Posts Tagged ‘health club’
Does anyone know if there’s a 12-step program for breakfast cereal addicts? If so, I’ll have to consider attending a meeting. Although I’m not sure I’d ever achieve even a 1-day chip. Because when it comes to breakfast cereal, I’ve got a problem.
Back in the day, when I was tipping the scales at 450+-pounds, I would go through a box of cereal in 2-3 days. My “trick” for accomplishing such a feat was to nibble as much cereal as I was pouring into the bowl. Had I bothered to check the suggested serving size, I would have seen that I was eating for 4. Of course, my 60-inch waist sort of made that clear already. Needless to say, I wasn’t paying attention.
To this day, I crave and love breakfast cereal. To the point of obsession. Because of this, there have been times that I’ve considered cutting it out of my diet altogether. But with a bunch of healthy cereal options available today along with the fact that cereal is a fast, convenient and delicious way to have breakfast (one of the most important meals of the day – whether on or off a diet), cereal is something I wanted to learn to live with.
But even when preparing cereal today (at 175-pounds), I still feel the urge to pour cereal into the bowl while also having a ‘cereal appetizer’ while standing at the counter. If I didn’t regulate myself, I could easily go through a third of a box of cereal or more. That’s why I never trust myself to pour cereal freely. Instead, I pour it into a measuring cup before I pour it into my breakfast bowl and add my sliced banana. And for what it’s worth, I measure the 2% milk I use, as well.
This might come as a surprise to some of you reading this. Most people assume that because I’ve kept my 250 pounds of excess weight off for over a decade, that I’ve got this weight thing beat. That’s true in some respects. But part of what keeps the excess weight off is knowing that I’ll never really have it beat and that I can never let my guard down. My daily food intake is something I’m always thinking about, planning for and paying attention to. Not in a mentally unhealthy way, but in a efficient way. Or weigh, as the case may be.
Whenever I reveal to fellow dieters that I must still pay attention to and even sometimes measure my food portions, they often register disappointment – as if they thought that once you take the weight off, you magically never have to think about dieting again. But in truth, this ‘food and health consciousness’ must become a part of ourselves that we never leave behind (even during those times when we decide it’s okay to have ice cream – or whatever – as a treat).
This need to ‘stay on top of what and how much I eat’ is reiterated almost daily for me – usually when I’m preparing breakfast and pouring breakfast cereal. I know that I can’t be trusted. So even though I’ve been “thin” for years and happily fit into my skinny jeans, I still get the measuring cup out and measure the exact amount of cereal necessary for a healthy and low calorie breakfast. It could be argued that, by now, I should know what a ‘cup’ holds. But when it comes to cereal and other ‘tempting foods,’ I know that my mind’s version of a cup full and real life’s version of a cup full are two very different things.
In other words: When it comes to cereal, the measuring cup is my friend.
But none of this has to be bad news. No matter what your most tempting foods are, you can still have them – in moderation and in healthy portions. And with tools like measuring cups, we can ‘eat like a thin person’ and not overdo it to the point of triggering a binge, stuffing ourselves to the point of discomfort or making our skinny clothes feel too tight.
What are your tempting foods? Do you still allow yourself to have them even if on some sort of weight loss program? Or do you try and avoid the foods for the time being? I’d love to hear from you on this topic. We can even discuss over a bowl of cereal. Assuming you’ve got a measuring cup I can borrow.
The other evening I was quickly walking through my home office when I was suddenly startled by a loud squeak. I looked down to see that I’d just stepped on one of what seems like hundreds of toys that are strewn throughout my home. I try to keep these toys picked up so they remain contained in one of two toy baskets, but most are constantly in use and, therefore, often waiting to surprise me with a squeak attack when I’m hurrying from one room to another.
Looking at the toys, you might conclude that I had a toddler (or two). I do have a wee one that plays with all the toys. And he is two years old. But he’s covered in fur, weighs 7 pounds and is named Latte – an adorable little Morkie (if I do say so myself). And he is truly one of the biggest joys of my life.
