Read an Excerpt
Time goes quickly when you're doing something you're passionate about. I can't believe that I began my career writing about food almost 18 years ago. In the late '80s and early '90s, I wrote cookbooks that featured some of the best tasting, high-fat recipes you could get your hands on. Who cared about nutrition? I was a young mother of three who was fit and slender. But then my doctor discovered my high cholesterol. It shouldn't have been a surprise, since my family history is plagued with heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes. My generics were definitely not in my favor. In fact, my genetics predisposed me to these diseases, many of which are linked to poor eating habits and lack of exercise. But I, like so many at that time, thought that since I was slim and active, I didn't have to bother about nutrition. I assumed you had to worry only if you were overweight. Was I ever wrong!
Remember, there is no cure for weight problems. It's a condition that must be managed continually. If you've gained back your weight time and again, it's because you like to drift back to your old comfortable patterns. The block to future success is your past. By reading this book and implementing my practices, you'll go forward to ultimate success.
With my health at stake in the mid-'90s, I became enlightened and took on the challenge of creating great tasting recipes that are also healthy. I discovered something that continues to amaze most people: my recipes are in vogue and my cooking style has influenced the finest restaurants. Healthy recipes need not compromise flavor and texture. My husband calls it "fresher,cleaner" foodrecipes that let natural flavors emerge and speak for themselves. There's no need to smother food in cream sauces, deep fry it or saturate it with oil. Eating these dishes stabilized my cholesterol level, health and weight. I realized that eating like this for life was the only way to go. And the revelation was that it truly tasted better.
After changing my eating and shopping habits, my energy increased, my weight stabilized, my looks improved, and my doctor gave me a clean bill of health. I became a role model for my family and friends, especially when I entertained. My guests are often shocked to learn that my recipes are lower in far and calories, since they taste so good. But most important is that my guests aren't the least bit deprived. Every food is allowed. So give in to your cravings, in moderation, but also ear balanced meals and snacks. I enjoy a piece of one of my sweet indulgences every day. In 2001, I devoted an entire book, Divine Indulgences, to incredible tasting desserts. You can have your cake and ear it too!
While enjoying my middle years and our growing children, I decided to do more than create great tasting, better-for-you recipes. I wanted to help people across the country learn about improving their health and lifestyle. I'm proud to say that I've changed many peoples' eating habits and helped them discover a better quality of life. In the new millennium I put even more of my acquired knowledge to work with the publication of The Art of Living Well. In it, I discuss techniques for mastering the art of eating and living well. It's now in its fourth printing! That success tells me that people are ready to change their "die(t)-hard" habits to live healthier, more enjoyable lives.
Well, it's 2005 and I still can't put my pen down. I love creating new, great tasting recipes, and I have the confidence to say that well-crafted recipes don't need large injections of fat. But I have more to share with you in this book. The greatest health problem facing North Americans and westernized countries today is an epidemic of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, all linked to the way we live. We and our children are overweight and nor active enough, factors that shorten our lives and compromise our quality of life. So I decided to share with you my daily habits or, as some say, my secrets, for maintaining healthy weights for me and my family. It's a sensible plan, easy to follow, that doesn't deprive you of any food groups and never leaves you hungry. That's the only way to achieve lifetime weight control.
It has taken me years to understand the habits required for maintaining my health and weight. By keeping a food and exercise journal, and examining my behaviors at home and away, I came up with Nine Practices that help me stay on track. I realized that if my family and I could follow these nine basic practices, anyone coulddespite all the usual excuses. So let's take a look at each habit, keeping in mind that in the end we all need our own personal strategy. We're all individuals. PRACTICES REQUIRED FOR MAINTAINING HEALTH AND WEIGHT
PRACTICE 1."The Master Plan"
focuses on setting your realistic target and goals. Without a strategy and a detailed plan you cant succeed. I teach you how to jump those hurdles that have stopped your success in the past.
PRACTICE 2. "Nutrition 101"
is a chapter I urge you to read carefully, even if you think you already know everything! I discuss in detail the most current food guides that give examples of what you should eat every day.
PRACICE 3. "Let's Get Physical."
Without exercise you'll never achieve permanent weight loss. I provide practical tips on how to incorporate cardio, stretching and strength training into your week so that these fit into your lifestyle, no matter how busy you are.
PRACTICE 4. "Get Out of Your Comfort Zone"
talks about how change for life is always difficult. I empathize with anybody who faces life changes, but there's no other option and no turning back if you want to live a better life. Take comfort that your healthy new habits will become your new comfort zone.
PRACTICE 5. "Go For Healthy Longevity"
discusses how to live a longer and healthier life. It looks at the today's leading causes of death in connection to what we eat and how little we exercise. Living a better life is about preventing diseases, not just curing them.
PRACTICE 6. "Don't Fade to the Newest Fad"
discusses popular and current diets, and provides you with their pros and cons so that you can make enlightened decisions about them. Let's make sure your weight loss isn't a short-term fad.
PRACTICE 7.. "Check Your Excuses at the Door"
takes on each excuse you've ever made and comes up with a practical solution. I provide you with the tools to examine the most common excuses and to find your best compromise.
PRACTICE 8. "Build Your Team"
helps you set up the support system you'll need to succeed. It may be an individual such as a nutritionist, a support group like "Weight Watchers" or a website-based group. Most of us need someone to weigh us in, listen to our struggles and triumphs, and give us healthy eating suggestions.
PRACTICE 9. "Be Consistent and Persevere"
discusses setbacks. They happen to the best of us. When we succeed at anything, we can never take it for granted, We have to continue to work at it to keep it going strong.
I never would have believed that I could be slimmer and in better shape than I was at 25. But I am! I wake up most mornings feeling healthy, energetic and excited about my day. It's due to my positive lifestyle of eating well and exercising. I see the glass half full when I'm feeling great. When I get one thing in my life right, it's surprising to see how other aspects of my life fall into place. So, decide right now that you want to look better, feel better and be the healthiest you can possibly be. It's so doable. The "secrets" of my good health and healthy weight are these Nine Practices that, over time, will become so internalized that you'll never believe you lived any other way.
You can do it!