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4:36 pm - Posted by Gregg

 

What did you have for breakfast the day before yesterday? Do you remember? And aside from what you actually ate, how did you actually eat it? Or were you so rushed to get your day started that you skipped breakfast on that day all together?

Too often in our multitasking-oriented society, we rob ourselves of the quiet moments in life that we not only deserve but require. And for those of us with a dieter’s mentality, this can be especially destructive. Fact is, if we ate more mindfully, many of us wouldn’t even need an actual diet plan to lose excess weight and feel better about ourselves and our bodies in the present moment.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking diet plans all together. When I weighed over 450 pounds, I was so out of touch with healthy eating (as were my body’s “hungry” or “full” sensors), that I required an actual plan (based on sound nutrition and pure, clean eating) to head in the right direction (in my case, down the scale). But my weight loss success (dropping more than 250 pounds within a year’s period without fad dieting, pills or surgery) came more from mindful eating than it did a so-called diet.

Learning to pay attention to what tasted good (sans additivespreservatives and other potentially harmful chemicals) and paying heed to how my body felt after a meal, led me to being more mindful about almost every aspect of my life — from exercise to walking my dog to even being more present when talking to someone on the phone (e.g., no more checking facebook on my smartphone while on a phone call, listening to my mother-in-law tell me how a recent doctor’s appointment went).

Me. In the now. And being aware of it. Crazy concept, right?

And yet mindfulness doesn’t have to be a mystery that we spend a lifetime trying to decipher. True mindfulness is simply about being fully present in the moment. That means being still and recognizing everything going on around us and being fully aware of it all.

Take a moment to stop reading this blog post, and just sit still (or stand still — reader’s choice). Feel the cushion of the chair beneath you? The comfort of the seat back? The hardwood floor underneath your shoes? Or maybe whatever you’re sitting or standing on isn’t so comfortable. You might be reading this while on a subway train. Or while standing in line. Or perhaps while lying down.

Notice the elements surrounding you at this moment. Is there a clock ticking? Is someone talking loudly nearby? Can you feel the heat of the sun? Or maybe a cool breeze? Whatever is going on around you, take note of it. Soak it in. It’s not bad. It’s not good. It simply is. And now you get a gold star for noticing what’s happening around you, being aware of your surroundings, and taking it all in.

Next, turn to your breathing. Are your breaths short and shallow, perhaps signaling that you’re anxious about something? Or are they soft and deep? Maybe your calm breathing is letting you know that you’re very confident, that life is good (even with all the many challenges you’re facing), and that you know you are enough, in this moment.

Let’s now take this fully aware mental state and apply it to our eating. All of our eating. That means being as mindful when we’re planning or preparing what we’re going to eat as when we’re sitting down to actually consume the food. (Yes, sitting downEating at the kitchen counter while on the go doesn’t often compliment being mindful.)

Too often the choices we make about food have less to do with what we’re really craving (whether regarding a specific food or even a portion size) and more about what is habitual. Our routines can turn us into zombies. And living life like The Walking Dead is no way to… Well… Live.

This is now. And since this moment is all we really have, we might as well choose to enjoy it — and all of life’s subsequent moments — fully. As we learn to embrace the now, we can allow ourselves to make choices about our food, our eating, and our self-acceptance that can literally transform life around us — and, perhaps, even transform our bodies in beautifully positive and healthy ways.

Photo Source: Existential Soft Rock

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4:11 pm - Posted by Gregg

Those who know me will tell you I’m a big caffeine addict. Granted, I treat caffeine (in the form of coffee) with the same regard I treat all food and drink in my life: With moderation. But “Back in the day,” having coffee meant having a whole lotta cream and sugar with it. Actually, way back when (or weigh back when, as I like to say), I would drink coffee with artificial sweetener and artificial, nonfat creamer. The thought of consuming these totally unnatural, chemically altered substances make me shudder today.

