Book Review: The Diet Cure by Julia Ross

Julia Ross's revised and updated edition of “The Diet Cure” came up today during my nutrition educator training. My fellow nutrition educators were raving about it. My initial thought was, “Ugh, not another diet book.” I have spent so much money on diet books in my life lived with fat, only for them to present such a narrow and incomplete picture of what it takes to lose weight for the long term.

Despite my reservations, I bought a copy, opened to the first page and read this:

“This is not going to be like any diet book you have ever read. I won't mention calories except to forbid you to eat too few! I won't tell you to tune in to your “real” appetite because I know that if you could have you would have long ago. I won't tell you to discipline yourself because I know that your weight and eating habits are not the result of laziness, gluttony, or weak willpower.

Julia Ross's, The Diet Cure

You are trapped inside a body that is malfunctioning, and that body needs help. Years of dieting, psychotherapy, and the best pep talks about fitness can't help much when what you really need is a biochemical overhaul.” –Julia Ross, The Diet Cure

I almost cried. “What if I had read this statement when the book came out in 1999?” I asked myself. I couldn't help but think that I could have started to get good information about the real, biochemical reasons for my obesity (I topped out at 270 lbs) a full decade earlier than I did. Would my weight have gotten so out of control had I known about this book? All the time I spent beating myself up over my weak will, would I have felt differently about why I was obese?

I highly recommend this book to you as you start or continue on your weight loss journey. It answers so many of the “whys” of compulsive eating and weight gain. It also includes an awesome section called, “Depleted Brain Chemistry: The Real Cause of 'Emotional' Eating.” I have always thought that the concept of “emotional eating” is code for “you're fat because you can't control yourself and you are weak willed.” Ross clearly outlines why will and emotion have nothing to do with compulsive eating.

Have you read the book? Let me know what you found helpful!

 

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On Dishing Up Nutrition: Hidden habits that sabotage weight loss

I was on Dishing Up Nutrition this past Saturday talking about habits that hold back weight loss. You can listen here or download the show from iTunes. We talked about a lot habits that keep us from reaching our weight loss goals, including “closet eating” episodes like wolfing down a bag of M&Ms in the Menard's parking lost. It was a great show, and I hope you enjoy it!

 


Reader Q and A: Post cruise weight loss slump

I have wonderful readers. This week, I wanted to feature a question I got from Jane, and my response. I thought many of you could relate to her question and my response.

Feet on a scale

Question from Jane

Back in April I attended your “Get Inspired” session at Nutrional Weight and Wellness in St. Paul; I was so inspired by your story.  I follow your blog and have been following the NWW plan since December 2011.  In the last couple of months I’ve been having a much harder time staying on plan and staying focused.  I was doing really well until July when my husband and I went on a cruise since then I’ve had a terrible time getting back on track and I’ve put on weight and feel so yucky!
I’ve been meaning to email you for months to ask how you do it?  How do you stay on plan and focused?  And when you were losing your weight did you have to be perfect all the time, or could you have the occasional slip but get back on plan and continue to lose weight?  At times I still worry that I’m eating too much fat, but then remember what I’ve learned and resolve not to cut back, but when I don’t lose I worry that that may be the culprit!  Before our trip I noticed that my body felt so good and looked good, but hadn’t really lost weight or inches.
Since we’ve come home and I’m not following like I was I’ve gained both inches and weight!  I’m so frustrated and thought maybe you’d have some quick advice for me.
Thank you so much for any help you could offer.

