Every day is a good day to improve one’s health. For many of us, that means losing weight. The average dieter makes 4 attempts to lose weight each year, but usually fails. Weight loss is so hard!
Some people find help through dietitians. Many people read diet books. And for others, the new year itself provides a motivational boost. When all three motivators coincide, things get interesting.
The Little Book of Thin, written by New York based registered dietitian Lauren Slayton, was published earlier this week with the hope of helping dieters stop failing. We caught up with Lauren to learn more.
Fooducate: What led you to write this book?
Lauren Slayton: Our offices are in NYC and many of our clients are savvy when it comes to food. They know what to eat. And yet, they come to me (and my colleagues) because there’s a gap between what they know and what they actually do/consume. Oftentimes, this gap can be closed with planning. I’m not talking solely menu planning, but also planning for meals out in restaurants, time spent with friends, obstacles presented by family eating etc.
Fooducate: There are so many diet books out there. What makes this one different?
LS: First, I wanted this to be a weight loss or diet book that was a good read. This may sound trivial but I think the reason so many people focus on their workouts versus nutrition is that spin classes or fitness can be fun. Then you read many diet books and you want to poke your eyes out.
We have fun with our clients! We have #TIDEI (tweet it don’t eat it) where they can send out a 911 tweet when tempted, we have stickers for good hydration, food journaling or cooking. So part of it was to infuse this “space” with practical, entertaining advice.
The other part was that I feel so many plans work if you live in a box on your own. What happens when your boss orders pizzas “for the team” or you arrive home with no clue what dinner will be? Or you’re in an airport and delayed? For most diets, this is when you’re “off” but we need to plan for these challenges because most days include them.
Fooducate: In the book you recommend breaking up with certain foods. Isn’t that too strict? Maybe the 80/20 rule should apply?
LS: No. I think “moderation” has left many people feeling moderately well at best. Trust me, I’m not expecting readers or clients to be perfect all the time (I even have an important section on Treat Training- how to have your cake and weight loss too) but there is a No list. Whether it’s diet soda or nonfat milk (nonfat has made us fatter), I think there are some food relationships that require firm rules. Treat Training is actually a fun chapter and not to worry, each “no” is followed by “rebound” options that are more delicious and better for you. Weight loss and wellness should go together.
Fooducate: Many people complain that food preparation takes too much time, or is boring. How do you recommend overcoming this?
LS: It’s hard to make food shopping exciting though your app has entertainment value for sure. What I try to do is make prep work manageable and streamlined. In the book, I suggest prepping a green, a grain and a main. With those 3 items you can go in so many directions. We have recipes for quinoa, kale and chicken 3 ways (in addition to Superbowl Stew, Date Night Salmon, and more). You don’t need to spend your whole weekend preparing for the week but an hour or two will save you stress and calories once the week starts.
Fooducate: If our readers are motivated to watch their weight with the New Year, what reasonable long-term changes can they make?
LS: First, I would watch over-fruiting. Yes, fruit is natural and healthy (and hopefully, when possible, organic) but it shouldn’t be unlimited. And second, close the kitchen after dinner. What happens eating at this time isn’t usually pretty and there’s more and more research that when we eat is almost as important as what we eat. These are two of the “10 Steps to Svelte” list in Little Book of Thin.
Fooducate: Back to grocery shopping, any final advice?
LS: Of course. First let’s all agree to a new mantra “if it’s not on the list you can’t buy it”. Impulse buys make up over 50% of the grocery bill. The only items allowed not on the list are veggies. Impulse Endive? Fine. Watch out for those “store d’oeuvres” – the samples and snacks stores set out to tempt you. Well, consider yourself warned. Nobody needs to be overweight and unhappy, you just need to plan-it to lose it.