Get Your Free Goodie Box here

How to Stay Slim One Bite at a Time by Sonia Hansberry - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.


This book is dedicated to my wonderful mom and dad, who raised me to be a woman of integrity� Their love, joy, and kindness have always been there for me� I love you with all my heart�

Mom, thank you for your words of wisdom� I look at my mom and say, “Wow�” She is a beautiful and loving mother� She always told me “Take care of your body and your body will be around for a long time”� Mom, I will always admire your style and poise� In my eyes, you are a prime example of a wonderful mom� Her motto is,

“Do everything in moderation�”

S vii s


Do you really want to know how I stay slim, one bite at a time?

Well, I can honestly say: it is truly one bite at a time!

For one, I know when it is time to stop eating when my stomach says I am full! I also don’t eat all of my food� This is not by choice; rather, I have always been that way, and did not realize that by eating this way, I kept my weight down until I read a magazine article about how most Europeans eat small portions� These small portions are filled with some of the richest nutrients and finest ingredients in the world� Since the food is rich in nutrients, it does the body good, Therefore, the food is prepared well and nourishes your body so you won’t overeat�

I am here to tell you that you can eat small portions , too, regardless of what race, creed or color you are� Here are some tips that I have learned over the years�

You can balance your food intake, whether it is rich in nutrients or not like fast food� The number one thing is to eat small portions�

S ix s


Now, this may not be easy for some, or even most� For instance, some people were raised in large families; therefore, they ate as much as they could, so no one else would get it� Other people just like to eat� Still others were raised in the South, and this was how they learned to cook from Mom� Well, let me tell you, home-cooked, and fast food is not the same as it was ten to fifteen years ago� It definitely has more stuff in it than it did twenty years ago� Trust me you can change with just a little willpower day in and day out, just eat small portions� Once again, balance your eating�

Think to yourself as you are ordering fast food, “Do I need to supersize this No� 12 meal? Do I need twelve nuggets versus six nuggets or even three nuggets? Do I need those fries?” This is where it hurts—the fries, one of the most damaging items on any fast-food menu� The fries S x s


alone can knock anybody’s eating habits out the ballpark� But at the same time, just because there are fifty fries in the box doesn’t mean you have to eat al of them� It is cal ed common sense� I know what you are thinking: Who eats three nuggets? Well, I do� Once again, I have acquired this eating habit over the years, so it is normal for me! If not, try to scale back until your body desires to eat smal portions again� At the same, time you have to balance your sweet tooth� The sugar is the thing that sits in your body over-night and creates fat�

I know what you are thinking: What if I am still hungry? Well, grab some water and/or a low-fat snack� If you choose a high-calorie snack, once again, eat in moderation; that is the key� If you get hungry at night before bed, I suggest drinking water and/or a hot S xi s

cup of honey and cinnamon� This will reduce the hunger pains and it is also good for your body� As we all know, most people after age thirty-five, and even more so after forty, should not be eating later than 7 p�m� on a normal workday evening� There are those times where you are at a restaurant, and you may eat a late Friday night or Saturday night dinner, but once again, eat in moderation; instead of that Pepsi, drink water instead�

I guarantee that if you use this tactic with your entire food intake, take up a simple form of exercise, such as walking and/ or using a treadmill, and drink plenty of water, you will notice a significant change in your midsection within weeks� Some people differ; you may lose it on your buttocks and/or your thighs� Of course, this is based on how your body was created in the first place� Put it this way: by eating like this, you will see a drop in your clothing size, leaving you with a body ready for toning� Of course, all this depends on your metabolism�

If you get hungry later, grab some fruit and go to bed� There is no reason for you to be eating before you go to bed� You can try this tactic for about a month and lose weight instantly� Exercising is also good� Remember, it’s always better to exercise with a partner�

In the morning, eat something light, such as one boiled egg, one piece of toast, orange juice and/or coffee� For lunch, eat a half of a sandwich, a few chips, and a soda� For dinner, eat one piece of chicken and a few vegetables� You can actually count them: ten peas, ten string beans, four pieces of broccoli, etc�

