{Fashion Flash}

Fashion Flash time! This week, it’s hosted by Female Fat Loss Over 40, the go-to blog for tips to jump start weight-loss, researched and written by Shawna Kaminski. Check out her fat loss tips for busy FOFs and enjoy all the other links from our fab Fashion Flash friends.

{Health} The Greatest Diet You’ve Never Heard Of

[Read this article and then comment below to be entered to win one of 3 copies of FOF Marla Heller’s best-selling book, The Dash Diet Action Plan (Grand Central Publishing, 2011)]

This fall, US News and World Report released its annual “Best Diets” issue, ranking the top 25 consumer diets for overall health and weight loss–as rated by an independent panel of health experts. It included the usual suspects: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, The Zone…even Slim Fast made the cut. The number one ranked diet was The Dash Diet . . .

. . . Wait. What?!

Yeah, we’d never heard of it either. What is this US-News-beloved formula, and why isn’t it advertised everywhere like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig?

For answers, we turned to FOF Marla Heller, 62, a registered dietitian and the author of The Dash Diet Action Plan, the New York Times best-seller about the diet.

Marla explained the diet originated from a government funded study in the 1990s: “The original study, titled Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), was intended to take the best components of a vegetarian diet–a diet known to lower blood pressure–and make it doable for most meat-eating Americans,” says Marla. To do this, researchers compared three diets: (1) the typical American diet, (2) the typical American diet with extra fruits and vegetables, and (3) the typical American diet with extra fruits and vegetables and extra low-fat dairy.

They found that the third option was the winner–it lowered blood pressure in as little as 14 days. Subsequent studies showed that the diet also supported weight loss as well as a reduced incidence of breast cancer, diabetes, colorectal cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

US News and World Report said it’s the best diet for a lot of reasons,” says Marla. “But I think the key is that the goal isn’t just weight loss; it’s health. When you get to your goal weight, you’re going to be healthier.” In fact, a look at the US News article confirms that the diet received average scores when it came to weight loss and long-term weight loss, but outstanding scores when it came to nutrition, safety and heart health.

What are the rules?
“The key to DASH is getting more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy,” says Marla. Sounds simple enough, but consider that the average American gets just three servings of fruits and vegetables each day, while the DASH diet calls for 4-5 servings of fruit and 4-5 servings of vegetables daily. “The focus of my book is meal plans that show you how to work multiple fruits and vegetables into every meal,” says Marla. “They’re bulky; they fill you up. Once you pair those with the recommended portions of lean proteins (5-7oz. a day), low fat dairy (3-5 servings a day), beans, nuts and seeds, you really don’t have room for much else.”

Marla insists that the focus is on adding foods, not eliminating. “Have a turkey sandwich,” she says. “But load it with as many vegetables as possible–cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, peppers….” And in fact, a typical day’s DASH menu, at 2,000, calories looks like a decadent feast.


A typical day on the Dash Diet:



The tricky part is that this “typical day” is designed to lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health–not necessarily to help you lose weight. If your goal is weight loss, and you’re an FOF woman, you’ll likely need to opt for a more restricted calorie intake of 1200-1600 calories a day. Marla outlines DASH Diet meal plans at these calorie counts as well, and she insists that the premise remains the same: “We help you figure out what your calorie level should be and how many servings of the key foods you need to get into your day. By the time you’ve gotten all those servings in, you’ve used up your calories, and you’re full. You don’t have time or desire for the junk food.”

So, will I lose weight?
“Yes,” insists Christine Ambrose, 44, who has lost 90 pounds since starting the diet in 2010. At 5’4”, Christine was about 233 pounds when she started the diet at the suggestion of her physician. “My blood pressure was very high. He offered me two options–weight loss surgery or DASH.” Christine started out on a non-restrictive calorie plan and saw her blood pressure go down significantly, but it wasn’t until she cut down to 1500 calories/day that she began to see the weight drop off. She currently weighs 143. “It gave me structure,” Christine explains. “I knew how much I could eat–I focused on eating lots of fruits and vegetables and never going over my sodium limits.” [Note from Marla: “Sodium restriction is not a part of the standard DASH diet, but it is recommended by many doctors who are treating patients with high blood pressure.”] The best part, says Christine, is the improved health. “My skin and hair is better. I look younger. My resting heart rate is 45! That’s a good number for an athlete–a marathon runner!”

