Posts Tagged ‘diet tips’

March 12, 2014

Flour power

9:38 am - Posted by Gregg

Lately, there’s been a common question that I seem to be asked over and over again. And that question is, “Why aren’t you a professional model?”

No, wait… That’s not the common question.

The question is actually one that lots of people ask me: “How do you eat all those baked breads without gaining any of the 250-plus pounds that you lost back?”

The question comes as a result of me posting pictures of my freshly-baked bread creations to the Just Stop Eating So Much! Facebook page — usually on weekend mornings when I’m in the mood to explore my inner Martha Stewart. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh-baked goodies wafting through the house. My latest was a loaf of Sour-Cream-Blueberry Bread. And when enjoyed fresh out of the oven with (heaven forbid!) cream cheese, it makes for a wonderful treat that delights almost all the senses.

Did you catch the key word in the paragraph above? Treat.

Fresh-baked bread with cream cheese is not something I eat daily. Sometimes not even weekly. But it is something I enjoy in moderation. Even if I’m being strict with my eating plan (something that, for the record, I’m always paying close attention to, even when “treating” myself).

When working to get or stay healthy, any food and drink requires portion control. This is as true for green beans as it is for fresh-baked breads. That’s what moderation is all about. And whether you incorporate moderation into your lifestyle before, during or after a diet, it’s something you’re going to have to master at some point.

The reason I keep drilling the concept of moderation into your heads is because I’m constantly drilling it into my own. Believe me, I’m human. I get it. I want to take the whole loaf of fresh-baked Sour-Cream-Blueberry Bread, put it in a big bowl, add a vat of vanilla ice cream and find a big ol’ spoon. But this is when I quickly remind myself that this is what 450-pound Gregg would do. Not 175-pound Gregg.

The differences build from there. 450-pound Gregg, while eating every last bite of the full loaf, the ice cream and whatever else could be used as a topping (a package of Oreo cookies, for example), would be telling himself that “this is the last time I’ll ever eat foods like this.” 450-pound Gregg would devour every last bite — perhaps even while standing up or watching TV. (In other words, he wouldn’t go to the trouble of putting out a placemat and making for a nice presentation and a relaxing eating experience.)

450-pound Gregg would then be in great physical pain from eating so much all at once. And he’d likely repeat this same ritual (“last supper before starting the diet”) the very next day — if not the very next meal.

Contrarily, 175-pound Gregg would let the bread cool, then immediately slice it up, based on reasonable serving sizes. In this case, he would cut about 12 slices into a nine-inch loaf. He would then go a step further, and put the unused portions into individual containers for future use. All without lapping up any crumbs. These containers with the separated portions would be saved in the fridge or even the freezer. And since the slices are stored in portion-sized containers, the temptation to overdo it is greatly minimized — both now and in the future.

175-pound Gregg would place his current portion on a cute bistro-style plate and sit down and eat the reasonable portion (even with a small amount of low-fat cream cheese and with half of a banana, sliced up). 175-pound Gregg would enjoy this eating experience for all it’s worth. Afterward, he would realize he’s full and, more importantly, satisfied, and look forward to enjoying this treat again in the future. It should also be noted that 175-pound Gregg also got his butt to the gym at 5 a.m. — yes, even on a weekend morning — before he mixed up the batter and baked the bread.

I’m going to stop talking about myself in third person now because I don’t want to be one of “those people.” But hopefully you get the point. One person’s routine vs. another’s. Only, in actuality, it’s the same person — with only about 250-plus excess pounds separating these two different ways of enjoying fresh baked bread.

Small differences? Maybe. But consistent differences? Totally. Differences that result in better thoughts, better digestion, a better body and better health. And that, my friends, is the recipe for something most delicious indeed.

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February 12, 2014

Questions and answers

10:28 am - Posted by Gregg

Have you ever wondered which is healthier for you — wild-caught salmon or farmed salmon? Or when at a restaurant, wondered what visual references you should use to determine how much to eat during one sitting?

Here, I’ve compiled some of your recent “Most Asked Questions” with my answers – along with some exclusive “Just Stop Bonus Tips.” Think of each of these as a calorie-free bonbons (of sorts) – each meant to enrich your life, not to mention help further your quest toward feeling and looking great.

Question: Which is healthier for you? Wild-caught salmon or farmed salmon?
Answer: Wild-caught salmon is healthier, because it contains less pollutants than farm-raised salmon.
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: If only farm-raised is available, remove the skin from the farmed salmon (since most of the pollutants are stored in the fat) and cook the salmon all the way through.

Question: Is bottled water better for you than tap water?
Answer: No. Although popular, a recent 4-year study reveals that bottled-water offers no more benefits – or even purity – than tap water. Plus, plastic bottles pollute our world and use up natural resources (not to mention cost way more than simply going to the kitchen sink).
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: Drink from the tap – but be sure to investigate your local water supplies health ratings and even install a filter on the sink itself for when using it for drinking water.

