Posts Tagged ‘dieters’

December 4, 2013

Thank you therapy

10:18 am - Posted by Gregg

How full of gratitude were you last week in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday?

As dieters, we often get caught up in what we don’t have (a certain waist size, skinny jeans, self-acceptance – you name it). This is why this past Thanksgiving holiday can be a good reminder to be thankful for what we do have.

These days more and more researchers are finding that “Thank You Therapy” (reminding ourselves of reasons to be grateful) can help increase our happiness quotient, our self esteem and out overall outlook on life.

It doesn’t take a self-help guru to realize that this kind of changed attitude will attract a lot more reasons to be thankful — not to mention likely bring more positive results to our weight loss and overall health efforts. Therefore, why not take a cue from this season of gratitude and begin a Thank You Journal?

Any blank notebook or pad of paper will do. Once a day, list 5 reasons you have to be happy. They can be small. They can be big. But list 5, every day (many people do this at night, just before bed).

I often make entries in my gratitude journal in the morning – after my morning workout, but before I begin my workday. Sometimes I’ll doodle in the journal. Sometimes I’ll write down an inspirational quote I don’t want to forget. And other times I’ll makes lists of reasons to be grateful. For myself, doing this in the morning certainly has a positive effect on the rest of my day – not to mention on my diet and healthy eating efforts. Try it yourself, every day for a month, and see how it affects your “attitude of gratitude” – and, perhaps, even your physical health.

Here’s more information that will make starting a gratitude journal easy:

For a quick primer on keeping a gratitude journal: Click Here

For 5 ways to amp up your attitude of gratitude: Click Here

To learn about more ways that gratitude affects your overall health: Click Here

By the way, I would love for you to add comments to this blog post, letting me know some of things you’re most grateful for this holiday season. And while we’re on the topic, please know I’m sincerely grateful to all of you for helping to inspire me – and this blog – on a daily basis. Even though Turkey Day is behind us, I could still just gobble-gobble you up! (Sorry – couldn’t resist!)

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September 18, 2013

Rockstar Dieting Tip #3

12:04 pm - Posted by Gregg

Today’s Rockstar Dieting Tip has to do with appearance. As dieters, we’re too often focused on what we’ll look like after we’ve taken off all the excess weight we want to get rid of. When actually it’s just as important for us to do everything we can to look good at this moment — no matter how much we currently weigh.

Rockstar Dieting Tip #3 — Stop Wearing Baggy Clothing
When dieting, we tend to wear very loose clothing, thinking it masks our layers of blubber — when actually the loose clothes make us look like we’re walking around in a circus tent. It’s not attractive and leaves us feeling lousy about our appearance. No matter how much you weight now — and no matter how much you want to lose — go out and buy some fitted, attractive, snugly comfortable clothes and start wearing them when out on the town. There’s nothing wrong with embracing your shape as it is today, in this very moment. The self-esteem you gain from looking good will ultimately help you take the unwanted excess weight off once and for all. The better we feel about ourselves, the more we’ll care about making positive changes.

As overweight people, we’ve been taught to wear loose-fitting clothing. But at the end of the day, it’s really not doing us any favors and these clothes are actually making us look bigger than we really are.

When I weighed over 450 pounds, I used to wear the biggest shirts I could find (thinking that if they looked “loose” it would come off as more attractive). And I almost never wore “real” pants — instead donning sweat-style pants that didn’t have any kind of waist. Not only was this not an attractive look, it also left me unaware of what my body felt like in real clothes, thus giving me a false perception of what it feels like to wear snug or fitting clothing. And let’s face it, when clothes are more fitted, we’re reminded of the girth we want to lose. And that extra motivation doesn’t hurt.

Feeling good about yourself (even at your current weight) is only going to lead to caring more about yourself and, therefore, caring enough to take steps to ensure you reach your health-related goals. So go ahead, go online, go to a certain store, go to a place where you can buy the trendiest outfit possible for your current size and wear it with pride.

After all, you’re a supermodel right now (in this very moment). Work it.

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9:35 am - Posted by Gregg

Living in Los Angeles certainly has its distractions. And I’m not talking about the occasional star sighting. I’m referring to simply going for frozen yogurt, which offers countless people who visibly treat fro-yo as the holy grail of snack foods. And who can blame them? Its creamy deliciousness virtually matches ice cream’s merits, spoonful for spoonful. Add some favorite toppings and the experience can be downright orgasmic. (Yeah, I went there.)