Why have so few people heard of it?
“It’s less sexy than a lot of diets out there,” Marla admits. There’s no clever marketing hook for DASH (No carbs! No wheat! Eat cookies and lose weight!) since it’s basically about eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats. In fact, there’s no real marketing at all. Once the DASH research was published in the late 90s, the NIH released some educational materials exclusively to physicians and dietitians, “but my patients couldn’t understand any of the information,” Marla explains. “My academic advisor was on the committee that studied the diet, so I understood how great it was. I thought, I have to find a way to explain this so people can actually use it.”

In 2000, Marla began work on her own book as a way to explain the diet to her private clients. She self-published in 2005, but it wasn’t until this past summer that she was approached by an agent and publisher interested in republishing the book. Since then, the diet appeared as number one in US News and Marla’s book hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Who would do best on this diet?

According to Marla, the DASH Diet “is  for everyone. It doesn’t restrict any one type of food, and we accommodate for sensitivities to dairy and gluten.” Still, when we searched for women over fifty who had tried and lost weight on the diet, we couldn’t find anyone–despite posting on the DASH Diet Facebook page.

So what do you think…Would you try this diet?  Have you tried it?  Tell us below and you’re automatically entered to win a copy of Marla’s best-selling book, The Dash Diet Action Plan. 3 women will win!

Three FOFs will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes February 16, 2012 at midnight E.S.T.

{Health} The Queen Of All Diets?

The Dukan Diet helped one famous FOF shed the pounds, but is it right for the rest of us? FOF investigates.

When Kate Middleton and her FOF mother, Carole, arrived at the Royal wedding this past April, BBC newscasters couldn’t stop talking about two things: their clothes and their weight loss.

Carole–who had lost 2 dress sizes–publicly credited her svelte new physique to 69-year-old French diet doctor, Pierre Dukan. Kate has never revealed her own diet plan, although rumors swirl that she used Dukan as well.

Since the wedding, Dukan’s book, The Dukan Diet, has sold millions of copies and been translated into 14 languages. “I am a hopeless romantic, so of course I watched the royal wedding,” says FOF Patricia Hancock, a lifelong yo-yo dieter who bought the book in April and has since lost over 30 pounds following Dukan’s advice.

The diet has been touted by celebs including Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez.  But it’s also been controversial, with some medical experts alternately calling it everything from “unaffective” to “dangerous” in the press.

What’s the truth? Here, FOF presents the facts and talks to FOF Patricia about her experience.

For a chance to win your own copy of The Dukan Diet, read on, and then tell us in the comments below, would you try this diet? (3 FOFs will win!)

Dr. Pierre Dukan, MD, began his general medical practice over 35 years ago. According to his book, he became interested in nutrition after an overweight patient asked for a diet plan that didn’t restrict meat. Dukan advised the man to consume nothing but lean meat and water for five days. In that time, the patient lost 12 pounds. Encouraged, Dukan began studying nutrition in an attempt to create a diet that would help his overweight patients lose weight permanently–without feeling deprived. He spent the next 35 years perfecting his plan and gaining a reputation as a uniquely effective “diet doctor” in France. Today, his plan is consists of 4 phases:

Phase 1: Dukan calls this “The Attack” phase, during which you jump-start your weight loss by spending anywhere from 2 to 7 days (depending on your start weight) eating only from a group of 68 high-protein foods, including lean meats, fish, tofu, Greek yogurt and eggs. You’re also required to eat 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran a day to help you feel full. Unlike The Atkins Diet, with Dukan “you are not allowed fatty meats and cheese,” says Simone Gloger, a registered nutritionist who recommends the Dukan diet to her own patients. “Saturated fats found in these foods can cause cardiovascular disease. Atkins is high protein and high fat. Dukan is high protein, low fat and low carb.”