To say Latte is spoiled rotten would be an understatement, although he really is one of the sweetest, happiest little guys you could ever hope to meet. And boy, does he love to play with toys. So despite my mimicking the evil Berger-Meister-Meister-Berger and often proclaiming “There will be no more toys!,” there inevitably are more toys – whether received as gifts or bought by this “Daddy” who can’t resist his “Kid.” Thus, there are toys all over my home – usually in various states of play.
So the other evening, when I stepped on a toy and realized I was standing in a virtual minefield of toys, I didn’t get irritated. Instead, I realized that all of these toys that were seemingly making my otherwise well organized home look messy were symbols of joy for me. Representing joy embodied in a 7-pound pooch full of unconditional love… Joy embodied in toys that the said pooch plays joyfully with… Joy embodied in a squeaky toy reminding me to slow down for a second and smell the roses – or count the toys, in any case.
Here’s where I must confess that I didn’t always find joy in everyday objects. Back in the day, when I weighed in excess of 450 pounds, I was constantly looking to food to provide my joy in life. And at the time, I was sure that food was providing just that – joy.
Looking back, I can see now that the massive amount of unhealthy food I was eating was actually doing just the opposite of providing joy. I’d be so miserable after a binge and in such mental and physical pain, that as soon as I had room in my stomach, I would once again seek comfort from food.
This “Food for Joy Syndrome” continued for years and years – until I finally broke the cycle by realizing I had to find other sources of joy to use in place of the food. Imagine my surprise when I realized that food had never really been providing comfort or joy in the first place but, instead, had been keeping me from it.
Living in California, I’m surrounded by self-help gurus who constantly remind us that there is joy in every minute. I used to guffaw at such “nutty-crunchy” theories. But these days, surrounded by toys and other “small” blessings, I realize that there really is joy to be found in whichever direction you look – as long as you’re not looking in the direction of the refrigerator.
I’m not saying food can’t bring us joy on occasion. But food really is more delicious (and potentially more full of joy) when eaten in balance, in moderation and in the right portions. Otherwise, the food isn’t providing joy as much as it’s providing a numbing effect. And that can cut us off from many of life’s other – and very real – joys (including smaller sized clothes, a healthier heart, more self confidence and a less stressful social life).
By breaking ourselves free from the cycle of equating our only joy with food, we free ourselves – not only to meet our weight loss or health-oriented goals, but also to really appreciate everything around us. Whether it’s a lick on the face from a puppy, a favorite TV show, a call from an old friend or a beautiful sunrise, there can be joy in every minute if we set out to acknowledge said joys.
And in times that we’re rushing around, too busy to count our blessings, we can hope for a squeaky dog toy or some kind of other reminder to bring us back into the moment and help us realign ourselves with what’s really important in our lives.
Let me explain…
Several years ago, before moving to a new residence, I lived in an area of Los Angeles surrounded by shiny, happy gyms – meaning the type of workout facilities that were as much about socializing and being seen as they were about burning the fat. And yes, in that order.
For me, working out has always meant convenience. So when given a choice, I would choose the gym closest to me in proximity. One that I might even be able to (gasp!) walk to. I add the ‘Gasp!’ because here in LA, no one walks. Not even from one block to the next. But I was a rebel. Still am. Always will be.
The gym I belonged to and worked out at was quite amusing. In between spinning, yoga-ing and deciding what shade of purple the carpets actually were, I could observe lots of flirting going on – as well as showbiz wheeling and dealing. There were even celebrity sightings to be had here and there. More when the gym first opened. Then it shifted to more D-Level celebs when a bigger, shinier gym that opened a little further down the Sunset Strip eclipsed the gym I belonged to.
While many of my fellow workout junkies fled the current digs and joined the newer gym, I was content with this older model – now a little less trendy, with a carpet that was a little less purple. But again, I could walk to the gym. That was key.
Cut to me moving to a new place about two years ago. I could have driven 20-30 minutes to my then-current gym. But knowing what I know (that the less convenient the gym’s proximity was, the less likely I would go), I set out to find a new gym – a place that I could ideally walk to. And find a gym within blocks of my new place, I did. Emphasis on ‘gym.’
