Many of us have witnessed the remarkable miracle of someone in our circle losing a great deal of weight. “How did you do it?!” we ask, which is often followed either vocally or just in our hearts with “And how can I do it too?!” As the details of what they did, thought, ate and changed to create success come tumbling out, we think “You could write a book and I need it!”
Dian Thomas, LDS author, speaker and TV personality is just that person. Though she may not be in your immediate circle of friends, if you’ve read her column here at Meridian or seen her elsewhere, she feels like one! The warmth, sparkle and humor that bubble through her writing and other work endear her immediately and I’m convinced it’s her Christ-like and joy-filled love for people that made her a TV personality on major networks in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Her weight gain through the years makes her even more real and someone we can relate to. The events, conversations and experiences that led her to a turning point for losing those pounds are also familiar territory for many of us. And now it’s her extremely slow (seven years and counting) loss of 125 pounds from 2004 until the present that inspire us with our own potential for taking the baby steps that lead to huge and permanent health changes.
When she had lost 100 pounds, KUTV News in Salt Lake City did a feature TV story. That prompted an avalanche of questions. She started a blog and began creating columns for Deseret News and here at Meridian including photos, details, recipes and perspectives. Those columns have now grown into a delicious and zero-calorie, 200-page book entitled Tipping the Scales in Your Favor With her years of experience in writing and publishing best-selling books also in her favor, this is probably her prettiest and most valuable book of all.
As I read it, it felt like the wonderful education I received when I went through training to be a Weight Watchers leader many years ago. It’s a mini-encyclopedia of health and lifestyle information, but with the fun of doing it with a dear friend and the convenience of doing it at home. She outlines her personal eating plan, which would be very easy to follow as it is centers around the food pyramid and common foods available at every grocery store. Woven throughout is the guidance and advice she received from her coach, Jackie Keller.
In her first chapter we get to know her better. She has included a few highlights and photos of herself on TV with the stars of the time. She shares how she gained the weight and the circumstances that brought her to a state of willingness.
The following chapters on emotions, exercise, cooking, planning and recipes just burst with readable and truly usable information, beautifully laid out with color photos, (many are her own) charts and lots of areas to make notes and personal entries. Mine is already written in and dog-eared.
For Meridian readers who have been following her columns, it’s a delight to have the valuable things we have read here now printed in a lovely book. The “how-to” information and photos on setting up a system for shopping, cooking ahead of time, packaging, refrigerating and planning for eating away from home are all here! The strategies for managing night-time eating and socializing are gold star winners.
Throughout the book, it’s the photos and self reflections, with space included for making journal entries of your own, that make it come to life and truly feel like you’re conversing with a friend. One of my favorite Meridian columns was where the one where shared the importance of finding an exercise that you love, her lifelong passion for biking, photos of herself on bikes as a child, and the joy she experiences now as she has found that biking makes her healthy and happy. Now THAT’S inspiring as it brings back the memories we each have of when being active was not considered anything but FUN, and that it can be so again.
She feels like a kindred spirit for me because we both love the same things to eat: soups, sandwiches, stir-fries and smoothies! Many of her favorites (banana milkshakes, pureed vegetable soups) are mine as well and I’m very anxious to try her other recipes that also look super-easy and delicious.
Perhaps the most important chapter is the last one, which should probably be read first: “Willpower or Willingness?” which helps the reader determine and establish personal readiness.
In our phone conversation I commented on the fact that she lives alone and feeds just one person, very different circumstances than for most of us. She shared that she has returned to the healthy eating of her childhood. “My mother fixed one nutritious meal for the entire family and that was that! Whether you’re feeding yourself or others, we all need to eat better, and moms/wives can make it happen.” While that’s another topic entirely, it was food for thought on setting boundaries for ourselves and our families.
When I asked her about whether she feared gaining the weight back, she replied: “Not really. Of course the statistics for gaining it back are very high, but I’ve taken so long to do it that this is my life! And I LOVE what I eat — my program foods, especially vegetables. I have a love affair with them. Occasionally I’ll have a treat or a taste of a dessert, but I know what I’m all about. I usually take my own treats with me for socializing and church events. I’ve found a substitute for all the old foods.”
We talked for well over an hour, laughing as we shared what’s dear and funny and important as our health and weight play an undeniably huge part in our lives. When we were done, I knew what I have always known, whether you’ve met or not, Dian Thomas is everyone’s friend.
Dian has an exciting new career as a tour guide leading people, (who become friends of course!) on trips to China. She’s made thirteen trips over the past five years. With her weight at a healthy place, there’s no place she can’t hike or bike to! Who knows, with her weight loss success to inspire our own, we just much join her on one of those tours … as healthy friends.
You can order her book and learn more about Dian and her life and tours at www.DianThomas.com.
Here to get you started on a wonderful friendship with her is her recipe for German Pancakes, a perfect quick fix for every day or a holiday breakfast.
(You will need 4 pie pans for this)
1 cup fat free milk
1 cup all purpose flour
6 large eggs
Dash of salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
½ to 1 Tbsp. butter for each pie pan
Toppings of fresh fruit, slightly thawed frozen fruit, nonfat yogurt, etc.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Mix milk, flour, eggs, salt and vanilla with an egg beater.
Put butter in the bottom of a pie pan and place in oven. Remove pans as soon as butter has melted. Tip and turn pan to grease the entire pan.
Divide the batter into the 4 pans. Bake 10-to 15 minutes or until golden brown. The edges will puff up and tha pancake will form a well in the center. Spoon topping into the well, top with fruit and yogurt and serve immediately. (Total amount of fruit should not exceed ¾ cup)
Carolyn Allen has been providing weight loss inspiration since 1999 both online and in community venues in the Washington, D.C. area. Her book, 60 seconds to Weight Loss Success, is available at Amazon.com Her favorite food is steamed broccoli (lots of it!) with a little butter and lemon-pepper. Learn more about her herbal health tonic at www.MyMiracleTea.com