During this first phase, you also calculate your “true” weight–a number based on your age, height and dieting history. “This differs for everyone,” says Simone Gloger, “It’s a realistic number that is actually maintainable for life.” (You can calculate your “True Weight,” here.)

FOF Trisha, 57, was about 25 pounds overweight when she started the diet earlier this year. Heavy since she was a young girl, (“I grew up being called ‘Patty Fatty’”) she had tried everything from Weight Watchers to Atkins to aerobics, but was never able to keep the weight off for good. At just 4’11”, Trisha’s top weight was 181. When she started the Dukan diet, she was about 145. Today, 7 months later, she weighs 107.

Trisha’s “phase 1” lasted 5 days, during which she mostly ate eggs, chicken and fish. “I love protein, so that was not a problem,” she says. “And it wasn’t very long–just Monday to Friday.”

Phase 2: During “The Cruise Phase,” you add on 32 different vegetables, including some high-carb options such as carrots, pumpkin and beets.  “You’re on this until you reach your true weight,” says Gloger.  “Typically, that’s about 3 days for every pound you want to lose.”  So if you wanted to lose 30 pounds, you’d be in this phase for about 3 months. According to Dukan, the diet makes up for lack of variety by allowing you to eat as much as you want in any combination you prefer.

This type of high-protein, low-carb eating is especially effective for FOFs, says Gloger. “As you age and enter menopause, your body loses muscle mass, your metabolism slows and you gain weight. Eating protein speeds your metabolism and helps you build muscle. It also helps reduce water retention and improves collagen production–which makes your skin look better.”

“The hardest part for me was not eating cheese,” says Trisha of her Cruise Phase. “But I liked that I could eat as much protein as I wanted. When I did Weight Watchers, I was only allowed 18 points. I was hungry and thinking about food constantly. On Dukan, my husband and I would cook out, and I would eat a humongous, juicy hamburger, and the next morning I would have lost weight.”

Phase 3, “Consolidation,” starts once you’ve reached your “true weight.” It is designed to reintroduce a variety of foods back into your diet without causing the rebound weight gain that typically occurs after losing a lot of weight. You can add 2 slices of bread and 1 portion of fruit and cheese into your daily diet as well as 2 servings of carbs and 2 “celebration” meals per week. You remain in this phase for 5 days for every one pounds you’ve lost. “This phase is about learning how to eat properly,” says Gloger. “You can go out to dinner, enjoy wine and bread and fruit—but all within reason.”

Both Gloger and Trisha point out that they exercised some personal discretion during this phase–not following the rules exactly, but staying within a “safe” zone. “If you’re wheat or gluten intolerant, you can substitute the wheat bread for other grains,” says Gloger.

“I didn’t always give up my wine,” says Trisha. “But I’d have half a glass in the evening instead of a full glass.” It was during this phase that Trisha developed her food routine, a daily menu that she says has worked great for her. “I’m not a very creative person–I don’t come up with fancy recipes. I get up every morning and have Greek yogurt with fruit, followed by an apple or some other snack around 10.  For lunch I’ll have tofu mixed with tuna and some little pita pockets or maybe a hard-boiled egg sandwich. In the evening I might have salmon with lots of salad, some bread and wine.”

Phase 4, the permanent stabilization phase, is designed to last for, well . . . the rest of your life.  And it’s surprisingly non-restrictive. You can eat whatever you want as long as you spend one day a week on a pure protein diet (as in phase 1), continue to eat your 3 tablespoons of oat bran every day, and take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators. So what’s to keep you from eating pizza and ice cream for every meal?  Both Trisha and Gloger insist that just isn’t a problem.

“By the time someone has finished the first three phases, they’ve really changed,” says Gloger. “They’ve learned how to eat so that they feel better and look better and they don’t want to give that up. Also, after they eat indulgent foods, they don’t feel good.”

“I don’t want to go back to not feeling good,” confirms Trisha. “I love being able to go into the store and pick out a size 2–my whole life I was looking at sizes from 13-18. And I find that when I indulge, I really feel it. If I have a cupcake for example, I feel sick afterwards. I don’t want to overeat.”

