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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1:09 pm - Posted by Gregg

As we all know, the season of Pumpkin Spice Everything (including PSLs — the now famous Pumpkin Spice Lattes) is upon us. People familiar with Just Stop Eating So Much! know that as someone who’s lost over 250 pounds of excess weight and kept it off for over a decade, I’m a big fan of moderation vs. depravation. But for anyone needing a reason to limit the amount of PSLs and/or sugar-filled autumn-themed coffee drinks, here’s a meme revealing what your body (and health) go through when you consume this type of a beverage.

Are you a fan of PSLs or another “fall in a cup” coffee drink? How often do you allow yourself to have them? Are you addicted like I can sometimes be? Do tell in the comments section below. And, in the meantime, enjoy in healthy portions and (again) in moderation! Cheers!

Photo Source: Yahoo! Health

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November 3, 2015

Funny cause it’s true?

1:33 pm - Posted by Gregg

Couldn’t resist sharing this meme that sums it up nicely: “I wish everything was as easy as getting fat.”

As Homer Simpson would say, “It’s funny cause it’s true.” And, of course, it helps to keep a sense of humor about all of this dieting and “health minded goals” stuff. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

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5:41 pm - Posted by Gregg

Halloween seems like a perfect time of year to confess that I often compare myself to a zombie. And not because I’m on a constant quest for “Brains… Brains…” — although certainly some people who know me might argue that a mission like that would be appropriate. But no… For me, the “zombie comparison” comes from my commitment to constantly moving — and often stumbling – forward, no matter what kind of odds or circumstances I’m facing.

Picture, if you will, a zombie in a field, moving toward its goal — one (often ungraceful) step at a time. Although this zombie might be missing a limb or two — or even if it’s being shot at — it just keeps on going. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny — only with more blood and guts. Still, there’s something to be admired about the zombie’s drive. And that’s why I often liken myself to one of these undead creatures (even during times of year when All Hallow’s Eve isn’t nigh).

Believe it or not, this comparison can be especially helpful if one has suffered a crisis of spirit due to a recent loss or disappointment. It’s tough to stay committed to one’s goals after experiencing a setback (no matter what aspect of life it pertains to).

Similarly, it’s sometimes tough to walk out the front door when your heart and spirit are heavy — perhaps feeling like you’ve gone one step forward and two steps back (feel free to insert your own analogy here). We all have days where matters of the heart, our health, our career or another seemingly crushed desire (even if just temporarily crushed) seem to weigh us down due to original intentions evading us (no matter how hard we’ve worked to achieve said goals).

Some days it feels almost impossible to keep on moving in the direction we’d originally intended for ourselves. It’s these kind of “down days” that seem to call out for staying in bed and hiding under the covers. Or cheating on our diets. Or picking an argument with a loved one. Or telling our boss off. Or giving up completely.

Again, this can all be likened to the life of a zombie.

After all, it’s not any easier to reach a lofty life goal than it is to dig yourself out of a grave — not to mention move across a large field fast enough to catch up with someone who has two working legs and can likely run faster than you can stumble. Think about it… Neither we nor the zombie totally knows exactly what he or she is doing. And yet the zombie just continues to stumble forward, sure that his or her goal will be worth it. In other words, zombies never give up. And this is something we can definitely take a cue from — whether wanting to reach our goal mindset, goal weight, goal promotion, goal marriage or goal whatever.

Just as a zombie is committed to stumbling forward to reach those sought-after brains — even when being shot at, attacked or even pulled apart (torn limb from limb, for crying out loud) — we can do the same when approaching our goals.

Sure, we don’t always know what obstacles lie ahead of us (setbacks that we can’t predict — even ones that seemingly block our efforts and require us to rethink our strategies from another starting point). But no matter what knocks us down, we have the option of considering it to be a temporary thing and then getting back up and recommitting to stumbling toward our goal. Because eventually — even when stumbling — as long as we’re moving forward, we’re going to reach our desired destinations.

So this Halloween, whenever you happen to see a zombie on TV in The Walking Dead, in a movie or at a costume party (hopefully as opposed to seeing a real one that’s sizing you up like a Thanksgiving dinner), take a moment to acknowledge that you have something in common with the walking dead.

And, of course, if you do happen to see a real zombie, run (don’t stumble) the other way. After all, we need all of the brains that we can hold onto. Besides, the run will potentially do your heart — and spirit — some good.

