1st I just want to get a HUGE SHOUTOUT to my running buddy Rachel who qualified for the Boston Marathon last weekend!!!!!! I’m so proud of her hard work!!! I can’t tell you how happy I am for her. We spent A LOT of 4 and 5 am, freezing cold, windy mornings together while she prepped. She is absolute proof that setting a goal and working your tail off, every day will get you where you want to go in life!!! I added some pictures from the race at the bottom! It was soooo cool to be in Vegas and run the last 8 miles with her! GREAT JOB RACH! ๐Ÿ™‚

“Eat with your stomach, not with your head.” Gary Stotler

Let’s be honest here… I have a problem. I know it, I attempt to control it as much as possible, but I fail most days… I am an eating addict. I eat as healthy as I possibly can: high amounts of lean protein, good fats and I LOVE fruits and veggies. So what’s the problem? I eat too much food, period. I don’t eat with my stomach, I eat with my head and out of habit…

The number one reason I have lost almost 200 pounds is because I was able to control my portions. I didn’t snack. I didn’t eat after 7pm. I didn’t eat if I wasn’t hungry. For a certain time, I had almost superhuman powers to control my eating. So what happened? I lost focus, I made excuses, I discovered peanut butter, and I let the “little things” creep back into my life. I lost my will desire to control eating. I can find all sorts of excuses and places to place blame. Only problem? It’s ALL MY FAULT! I want to share what I’ve learned from my successes and failures when it comes to eating.

Here’s 5 reasons you’re hungry.

Time of Day- We are socially programmed to eat at specific times. We’ve been having breakfast, lunch and dinner our entire lives. Many of us have been programmed to have a couple snacks in between too. Is it bad to snack? Absolutely not!, if you are snacking properly.

I know I am going to get the munchies between 10-11 am and 3-4 pm. Why? Well short story is I used to have a very bad habit involving my mouth and putting chewing tobacco in it at these times. It’s been years since I quit, but these 2 times ALWAYS get me, every single day, with no relief… So how have I learned to control my “cravings”?

I haven’t… Well ok, I have a little. I try and keep gum with me all the time. For the habit I’m replacing, it doesn’t work all that great. I’ll get a cup of coffee which works sometimes. I try to drink some water, some days it works and some it doesn’t. I’ll have a tootsie roll (or 15) off a coworker’s desk which works sometimes too. But, there are days I head to the grocery store and buy something… I try and get something healthy, but not everyday is a success… Most days I feel my biggest loss is not what I ate, just that I ate…

Ever eaten a meal when you aren’t hungry just because it’s “that time”? I grew up hearing “eat for hunger to come”. Probably not the best advice I’ve ever received. I work really really hard to not eat if I’m not hungry, but I do it all the time… Be careful what habits you instill in yourself and your children. It only takes once for the habit to begin to take hold.

Boredom- Have you ever noticed when you’re busy you don’t eat? This one gets me when I’m home at night and on the weekends. I can’t stay out of the kitchen when I’m at home. A snack here, a meal there, a handful of this and a bite of that. Ugh! It drives me crazy and a lot of times I don’t even notice until it’s already been consumed.

Lack of Water- How much water do you drink? I have a VERY hard time with this one.

Bad news first. I don’t drink enough water. I put a water bottle on my desk as a reminder and I’m the only person to blame… I use coffee as a crutch and I guess I’ll have to keep working on it.

Good news. I don’t drink soda anymore (maybe once every 90 days) not even diet. I got rid of “fruit” juices, sparkling water, and anything with sweeteners and sugar. I may not drink enough water, but I feel a ton better than I did with the other junk going through my system. I also don’t use cream, sugar, sweeteners or anything else in my coffee. Black coffee took a long time to do, but now I really enjoy it!

Cue/Reward- Ever just “had to have something” just because you see it?

Ok so here’s where I may go overboard with my advice, but I have to be 100% honest and upfront with you so here it is. I HATE when people bring me treats… I HATE food advertising. I HATE being offered anything that tastes good… It’s nothing personal against others, it’s all on me and my fault. Here’s my problem- once it has been offered the brain takes over and has to fulfill the process. I learned this when I quit chewing. Don’t have it around. Don’t be around people who do it. It really is true “out of sight, out of mind”…

It’s called cue and reward. This is the key to breaking or reprogramming ANY habit. Once the cue has been started you have 5 seconds to take action with a replacement or you’re toast… It is involuntary after that. Your brain will find a way to complete the sequence so it can receive the reward. This is why I write down anything I want to change. I find my cue, my action and my reward. Then I go to work on changing the action and modifying the reward. Some day I’ll write more specific about this. It’s life changing!

