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Posts Tagged ‘portion control’

2:44 pm - Posted by Gregg

Does eating a healthier food choice like green beans to excess still equate to overeating? Short answer? Yes. And trust me—as someone who once weighed over 450 pounds (and who took off over 250 pounds of excess weight and has kept it off for almost two decades), I should know.

This might seem like a question that didn’t need to be asked in the first place. But I recently saw a segment on a national morning show, during which they spoke to a celebrity who had just “joined” a national weight loss company. No need to mention any names. But said celebrity (AKA endorser) was going on and on about how edamame was a “free food” on the program and thus she could eat as much edamame as she wanted while still on the diet.

In my opinion, this is a potentially harmful theory when it comes to making healthier eating and lifestyle choices—and one of the reasons that so-called “diets” sometimes do not serve us as well as some of these for-profit weight loss companies would lead us to believe they do.

I know what it’s like to binge eat. I used to do it because I was depressed. I used to do it because I was happy. I used to do it simply because I liked a certain food and hadn’t yet comprehended the concept that I could have the food in a healthy portion and then have it again sometime in the future. This was mainly because I’d been taught the “on/off” diet mentality from a very early age. Favorite foods became forbidden fruit (so to speak) and I would eat them in huge amounts, thinking I would/could never have them again when on a healthier eating program.

After years of starting and then cheating on diets, I eventually realized that the issue of my constantly gaining more and more weight had nothing to do with my stomach (a place so many focus on when fighting the battle of the bulge) but, instead, had everything to do with my head (meaning my thinking). After coming to this conclusion, I set out to learn about why I was using food as an emotional crutch. At the same time, I was becoming aware that whenever I started a diet, I would focus on what I was giving up, instead of focusing on what I was gaining (no pun intended).

But even after successfully taking off the excess weight (without giving up certain food groups, without fad dieting, without pills and without surgery), I realized I was still bingeing at times. Sure, I was eating steamed green beans to excess rather than cartons (yes, plural) of ice cream. But I was still binge eating to the point of discomfort.

I soon realized that although the foods had changed, the behavior had not. There is a healthy portion of green beans to eat just as there is a healthy portion of ice cream to eat. And exceeding these portions only works to reinforce old habits that don’t necessarily serve us.

Eating to excess, no matter what the food choices, is still eating to excess. We’re left feeling uncomfortable, bloated and perhaps even feeling some shame about actions.

I have not kept the 250 pounds of excess weight off by eating unconsciously. I think about what I’m eating daily. I still use measuring cups and measuring spoons. Why? Because feeling good is worth any “hassle” that meal prep (and proper portion control) requires. Does this mean I never overeat? Of course, not. I’m human. I still enjoy dining out and will sometimes clear my plate in a restaurant (although sometimes I choose not to).

No matter if it’s food prepared at a restaurant or in a private kitchen, there is no such thing as a “free food.” Overeating is overeating. And binge behavior is still binge behavior. And these are actions that anyone wanting to lose excess weight and/or make healthier eating choices might want to examine. (And for the record, edamame can often be salty, which brings up an entirely different reason as to why it—or anything else—is not a “free food.”)

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May 30, 2015

Portion size savvy

9:13 am - Posted by Gregg

Sure, when preparing meals at home, we can pull out our measuring cups, tablespoons and perhaps even a digital food scale (not that we necessarily do… But we could!). But what about exercising portion control when out at a restaurant or even when traveling? I’ve known some hardcore dieters who carry their measuring tools with them and even pull them out when dining out. But fact is, we’ve already got the best portion size measuring tool attached to us. (Who knew?)

Checking out this handy infographic from Guard Your Health will show you that your hand and fingers can be a great aid when trying to decide how much is just right when it comes to eating outside of your home. Take a minute to study this hand-y (yeah, I went there) graphic and commit it to memory. After all, portion control is key to getting to and maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes even more so than what we’re actually eating. Arming (or hand-ing) ourselves with simple strategies like these really can make a difference in our winning the battle of the bulge. (Plus, no one we’re dining out with has to know what we’re up to when comparing a teaspoon-portion-size of butter to the tip of our finger!)

Note: You can click on the image for a larger view.

Photo Source: Guard Your Health

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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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8:01 pm - Posted by Gregg

Ready to get a heart-on this Valentine’s Day? Why not show a little love and affection for yourself (and your body) by learning a little more about healthy foods and new trends that can make a positive difference in your eating habits as well as for your health.

Below, I’ve compiled some 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 further your love affair with feeling better and looking great. (Happy Heart’s Day!)

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.

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