You see, this ‘new’ gym is actually more of an old school one – the kind you might see in the original “Rocky” movie. This is a gym where boxers workout constantly, the equipment is old and often in disrepair and there’s nary an aerobics class or smoothie bar to be found. What’s more, the few TVs are always tuned to ESPN and the ‘music playing’ is from a local A.M. Radio Station, as opposed to a mix by some Eurocentric DJ. And there’s no purple carpet. Heck, there’s no carpet at all. Just a rubber-esque floor, on which the occasional cockroach can be seen scurrying from under one piece of elliptical equipment to another. Yep! This was a hardcore gym with hardcore members who would never set foot in one of the shiny, happy gyms that many of LA’s flirtiest trendsetters insist upon.
I was initially hesitant to join such a gym. For even though I’m not one to socialize while working out (my goal is to get my sweat sessions over with as quickly as possible), I did like semi bright surroundings, brand new equipment and being able to ogle the occasional celeb (A, D or otherwise). And yet, this gym had something that no other gym in my new area offered – being accessible by foot. Thus, I took the plunge and signed up (even as the theme from “Rocky” played in my head).
Look at me! Gregg McBride – working out in a boxing gym with real, live cockroaches!
I’m a little afraid. And not just because of the cockroaches.
Again, this gym is populated by hardcore boxers who seem to be training for their next big appearance in the ring and/or some kind of street rumble that wouldn’t resemble anything like the rumbles seen during a staging of “West Side Story.”
Lucky for me, I can keep a low profile (no, seriously, I can). And despite the initial ‘getting used to it’ factor, I’m proud to say I’ve assimilated rather nicely. But one thing still frightens me to this day. Something that, if revealed, would absolutely get me into trouble with my current gym’s hardcore clientele. And that, my friends, is what I’m about to confess…
My iPod (which I listen to every time I’m at the gym) has many Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana tunes on it.
Now before you make fun of me, let me assure you that I’m a lover of all types of music. All types. And when at the gym, I’m a fan of anything that puts a little pep in my step. And I’m telling you, Hannah Montana can rock the workout when she sets her mind to it. Don’t believe me? Check out this tune and tell me it doesn’t get your pulse pounding (for whatever reason – LOL!):
If anyone at my gym knew that I was listening to this kind of bubble gum pop, I’m worried they would wander away from the punching bags and over to me. I have no desire to be a bruised shade of purple similar to that of the carpeting at my older, shinier, happier gym. So please, let’s keep this iPod-related secret between you and me, okay?
And before you click away, wondering “Why is Gregg going on about this?,” let me sum it up for you: Whatever gets you moving (whatever gym, whatever song) is a good thing. Because we all need to keep moving. Daily. Even if we’re doing so just to put more distance between ourselves and the mean looking boxer-types who could kick our asses.
Okay. Your turn. What dirty little secret is on your iPod? Or, better yet, what song gets you pumped up for your workout? Please share by commenting below. I promise… Your secret is safe with me. And the cockroaches.
No. Wait. That’s not the common question.
The question is actually one that lots of my facebook friends ask me: “How do you eat all those baked breads without gaining any weight back?”
The question comes as a result of me posting pictures of my freshly baked bread creations to my facebook page – usually on Sunday 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 which, for the record, I’m always paying strict 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 bread. That’s the whole concept behind Just Stop Eating So Much! – to just stop… Well, you get the idea. Or you’re starting to get the idea, I hope.
The reason I keep drilling this overall message into your heads is because I’m constantly drilling it into my head as well. 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 go on from here. 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 servings sizes. In this case, he would cut about 12 slices into a 9” 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 overdue 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 1/2 of a banana, sliced-up). 175-pound Gregg would enjoy this eating experience for all its worth. Afterward, he would realize he’s full and, more importantly, satisfied, and look forward to enjoying this treat again at a future time. It should also be noted that 175-pound Gregg also got his butt to the gym at 5am – yes, even on a Sunday 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+ excess pounds separating these two different ways of enjoying fresh baked bread.