Question: Which is the better choice? Butter or margarine?
Answer: Butter – hands down. Although equaling about the same calories and saturated fat found in butter, margarine also contains dangerous trans fats – usually about 2-3 grams per teaspoon.
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: The less processed and more natural a food product is, the healthier it is for you – even if it’s higher in calories and/or fat.

Question: When you can’t control portion size at a restaurant, what visual reference should you use to determine how much of a single serving of meat you should eat at one sitting?
Answer: About 3-4 ounces – approximately the same size of a deck of cards.
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: When your food arrives, cut off the portion you’re going to eat and take the rest home to enjoy at another meal.

Question: Which fruit juice is better for you – one that’s virtually clear, or one that appears “cloudy”?
Answer: The murkier the juice, the more antioxidants it contains.
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: The more “clear” the juice appears to be, the more processed it is (and therefore has had much of the actual fruit removed).

The more we know, the more successful we can be. And that’s something to make our heart happy (not to mention heart healthy) every day of the year.

Have questions beyond the ones you see above? Use the contact portion of this blog to let me know what they are and they might be used (and answered) in a future post! (Thanks!)

Photo Source: All Things D

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4:26 pm - Posted by Gregg

Diet rockstar Joy Bauer‘s recent appearance on the Today Show features tips from four dieters who’ve won the battle of the bulge. And yes, yours truly was one of the successful dieters featured. In fact, my tip of starting a “You Book” that you fill with all the images and reasons you want to lose weight (to focus on rather than thinking about what you’re giving up while dieting) is something those of you who have read Just Stop Eating So Much will recognize from the book.

Fact is, all of these tips are helpful — whether you are currently trying to take off excess weight or just thinking about starting to. And these tips are helpful for those of us who are continually working to keep off the excess weight, too. There’s even a delicious party recipe (within the segment) that you won’t want to miss.

I adore and appreciate Joy Bauer so much for all the effort she puts into getting the real way to lose weight out there: eat less, move more and be positive and happy while doing it. And no, I’m not just saying I love Joy Bauer because she occasionally features me in her TV segments. But hey, that doesn’t hurt!

For anyone who’d like to follow Joy on Twitter, click here.

Do you have any diet tips of your own that you’d like to share with the rest of us on the blog? Please comment below! I could use a few more (for keeping the weight off) myself!

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9:25 am - Posted by Gregg

A special guest post from Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RD, LD

Recently, I read a story by Gregg about his struggle to tame his desire for one of my favorite foods, peanut butter.  As is his style, he shared with great honesty the challenge it was for him to control his eating of the sticky delicious spread.  It made me want to share some ideas for controlling portions and tips on how reframing how we think about a food can change how we treat it.  I hope these tips will provide you with some tools for your toolbox in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy life.

It’s just food. Remember, food isn’t “good” or “bad.”  You may feel like they are out to get you, but the truth is that feelings aren’t facts.  You are in charge and have the ability to control what you put in your body.  Yet, there’s no need to carry around shame about what you’ve already eaten.  Take each eating opportunity as a fresh start to do it right-er.

Know how to spot a single-serve portion. If you buy tempting foods in larger containers, separate them into smaller ones.  Measure or weigh out the portions, since sometimes what we think is a serving, really isn’t.  Alternatively, buy single-serve or pre-packaged foods that can help make it easier to control the amount you eat.  For instance, peanut butter can be purchased in single-serve to-go style squeeze packets – perfect for tossing in your bag with some rice cakes for an afternoon snack, squeezing right onto an apple, or making that perfectly portioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Save that food for eating out or special occasions and get the smallest size offered. My treat food is fried potatoes.  Seriously. I love really good French fries, crispy hashbrowns and potato chips.  I almost never have these at home, where I eat >70% of my meals.  Instead, these are a treat food that I have occasionally when I eat out with friends or for date night.  By enjoying this food outside the house, I’m not tempted to eat it more often than I should.

Do distraction. When you’re feeling the tug, it’s time to do something else.  Try drinking a glass of water, taking a walk, or calling a friend.  Taking your mind off of the food and nourishing some other part of you – thirst, physical activity, or connection – may be just enough space to reduce the temptation or eliminate it completely.

Pay attention. When you do eat the foods you love, be present.  Usually, the first few bites are the best.  Take time to savor them and enjoy them.  Don’t eat (at all if possible, but especially special foods) when you’re doing something else, such as typing at your desk, driving your car, or anything else that requires most of your attention.  When you are more mindful of the food you eat, you eat much less.

Now, as far as the peanut butter goes, I can’t leave you without some thoughts on that one.  Peanut butter is a wonderfully versatile and flavorful food.  It’s also nutritious!  Unlike my fried potatoes, which have far less to offer in that area, peanut butter provides protein, fiber, mostly good fats, and 30 vitamins and nutrients.  It can be used in everything from my favorite PB&B (banana) sandwich to homemade breakfast peanut crunch bars, or a spicy peanut dipping sauce for lean grilled chicken skewers.  Peanuts have more protein than any nut and are a deliciously satisfying food to enjoy.  Check out our website at for more ideas.