While both Trisha and Gloger insist the diet could work “for anyone,” Trisha does admit that it was particularly tailored to her: “I love meat. I’d rather have a big juicy steak than a slice of pizza. I’m also patient, and I like to do things slowly and carefully, so I was willing to read the entire book and learn the science behind it. It made sense to me. I would say to anyone who is considering this diet, read the book first. Really read it. If it makes sense to you, it will work for you.”

For a chance to win your own copy of The Dukan Diet, tell us in the comments below, would you try this diet? (3 FOFs will win!)

{Beauty} Can You Freeze Away Your Belly Fat?

A new device promises fat loss without surgery, diets or exercise. FOF investigates.

When we first heard about Coolsculpting at the FOF offices, there was one resounding response from our staff: “Sounds too good to be true.”

The claim: A new, non-surgical procedure can actually “freeze” away your fat cells. No dieting, cutting, anesthesia or recovery time. Just an hour in your doctor’s office, hooked up to a non-invasive “Coolsculpting” machine. Then, watch your fat slowly melt away.

But over the last few months, several doctors we trust have praised the procedure, so we felt compelled to investigate.

What we discovered: “Coolscupting” technology was created by Zeltiq, a global medical device company. It’s based on a process called Cryolipolysis, developed by two researchers at Harvard Medical School. These doctors demonstrated that fat cells are more susceptible to extreme cold than other cells and can be selectively destroyed without damaging the overlying skin. During “Coolsculpting,” a machine cools a targeted area of a patient’s body. Within several days of receiving the procedure, cooled fat cells begin a process called apoptosis (natural cell death) and begin to shrink and disappear. Clinical trials showed an average 20-percent reduction in fat in the treated area within 16 weeks.

Here, two doctors who have performed the procedure, and a patient who’s tried it, answer our most pressing questions. Read what they have to say, and tell us, would you try it?


Expert testimony: Dr. Debra Jaliman, dermatologist, American Academy of Dermatology spokesperson and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist

“I’m a doctor and a patient–I used it on myself.  I read all the studies; it sounded good, so I bought the machine for my practice. Before I used it on anyone else, I used it on my own back fat. Afterward I kept pinching my back, and I didn’t notice a difference–6 weeks, 12 weeks. I started to panic. But then at 16 weeks, there was nothing to pinch….it had totally worked. It was amazing.”

Does it hurt?
I didn’t find it painful, but people say I’m the exception. My patients do say they feel pressure–intense suction for the first 7 minutes. Some people find it unpleasant, and after you may have a bruise or a red spot and feel sore for a few weeks. Some people get cramping while the fat is dissolving.

Who do you think is a good candidate for this procedure?

Someone who takes care of herself and maintains a healthy weight, but has stubborn fat she can’t get rid of.

Who is not a good candidate?
Someone who doesn’t have enough fat. You have to have at least “an inch to pinch” we tell patients. Or someone who has too much fat. This isn’t for someone who is 80-90 pounds overweight. Also, it’s not right for someone with loose skin or lack of skin elasticity. This procedure only removes fat cells, so if you have droopy skin from age or weight loss, this procedure won’t help you.”

How many times do you need to have it done?
We normally recommend 1-2 treatments, depending on the person. We’re very careful about recommending a certain number of treatments, in writing, right at the start so that people don’t get upset when they need a second treatment.

How much is each treatment?
About $750 for the belly, and $750 per side for love handles.



Expert testimony:  Dr. Jon Mendelsohn, Medical Director of Advanced Cosmetic and Laser Center, Cincinnati, OH

“I’ve been using the machine in my practice for 16 months. I tested it on several people in my office and on my own abdominal area.”

Did it hurt?
On a scale of 1-10, it’s a 2-4. The suction did make me say, “oh my god” at first, and for several days after the area was hypersensitive.