As I learned more about health and nutrition, I gave those artificial substances up when drinking coffee. And I replaced them with real sugar (Sugar in the Raw was my choice) and real cream (Half N’ Half in this case). You might be surprised to read about the sugar and Half N’ Half. But based on how my body metabolized these more natural substances, I knew they were better for me than the artificial “fat and calorie free” crap (key word) that I’d been using up until then.

OneSmallChange.

But wait. There’s more.

Having succeeded with my “Small change, big reward” theory with the artificial sweetener and cream, there was a day I decided to take it one step further. Thus, I gave up the cream and sugar entirely and, instead, started to drink my coffee au natural (AKA “Black”). This took some getting used to because I like my coffee strong and bold. So the first couple sips of black coffee would elicit the kind of facial expressions that not even graduates of clown colleges could make.

But eventually? I got used the taste of black coffee. And – surprise, surprise – I even began to prefer the taste of black coffee. I liked how the flavor worked in tandem with my morning cereal or toast (never overwhelming the taste of breakfast and never being overly sweet like a milkshake). Another small change. Not to mention another big reward in that I had reduced my calorie intake by no longer having cream and sugar with my coffee.

For a time, I would allow myself to have cream and sugar on special occasions. At first only on weekends. Then only on special occasions (like my birthday). But eventually? I went all black coffee, all the time. And since then, I’ve never looked back. Although I do still occasionally make the ridiculous clown faces during the first, somewhat bitter sips. But I’ve learned to enjoy that moment for what it’s worth, figuring these ‘facial exercises’ might be burning up a few  additional calories.

The great thing about small changes is that once you’ve successfully achieved them and made them part of your life, they will start to affect other decisions. For example, if I’m running around town and have to grab breakfast on the run, if I’m getting a black coffee I don’t want to completely negate that healthy choice by having a donut with it and instead will opt for a bran muffin or piece of fruit. Again, everything in moderation.

Now, I’m not telling you to join me on the black coffee bandwagon. But I’m am suggesting you look at different areas of your life and see where there might be room for one small change. Accomplishing that change could affect the rest of your life – and perhaps your health – in a positive, beautiful way.

Planning a small change? Or have an accomplished change to brag about? Do tell! I’m waiting over my cup of coffee with bated breath (and a promise not to react with a ‘clown face’).

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7:10 pm - Posted by Gregg

No matter how much we plan in advance or mentally prepare, life is going to sometimes bring stress our way (in all sorts of different forms – many of which can’t be predicted). The trick to not being eaten alive by this stress (which, in turn, often makes us want to eat everything in our path), is to not let the stressful events give us an excuse to cheat on our diets, yell at the people closest to us or to let the rest of our day (or week!) be ruined. Stress is on its way. Bank on it. The trick is accepting it, dealing with it and moving past it.

Here are a few practical tips for keeping stress in its place:

Learn from the stress:
Yeah, I know this can sound a bit trite. But a lot of times there is a good lesson to be learned from stressful situations. Sure this ‘learning’ usually happens long after the stress has come and gone. But putting a positive spin on what occurred and seeing away to avoid and/or handle the same stressful situation in the future is a valuable lesson. For ideas about how to gain helpful insights from stress, click here.

Breathe Deep:
Controlled breathing can be like a “Mini Meditation” and help us to change the mental channel by getting more in touch (and in control) of what’s going on with ourselves, internally. Helpful breathing exercises can be found in lots of different places (including on page 77 of my book). There are also lots of helpful links online. Here are a few:

Stress reduction: Deep breathing techniques

5 Anti-stress breathing techniques to help you feel calm anywhere

A breathing exercise to calm panic attacks

Do Something Productive:
Sometimes we can’t do anything about a particular stressful situation we’re facing – but wecan increase our own self-worth. Next time a stressful situation has you down, clean out your closet or reorganize kitchen shelves. The act of accomplishing something and seeing the results of your work can help to transform your mental state and remind you that you can accomplish anything (even if it’s making your sock drawer more attractive).

