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December 31, 2015

New year, new you

1:31 pm - Posted by Gregg

Here we are again… At the beginning of a brand new year. The dawn of the many promises we make to ourselves — the same promises we sometimes end up breaking.

If you’re like me, breaking promises you’ve made to yourself is a typical scenario for the month of January (not to mention sometimes for the first Monday of every week as well). After a number of years of making — and breaking – promises to myself (like the promise that I was finallygoing to lose my excess weight), I found that not only was I tipping the scales at more than 450 pounds, but I had also developed a very unhealthy self-loathing. This is when I realized that perhaps the fewer promises (or resolutions) I made for the new year, the better.

Back in the day, when I was wearing (out) a 60-inch belt, I would spend most of December telling everyone (even strangers) what I planned to accomplish in the new year. Not only was I going to achieve world peace, I was also going to get skinny, be a better person, stop slouching, always pause to pet small animals and help every old lady I encountered cross the street (whether she wanted to cross the street or not).

But come New Year’s Day (often as early as 12:01 a.m.), when I realized that all of these giant goals I set for myself weren’t instantly attainable, I would start to work against them with reckless abandon — carton of fried orange chicken in one hand, bowl of ice cream in the other (and a silly straw leading from my lips to a can of diet soda for added emphasis). I felt like everyone was watching and judging me — especially since I had just spent so much time trumpeting the positive changes I was going to instantly make. So I would subconsciously do everything I could to overtly break said promises (aka goals or resolutions) in order to give people something to judge (true story!).

Then, one year, I approached the concept of goal setting and making resolutions a little differently. Sure, some of my goals were still lofty, but others were smaller and more easily attainable. Instead of giving up ice cream for the rest of my life, I decided to give it up after just one single meal (and see how that felt). Instead of committing to never eating junk food again, I opted to have more salads to balance the junk food out. And when it came to transforming myself into a supermodel, I decided that could happen instantly.Poof! I was a supermodel. Granted, I was a plus-sized one, but still…

To my surprise, this smaller, quieter way of goal setting actually began to work — mainly because I’d broken the cycle of guilt that I’d always set into play by telling anyone who’d listen all the goals I was going to accomplish at the beginning of each year. By keeping quiet, I didn’t feel compelled to check in with people (or worse, explain to them why a goal hadn’t yet been met). Without this cycle of shame, I found my goals actually had a chance to gain more traction.

And no, accomplishing these latest sets of goals wasn’t instant. Nor did changes take place overnight. In fact, one year I set out to lose all of my excess weight and began the month of January with fierce determination. Turns out, that month wasn’t going to be the kick start that I’d hoped it would be. But because I hadn’t shouted this goal from the highest mountain top, I didn’t carry around as much shame when not attaining the goal right away. This goal was between me and my psyche. And, to my surprise, this goal did start to gain momentum in March of that same year. By the following March (a year later), I had dropped more than 250 pounds of excess weight (in a sane and healthy fashion). And this healthier weight was attained through smaller, quieter goals — all approached one step (not to mention one breath) at a time.

So as you design your vision of what 2016 will hold for you, your life and your health, remember to take it slow, keep it simple and (perhaps) keep it quiet (between you and the universe). Much like that carton of fried orange chicken and the bowl of ice cream I mentioned earlier, sometimes less really is more.

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10:08 am - Posted by Gregg

This label represents the only diet plan you need throughout the holiday season. Relax. Revise. Enjoy (in moderation) — and be good to yourself, mentally. (And know that I wish you a very Happy Christmas, New Year and “all of the above.” Thank you so much for being part of the Just Stop Eating So Much family! Here’s to a great 2016 for us all!)

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1:32 pm - Posted by Gregg

A guest post by Women’s Health and Lifestyle Expert Shannon Sullivan:

Have you ever thought to yourself, “My life would be different if I had a different body?”

For me, that was the thought process throughout my high school and college years.  Almost anything that didn’t go my way — when I didn’t get invited to the party I wanted to, when I didn’t get the attention of the boy I wanted to, and when I didn’t feel right in the clothes I had.  I can vividly remember making a loose set of plans with the popular kids in high school and then waiting by the phone at home (this is all b.c.p. — before cell phones) for a call from them.  I was showered, hair done, new outfit on and ready to go!  As the time ticked by, I started losing hope.  I started feeling stupid, lonely and went into this spiral about how no one liked me.  So what did I do? Did I call other friends? No. Did I try to salvage the evening and make other plans? No.  Did I think of an activity that would improve my mood? No. I bee-lined it for self-sabotage. I went to my “go-to” comfort food: white Wonderbread and Skippy peanut butter. This was the quickest, easiest way to make me feel (slightly) better.

This was emotional eating at it’s finest (or worst, depending on how you look at it). I was hurt and thought if I were only hotter, with a better body I would be out with the popular kids right now. There are a couple funny things about this situation:

1) The lack of phone call was not nearly as malicious as I thought. These loose set of plans were just those, and I didn’t bother calling them to confirm.  All of this was in my head.