Who is the best candidate for this procedure?
Someone who has realistic expections.  A typical patient will lose about 20-30 percent of their fat, as opposed to 80-90 percent which is what we can offer with liposuction. Lipo offers more volume, but of course, that’s an invasive, surgical procedure with recovery time. There’s no recovery time for this.

Would this be good for an FOF women, who, for example, has gained weight in her midsection during menopause?

Yes–definitely. This is not for the 350-pound person. It’s for the person who is at a pretty good weight, but has stubborn belly fat, love handles or back fat.

Are there any dangers or side effects? Is it safe to have that fat just dying off in your body?
It’s really no different than what your body would have to process if you ate some french fries. The liver breaks down the fat and you excrete it over time. If you had serious liver disease we would have to take that into consideration, but no, it’s not dangerous.

Have you had unsatisfied patients?
Generally, patients are very pleased. The only patients who aren’t happy are the ones with unrealistic expectations–they expected more extreme results. At this point, we’ve gotten very good at identifying good candidates. There will always be doctors who choose to treat anyone, whether or not he or she is a good candidate, and that’s when people get upset.




Expert testimony: Becky Neiheisel, age 62, Cincanniti, OH, Coolsculpting patient.



When and why did you have this procedure?
I did CoolSculpting this past July, becuase I wanted to get rid of some excess fat on my waist, back and thighs. I’d had liposuction a number of years ago, and I remember it being very painful and uncomfortable for quite a while afterward.  With this they said, ‘you come in for an hour, there’s no surgery, and there’s no pain afterward.’

So it didn’t hurt for you?
The only discomfort is very minor. While you’re having it done they clamp a suction cup on your body and try to grab as much of the fatty area as they can. Then it starts freezing the area.  At first it’s a little cold, but then it gets numb and you don’t feel anything. The biggest challenge is figuring out how to kill the hour.

How long before you saw results?
I saw a little after 2-2.5 months. But I didn’t see full results until about 4 months. I was absolutely astounded at the difference in 4 months. My husband started telling me how great I looked in my clothes. I lost about ½ inch around my waist and around each thigh. The area that’s been most impressive is my back. Before, I hated putting on my bra and seeing that little bit of fat bulge over the top of the straps in the back. I had stopped wearing all my thin knit tops because of it. I’m wearing them all again. The bulge is completely gone. I look 10 years younger from the back.

Have you recommended it to friends?
Yes, I recommended it to my son’s girlfriend, who asked me about it.

You are obviously happy with the results, but can you imagine someone who wouldn’t be?

To me it’s one of the neatest thing to come around in a long time. But, if you’re a rather impatient person–if you want to see results immediately, you won’t like it. You do have to wait.

Were there any negatives for you?

I’m always a little skeptical. When something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not. But I really didn’t have any negatives.  Other than I forgot a book one time when I went in for the treatment and they had to turn on the TV for me.  I’m thrilled with the results.

So what do you think FOFs, considering the price, results, and everything else, is this something you’d consider?

{My Story} To Heal My Mind, I Had to Fix My Body

[Editor’s note: The essay below, by FOF member Mary Gobbo, is the first in a series of personal blogs from our readers. Have your own story to tell? Email your “What I Know Now” idea to geri@faboverfifty.com.]

I got my life back.

It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

For years, I struggled with my weight. I stand just under 5 foot 4 inches tall, and a year ago, I weighed 315 pounds. My health was in shambles. My kidneys were failing. I had an ocular hemorrhage. My blood pressure and blood sugars were out of control. According to one of my physicians, I was rapidly heading to the point of no return.

My children, all five boys, were very worried that I would not be around for them. I was worried too. I obviously wasn’t worried enough to do something serious about it, though. Oh, I tried Weight Watchers, the Rotation Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet. With each one, I’d lose a little, only to get discouraged when I hit the inevitable plateau, at which point I’d gain back what I lost, plus several more pounds for good measure.

My primary care physician asked me repeatedly to consider weight loss surgery. I always refused, believing I could do it on my own. But when my kidneys began failing from diabetes, I knew it was time. I wanted a normal life. I deserved a normal life.  (We won’t discuss at this point what caused my weight gain. A team of psychologists is not needed. Suffice it to say that I had issues. I knew what they were, but I didn’t know how to really deal with them effectively. I just knew I wanted to live.)