Image Source: InstaWebgram

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11:59 am - Posted by Gregg

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved the season of fall most of all. Perhaps because while living in New England as a child, the changing leaves offered a range of beautiful colors. Or maybe it was the crisp Northeast sweater weather (that demanded clothing that hid some of my figure flaws — which I was admittedly concerned about as an extremely overweight kid). Or it could have been that autumn acted as an annual sign that Christmas was on its way. Whichever. Suffice it to say, I consider autumn to be a golden time of year.

Today, living in Los Angeles, there’s not a lot of autumn to be had. Sure, there are a few maple trees (with changing leaves) in Beverly Hills. And every now and then we get a cooler day that requires a sweatshirt in the morning hours (before the temperature gives out to LA’s warm sunshine by noontime). Thus, one must be creative when it comes to feeling like it’s autumn. Some of you may be familiar with warm-weather-autumn drill: plastic fall-leaf wreath hanging on the door, a mini Styrofoam pumpkin or two lying around the house, an autumn-scented candle burning in the evening (even as the air conditioner blows), etc.

Those who know me won’t be surprised that one of my go-to items for a “hit” of autumn is an edible (well, drinkable) one. For years now, I’ve been addicted (potential 12-step-group-addicted) to Pumpkin Spice Lattes (AKA PSL or, as I refer to them, “fall in a cup”). And as someone who once weighed over 450 pounds, I was risking the encouragement of my past food addiction by ordering an extra large size and drinking down every last autumn-y (read: sugary) drop.

I was not only committed to downing this drink throughout the fall season, but virtually every day of the fall season. Needless to say that even before Thanksgiving, the results of this annual endeavor would start to show themselves in the form of tighter jeans and more pronounced love handles. In other words, my love of fall was adding up (calorie-wise) fast.

Thus, one sad day, I decided I had to abandon my love of “fall in a cup” and simply make do with the plastic wreath. But as usual, the denial of something led to the over-consumption of it. It did not matter that I’d lost over 250 pounds of excess weight over a decade before and had kept it off ever since. When it came to “fall in a cup,” I was going down. Or my weight was going up as it were. As usual, denial led to obsession and obsession led to… Well, let’s just say I feel like I have personally funded many of the more recent coffee places that have opened up in my area.

Then I hit upon an amazing, original, highly innovative idea… To treat these magical and seductive Pumpkin Spice Lattes as a treat (yeah, that’s right — categorize them in an appropriate way). I decided I was going to indulge — but was going to do so in a fashion that wouldn’t harm my psyche or extend my waistline.

So I blew out my autumn-scented candle, hopped over the Styrofoam pumpkins, trotted past my plastic wreath, and marched into my nearest coffee joint, where I ordered up a small Pumpkin Spice Latte.

As I pressed the smaller sippy cup-like lid to my lips, I wondered if I’d get the same autumnal rush that I did from lifting the larger size to my mouth. And, to my surprise, I did. The smallest Pumpkin Spice Latte was just as delicious, just as tasty, just as soothing — and offered just as much “fall in a cup” as its giant predecessor had before it. In fact, I didn’t even suck out the last sip like I usually did with the larger size (as if I were Sandra Bullock’s astronaut character in Gravity, trying to get a last gasp of oxygen in space). Instead, I enjoyed most of the drink, decided I was finished and tossed it.

Of course, the next day, I wanted another one. And here’s where I tried out another innovative tactic. “Sure, Gregg… You can have another one… Next week.” Yeah, that’s right. I acknowledged I wanted it, let myself know when I could have it, and then gave myself several days to anticipate it. And when that “lucky day” rolled around, I got another small one and enjoyed every reasonable ounce.

It turns out what I’d always heard was true: Less is more. And I marvel at this fact as much today (at around 175 pounds) as I did when I weighed over 450 pounds. I guess there will always be lessons we can learn and new adaptations we can make (to the way we consume treats) no matter what end of the scale we find ourselves at. And this is good news. Because it means we can treat ourselves, when appropriate — as long as it’s with portions that are equally appropriate.

Now, one should keep in mind that even the small Pumpkin Spice Latte has a bunch of calories in it (even when made with 2 percent low-fat milk, as I have mine made with). But when these approximately 200-300 calories are consumed just once a week (or even less often), they’re not going to hurt your weight loss or weight maintenance plan one bit. Again, it’s all about moderation. This means not denying one’s self as much as it does not overdoing it. (Win-win for “moderation,” y’all.)

At long last, my love of autumn (and devotion to “fall in a cup”) can be celebrated without worry — even here in hot n’ sunny Los Angeles. And this means whatever food or treat obsessions you have can be handled in the same way. Less is more. But not too much less. Get it?

(Feel free to insert your own seasonal “horn of plenty” reference here.)

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