I’ll never really have it beat and that I can never let my guard down. My daily food intake is something I’m always thinking about, planning for and paying attention to. Not in a mentally unhealthy way, but in a efficient way. Or weigh, as the case may be.

Whenever I reveal to fellow dieters that I must still pay attention to and even sometimes measure my food portions, they often register disappointment – as if they thought that once you take the weight off, you magically never have to think about dieting again. But in truth, this ‘food and health consciousness’ must become a part of ourselves that we never leave behind (even during those times when we decide it’s okay to have ice cream – or whatever – as a treat).

This need to ‘stay on top of what and how much I eat’ is reiterated almost daily for me – usually when I’m preparing breakfast and pouring breakfast cereal. I know that I can’t be trusted. So even though I’ve been “thin” for years and happily fit into my skinny jeans, I still get the measuring cup out and measure the exact amount of cereal necessary for a healthy and low calorie breakfast. It could be argued that, by now, I should know what a ‘cup’ holds. But when it comes to cereal and other ‘tempting foods,’ I know that my mind’s version of a cup full and real life’s version of a cup full are two very different things.

In other words: When it comes to cereal, the measuring cup is my friend.

But none of this has to be bad news. No matter what your most tempting foods are, you can still have them – in moderation and in healthy portions. And with tools like measuring cups, we can ‘eat like a thin person’ and not overdo it to the point of triggering a binge, stuffing ourselves to the point of discomfort or making our skinny clothes feel too tight.

What are your tempting foods? Do you still allow yourself to have them even if on some sort of weight loss program? Or do you try and avoid the foods for the time being? I’d love to hear from you on this topic. We can even discuss over a bowl of cereal. Assuming you’ve got a measuring cup I can borrow.

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9:27 am - Posted by Gregg

Photo source: mpietkevich.com

I remember when I was a little kid and saw one of the first curse words I’d ever learned written out (and even appearing in public no less!) in the form of a bumper sticker that read, “Sh*t happens.” While the saying got a chuckle out of me at the time (much to the chagrin of my parents), little did I realize that said bumper sticker was offering up an insightful life philosophy worth pondering.

Like it or not, it turns out that sh*t does happen. And yeah, this is me (an eternal optimist as many of you faithful readers know) blogging this. But when you think about it, acknowledging that sh*t does happen doesn’t make someone a pessimist. It just makes them wise to acknowledge that it does sometimes happen. Whether or not life’s “sh*t” (however you define it) disrupts our everyday, it’s how we handle it that really matters (and, therefore, actually determines whether one is an optimist or not).

Recently, the sh*t has hit the fan for a couple close friends of mine. And given that I’ve dealt with my own forms of sh*t over the years, my friends often turn to me for advice. These days, I’m all about being proactive. So recently when a friend told me he was worried about losing his job, I told him to plan for it. Same was true when a girlfriend recently confessed that she was scared about getting a divorce since she still loved her husband and they had several young children. Again, I suggested she plan for it.

Now, I wasn’t telling these friends that losing a job or a spouse was inevitable. I was letting them know that having a “Plan B” would actually help them sleep better at night – not to mention give them the knowledge to know that no matter what transpired, they had a plan and, thus, they would both be okay. In fact, I firmly believe that sometimes just having a plan in place keeps the bad (or sh*tty!) things from happening all together. But there will be days that bad things do happen. So we might as well be prepared for them.

In the past, when I feared something would go wrong or that I’d be hit with devastating circumstances, I would worry, moan and shift into victim-mode. This was basically a way of letting evryone around me (along with the universe) know that I was useless and couldn’t handle any life altering event thrown my way. What a wimp I was.

The fact of the matter is, challening things are going to happen from time to time. But again, it’s not these life events that define us, it’s how we handle them.

One day I simply learned that knowing how I would handle any situation I was worried about happening took away all of the situation’s power (whether it eventually happened or not). Don’t get me wrong. I want my friend to keep his job. And I want my girlfriend to stay married to her husband (for their sake and the sake of their three kids). But if either of these situations do not work out, it will be for the best. The choice is theirs how quickly ‘the best’ arrives into their lives. It might be days after the supposedly devestating event. Or it might be weeks. Or, as it was with me in regard to some of life’s past blows, it might be years. Again, the choice is theirs… And mine… And yours.

Is there something you’re facing that’s infecting your life with fear and worry? Whether smallish or potentially life–altering, I suggest you sit down and begin to write out your Plan B. You might not arrive at all the answers and strategies you’ll need to rise like a phoenix from the ashes right away. But starting your Plan B is just that – a start. And a very fine way for you to prove to your boss, to your spouse or whomever (even the universe – or, better yet, yourself) that you’ve got what it takes to not only survive, but to thrive.

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9:25 am - Posted by Gregg

Does anyone know if there’s a 12-step program for breakfast cereal addicts? If so, I’ll have to consider attending a meeting. Although I’m not sure I’d ever achieve even a 1-day chip. Because when it comes to breakfast cereal, I’ve got a problem.

Back in the day, when I was tipping the scales at 450+-pounds, I would go through a box of cereal in 2-3 days. My “trick” for accomplishing such a feat was to nibble as much cereal as I was pouring into the bowl. Had I bothered to check the suggested serving size, I would have seen that I was eating for 4. Of course, my 60-inch waist sort of made that clear already. Needless to say, I wasn’t paying attention.

To this day, I crave and love breakfast cereal. To the point of obsession. Because of this, there have been times that I’ve considered cutting it out of my diet altogether. But with a bunch of healthy cereal options available today along with the fact that cereal is a fast, convenient and delicious way to have breakfast (one of the most important meals of the day – whether on or off a diet), cereal is something I wanted to learn to live with.

