The Little Book of Thin – Dieting in the Real World

Little Book of Thin

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.

Lauren Slayton
Lauren Slayton MS, RD, a Manhattan based dietitian specializing in weight management and sports nutrition. Follow her tweets @FoodTrainers.

  • Jessie M.

    I like some of what she has to say in the interview (such as the comment on diet soda and skim milk), but the book is rife with issues.

    Just from the preview available on Amazon:

    -Why not “the little book of healthy”? Striving for “thin” is part of the problem.
    -In the same vein, the words “skinny”, “thin”, and the like are used aggressively throughout the book.
    -The bigger, more glaring problem: One of the author’s “ten steps to svelte” is to “enjoy one fruit daily — but no more.” She says “it is possible to overfruit” and “too many fruits” feed fat cells. No. News flash: Too much of anything feeds fat cells. But there are no bad fruits. If you are achieving adequate intake of EFAs, protein, and necessary micronutrients, there is nothing wrong with eating fruit, and the benefits are astronomical. She has the same rule for grains, carbs, and starchy vegetables.

    I am sure there is more, but I refuse to purchase the book to find it.

    There is some good information, but it is sadly overshadowed by bad advice and just plain bs.

    Also, the Amazon page is full of five star reviews that are clearly by shills. Some of the same shills even went over to Goodreads and Barnes & Noble and did the same thing. Lame and deceptive at best.

    Fooducate, I am glad I resisted shucking out five bucks for your app if you endorse this.

    • FruitNinja

      This book seems to be for people who wants to lose weight and take steps into being healthy. I like the “thin” and “skinny” in there because some people need to visualize what their goals are. There are many people in my family on the verge of diabetes because they snack all night or don’t know how to restaurant eat and I think it fits perfectly for them. I think it sounds like a great in between book of beating bad habits and getting on the right track. After that, stick with moderation or go for the nutrition books.

    • anon

      I am so sick of people warning against eating fruit. Really? Is that really what most people need to worry about, limiting their fruit intake? Show me the people who are fat and/or sick from eating too much fruit. Show me the studies that too much (2 pieces!) fruit is harmful. I’m not talking about fructose, I am talking about fruit in its entirety.

    • Marie Bigham

      Hi Jessie,
      I’m one of those “shills” from Amazon who praised Little Book of Thin. I’ve been a Foodtrainers client for a bit and so I had previous experience with Lauren’s philosophy and advice. I’ve had very good success with Foodtrainers plan, including the need to cut some foods completely out of my life like diet soda. My review was neither lame nor deceptive, but rather my real experience.

      And congrats to you for losing and maintaining your loss! I’ve been able to do the same with Foodtrainers — #35 down and the best health check ups in my adult life. Don’t assume that just because you don’t like a few pieces from the Amazon preview that the advice is bad. Be a bit more open-minded, and read the book, before you decide it’s wrong.

  • Lauren Slayton

    Wow, tough crowd here Hemi. First to Jessie, well done losing 60 pounds. Everyone has their own system and LBT presents the Foodtrainers system. While some don’t like the words thin, skinny or diet. I am fine with them as the very things that make us healthy (eating whole foods, fish and fiber) can help us lose weight too. The beauty is that we don’t have to choose. And trust me “little book of healthy” wouldn’t sell very well.
    A popular weight loss company endorsed unlimited fruit and many people take this to an extreme. Nobody said there are bad fruits but within any food category there is a hierarchy. As for reviews, we have thousands of happy clients who preordered the book and I’m sure they rushed to review to show their support but no plan is for everyone. I stand behind the word thin and everything in the book. What I love in the feedback I received is that there are so many topics covered in LBT that one person may focus on giving up soda and another on cooking more, nobody needs to follow every detail and frankly I think our time is better focused on what we should be doing…

    • Jessie M.

      Hi Lauren. Thanks for your response. I have a couple questions.

      - Don’t you think it would be more honest if your clients and especially your coworkers, Carolyn and Joanna, were transparent in their reviews (on ALL the sites on which they posted them) by making it clear their relationship to you?

      - Isn’t there a pretty big gap between your wording here — “many people take [unlimited fruit] to an extreme” — and the image portraying an arrow traveling from “too many fruits” to “fat cells”, which appears in your book?

      • Fooducate

        Hi Jessie, having a rough start to 2014? You don’t need to vent it all out on this blog. We wish you good health and smiles.

        • Jessie M.

          Hi individual posting as Fooducate (as I generally like your site and hope this attitude is not representative of Fooducate as a whole),

          I don’t believe I have been venting, but rather focusing my criticism on a book you chose to endorse. No need to be blatantly unprofessional. I think my questions are objective and reasonable, and your sarcasm is unappreciated. My 2014, since you asked, has been unfolding splendidly so far.

          • SympathyHug

            Jessie M. Don’t worry about it too much. Fooducate is consistently, aggressively, and unprofessionally defensive about it’s posts. I started out as a big fan of Fooducate, but the predictable snarkyness like that dished out by Fooducate above is why I no longer am.

          • Not a Troll

            As someone who has turned around her health and weight thanks to Fooducate, all I can say is Thank You Fooducate!
            And to the naysayers, go start your own blog and stop trolling around here.

  • vb

    Honestly, how horrible is it to have one or two cups of one percent organic or skim milk organic, grass fed milk a day?

  • Molly

    This book sounds awesome and fun. I’ve been looking for a way to enjoy my favorites but have struggled with the term “moderation.” I’m glad that Lauren provides a way to eat treats without having to succumb to the stupid “everything in moderation” mantra.