Posts Tagged ‘friends’

3:37 pm - Posted by Gregg

Lately, a new favorite pastime of certain organizations, groups, and vocal critics seems to be directing their vitriol at the TV show Friends. And yet repeats of the show have never been more popular—even creating demand for a cast reunion special in 2021 and a current national touring exhibit of popular Friends sets, including Central Perk and Monica’s and Rachel’s apartment.

I acknowledge that during the show’s run from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004 (during which it eclipsed any kind of ratings that could be had today via streaming outlets), the series had some very vocal—and somewhat deserved—criticism. Just as most forms of art do. Whether today’s loudest critics want to admit it or not, the TV show Friends is a form of art. Actors. Writers. Directors. Costumers. Set decorators. Crew members. A group of creative people came together to produce (say it aloud with me) entertainment.

As a very overweight, closeted young gay man in the 90s, I sometimes bristled at fat jokes made at the expense of morbidly obese Monica during the show’s flashback sequences. Just as I would cower when seeing scenes depicting characters Joey and Ross losing their minds over being perceived as “gay” after mistakenly falling asleep next to one another.

But you know what? Even through my winces, I was laughing. Because I was seeing aspects of myself on screen. Whether anyone today wants to admit it or not, Ross being married to a lesbian (a storyline played out over the course of the series) was groundbreaking in those days and can even be credited with making the entertainment climate more receptive to shows like Will & Grace and others.

Was Friends’ depiction of certain ideas or situations perfect? No. Could the show have had more regular cast members of different ethnicities and identities? Definitely. But for the time frame, the show ran during, the creatives behind the series were likely doing the best they knew how to.

While it can be helpful, moving forward, to look back and find ways to evolve in all aspects of society, to lay criticism on artists and fans as if we should have been culturally aware of the standards in 2023 during the 1990s is not helpful. Aren’t we all doing the best we know how to—then and now? Instead of lambasting me and other devout fans of Friends or other shows, why not create something yourselves? Something we can love and applaud along with you.

No one has a time machine (trust me, I’d have used it several times by now for all sorts of reasons). We can’t go back and change anything. So to humiliate people for loving something from their past, something that might have given them solace and hope (say, for instance, someone like me—again, a very overweight, closeted young gay man who was told I could not “come out” at work unless I wanted to be fired, and that I would never find romance because of my size) doesn’t manifest positive change. It often creates an atmosphere of guilt, shame, and toxicity.

Friends wasn’t perfect. No form of entertainment is (don’t get me started on the last few seasons of Game of Thrones). But we can celebrate effort. We can celebrate laughter. We can celebrate a weekly experience millions of people share on Thursday evenings. And yes, we can even celebrate creative missteps that might have been made now that we know better. But please, don’t shoot the messengers (in this case, the artists). Or the watchers (in this case, the fans). Your ideas about how things should have been (or, even more ideal, how things can be) might be better served by creating your own forms of art.

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June 6, 2017

Way to go

9:21 am - Posted by Gregg

Today’s reminder? There’s no one, singular way to reach your goals — no matter if those goals are health-, career- or relationship-oriented. Everyone’s path to their weight loss success will be different (even when participating with friends on a similar diet or healthy eating program).

The key to true dieting success lies in learning to listen to our bodies (and then responding accordingly). This alone dictates that there will be individual aspects to every journey. So try not to compare your path to someone else’s (much less their success to yours). You’ve got it going on — whether at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of your weight loss journey. (And if you’re anything like me, you know that journey never really ends.)

So celebrate your individuality and your individual path. There’s no one way. There’s no singular right way. There is your way. And that’s what really matters.

Photo Source: Pinterest

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9:25 am - Posted by Gregg

I’m generally not a fan of diet-related fasting of any kind. However, when I read this quote from Yoko Ono, I was suddenly very much in favor of this kind of fast. A fast from negativity about our own selves.

Doing this might seem easy at first. But try getting through even just one hour without being negative about yourself or your body (in your own head). It’s surprising how often I’m reminded that my most “vocal” critic is actually that little voice inside my head. Can anyone else relate to this? I imagine the answer is, “Yes.”

So why not try and ignore that little voice? The one that tells you your body’s not perfect? Or the one that tells you you’re not lovable? Or the one that says you should be further ahead in your career? Whatever kind of negativity your mind is offering about yourself, ignore it. Try to shut that voice down. And this includes shutting down actual talking out loud about ourselves (in a negative fashion). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained about my body or my so-called “failures” to friends and family (often making myself a punchline).

What we say to and about ourselves matters. We hear it. We feel it. It becomes part of our psychological makeup on every level. So it only make sense that changing that “voice” from negative-speak to positive-speak would have a healthy (and happy) impact on our lives.

So why not join me in taking Yoko Ono’s good advice? If doing it for three days seems like too much, try doing it for just an hour, and then build upon it from there. The psyche you save may be your own.

(And remember: no matter what your health-minded goals are, you are beautiful and perfect in this very moment! The sooner you recognize this, the sooner any kind of goals can be achieved!)

Photo Source: Pinterest

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10:11 am - Posted by Gregg

I love sharing my popular recipe for turkey chili at this time of year because it’s the perfect meal (lunch or dinner) to accompany winter weather. That being said, I usually make it during the summer months, too (it really is that good and that good for you). But let’s stick to one season at a time, shall we?