But even when preparing cereal today (at 175-pounds), I still feel the urge to pour cereal into the bowl while also having a ‘cereal appetizer’ while standing at the counter. If I didn’t regulate myself, I could easily go through a third of a box of cereal or more. That’s why I never trust myself to pour cereal freely. Instead, I pour it into a measuring cup before I pour it into my breakfast bowl and add my sliced banana. And for what it’s worth, I measure the 2% milk I use, as well.

This might come as a surprise to some of you reading this. Most people assume that because I’ve kept my 250 pounds of excess weight off for over a decade, that I’ve got this weight thing beat. That’s true in some respects. But part of what keeps the excess weight off is knowing that I’ll never really have it beat and that I can never let my guard down. My daily food intake is something I’m always thinking about, planning for and paying attention to. Not in a mentally unhealthy way, but in a efficient way. Or weigh, as the case may be.

Whenever I reveal to fellow dieters that I must still pay attention to and even sometimes measure my food portions, they often register disappointment – as if they thought that once you take the weight off, you magically never have to think about dieting again. But in truth, this ‘food and health consciousness’ must become a part of ourselves that we never leave behind (even during those times when we decide it’s okay to have ice cream – or whatever – as a treat).

This need to ‘stay on top of what and how much I eat’ is reiterated almost daily for me – usually when I’m preparing breakfast and pouring breakfast cereal. I know that I can’t be trusted. So even though I’ve been “thin” for years and happily fit into my skinny jeans, I still get the measuring cup out and measure the exact amount of cereal necessary for a healthy and low calorie breakfast. It could be argued that, by now, I should know what a ‘cup’ holds. But when it comes to cereal and other ‘tempting foods,’ I know that my mind’s version of a cup full and real life’s version of a cup full are two very different things.

In other words: When it comes to cereal, the measuring cup is my friend.

But none of this has to be bad news. No matter what your most tempting foods are, you can still have them – in moderation and in healthy portions. And with tools like measuring cups, we can ‘eat like a thin person’ and not overdo it to the point of triggering a binge, stuffing ourselves to the point of discomfort or making our skinny clothes feel too tight.

What are your tempting foods? Do you still allow yourself to have them even if on some sort of weight loss program? Or do you try and avoid the foods for the time being? I’d love to hear from you on this topic. We can even discuss over a bowl of cereal. Assuming you’ve got a measuring cup I can borrow.

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October 10, 2011

Where’s your joy?

9:37 am - Posted by Gregg

The other evening I was quickly walking through my home office when I was suddenly startled by a loud squeak. I looked down to see that I’d just stepped on one of what seems like hundreds of toys that are strewn throughout my home. I try to keep these toys picked up so they remain contained in one of two toy baskets, but most are constantly in use and, therefore, often waiting to surprise me with a squeak attack when I’m hurrying from one room to another.

Looking at the toys, you might conclude that I had a toddler (or two). I do have a wee one that plays with all the toys. And he is two years old. But he’s covered in fur, weighs 7 pounds and is named Latte – an adorable little Morkie (if I do say so myself). And he is truly one of the biggest joys of my life.

To say Latte is spoiled rotten would be an understatement, although he really is one of the sweetest, happiest little guys you could ever hope to meet. And boy, does he love to play with toys. So despite my mimicking the evil Berger-Meister-Meister-Berger and often proclaiming “There will be no more toys!,” there inevitably are more toys – whether received as gifts or bought by this “Daddy” who can’t resist his “Kid.” Thus, there are toys all over my home – usually in various states of play.

So the other evening, when I stepped on a toy and realized I was standing in a virtual minefield of toys, I didn’t get irritated. Instead, I realized that all of these toys that were seemingly making my otherwise well organized home look messy were symbols of joy for me. Representing joy embodied in a 7-pound pooch full of unconditional love… Joy embodied in toys that the said pooch plays joyfully with… Joy embodied in a squeaky toy reminding me to slow down for a second and smell the roses – or count the toys, in any case.

Here’s where I must confess that I didn’t always find joy in everyday objects. Back in the day, when I weighed in excess of 450 pounds, I was constantly looking to food to provide my joy in life. And at the time, I was sure that food was providing just that – joy.

Looking back, I can see now that the massive amount of unhealthy food I was eating was actually doing just the opposite of providing joy. I’d be so miserable after a binge and in such mental and physical pain, that as soon as I had room in my stomach, I would once again seek comfort from food.

This “Food for Joy Syndrome” continued for years and years – until I finally broke the cycle by realizing I had to find other sources of joy to use in place of the food. Imagine my surprise when I realized that food had never really been providing comfort or joy in the first place but, instead, had been keeping me from it.

Living in California, I’m surrounded by self-help gurus who constantly remind us that there is joy in every minute. I used to guffaw at such “nutty-crunchy” theories. But these days, surrounded by toys and other “small” blessings, I realize that there really is joy to be found in whichever direction you look – as long as you’re not looking in the direction of the refrigerator.

I’m not saying food can’t bring us joy on occasion. But food really is more delicious (and potentially more full of joy) when eaten in balance, in moderation and in the right portions. Otherwise, the food isn’t providing joy as much as it’s providing a numbing effect. And that can cut us off from many of life’s other – and very real – joys (including smaller sized clothes, a healthier heart, more self confidence and a less stressful social life).

By breaking ourselves free from the cycle of equating our only joy with food, we free ourselves – not only to meet our weight loss or health-oriented goals, but also to really appreciate everything around us. Whether it’s a lick on the face from a puppy, a favorite TV show, a call from an old friend or a beautiful sunrise, there can be joy in every minute if we set out to acknowledge said joys.

And in times that we’re rushing around, too busy to count our blessings, we can hope for a squeaky dog toy or some kind of other reminder to bring us back into the moment and help us realign ourselves with what’s really important in our lives.

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