But lately, I’ve noticed that many who are ordering at my fro-yo shop of choice treat this snack as if it’s completely healthy and calorie free. Fact is, frozen yogurt is as much of atreat as ice cream (or any other decadent snack) and should be treated as such. Too often I see people ordering it on a daily basis (I can tell they’re regulars by their interaction with the staff). There are others who look so thin that the fro-yo may be all their ingesting in a 24-hour period. Then there are the customers who obviously think of fro-yo as completely non caloric (no matter how many Reeses Pieces they add to the top of it).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against treating fro-yo as a meal replacement. Why? Because it’s caloric. But this should be done only once a week or so — mainly because it doesn’t contain the necessary nutrients that a normal lunch or dinner should.

Recently, I saw a larger gal ordering in front of me. She announced to the worker that she was on a diet and wanted to be very careful with her choices. She then proceeded to request a sample of every flavor of frozen yogurt (all 10) before finally ordering a large dairy free and super low calorie version. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and ask her if she knew the amount of artificial ingredients would have to be used in a frozen yogurt that had almost no calories and no dairy.

I guarantee you that her large-sized yogurt (ordered after she’d sampled enough yogurt to equal a medium-size) wasn’t nearly as satisfying as my “regular” peanut butter yogurt, which not only had dairy but also a fair amount of calories. But here’s the thing — my fro yo was all-natural (a choice the shop thankfully provides along with all their fat-free varieties). I ordered a medium and even added some decadent chocolate toppings to it. Caloric? Sure. Satisfying? Absolutely. Satisfying enough to quench my fro-yo addiction for a week. I wanted it. I enjoyed it. I moved on. And mind you, later that day I had a delicious and healthy salad for dinner. (Now that’s balance!)

As dieters, we’re too often misled by media-induced messages as to what’s “healthy” and what’s not for our bodies (especially when trying to lose weight). The 10 different samples aside, the reason this woman wasn’t feeling satisfied is that she wasn’t indulging in what she really wanted. Eating over-processed, artificial ingredient-infused snacks is not something our bodies (or even our minds) really want. Instead, go for the treat, take a walk to help metabolize it and move on. It’s these very acts of denial that lead us to believe that all the sampling “Doesn’t count” and that a dairy/calorie free snack is good for us.

News flash: It does count and it isn’t good for us.

Have the treat. Enjoy the treat. Then do it again a week or two later (not before) — depending on how much excess weight you want to lose. The less we obsess and the more we enjoy, the more we’re acting — and eating — like a thin person. And that’s the real trick to not only taking the weight off, but keeping it off. Even with a topping or two.

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10:22 am - Posted by Gregg

While March 5th might be just another day to most, to me it’s very special. Part of the reason is that it’s my birthday. (Woohoo! Happy Birthday to me!) But it’s actually a very special day for other reasons, as well. It was over a decade ago that, during this time period, I gave myself the best birthday gift of all: I just stopped eating so much and began my journey from over 450 pounds to a much healthier 175 pounds.

Us dieters are all about new beginnings. Most of us know Monday (the unofficial beginning of the week – no matter what Sunday has to say about it) to be the day we start our diets (sometimes over and over – and over – again). This can also be true for new year’s day, the first of the month and (often) our birthdays. For the record, I’ve always considered my birthday my “real” new year’s day anyway.

Being no stranger to this “new beginning, new start” process, I decided several years ago that March 5th was going to be the day I started to change my life – along with my health – once and for all (not to mention once again). This, of course, meant it was diet time. But in doing so, I was going to try something I hadn’t before. I wasn’t going to cut out certain food groups. I wasn’t going to try anything crazy. The dieting was not going to involve pills or appetite suppressants. This time was going to be different.

Along with healthy foods in healthy portion sizes, I was also going to exercise, get enough sleep and drink plenty of water. But there was another key element that I was going to include: the element of liking myself in the moment (rather than promising to like myself once I got rid of all the excess weight). Before this attempt, most of my dieting was bourn out of guilt, misery and self-hatred.

This time, I was determined to approach my diet – my choice – in a friendlier way. I wasn’t going to bash myself when I stepped onto a scale. I wasn’t going to belabor the countless times I’d attempted to lose the weight before (and therefore incite guilt that would always lead to cheating and/or bingeing during previously attempted diets). This was going to be the kinder, gentler approach.