Small differences? Maybe. But consistent differences, for sure. Differences that result in better thoughts, better digestion, a better body and better health, overall. And that, my friends, is the recipe for something most delicious indeed.
For someone who showed us how gracefully she can move across a dance floor, Kirstie Alley seems to be sorely lacking in grace when it comes to real life. I’m not knocking her talents or her beauty (no matter which end of the scale she’s sticking her foot in her mouth on). But these days, I believe Ms. Alley really needs to catch a clue and shut the hell up – because at this point, she seems to be doing more harm to – than good for – the dieting community.
For starters, I would suggest Ms. Alley stop telling us she’s a Size 4. Again, Ms. Alley is a beautiful woman who looks fab for 60. But she’s clearly not a Size 4. And if she is, her dressmakers need some math lessons. And no, it doesn’t matter what dress size she is. But that’s my point. Why not just put on an outfit and look good? Must you trumpet your ‘alleged’ size and, therefore, make others who might not be that size feel inadequate (whether said size is imaginary or not)?
While it was inspiring to see Ms. Alley take off excess pounds while strutting her stuff on “Dancing with the Stars,” she is now even belittling that achievement by appearing on QVC and trumpeting her so-called weight loss products (which include a dietary supplement that acts as a ‘natural colon cleanser’). What?! How about just eating healthy and going for a walk instead?
Ms. Alley’s Organic Liaison seems to be nothing more than a spurious line of products – the same products she’s been going on and on about for years (including while still heavy on her since-cancelled reality show, which aired long before “Dancing with the Stars”). In fact, in 2009 she appeared on Oprah proclaiming, “I’ve lost 20 pounds in the last five weeks,” crediting her Organic Liaisons.
If Organic Liaisons really works, why didn’t Ms. Alley lose weight years before 2011 when she appeared on “Dancing with the Stars?”
Clearly, one of the reasons that Ms. Alley lost weight was due to the movement and exercise (a key component of weight reduction) she endured while going through the rigorous physical requirements that “Dancing with the Stars” demands. And this is really something to celebrate and learn from. But instead of talking about that, she’s babbling about her ‘premier weight loss products and dietary supplements designed to optimize your weight-loss results.’
Yeah, uh-huh. And I’m a Size 4.
Taking off – and keeping off – the excess weight requires no magical elixirs, no magic wand and no constant chatter about “Improving lives organically.” At the end of the day, it’s about eating less, moving more, getting enough rest and drinking plenty of water. In other words, it’s about adopting a healthy lifestyle.
In my experience, overly marketed shortcuts demean a dieter’s efforts and are created to bilk money out of the dieting community. Fact of the matter is, there are no shortcuts when it comes to getting healthy.
It makes me sad that Ms. Alley continues to come across as so inauthentic. She doesn’t seem to be being true to herself, which is likely one of the reasons we’ve seen her bounce up and down the scale for the past decade. Authenticity is key to curing what ails you. It’s about owning up to your part in it and then making real, lasting changes that result in healthy, permanent weight loss (and true success). It also means treating achievements with respect and reverence. In other words, the newly thin Ms. Alley might do better just to sit with her achievement for a while – especially given her history of gaining, losing, regaining and so on. Why not just be still, appreciative and graceful in the moment instead of trying to sell fellow dieters her ‘premier weight loss products and dietary supplements designed to optimize your weight-loss results.’
When I was in college, I had a teacher who required us to keep a journal that she would review from time to time. My entries continually went on and on about wanting to lose weight (page after page). This, even as I got bigger and bigger while going to school. I was all talk, no results.
At the end of the semester, this teacher added an entry to my journal. In it, she suggested that when I was truly ready to lose weight, that I consider not announcing it to the world, but only to myself. To make it a quiet – even somewhat sacred – decision; one that would elicit action rather than words. Although it took a few more years for this to really ‘click,’ her advice resonated with me then – and still does to this day. Since that time I have always strived to be authentic – not only to myself, but also to those around me.
It all comes down to grace – on or off the dance floor. And these days, Ms. Alley is showing anything but.