I also know people that tempt me just to see if I’ll break. Let me tell you something, I have ZERO tolerance for this. I will cut you out of my life, not talk to you, and will avoid you at ALL costs. I really feel like a meth addict around food and I will not put up with it. Once I know food/sweets/treats are around, I will do anything to get some of it… I know I have a problem and I’ve tried the one bite to satisfy the craving and be done. If this works for you, great! It doesn’t work for me… Avoidance may be the wrong attitude, but it works for me and I’m in it to win it (it’s really only a battle between me and the person I used to be).

You’re actually hungry- What a concept right? Yes you get hungry. Yes you have to eat. The key is to balance the proper amount of calories and nutrition with your goals. Eating good, balanced meals and in reasonable amounts is what we should be doing. Believe me, I have no problem eating especially when I’m really hungry. But eat the right portions! Ever been so hungry you’re “starving”? Then what happens? Your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you’re miserable after you eat 2, 3, 4 times the food you actually need. To this day, I still do this. It’s a terrible habit and it sucks…

Here’s a plan of action!

Maximize the good days and minimize the bad days. My philosophy started with having one good day at a time. Then I moved to two good days in a row. After 6 months I would get as many good days in a row and as long as I had no more than one bad day in a week, it was a success!!! It doesn’t take long for the good to out weigh the bad if you keep focused on that ONE good day at a time. Miss? Oh well. Don’t screw up today because yesterday was bad… It’s what you do TODAY that makes a difference, not yesterday and not tomorrow. Do it NOW!

Here’s a couple remedies that have helped me. They’re far from perfect, but if you don’t try, you’ll never succeed.

Portion Control Bowl- This is how it ALL started! One little 4 oz salsa bowl. I reprogrammed my brain to focus on smaller portions and different eating habits. Simple, effective and life changing. It only takes “ONE”. Also put leftovers away right away! Stop snacking on it after you’re full!!!

Cheat with Salad- I understand my habits. So, if I wanted to over eat, what better than a big full salad? Easily digestible, full of water and I allowed myself to get a treat by overeating without the guilt in the morning when I stepped on the scale. Everything can be changed including your thoughts about what you “want”. Now, I live for salad. I eat it almost everyday and many times 2-3 times a day.

No liquor- This one was tough… I never had a problem but I do like to drink. My biggest issue was cue/reward. Drinking meant eating junk food. Cut one to cut the other. It worked ๐Ÿ™‚ Football game? Beer and food and lots of both! Now I don’t watch football either… It’s a little sad, but it no longer lines up with my goals so it’s gone.

Replacement foods- I’ll sum this up. Change something unhealthy for something healthy that looks, feels, and/or tastes similar but has less “bad stuff”.
Examples- Trade noodles or bread for salad, candy for fruit, soda for sparkling water, peanut butter- well screw it I like peanut butter and I’m not perfect… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hopefully you get the point, just little bitty changes can add up to a world of differences.

Skip a meal- Don’t starve yourself! But if you don’t eat dinner and you’re not hungry, don’t eat. This was more about changing my habits than anything. I noticed I was eating plenty of food throughout the day and dinner wasn’t need a lot. I got to where I was eating healthy food, eating plenty, and I changed my habits all at once. Don’t just eat because it’s “time”.

Gum, small bite sized candies, just one- I’m not good at this one, but I have talked to other people who use this religiously! Just one bite of something can help get you your “fix” without eating the whole thing. I hope you can use this one because I know several people that have made BIG changes in their life because of it! I prefer avoidance, it works better for me, but we’re all different.

Logging food- not every calorie, just a notepad and what it was so I knew what and when. Take a small notebook and write everything you eat down in it. No need to get technical, just basic info. Breakfast was 2 eggs, bacon and toast, ย handful of pretzels in the break room at 10 am. Lunch was a tuna sandwich, 2 bite sized candy bars at 3.30, dinner tacos, and a bowl of ice cream at 8.30.

How is this going to help you ask? How do you think I figured out that I ate between 10-11 and 3-4? How do you think I figured out not to go to the kitchen AT ALL after 7 pm? It’s not always about the calories, in fact most of our health, fitness and eating can be summed up with social norms and brain function… We can learn a lot by observing others, but we never look at ourselves from the outside (and with an open mind). Try this for a day and then a week. You are going to be amazed with your findings.

WOW! This was way longer than expected… Thanks for sticking with me. I have been struggling with eating since a very specific event in July 2014… I am working to fix it every single day and one day I will regain the discipline I once had. Until then, I’ll keep struggling a day at a time just like everyone else. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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1 Comment

  1. I missed this post, but it’s very good. Your advice on how to eat and eating-related habits is on point. You offer really great tips! I have not had a weight problem, but I have done a food log in the past, and yes, it is telling what you can find written on paper. Great job.


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