Of course, I had some old mental channels to change. My inner voice was used to listing all kinds of reasons as to why I was a failure – even on days I was succeeding with my diet. Thus, I decided I was going to short circuit any negative thoughts in a plain and simple way. Anytime I started thinking negatively or bashing myself, I would “sing” (usually silently, in my head) “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Yep, you read that right. The old children’s song would serve as a “Bad thought blocker.” And to my surprise, it worked.

At first when a negative thought would come along and I would break into song, I would laugh at myself, thinking it so absurd. But I found that even this initial laughter (even when directed at myself) helped to stop whatever negative thought – or even food craving – I was having. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was actually starting to change my life one lyric (and even one bite) at a time.

So on this, my birthday, I invite you to give yourself the gift of song – whether it’s “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or some other little ditty. Choose something that can change the way you think about yourself, about food or even about exercise.

Sometimes the simplest changes in habit can bring about the most incredible changes. My little singing routine took me from over 450 pounds to 175 pounds – and I’ve been at this weight for well over a decade. Join me, won’t you? After all, you have nothing to lose… That you don’t want to!

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9:23 am - Posted by Gregg

No need to resort to water torture. I admit it. This past weekend I co-hosted a birthday party and, well, over the course of the evening I just didn’t stop eating so much.

Don’t get me wrong. I had every intention of partaking in a nibble here, a taste there and enjoying the company more than the edibles. I was, after all, in charge of the menu and had planned a bevy of delicious mini bites to accompany the usual chips, dips and veggie tray.

Oh, and for the record, I never ventured near the veggie tray. But the fried food? The dips? The sauces? The chips? Color me over-the-top.

Granted, during the first part of the evening I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off – trying desperately to make sure everyone had a cocktail or a beverage of some sort, that hot food was coming out of the oven on time and that the jazz-infused music mix I created was playing at an appropriate volume.

But when all is said and done, these cannot be used as excuses for going overboard, eating-wise. And go overboard I did – starting with a mouthful of California roll and ending with a couple of large chocolate chip cookies (even though I was very full by that point). I won’t go into detail about what was eaten in between, but suffice it to say, I overindulged. And then some. It was mindless eating at its best (or, perhaps, worst).

So what happens now? Do I get my 60-inch belt out of the keepsake box and prepare to wear it again? Do I turn in my blogging license? Do I request that my book stop being published? Or perhaps I should go on a guilt trip and make myself so mentally miserable that I start to feel the “need” for some indulgent food to tame my nerves.

Whoop! There it is – a hint of the former cycle that I repeated daily during the time period that I weighed in excess of 450 pounds and all the years I was overweight.

Fact is, feeling guilty and beating ourselves up (mentally) after a binge can be as much a part of our bingeing habits as the actual eating itself. The mood is followed by food. The food is followed by mental punishment. And so on and so on…

Okay… So I overate… It was a party, damnit. A party I co-hosted. Something I don’t do too often. It was also Saturday night. I was hungry. I ate. Then I overate. And as a result I ended up going to bed with that “Oh, so full” feeling.

But the difference with this weekend’s overindulgence compared to past ones in my life is that I did not wake up full of remorse or angst. Oh, and for the record, even though I got to bed around 1am, I was still up at 4:30am and at my gym by 5am. Was it pleasant when the alarm rang? No, it was not. But I was determined to not break my exercise schedule and knew that I would feel better afterwards (especially after overdoing it, food-wise, the night before). And post workout? Feel better I did. Or, well, do.

So what’s in all this for you? A reminder that we’re all dieters at some level – and that we all have “on” and “off” days (sometimes even after most of our excess weight is lost and even after we’re not officially on a diet anymore).

You might be surprised to know that even so-called “Thin People” (you know the odd group of folks who never really have to diet?) also have moments when they exceed their body’s “full limit” and feel a bit stuffed. Sure, they might complain about it for a minute. But then they move on. So that’s exactly what I did after this weekend’s party binge. I overindulged (mini binged) like a thin person. Then I recovered. Immediately. And you can do the same the next time you fall off the wagon.

When push comes to shove (or when mouth comes to fried food), it’s not one overindulgence that makes us fat (or keeps us fat). Its repeated overindulgences – on a daily basis or even at every meal. A “once in a while” goof makes us human. There are going to be times that despite best intentions, we don’t just stop eating so much. And that’s when, instead of falling into a vicious and destructive bingeing cycle, we laugh it off (while hopefully exercising it off) and hit the ‘reset’ key.

So when was the last time you overindulged? And how did you handle it? I really want to know. Because together we will grow. (And yes, I use the word ‘grow’ figuratively and not literally!)

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