Author Q & A

Cover of Eating Well On The Road

How did you come up with the Lifestyle Plan?
It’s based on my own experience, after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and needing to lose a lot of weight. Since I spend a good deal of time on the road, I also had to find a way to mesh my health and weight loss goals with my travel writer lifestyle. I soon realized that I had to totally change the way I ate. And in order to change the way I ate on the road, I first had to change the way I ate at home. In the beginning I just started by reading labels and gathering nutritional information, but slowly the program expanded to include menu planning, meal preparation, eating habits and restaurant strategies. In the end my Lifestyle Plan focuses on nine basic core principles, but beyond that it’s totally customizable. The goal is to make the Lifestyle Plan something you can live with, because unlike fad diets, it’s something you’ll follow for the rest of your life.
How much weight have you lost?
To date Charles and I have both lost over 20% of our body weight — and we’ve kept it off.
How is your Lifestyle Plan different from other diets?
Well first off, it’s not a diet. A diet is temporary, and when you go off of it, you put the weight back on. You never go off the Lifestyle Plan, but then again because it allows for individual preferences, you really won’t feel the need to. You’ll get away from that starve and binge mentality, that can be so detrimental in the long run. Not only will you lose weight, but you’ll probably end up enjoying your food more with the Lifestyle Plan. And you’ll definitely be healthier!
I’m diabetic. Will the Lifestyle Plan work for me?
It probably will, as I said it’s very customizable. But it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first.
Do I have to buy any special food or meals?
Absolutely not. But the book will teach you how to shop for food and make good nutritional choices.
I hate to exercise. Can I still use your Lifestyle Plan if I don’t?
Sure. To be honest I really don’t have a formal exercise plan. Some of my friends who tried the plan did incorporate exercise into their daily regime, and they of course lost weight faster. Still, you don’t have to sign up for a gym in order for the Lifestyle Plan to work.
How did you get your husband on-board with the idea?
It wasn’t hard. He had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and he didn’t want to be on drugs for the rest of his life. Plus he had put on some weight over the years too. To be honest, the Lifestyle Plan put more variety in our menu so we actually enjoy mealtimes more now, and that’s something Charles really loves.
I hate to cook. Are your recipes hard?
Not at all. I don’t really like to cook that much either, so I had to find recipes that were low in calories and sodium, yet easy to prepare. And since we freeze our leftovers for future use, there are plenty of nights that we don’t have to cook from scratch — we just reheat and eat. So all in all, it’s really pretty easy.
As part of my job I take clients out to lunch 2-3 times a week. I know this isn’t good for me as I’ve been steadily gaining weight. Do you have any quick tips or advice for me?
Lunch is easier than dinner, but still the portions in most restaurants are huge. You can usually find something on the appetizer menu that is grilled, so that would be a good choice. Alternatively, you can opt for a small salad and a clear (not creamy) soup. Stay away from the bread and don’t even think about a chef’s salad. The latter can actually have more calories than a regular entree. And always get your salad dressing on the side. I order my salads with no dressing, as I carry individual packets of zero-calorie salad dressing. If you opt for a regular entree, just eat half and leave the rest. Also if you can get a look at the menu in advance (many restaurants have them on-line) then you can weigh your options and decide what you’ll have before you get to the restaurant.
How in the world can I eat healthy on an upcoming cross country trip, where we’ll have to stop at fast food joints for lunch?
Basically it takes a little advance planning, in terms of restaurant and menu choices. Most fast food places have their nutritional information on-line, so take some time to browse through them and find items that have fewer calories and lower sodium. In a few cases you’ll have to eliminate some chains all together, bust still that’s good to know in advance. Then come up with a list of your allowable choices and carry it with you. For example, Subway has a six-inch Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Sandwich that has 360 calories and 860 mg. sodium; while Mc Donald’s Honey Mustard Chicken Snack Wrap has just 260 calories and 800 mg. sodium. Both are much better choices than the Sirloin Cheeseburger and Large Fries combo at Jack in the Box, which weighs in at a hefty 1460 calories and 2890 mg. sodium.

To date Charles and I have both lost over 20% of our body weight — and we’ve kept it off.

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