I scheduled an appointment with a recommended surgeon.

After talking with the doctor about the four basic bariatric surgeries, I chose a procedure called the “duodenal switch” which minimized the risk of vomiting, “dumping” (a rapid rush of food into the small intestine, which causes nausea, faintness, sweating, etc) and, most of all, gaining the weight back. I could write a whole other essay about the different surgeries, and maybe that will be my next post!

When I set the date for the surgery, I was nervous, but one final incident gave me the motivation I needed.

The week before I was scheduled to have my procedure, I went on a choir trip to New York City with my youngest son. When I arrived at the bus, there was only one seat left. The man sitting next to me did not speak to me during the five-hours before our first stop. I was more than a little uncomfortable.  After our stop for dinner, I learned that he had told his son and a number of his friends that he didn’t want to sit next to “that FAT woman.” Devastated, I secured a seat in the very back of the other bus for the rest of the trip.

One week later, Dr. Marek Lutrzykowski performed the awe-inspiring, but intensive procedure. I spent a few days in intensive care. Recovery was challenging. I hurt! But I got through it. Once home, I made sure to walk several times a day and eventually hit the treadmill for 30 minutes a day. The weight started falling off.

Five months later, I am down over 100 pounds. I have 85 pounds to go to get to my ideal weight. Physically I’m so much stronger. But the emotional change is even more profound. With perspective, I can look back and admit how much my weight had taken over my life before the surgery. The truth: I had no self esteem. I didn’t want to be around other people. I hated myself.

Before my surgery, I came up with every excuse to avoid going out. Where would I park? How far did I need to walk? How many stairs would I need to climb? I recall a basketball game I attended at our local university. We were seated in the last row. On the way up, I had to stop several times to let other people pass. My heart was pounding and I could barely breathe when I got to the top. Once the game started, I had to go to the bathroom, but I held it in, knowing once I went down I would never make it back up the stairs.

This past weekend I attended a basketball game where we were seated, again, high in the stands. I made it up with my breath intact. The next night, I attended a Sting concert. My husband Steve, a very outgoing individual, had been very unhappy with how introverted I’d become. He loves getting out and about. Now I do too. We are going to Hilton Head for the holidays, and I intend on renting a bike to go all around the island and down the beach. I would never, ever have considered doing any of these things before May 18, 2011, the day I had my life changing surgery. It is now a pleasure putting on clothes. I take care of my hair now, and actually wear (a minimal amount of) makeup. I do my nails. I care again.

I saw a very good friend today.  I recounted to her that I just saw the man from the bus at a recent choir concert. My husband sat beside him, not knowing he was the one. I did not acknowledge him. Later, my husband asked me why I didn’t point him out so he could have said something to him. I replied, “That’s why. You can’t fix stupid.”  The truth is, I’ve forgiven him. Actually, I would love to say to him some day, “do you recall when you said those horrible things about me?  Well, THANK YOU!  It was because of you that I moved forward with my surgery, and now I have my life back.”

I want to help the many ladies out there who find themselves in the same boat I was in. I know I have many “sisters” who could benefit, and I hope to guide them through the troubled waters that are our lives.  Waters that can be calmed. They were for me.

Thank you for listening.

FOF Mary Gobbo, 56, is originally from Long Island, New York. She currently resides in Lansing, Michigan, and works part time for the State of Michigan as a secretary and part-time from home as a medical transcriptionist. She is now considering going back to school to complete her college degree.  She is also at work on a novel about a woman who “comes of age” at 45.

{Fashion Flash}

Fashion Flash time! This week, it’s hosted by Female Fat Loss Over 40, the go-to blog for fitness and weight loss tips for busy FOFs, researched and written by FOFitness expert Shawna Kaminski. Check out her advice on everything from success stories to workout tutorials and enjoy all the other links from our fab Fashion Flash friends.