My answer

I am so glad you wrote. It’s such a struggle sometimes, isn’t it? Believe me, over the last four years I’ve gone through it all. And I am still going through it. I am working on losing the 10 pounds I gained in 10 days in Paris! My body is getting more and more fussy when I go off plan.
I absolutely was not perfect when I was losing the 90 pounds. I think I was on plan about 90% of the time. It was when I tried to be perfect that I slipped up most often. When I gave myself permission to be flexible and try my best, I did much better than aiming and missing for perfection. I found that over time, I was able to minimize the damage from those slip ups, and they didn’t matter as much.
It sounds like you are where I was at the end of my first year. The year that I didn’t lose one pound. I also wasn’t following the plan but for 40% of the time. I was still sliding into fast food drive ups and getting M&Ms at the checkout of Menard’s. I needed that year to get used to this way of eating. I know some people change overnight. I took a year to get ready for the change–I see this now in hindsight.
My body also needed that year to heal my metabolism. After all, I had been on a one woman mission to destroy it for the previous 25 years, with diets and bad food.
The fat (butter, coconut oil, olive oil) is key to getting your cravings under control. If you don’t have the fat, you are going to crave the bad stuff (donuts, bread, grains, etc.–the stuff that makes you fat).
Lately, my cravings have been SO calm. I really do have a “take it or leave it” attitude toward carbs and sweets. Why? I think it is my pre-meal cocktail (3 times a day that is):

I also am getting all my meals and snacks in so I am not hungry. I have been doing this ever since I got back from Paris–when I went on a bread and beer binge–and my cravings have never been quieter. Now that my cravings are quiet, I can focus on getting good food, and I am SLOWLY losing those 10 pounds. I asked my nutritionist  about this and she told be that glutamine works so well for cravings because it is the only amino acid that the brain can use to make glucose. So, with your brain getting the glucose it needs from the amino acid, you don’t crave bread. It also heals your gut, which is key to metabolism and weight loss.

I hope this helps you re-ignite your efforts. I was totally hopeless after trying to do this for a year in 2008. In 2009, I really decided to eat this way most of the time. I started doing yoga and walking more, and things started happening. And they can happen for you too!
I will answer your questions, too. Just leave a comment!

3 recipes to rev up your metabolism

Sweet potatoes roasted with coconut oil and sea salt

For the past two months, I have been training to be a nutrition educator. I am learning so much about nutrition and how to help people make changes in their eating. Part of my training is to observe other teachers. One of my teacher trainers, Angela, is simply masterful at connecting with her students and meeting them where they are. One of the things she reminded me of this week is that “people just want to know what to do and what to eat.”

So, I am going to get very practical this week and give you three of my favorite recipes–recipes that will rev up your metabolism and help you lose weight. You can combine these into a meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This meal is a perfect balance of protein, healthy carbs, and fat–what you need for a healthy metabolism.

  • Crispy sweet potatoes (this is one Angela gives out to her classes): Slice a bunch of sweet potatoes and put on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (makes clean up easy). Coat them with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. I eat a half a cup of these with this meal.
  • Salmon cakes: These are awesome. A great way to get some omega 3s while getting protein.
  • Spinach with red pepper flakes: This one is easy. Cook up a couple large handfuls of fresh spinach in butter or coconut oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and red pepper flakes. Done!

I use a half a tablespoon of organic ketchup with the “fries” to get the full experience of an old unhealthy favorite.

How do you plate up a healthy meal? Leave a comment.


Why Jennifer Hudson doesn’t inspire me to lose weight

Jennifer Hudson is a spokesperson for Weight Watchers

I just finished watching a special on 20/20 called “Gaining and losing Weight Means Big Paydays for Celebrities” The story confirmed what I have long believed about celebrity spokespeople for diet plans like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers: that they get paid gobs (about $30,000 per pound they lose) and they don’t really follow the plans they promote (personal chefs likely contribute more to their weight loss success).

With the success of Jennifer Hudson’s promotion for Weight Watchers, the trend of celebrities shilling for these plans is going to continue and grow. Jessica Simpson is going to be paid $3 million dollars to lose her considerable baby weight. Kirstie Ally, too, famously lost weight with Jenny Craig, only to put it all back on, and then lose it all again with her own company’s Organic Liaison diet (a pretty run of the mill, low-fat diet with a dependence on high-priced supplements).

Jessica Simpson will be paid 3 million to lose weight with Weight Watchers

I don’t begrudge these celebrities how great they look and say they feel now that they have “lost the weight.” I also don’t blame them for the money they make–these endorsements work on huge numbers of us, getting us to buy these tired old diet plans that fail 95% of the time. I myself followed Weight Watchers 13 times in 25 years, ending that journey with 100 extra pounds and a broken spirit.