About the Author: Sherry Coleman Collins is a registered and licensed dietitian practicing in the Atlanta, GA area.  Her love of food and nutrition has allowed her to work with individuals and groups, children and adults of all ages, and in a variety of settings from clinical to foodservice to communications.  She currently serves as senior manager, marketing and communications for the National Peanut Board. Connect with America’s peanut farmers via Facebook and Twitter. Follow Sherry on Twitter at @PeanutRD.

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February 6, 2013

A friend in need

10:41 am - Posted by Gregg

A dear friend of mine who has known me for ages (including when I was heavy) and then, after I lost myexcess weight, lost an incredible amount of weight (while on the Weight Watchers program) herself and has even gone onto become a Weight Watchers instructor, recently sent me an email asking for some help. It seems that even though she had successfully lost all of her excess weight, she was having some difficulties maintaining the weight loss.

My friend wrote in her email that she realized part of the reason for this struggle was that she stopped making herself a priority in her life. My friend not only is a Weight Watchers instructor, but also a great mom, wife and is also involved with several charities. All of these are valid reasons to have focus pulled from one’s life. But as I wrote to my friend, we still must giveourselves attention, as well. Sure, it’s a juggling act (and at times an intense one). But if we don’t make ourselves (and our weight loss maintenance) a priority, we could easily see our weight registering a higher and higher number on the scale. And that doesn’t do us, our spouses, our children, our careers or our important projects any good.

Fact is, everything my friend wrote I could relate to. After taking off over 250 pounds of excess weight myself, I knew (and know) what it’s like to struggle with keeping the weight off. After I initially lost all of my excess weight, I found myself “yo-yo-ing” up and down the scale for a year or two. At one point I even gained back almost 100 pounds of the excess weight that I’d lost. It was at that time that I realized my making myself — and my weight maintanance — a priority was essential. Otherwise I could find myself climging the scales not only back to 450 pounds (my highest recorded weight before my scale broke), but beyond it.

I’m sure many of you can relate to my friend’s (and my) struggle to maintain weight loss. Thus, I decided to share some of my advice that I wrote back to my friend, in hopes that it can help inspire any of you who are struggling to find some balance in life, in order to continue the weight loss success you’ve achieved (or, perhaps, wish to achieve).

First of all, I let my friend know that I could relate to everything she is going through. And I also shared that one thing that came to mind right away was that she and I (and all of us) would always be “works in progress.” I encouraged her (and encourage you) to try and accept that. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that in regard to weight (and everything else in life, for that matter) we never truly reach the “finish line.” That means there are going to be up days and down days (both mood-wise and scale-wise). There is peace in accepting this. And also peace in knowing we can never really “relax” in regard to our food choices, exercise choices, etc.

Yes, this realization can suck a little (I always marvel at friends who have such a healthy sense of food and never worry or overanalyze eating choices like those of us with a dieter’s mentality do). But constantly think about these things we must. Otherwise, we’ll go too far back up the scale.

I reminded my friend she is a thin person now. And the proof of this was realizing that even with all of her family and career-related commitments, she realized she needs to put herself first in some cases (even before her kids) and that she demonstrated that by reaching out to me. A “fat” person would have just keep coasting (in the wrong direction). Instead, like other thin people, my friend realized there needed to be some change right away — before things got too out of hand. I let my friend know those actions are so healthy — and that those actions let me know me that she actually is in control.

My friend also admitted in her email that she was relying too much on fast food. So I reminded her that fast food needed to go bye-bye for the most part. I even went as far as to suggest that she make fries (or whatever she was craving) at home — so at least the ingredients are healthier and wouldn’t potentially harm her health. I also let her know that knowing she had to take the time to make the treat might actually curb her craving.

I also reminded my friend to never think “never.” I let her know that the more I try and cut out a certain tempting food, the more I crave it. Sure, I have several days a week that I choose not to have ice cream. But sometimes on a Saturday afternoon I’ll have a medium frozen yogurt (even with toppings) to help quell the quench.

Finally, I told my friend to remember to focus on the REASONS she wanted to be healthy (and even sexy) in the first place — even beyond her husband and kids. I urged her to think about how good it feels to fit into skinnier clothes… To think about how nice it is to sit in a booth without panicking it will be too tight… To think about how envious everyone on facebook is when seeing your gorgeous pics. That’s right… I encouraged my friend to get a little superficial. Nothing wrong with thinking about the PLUSES to having to battle the bulge on a daily basis. A healthy ego can result in a healthier mindset — and body!

I’m happy to say that my email reply resonated with my friend, who took some of my ideas and used them to give herself as much attention as she was giving other people and commitments in her life. I urge you to do the same. Instead of being sad that we can never “relax” (mentally) in regard to our weight loss and/or maintenance, we should see it as a motivational tool. In other words, let’s own the work — and know that by making the extra efforts we will not only achieve our goals of getting rid of the excess weight, but also finally be able to keep it off permanently.

Do you have any tips to share with my friend (who I’m sure will read this) or with me? I’d love to hear them! Let’s keep the conversation going.

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