2) If I thought I wasn’t thin or attractive enough, why on earth would I do something (eat junk) that pushed me even farther away from this goal?

After half the loaf was gone, I felt sick. Slathering creamy, sugary peanut butter onto slice after slice of white bread will do that to you, especially when you’ve already had dinner and you are not the least bit hungry. I was stressed and using food to both ease the stress and punish myself, but I’m not the only one:

Fact: In the past month, 26% of teens say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods because of stress. More than half of these teens (52%) engage in these behaviors weekly or more.  

After overeating or eating unhealthy foods, teens report feeling bad about their bodies (41%), disappointed in themselves (40%) and sluggish or lazy (39%).  

Unfortunately this kind of repeated behavior not only affected my waistline, but also my mindset — I felt worse about my body, I was disappointed in myself and didn’t feel like moving at all. And that mindset stayed with me for over a decade.  Everyday I was in this constant struggle of wanting to change the way I thought about food, the way I used food, and the way I treated my body. And more often than not, my emotional eating would win out over my willpower.

27% percent of adults say they eat to manage stress and 34% of those who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say this behavior is a habit.

I stopped volunteering for things, stopped going to parties, just put everything on hold, thinking that as soon as I found the diet that works, or go to the right boot camp I’ll get the body I want. And then (and only then) will I be able to be happy and start living the life I want. But c’mon — that can’t happen without the perfect body, I don’t deserve it until I have that perfect body. Boy was I wrong!

You see the big game changer for me was to actually get out and start living first. I needed to start laughing more, enjoying life more, and figuring out what made me authentically happy. Then, I focused on getting a whole lot more of that in my life, and stopped relying on the food.  I had a void that I was trying to fill with food, and, big surprise, it wasn’t working!

Now I relate to so many women who are feeling exactly how I used to feel. I know the frustration and I know the struggle, and now my mission is to do something about it! It took me well over a decade to change my mindset, but I love helping women expedite that process and learn from my own mistakes, learn from my own trial and error. Because I lived it, and it was painful, and if I didn’t make a change I knew it would rule and eventually ruin my life.

So will your life be different if you have a different body? Yes! But it’s so important to put things in the right order, and if you’re someone who IS putting their life on hold, who has tried every diet under the sun and failed, and who is ready for a major change before heading into 2016 — great! There’s no better time than the present!

I’m here to help! Join me at a free virtual summit that will help you understand how to stop putting your life on hold and stop “weighting!” It’s called The Fat Girl Slim Summit: Learn to Love your Body, Release the Weight, and Confidently Live the Life of your Dreams and features interviews with over 20 women’s health and lifestyle experts (including Just Stop Eating So Much’s own Gregg McBride) — each of whom will teach not just the nourishment factors, but also the mindset strategies and emotional components that will allow you to fall in love with your body and release the weight that has been holding you back. If I had access to this sort of expertise all at the same time, I know my past would have looked a lot different! I’m inviting you to make that change possible for you, now, in your own life!  Click here to reserve your spot!

For statistics source, please click here.

About the author of this guest post:

Shannon Sullivan is a women’s health and lifestyle expert.  Shannon, along with sister Meg, co-founded Whole Food Love, a company dedicated to helping women combine real food and real life.

After working with so many incredible women, it became clear to Shannon that today’s modern woman doesn’t need just meal plans and food education.  She needs a way to prioritize herself and her health, learn to love her body and design a lifestyle that works!

Shannon believes that when we view each action as an “act of love” toward our body, we make better decisions about what we put into our bodies, lessen the negative self-talk, and ultimately learn to live life confidently!

 

Editorial Photo Source: gistsdey.com
Shannon Photo Source: Shannon Sullivan

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9:39 am - Posted by Gregg

Like it or not, Thanksgiving (AKA the granddaddy of all eating holidays) is upon us. But 2015 is going to be different. Why? Because this year, you’re staying in control (you are stronger than Pumpkin Pie, after all). And you’re also going to exercise your newfound knowledge regarding the difference between a Splurge Meal and a Binge.

In the book Just Stop Eating So Much!, I write about Splurge Meal options when you get close to or reach your goal weight. Yes, at a Splurge Meal you can enjoy your favorite foods and beverages – but you’re encouraged to do it within reason (paying attention to portion sizes and pushing the plate away before the waistline of your jeans starts cutting off circulation to the upper half of your body).

The trick is to really enjoy a meal – not an entire day (or weekend, week, month or season) of splurging. Because when continuing to eat after the one meal, splurging becomesbingeing – and that leads to disaster for both your mental and physical health.

But here’s the good news! This Thanksgiving, whether you’re at, near – or far from – your goal weight, you have permission to enjoy a Splurge Meal. If you just enjoy the one Thanksgiving meal and eat and drink according to healthier food and portion guidelines for the rest of the holiday weekend, you won’t hurt your efforts to look and feel great.

And when it comes to splurging on Thanksgiving dinner, try and make sure you enjoy all aspects of it and don’t make it about eating as many sweet potatoes as you can, since you know you’re back to your commitment to eating healthier resumes right after the meal is over. Instead, really taste the food with each bite. Savor every morsel – and enjoy all of the different the flavor sensations – while also enjoying the people you’re dining with and listing the reasons you’re thankful in your head.