S xii s


S xiii s


S xiv s



Females go through changes where they may binge during their menstrual cycle� That’s okay; go ahead and binge, but when you binge on your favorite foods, eat less of them� Try to stay away from the sugar�

In my early twenties, the rumor was to go out to lunch with Sonia�

Well, I found out why! People could order a large meal, eat the majority of the food, and split the cost with me� Their advantage was to eat more food and save money; my advantage was to get a small meal without wasting it� My family and friends knew that even if they shared with me, they would end up getting more� This was a win-win situation for everyone�

I would basically share anything with anybody� Once again, this was not by choice, not by accident, and not because I wanted to lose weight and/or stay slim� This was just something in my genes� It made me think of a combination of my giving nature and staying slim at the same time� Believe me, there were times when people did not want to share, but I would continue my habit of ordering S xv s

appetizers and/or items off the kids’ meal menu (if I could get away with it)�

Several times I would have to take a doggy bag even with small portions� Then one day I got smart: I would ask the server to give me way less on my plate than usually came with the dish�

Now when it came to desserts—and we know how expensive that is—I would also share� Sometimes, I did not want to spend the average six to eight bucks for dessert at a restaurant, knowing it was fattening at the same time� Therefore, I would wait until I got home or back to the office and get me a bag of M&Ms and peanut chews�

I would eat maybe two, and save the rest for the remainder of the week� This satisfied my sweet tooth�

I would also ask the waitress for a small portion� This allows me to eat just enough; too much food on my plate puts me off eating� I am considered a pack rat when it comes to sweets� I would have some potato chips with my sandwich, eat half of a small bag, and save the rest for the next day� If I am at work and I have a sweet tooth, I stake out the candy dishes� I savor that one bite-size Snickers one little bite at a time, and enjoy it like it was a king-size candy bar� This would satisfy my craving, while at the same time cut back on the calories�

I did not realize I had such strange habits until my daughter told me, “Ma, you eat like a little mouse�”

She said she had never seen anybody eat the way I do� I guess that people who did not know me, who would see me at different functions where I would not eat all of my food thought I was doing S xvi s


this on purpose� My eating habits were never a conscious choice� I haven’t told you about the slow eating; yep, it takes me at least an hour to eat my food� Once again, I did this without realizing what I was doing�

This also contributed to me staying slim by giving my food time to digest� I will never forget a time when I was about thirty years old when someone approached me and said, “Stop faking and eat all of your food!” I said, “Excuse me!” She said, “Now I know how you stay so slim” and told me my secret was exposed� This situation was very strange to me, but very amusing!

The amusing part was that someone would be paying that much attention to me at a luncheon where the concentration should be on enjoying the company of family and friends� Once I had gotten over the strangeness, I said, “Excuse me, I have no idea what you are talking about� And anyway, why are you watching me so closely anyway?”

We laughed it off later, and I told her that these had been my S xvii s

eating habits my whole life� She asked me to help her with her eating habits� After I discussed my techniques with her, she took my advice, lost weight, and started exercising� She made it part of her daily regimen� Even now, she still teases me about that moment when she told me off!

People always ask me what my secret to staying slim is� Once I reveal to them some of the things I see that are hurting them, for the most part they listen and my advice works for them� Most of them are shocked that I am aware of their eating habits� With women who are sincere, I spend a little more time telling them how they can lose weight� By this time, I have become aware of my co-workers’ eating habits and have to tell them the truth about why they are having a hard time losing weight and/or getting ready to go up into another size�

Once I reveal to them some of the things I see that are hurting them, they, for the most part, listen, and my advice works for them�

Most of them are shocked that I am aware of their eating habits�

I don’t watch them; it is just that I am aware of my surroundings most of the time� I would also be shocked if someone told me how often I eat certain unhealthy things� Once again, if someone offers you a doughnut or a piece of cake, eat only half and/or take several bites just to satisfy your craving�

The moral of this story is that some people like to eat, and other people overindulge for various reasons—upbringing, depression, etc�

We have to stop the excuses� Push away from the table! Don’t go back for seconds�

S xviii s


I have also had men ask me what my secret is� This one guy would actually come to my desk just to see what I was eating, so he could try and do the same thing to lose weight� I was able to give him some helpful hints�

When my daughter cooks spaghetti and meatballs, she tells me, “You get one meatbal , about five strands of spaghetti, and for dessert you get one cookie and/or one scoop of ice cream�” She finds this very amusing� Yes, this is true� She has also adopted my eating habits!

