1. With so many American's on diets (celebrities included), do you think we've become too focused on dieting rather than an overall lifestyle change (exercise, diet, sleeping patterns, etc)?
Yes, absolutely. The whole notion of a diet to me seems to say, "After I lose some weight I'll go back to living the life that got me out of shape to begin with". It's pretty nonsensical when you think about it. I think it comes from the antiquated belief that healthy food can't be delicious. Thankfully, more and more people are realizing the opposite is true.
2. What is the number one mistake people make when starting a diet?
I think being too absolute with themselves and setting unrealistic goals is a pretty big one: "I'm going to only eat raw carrots, rice cakes and skim milk for the next five weeks, and that will satisfy me. If it doesn't, I'm a failure as a human being". I don't think I could make it through one meal of carrots, rice cakes and skim milk without losing it. The great thing about frozen vegetables is that you can have so much for just 100 calories.
3. Have you ever been on a diet and fell off the wagon? If so, when and how?
I was never so much of a dieter, but when I'm stressed I'll sometimes make excuses for why I can have a triple mocha and chocolate croissant from the local bakery for the third time that week. Life can be stressful, and if I'm heading to croissant town every time I'm stressed, well, you don't have to be counting calories to know that adds up pretty damn quick.
4. You refer to dieting as an 'emotional process full of restrictions', can you expand on this?
Eating is one of the first and most intense pleasures we experience in life. It's also a primal survival drive. Along with those things, combine the health and self-image issues that often motivate people to want to diet in the first place, and you've got a very complicated tangle of desires and impulses, all wired directly in to our emotional core. Dieting can be like telling that huge mess of desires and impulses, "I'm taking control". You'd have to be superhuman not to have a hard time with that.
5. Can you please discuss the Giant Difference Campaign and any success stories you've had thus far helping women on the program?
I worked with ten bloggers over a period of four weeks to coach and support them as they made the effort to eat healthy and not backslide into binging on some of the less than healthy items they felt most tempted by. I hope I'm not being too presumptuous in saying that the women I worked with on the Giant Difference campaign have been able to shift their perception of what it means to eat healthy. I'd like to think that, if they didn't before, they now understand that if they're preparing healthy, nutritious meals with frozen veggies (such as the recipes Green Giant provides on their website, www.greengiant.com/giantdifference, they can eat more when they make healthy choices that are both satisfying and nourishing for them.
6. Lastly, what celebrities (if any) have been public about their diet secrets and you believe are realistic strategies? We see so many high profile women in the entertainment industry maintain bodies that are unobtainable for the majority of dieters.
One word: Photoshop. That program twists reality and tortures women. Nearly every image we see in the mass media has been altered in some way. We all need to remember that when we see someone on the screen, magazine cover, or whatever, we're not seeing what she looked like when the photo was taken. So many of us are striving for an ideal that is physically impossible for the human body to attain. As for dieting and secrets and what not, all I can say is that every time there's some new "miracle" diet, the fad runs its course and we hear the familiar refrain: "Just eat a balanced diet and exercise". And after looking at all these great meals and snacks the bloggers whipped up with Green Giant over the last few weeks, that looks to be a lot more enjoyable than any extreme fad diet.