So this Turkey Day, eat, drink and be merry – all without guilt. But don’t be a glutton. Stop before you’re too full and don’t mourn not being able to have a turkey sandwich later. After all, your weight loss efforts are a choice. You are choosing to get healthy, to look better, to fit into your skinny jeans and to turn a few heads by Christmastime.

By successfully living through an “eating holiday,” you will prove once and for all that this time you’re really in control. And that’s definitely cause for celebration!

Photo Source: Louisville Pure Tap

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August 31, 2015

Watermelon 101

12:58 pm - Posted by Gregg

When it comes to eating “cleaner” and “fresher” foods, it’s no secret — doing so usually means re-training your taste buds. There are so many additives, food substitutes and chemicals in over-processed junk food that often when we start a healthier eating regime, so-called ‘healthy’ foods taste like cardboard.

In my first book, I write about giving taste buds a couple days (or more) to adjust to the new way of eating – while assuring readers that eventually the healthier food will taste better. And yes, this means the unhealthier foods will begin to taste worse. In fact, I can tell when food is overly processed with too many additives, too much salt or (heaven forbid) has trans fats as an ingredient. It’s not a matter of not eating this junk to avoid going back to weighing over 450 pounds – I simply hate the way these foods taste and hate how I would feel (lethargic, nauseas, physically ill) if I still consumed them.

Thankfully, nature has some goodies of its own that can rival even the sweetest cakes or frozen treats. And one of these bounties is good ol’ watermelon. When fresh, crisp and sweet, I find it as enjoyable as a bowl of ice cream. And yes, I still enjoy naturally made ice cream or frozen yogurt from time to time. But I balance those treats out with fresh fruit. And during this time of year (just before the winter months hit), I do my best to enjoy watermelon for all it’s worth.

Studies have revealed that besides being delicious, watermelon delivers several health benefits, including being an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamins A and B6. It also contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, which can help neutralize free radicals and help prevent prostate cancer. Watermelon has been shown to reduce the risk of other types of cancers as well. Plus, its high water content makes it great for hydration. What’s more, it’s a terrific dessert or snack for kids and can help them understand that not every ‘treat’ has to come covered in fudge.

When selecting watermelon, I always go for seedless. I’m not a happy camper if I must interrupt my chewing with spitting seeds into a nearby napkin (even though I suppose it burns a few more calories).

According to produce specialists, Mid-June through mid-August is when watermelon is at its ripest (with July being the most prized month of all). Good watermelon can still be found even now. But its time is growing nigh. Even if imported from warmer climates during the winter, it’s likely not as delicious as the fruit the summertime month’s offer. So let’s go watermelon shopping, shall we?

When picking a whole watermelon, size matters since 80% of a watermelon is water. Pick one of the largest you can find, while making sure the exterior doesn’t have any visible cuts, bruising, dents or soft spots. Experts also suggest looking for a yellowish area on the melon’s exterior, which indicates its ripeness after sitting in the sun.

Next, do what you’ve likely seen other shoppers do – knock-knock on the exterior with your knuckle. You’re listening for a slight echo to your knock, which indicates that the fruit is ripe. A dull thud could indicate otherwise.

When preparing watermelon for guests, or myself, I make sure to make the eating experience as relaxed and “special” as possible – therefore I don’t usually serve it in wedges. Giving food a more delectable presentation is something I strive for almost every time I eat. This helps my brain, eyes and other senses know that I’m eating, which helps ‘up’ the enjoyment factor – and, therefore, the satisfaction and fullness factors.

I suggest slicing watermelon into quarters, length wise, then taking a quarter and carefully running a knife along the red center’s outer edge and the whiteness of the rind. Cut all the way around on both sides, so that the whole quarter of the red stuff could slip out. But don’t slip it out just yet. Next, cut the fruit from side to side, on both exposed sides of the quarter. Finally, cut across your long slices, from left to right, leaving about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch between each slice.

Next, slide your perfectly prepared chunks into serving bowls. But before you serve the fruit, put the bowls into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to give the fruit an extra kick of crispiness.

When time to serve, pull the bowls from the freezer and serve with a napkin underneath (to keep the bowl from being too chilly to the touch). The watermelon chunks should have a minimal layer of frost that kicks up the flavor and the crunchy quotient, making for a texture-y, sweet and delicious eating experience. (Careful not to keep the chunks in the freezer too long or the pieces will freeze and require a little defrosting before being comfortably edible).

Saving the uneaten portion of the watermelon can be handled two ways – either by “chunking up” the remaining portion and putting it into airtight containers and storing in the fridge; or wrapping up the other half or quarters (rind and all) in cellophane wrap and then wrapping them in an additional plastic bag before putting into the fridge (to avoid having to clean up leaked watermelon juice at a later time). Plan on consuming the leftover fruit sooner rather than later to enjoy it at its freshest.

Watermelon. It’s not just for summer picnics anymore.

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