I guess I just don’t find these loud, look-at-me commercials, filled with stunning before and after pictures, very inspiring anymore (the last time I was tricked by one of these endorsements, “Fergie, the Duchess of York” was the spokeswoman for Weight Watchers). They don’t reflect the reality that I have discovered about what it takes to lose weight for the long term. They don’t tell me that it will take time, or that my body needs to heal from years of metabolic damage (brought on by these same diets). They don’t tell me that I have to eat and nourish myself six times a day with protein, vegetable carbohydrates, and healthy fats in order to drop weight. They also don’t cause me to challenge a belief system–filled with messages like “lose 40 pounds by summer”–that promises a quick fix. I searched for a quick fix for most of my adult life. For this problem of weight, one does not exist.

So who does inspire me? I meet inspiring people every day who are taking risks by going against the grain and challenging the information sold by these tired, failing diet plans. Katherine from Andover, Minnesota who lost 100 pounds on Slimgenics, and has gained all but 10 pounds of it back. She is now looking for a better way to deal with this complex problem. Or, Mary from Cottage Grove who was a dieter her whole life and who expresses regret for modeling this behavior to her two daughters–one obese and one dangerously thin. She is now showing them there is a better way to lose weight and be healthy. These are real people with real, inspiring stories. I don’t know about you, but I’ve left the fantasy of easy, fabulous, quick-fix weight loss promises behind. For me, reality is inspiring.

Who inspires you? Leave a comment.


Kevin Smith Tells Me about Being “Too Fat to Fly”

 

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Last night, as part of the Content Marketing World Conference I attended, I went to a Kevin Smith Q and A show (He is the writer, director and podcaster). I got up and asked him about his being tossed off of a Southwest Airlines flight for being too big.

I am trying out something new. Sometimes I get tired of writing (I write for a living). So, I am going to try video every now and again. Leave a comment to let me know what you think!

 

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I Hate Before and After Pictures…

I hate them because they are usually presented in a way that communicates, “Look at this hideous, fat creature I used to be. Now everything is perfect because I AM THIN!!!” The people in them have been made over within an inch of their lives, and the photo is professionally shot and lit. Annoying. They also presume health = thin. Believe me, I know a lot of sick and unhealthy thin people.

And yet, here I am showing you mine. I think they can be instructive for people, and that can’t be bad. If showing people my before and “after” (“after” because I am not done yet) somehow motivates people to make some changes, then it is worth it. I have found that living by example is way more helpful to people than telling people what to do about their own weight struggles.

Also, my “after” photos hardly depict me in a state of made-overness. Rather, I am nasty and sweaty from a hot yoga class. I felt like these photos show my body after it had served me well during a 90-minute yoga class in a 100 degree room. Not bad. And I really like that it is the same body as in the “before” picture, just transformed by a rather simple diet change (see What I Eat to Lose Weight post) applied consistently over time. So, here it goes.

Nell before 87 pound weight loss

Stats: I am 5'10, 267 pounds in this picture. Dress size 22W. My BMI is 38.6, edging very close to the dreaded morbidly obese range. I suffered from insulin resistance, allergies, skin problems, shortness of breath, etc. I know this is a hideous sweater and, yes, I am wearing a bra. This is the ONLY picture of me at my heaviest weight. Enough said.

Nell After 87 Pound Weight Loss

Stats: I am 5'11 (that's right, yoga has given me an inch in height over the past year!) and 180 pounds, with a BMI of 25.5. Dress size is 10/12. I may have a bit of lingering insulin resistance, but it is mostly gone. My allergies and sinus problems are almost gone. Skin issues are a thing of the past. And shortness of breath, not even in the insane 100 degree yoga room!

Nell Doing Standing Bow Pulling Pose

Just for fun, here I am doing the Standing Bow Pulling Pose from the hot yoga asana series.

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