When people who meet me today find out I used to tip the scale at over 450 pounds, they want to know how I lost all the excess weight. Many are disappointed when I let them know I did it the old fashioned way (through diet and exercise) — as opposed to using a magic wand. But if I had to assign the ‘magic wand’ moniker to one of the tools I used to get healthy, it would be to this flavorful chunky turkey chili recipe, which is easy to make and freezes really well. This recipe also thaws and reheats (microwaves!) beautifully. So I always make a huge batch. Check it out:

Gregg’s Chunky Turkey Chili Recipe

Ingredients (in order of use)
5 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
3 White onions, peeled & chopped
2 (two) 7 oz. cans of diced green chilies (mild or hot – your choice)
3 tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped (can also used jarred, but without added oil)
4 tbsp. chili powder (more if you dare)
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (more if you dare)
2+ lbs. lowfat ground turkey
1 (one) 6 lb., 6 oz. can (or several cans that equal the same) of ready cut diced tomatoes (in their own juice, no added sodium if available)
4 large bell peppers, chopped

In a large pot (the bigger the better), add the olive oil and chopped onions. Cover and cook over medium heat for several minutes (until the onions begin to soften).

Next, add the garlic, chili powder and cumin. Mix it up and then add both cans (liquid and all) of the diced green chilies to the diced onion. Cook covered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Next, add the ground turkey — making sure to mix all of the meat into the mixture while keeping the turkey from “clumping” together (work to break it up into loose pieces/bits). Continue to cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (and de-clumping the turkey when necessary).

Once the turkey is cooked through, add the canned tomatoes and chopped bell peppers, mix thoroughly, then cover and cook on high heat until the contents reach a boil. As soon as you see that your mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to LOW and cook for about 20 minutes more so all the flavors mix together and blend to perfection.

Makes approximately 18 servings

Add a small green salad with carrot shavings and balsamic vinegar along with two to three multigrain crackers to create a complete meal.

After preparing this big batch of chili, I divide it into portion sizes (usually two per storage container) and then, after the containers cool off, stick them in the freezer. After a day or so of thawing (in the fridge) you can zap it in the microwave for a quick, delicious dinner anytime during the week. (You can even store single size portions and take the chili to work for an easy and delicious, microwavable lunch!)

It should be noted that this stuff is so good that you can even serve it to your friends who aren’t on a diet. (Trust me — they’ll never know they’re eating something super healthy.) I’ve even made a big batch of this recipe as a dip for parties and served it with multigrain chips along with light sour cream and cheese on the side.

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December 1, 2015

Eating out, eating sane

10:34 am - Posted by Gregg

Do you have an upcoming business lunch? Or are you meeting friends at the mall for a bite to eat? Or did you forget to pack your lunch and have to grab something on the go?

No matter what the eating-away-from-home scenario, don’t let dining out spell disaster for your commitment to healthy eating. Despite what many of us with a “diet mentality” think, there are ways to enjoy a meal while dining out without wrecking your dieting and exercise efforts.

When it comes to being out to lunch (or dinner), there are some helpful tips that will come in handy the next time you’re facing a restaurant menu:

Before You Arrive:
Try munching on a quarter cup of healthy nuts like Raw Cashews or Raw Almonds (no oil, no salt, no roasting). These protein-powered munchies will actually help fill you up before the meal and, therefore, make some of the restaurant’s more fattening options less tempting. You don’t need too many nuts to do the trick. So make sure you measure the quarter cup portion so you’re not adding too many calories to your total lunch intake.

Start Your Engines:
Soup or salad can be the perfect way to begin a meal. Make sure soups are vegetable based with no dairy (this can often translate to no fat). Also, ask for salad dressing on the side. Try dipping your fork in the dressing before putting it in the salad. You’ll get all the flavor without all the calories.

Words to the Wise:
Menus often contain key words you want to watch out for: Grilled or Broiled. These are usually safe bets, although you should always ask for the item to be delivered “plain” (no added oil, butter or fat). And be sure to avoid these menu warning words: Sautéed, Creamed or Fried (in other words, “Just say No” to any dishes that begin with these diet-busting key words).

Be Loud, Be Proud:
You have nothing to be embarrassed of when it comes to making a special request while dining out. Remember that there’s absolutely no shame in eating healthy and asking your server to keep the starchy sides (rice, potatoes, etc.) off of your plate. You don’t have to explain to anyone you’re dining with what you’re doing. After ordering, just offer a smile of confidence that will come from knowing you’re making healthy decisions that are going to keep you committed to your goal (not to mention keep you looking good and feeling great).

And remember: for all your dining companions know, you’re not on a diet – you’re a supermodel who has to walk the runway later that afternoon, which, by the way, you areand do. (I proclaim it to be so for anyone reading this!)

No doubt about it. Restaurant survival is an important part of being healthy for life. And learning to take the fear out of dining out is a major step toward total overall health (mentaland physical). That success entails learning, adapting and breaking old habits. And together, we can do it!

(Feel free to share a recent success if you have one – or even a challenge… We’re all in this together!)

Photo Source: Pinterest

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