Don’t get me wrong; you will gain weight as you age and your metabolism decreases� But remember: moderation is the key�

Personally, I would rather have a moderate exercise regimen, eat right, and gain weight naturally rather than gaining weight by overeating�

Trust me, as you begin to adapt to this habit your stomach will get used to small portions, and then your brain will automatically tell you when your stomach is full� You will have gained control over food, instead of food gaining control over you�

S xix s


S xx s

Tips on How to Get Fit and Stay


1. What Is Your Body Saying?

First of all, I have to admit there are all shapes and sizes� There are plenty of diets and exercise programs, and I find that people who go in for these kinds of programs tend to be gluttons for punishment�

With a little common sense and exercise, anyone can maintain their desired weight and stay healthy—and that includes staying away from the doctor’s office� I honestly believe if a person becomes in tune with their body, they can maintain a healthy, slim, trim body in accordance with their general makeup—basically, the way you were created� Everybody is different; therefore, you have to be realistic and know your own body� This includes your metabolism, your structure, and your genes� It is important to get to know your body�

Just remember your body is your temple, and what you put into it will become a part of you� Therefore, instead of struggling to be or look like someone else, get to know your own body; this will eliminate a lot of frustration�

S 1 s

HoW To STaY SlIm one BITe aT a TIme

2. How to Stay Slim

Read the Entire Book�

3. lose Ten Pounds in Ten Days

I know you have seen these commercials� Crashing does not help you� You have to wean yourself from your old habits� You have to cut back, eat healthier, and be determined� If you keep to this process you will see a difference in about three to four weeks�

4. Dreaming of eating Instead of Cows

Food can become very addictive, especially during stressful times� If you direct your energy toward eating good food, your body wil give you sufficient energy� We al have to eat, but the key is obtaining the nutrition and calories you need to survive and also to thrive�

5. Depression eating

I believe half of all Americans are affected by this issue� We always blame it on our past, our bone structure, how our parents fed us, hunger while we were growing up, and the famous one—just plain comfort food� These are all lies you are telling yourself� When you find yourself pigging out for no reason at all, stop, listen, and think�

Ask yourself, “What am I doing?” Once you identify this bad habit you can take the first step toward a healthier, more productive way of eating� Also, you may want to call someone to help you through that moment� All these reasons will definitely hold you back from a successful plan of maintaining healthy habits� This concept reminds me of a drafty window� Until you find the draft, the wind will forever whirl you away into food land�

S 2 s


6. Be Yourself

Let’s face it, I am not a nutritionist, but I have the nutritional common sense to know a piece of toast is far better than a doughnut in the morning� But don’t just stick to some boring breakfast, lunch, and dinner plan� Read and educate yourself on your favorite foods; learn to make them with less dressing, less butter, less of everything�

The more you know about food and what it has to offer your body, the better able you will be to create a plan just for you� Yes, you!

You were designed differently from everyone else; therefore, you need to custom-design an eating plan that will work for you� This may take a couple of tries� The key is to be consistent� Consistency brings results� Just don’t give up�

7. ‘Come on, I Know this nice Restaurant’

You have heard this before� Either it is your pocketbook that does not want to go or it is your diet plan you worked so hard to maintain!