Work It Out:
Besides making you even more beautiful on the outside and healthier on the inside, exercise releases endorphins that take your mental mood from sour to sublime. Even taking a brisk walk for just 30 minutes can make a difference. Try listening to “Feel Good” music that lifts your spirit while you’re walking. And don’t forget to pump your arms, pay attention to your posture and suck in that tummy for extra benefits from the walk (besides just strutting the stress away). For a few tips on effectively walking the stress away, click here.

Do you have personal stress busters that you rely on during times of mental turmoil? If so, I’d love for you to share them below with a comment. Or, if you dare, share an actual stress. I promise to help you ‘Ommmm’ your way through it!

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March 25, 2015

You are how you eat

9:18 am - Posted by Gregg

Much like me, haven’t you always known, on some deeper level, that you really do embody everything you need — already inside of you — to achieve lasting physical health and a peaceful, happy state of mind (in relation to eating, your body weight and to everything else) you have always dreamed of?

And also like me, I imagine many of you know that nagging feeling that if you just had that one secret to unlock the door to your own innate healing powers, that you would finally shed the unwanted pounds, reclaim your health, and love yourself just as you are in this and all future moments?

I know from your emails and contact that a lot of you have been searching for the truth. And I also know many of you are tired of being told “Eat this not that.” Well, the good news is that I am a part of a free online event that is going on now (and will conclude shortly) — so if you are ready to jump in and get access to being your best self without fads, shame or self-punishment, click here to take advantage of this Mindful Eating World Summit before it’s too late to participate. (Again, it’s free!)

Some of the tools and take-aways you’ll get from this free online event include:

Stopping the “deprivation- and binge-eating guilt cycles.

Creating peace in your mind and your body to create an amazing
life with tools to empower you.

Cooking with “consciousness” and intention (the way nature intended it to be).

Making your mind your greatest asset to creating optimal health
and design a strategy that is unique to you.

Finding your path and live your purpose, because it’s not
what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you.

My friend and colleague, the amazingly inspirational Dr. Kellee Rutley, has created an incredible resource where you can receive all of the tools you need to achieve optimal health, makeover your body and take your life back. Dr. Kellee and I can relate to what you are going through as can all of the experts that are contributing to this Mindful Eating World Summit. In fact, many of the experts on this summit have true-to-life stories they share regarding how they overcame every single obstacle you are facing right now.

Dr. Kellee has interviewed highly credible and respected Doctors, Naturopaths, Zen Masters, Holistic Psychologists, Holistic Chefs, well known Published Authors and true Fitness Experts with decades of experience — all sharing this “virtual podium” to provide you with the answers you have been looking for.

This Mindful Eating World Summit event ends on March 31st — so click here to get access to all experts before this summit is complete in the coming days. And there’s no limit to how many can participate and benefit for from this Mindful Eating World Summit — so feel free to share this free sign-up link with friends.

Photo Source: FitDay

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12:28 pm - Posted by Gregg

When was the last time you turned to food when in reality you were trying to avoid boredom, to escape stress or trying to get through an otherwise difficult time? We’ve all done it. We all sometimes still do it. Perhaps even as recently as earlier in the day. When we do this, it’s important to realize we’re not really eating to satisfy our hunger — but instead to feed our anxiety (which can result in a psychological desire for food).

Of course, too much food can result in too much of us. And even though we’re all supermodels, we want to keep fitting into our supermodel jeans (without having to offer up a prayer while trying to zip or button them up). So next time you hit a food mood that really isn’t about hunger, try one of these substitutes to get through the moment instead:

• Drink a glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon

• Listen to a motivational song or  create a motivational iPod/MP3 play list

• Pick up a copy of your favorite magazine

• Find a rerun of a favorite sitcom on TV or online

• Write a snail mail letter to a long-lost friend

• Take a relaxing bath (with candlelight!)

• Try learning a foreign language

• Take a walk (a power walk that makes you sweat!)

• Scan old photos into your computer and create a digital photo album or slide show

And these ideas are just a start. Do you have replacement-for-eating-activities that you rely on when your mental hunger tries to take control? If so, please share them here. After all, we’re all in this together and are all better off keeping these ideas on-hand for the next time a food mood hits that isn’t about food.

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