Energy and weight loss secrets from Biggest Loser contestant Jackie Evans

When FOF Jackie Evans was eliminated from Season 5 of the Biggest Loser, she was 90 pounds lighter and had more energy than she’d ever had her entire life. Now, four years have passed, and Jackie no longer has a crew of pro trainers and nutritionists to keep her motivated, yet she has kept her weight down and energy up. How does she keep charged? Here, FOF chats with Jackie Evans about her post-Biggest Loser weight loss and energy secrets.

How did you get involved with “Biggest Loser?”
I had watched Biggest Loser every season. I’d sit with a bowl of popcorn with a stick of butter on it and say, ‘why can’t I lose weight?’ I wished I could be on the show but thought they wouldn’t let anyone my age compete.. They were having an open casting in Chicago and I encouraged my son Dan to go. He tried out and made the show, but the producers said, ‘we have a twist, this season duos will compete, is anyone else in your family overweight?’ And he said, ‘yes, my mom.’ They interviewed me, then they interviewed us together and low and behold we made the show.

Before you competed on The Biggest Loser what was your energy like?
I had no energy. I’d come home from work and I was exhausted. I had chronic fatigue. I remember my first day on the Biggest Loser, they wanted us to run on the treadmill. I couldn’t even run twelve seconds. By the end, I could run 45-minutes straight non stop. This year, I’m running 19 half marathons with my son Dan as part of an initiative called Team Future.

What is Team Future?
Since Dan and I lost a combined 225 pounds, we’ve been lucky enough to share our story with thousands. Our goal has been to educate children and families on the importance of exercise and healthy eating habits. We established a non-profit with this mission called Kids Fit. Dan and I [Team Future] are running a total of 500 miles to raise money and awareness.

You really went from not being able to run for twelve straight seconds to marathons?
Yes, [but a secret is] that I do the run-walk which is different than just running. You make your own intervals. When I first started I would run for 1 minute and walk for 6. Now I run for a minute and a half and walk for 3. Nineteen half marathons aren’t good for your body at all. You’ll break your body down instead of building it up. The run-walk is an incredible challenge every time I do it. It’s cardio challenge, interval challenge and energy booster, yet I’m not destroyed and I don’t feel punished.

What was a day in your life like before competing on The Biggest Loser?
I’ve always been an early riser. I’d get up between 6 and 7 in the morning and have what I call ‘me time.’ I’d drink a cup of coffee or two, sit in my chair and ponder and plan. Then, about 9 a.m. I’d go into work and grab another cup of coffee on the way out the door. No breakfast. I’d work all day at my computer. I knew if I ate I’d get tired, so I didn’t eat until 3 p.m. I’d eat whatever we were ordering out, maybe a sandwich, a burger or barbecue chicken. Then about an hour later, around 4 p.m. I’d get so tired. I’d want to take a nap, I’d try more coffee. Finally around 5 p.m. I’d go home, turn on my Tivo get my shows going, and pretty much eat all night long. I’d tell myself, ‘I had a heavy lunch I’m only going to eat a little something.’ So I’d have some cheese, I’d still be hungry and then I’d eat a half a sandwich. Then, maybe I’d have some popcorn. Then it would be back to bed and I’d pick up the same thing the next day.

Were you always overweight?
I struggled with my weight all my life. I tried every diet, I own every weight loss gadget you can buy on TV. I never ate regular meals. I found out when I was on The Bigger Loser that my yo-yo diet destroyed my metabolism.

What is day in your life like now, almost four years after to competing on The Biggest Loser?
I still get up early and have my “me time.” I have one cup of coffee instead of four. I eat breakfast now — four egg whites and one whole egg and one cup of fruit. I do three 12-minute workouts before I leave for work–  abs, lower body and upper body. Once I’m at my office, I set an alarm on my phone to tell me to eat every few hours because I can get so caught up in my work and forget to eat. For lunch I have a sandwich with four ounces of turkey, mustard (only 5 calories!) and lettuce on Ezekial bread, the whole thing is 450 calories. I cut the sandwich in half and eat each half a few hours apart. When I get home, I’ll have a protein bar, then I go outside and run a minimum of three miles but sometimes up to six. After, I’ll eat dinner — usually just protein and vegetables. Then I’ll watch TV in my chair, not in bed like I used to and go to bed at around 11 p.m.

