"Healthy eating needs to start at home, and it is our obligation as parents to set the right example for our kids," says diet and fitness guru Tosca Reno.
Tosca Reno has changed the face of health, diet, and fitness today with her "Clean-Eating" revolution (embraced by Angelina Jolie, Ellen Pompeo, and others), and now she's delivering that revolution to the family with her book, The Eat-Clean Diet for Family and Kids. Tosca talked to momlogic and shared her simple strategies for lasting health and fitness.
Momlogic: How did you turn your life around at age 40, when you tipped the scales at 204 pounds?
Tosca: I was set up with where I was in my life -- overweight, unhealthy, eating a gallon of ice cream at a time. I just thought this was how it would always be. But I got fed up enough when I saw a picture of myself with my three fit daughters, and there was Mom, so unhealthy ... not a pretty picture! I decided I needed to make a change.
I started to eat clean, and I began feeling healthful, sexy, confident. In time, I wasn't craving those bad foods anymore. Once you start feeling that way, you don't want to go back!
I was a person who wore slippers, housecoats, and curlers, and suddenly I had a lean, sexy physique and was entering bodybuilding competitions. It's never too late, ladies! This month, at age 50, I'm on the cover of Oxygen magazine in a bikini! There is no expiration date on getting healthy.
ML: How can busy moms find time to eat right and work out?
Tosca: It takes as much time to eat poorly as it does to eat well. Think about the time it takes to go through drive-throughs and eat the junk food. Think about all the time you will spend in doctors' offices and hospitals as a result of your poor eating habits. You might as well just keep it clean. Mother Nature has provided an abundance of these clean foods -- spinach, broccoli, fish cooked brilliantly. All of these things are simple and fast, especially when you cook things in bulk.
ML: Can you explain the benefits of the Eat-Clean Diet for moms?
Tosca: If you aren't interested in looking better (and I don't know who isn't), do it for the health benefits alone. In the U.S., people have never been unhealthier than they are now. If you eat clean, you'll fire up your metabolism. You'll have increased self-confidence and increased sexuality. You'll look 10 to 15 years younger. You'll be glowing, radiant. And who wouldn't want a tighter physique?
ML: How can you encourage moms to stick to the program?
Tosca: My program has no gimmicks. Many people say that within the first three weeks, they were hooked. Once you start losing the weight at such a steady rate (at an average of 3 to 5 pounds a week), you won't want to go back to the way you were eating before.
ML: What about working out?
Tosca: I believe in order to achieve a tight, lean physique, it's 80% nutrition, 10% genetics, and 10% training. I can get a weight-training workout done in 30 minutes, and I do it 3 to 4 times a week. If you're really focused, you can get a lot done. Like all moms out there, I'm busy -- I have my books to promote, my training programs, my three kids and family. But working out for 30 minutes is not impossible. You've got to make yourself a priority. You have 30 minutes to watch TV at night ... why not walk around the block for those 30 minutes instead? Moms are always the last on their priority list ... you have to move yourself up on your to-do list.
ML: Why is it so important for kids to "eat clean"?
Tosca: I am so concerned about our children -- they are our future. For the first time, children are not expected to live as long as their parents. There is so much diabetes and cancer; so many strokes and heart attacks. We need to stem the flow of illness and make changes at the grocery cart level. Parents today spend more on overdraft fees than they do on vegetables! Parents are driving the nutritional bus for kids -- it's our responsibility to feed them better so they can fire up a healthy, active, lean body. In my book, The Eat-Clean Diet for Family and Kids, I have some fabulous recipes -- even for pizza, birthday cake, and chicken nuggets, the healthy way.
ML: So many of us have New Year's resolutions to lose weight but don't stick to them ... what is your advice?
Tosca: Don't make the list too imposing or too big. We have to be happy with small, small steps. I would like to issue a challenge to your readers today -- if you remove sugar in all its disguises from your diet, you will be a healthier person. Sugar is an anti-food! It's in everything from cigarettes to soda.
Read labels. If a food has something you don't understand, toss it. In fact, buy things that have no labels -- fruit, vegetables, chicken, fish.
Walk for 10 minutes one day, 20 minutes the next day ... soon, all these little small steps will add up.
ML: What are your thoughts on fast food and drive-throughs (especially for children)?
Tosca: My motto is that I'm going to change how North Americans eat, one bite at a time. That one-dollar fast food hamburger isn't so cheap when you think about how much you'll pay later for all the health care that this is going to lead to. And if you're looking for fast, what could be quicker to eat than an apple?
I'm no chef ... I'm a cook only. All the recipes I make are healthy and easy. Instead of eating out, try preparing foods at home for a week. At my house, mealtimes are a cooperative effort. It is not complicated stuff to have your kids make a salad.
Get a piece of fresh fish: salmon, tilapia. Steam some vegetables in the steamer.
Many parents have told me that their kids are now off the diabetes medications since they started eating clean. Most people's blood chemistry is out of whack because they're eating the wrong stuff.
ML: If you had just one message for moms, what would it be?
Tosca: This is the start of a new year. What better time to make yourself a priority? Think of the airport oxygen mask procedure. You have to put your mask on first, THEN put on your children's mask. You must take care of yourself first. Taking the time to nourish yourself well sends a message to your kids: This is right, this is normal, this is how it's done.
Thanks to Tosca Reno ... what an inspiration! You can find out more at eatcleandiet.com.