Do you still get sleepy in the afternoon?
No. I go a full day and don’t get tired anymore. Food is your fuel. That’s the biggest thing I learned as a ‘Biggest Loser.’

Your favorite energy boosting snack?
I absolutely love Power Crunch bars. I’ve searched high and low and tried every protein bar in the world and these are the most delicious. They are 200 calories per bar and 14 carbs. It’s the perfect snack. On the show, they taught us to eat a protein and a carb together to kick-start your energy. So sometimes I’ll eat an apple and some almonds. For me, it’s about is keeping my blood sugar stable all day. I don’t drink energy drinks.

Have you had trouble maintaining your weight after the show?
I lost about 90 pounds on the show and right now I’m within five pounds of my finale weight. I struggled when I first came off the show because it was a whole new challenge when I was back at home. I had trouble figuring out how to make what I learned on the show part of my life.

What’s advice do you have for keeping energy up and weight down?
The most important thing is to plan.  I plan out what I’d eat and how I’d exercise on a perfect day. I plan a different routine for each day, because I have different commitments every day of the week.

What’s the biggest mistake you think people make when it comes to their energy?
They confuse mental exhaustion with physical exhaustion. I’d come home after sitting in an office all day and be exhausted. But, I was mentally tired not physically tired. I didn’t know the difference. You just need to get active immediately, get moving.

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{Giveaway} Secrets to a breathtaking bod

FOF Rosie Battista is giving away the secrets that transformed her body from this:

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

Enter to win, by commenting below and answering: What part of your body do you love the most?

As she approached her 50th birthday last year, Rosie Battista experienced a true mid-life crisis:

“I had to sell my house in a bad housing market,” writes Rosie on her website. “I had a broken-up relationship, a lost, messy floundering business, topped off with seemingly insurmountable life issues… All of this toxicity evidenced itself in the most obvious symptom of a lifestyle gone awry, an overweight, uncomfortable body.”

In an effort to get her groove back, Rosie decided to tackle one long-held goal: Compete in a body-building contest. Over the next four months, she completely transformed her body through an intensive dieting and training program. She lost 35 pounds, toned up and placed 17th in the competition.

“I was the oldest one in the competition and my 19-year-old daughter who trained and competed with me was the youngest,” says Rosie. “At 50, I am finally comfortable in my own skin and have the confidence to say it. Confidence enables and entitles me to sleep naked!”

Now, Rosie spends her time spreading the love…teaching others how to love their bodies and enjoy their food. She authored three brilliant books: Sleeping Naked After 40, an e-book which includes Rosie’s weight-loss and confidence-boosting lessons, Cooking Naked After 40, a cookbook of the recipes that transformed her body and Mini-Treats, a collection of dessert recipes without refined sugar.

Bonus! Preview one of Rosie’s recipes from Mini-Treats by clicking here.

“I LOVE chocolate, but that doesn’t mean I have to eat chocolate bars, candy and sugar-laden layer cakes. It is possible to sweeten your life while reducing the sugar you consume.”

Chick Pea Brownies

These are a favorite in my house because they freeze so nicely and actually taste like fudge when you remove them from the freezer. With no white flour and no refined white sugar, these treats are delightful and your whole family will be amazed.

1 bag dark chocolate chips
2 cups of garbanzo beans
2/3 cups of agave nectar
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
Walnuts/almonds (optional)

1. Melt chocolate in double boiler
2. Mix beans, agave, baking powder, eggs in a blender and mix in chocolate.
3. Pour in pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

(These keep great in the freezer!)

Enter to win Rosie’s books, Cooking Naked After 40, Sleeping Naked After 40 and Mini-Treats plus a 30-minute phone consultation with her by commenting, below: What part of your body do love most?

(See all our past winners, here.)

(See official rules, here.)

Contest closes February 17, 2011

[Read more about Rosie here]