Changing your eating habits is just as important as losing the weight�

This is one of those moments where you have to tell your friends what you are trying to accomplish� A true friend will support you�

Your willpower will allow you to do what’s best for you� Eventually, you will look good; once this happens, your friends will respect you—not to mention also wanting to follow your regimen�

8. The I See, See, eat, eat Balancing act!

Oh boy! This is a tough one� At one time during our earlier years, we were able to eat and eat� Then we were able to eat and do a little exercise� Well, that combination becomes more like eat right and exercise daily after your mid-thirties� During this time of your life, it is important to burn as many calories as possible�

S 3 s

HoW To STaY SlIm one BITe aT a TIme

Losing weight and weight control have a lot to do with the number of calories consumed versus calories burned in your body� If you eat more calories than your body has burned, your body will retain the fuel as fat to be burned when it is needed� On the other hand, if you take in the same number of calories that you burn, your body will draw on stored energy—fat—and burn it up to keep it going� The amount of calories needed by your body depends on gender, age, build, metabolism and—most importantly—your activity level�

When you are active, you burn more calories than when you are sedentary� All other factors being equal, it takes a 130-pound person approximately thirty calories to sit and watch TV for a half hour�

Doing desk work for the same duration burns twice that number�

Play a rousing game of ping-pong and the ante is upped to about a hundred calories� Walk two miles in that half hour and the calorie consumption is raised to something closer to 160� Thirty minutes of climbing stairs burns a fabulous 440 calories�

It’s is no secret that when you are active you burn more calories than just sitting around� Sitting down and watching TV takes about thirty calories, but reading the newspaper will burn twice that much�

If you play a game of pool you are talking about approximately a hundred calories� Walking and climbing stairs burns approximately five hundred calories�

The above example not only burns the calories, but also builds a greater rate of calories in general� Basically, they are considered bonus calories as a result of the exercise� It reminds me of reward points on a credit card: every time you charge an item, you get reward points�

S 4 s


When you make exercise or some other activity a part of your life, it will diminish your appetite� The best part is that this discourages overeating�

I find that after a brisk walk I feel a noticeable lift in my mood�

Because many people overeat to offset feelings of boredom, sadness, or loneliness, that mood change will offer a positive effect on weight loss as well� Your sense of well-being will depend less on food, and you will learn to eat only due to actual hunger� Therefore, watch what you eat, and count calories if this helps� Keep in mind that it is great to exercise and eat right, but just remember that success really happens when you pay as much attention to exercise as you do diet�

9. I Was Raised on Collard Greens, Cakes, Pies, and mashed Potatoes. What Do I Do now?

How many times have you heard this excuse? People are quick to use this excuse for explaining problems with losing weight and why they gain weight� Their mentality is, “Since my mom and dad fed me like that thirty years ago, I will continue to eat like that, including feeding my kids the same way�” Most of childhood has close emotional associations with family history�

Now, for me, it was my sweet tooth that was my parents’ downfall�

Even to this day my mom still desires something sweet after dinner�

Therefore, my sister and I developed the same habit� This was fine for me about ten years ago� Now it is three Oreos and 2-percent-fat milk, whereas ten years ago it was ten Oreo cookies and a full glass of whole milk� The point is not to toss the old out, but rather to make realistic, conscious choices� If childhood habits serve your S 5 s

HoW To STaY SlIm one BITe aT a TIme

adult priorities, enjoy them to the full� If they get in your way, acknowledge the need to look for new options�

10. You Will Know When it is Time to eat People associate eating with your stomach growling� When you feel your stomach growling, wait at least ten minutes before responding�

If this technique does not work, still wait and see� If hunger still persists after you drink a large glass of water, then eat some fruit and/or a high-energy snack� Fruits, low-fat yogurt, almonds, or a couple of crackers are good high-energy snacks� Drink one more glass of water� If you are used to eating high-fat processed snacks, the whole natural-food regimen may not be appealing� For the most part, people have found that high-calorie snacks do not satisfy their energy needs without leading to more cravings�

11. Be Realistic with Your Decisions

Any time you are faced with the challenge of losing several pounds, it can seem much more realistic over a period of time� Dieting and exercising is new to you and you need to pace yourself� Set small goals� I would cut everything in half� With exercise, start out gradually, and then build up to your full potential� Repeat this process; you will eventually get used to it� The weight loss will add up before you know it� Eventually you will realize how much power you actually have to make the life that you want�

12. Forgive Yourself

Don’t beat yourself up� There will be days when your eating and exercise plan will feel unbearable� Whenever change occurs, we have to adapt to it� It all starts with your attitude: if you get down S 6 s


on yourself, you will lose confidence, and your confidence level will short-circuit your hopes and goals�

The key to unlock your power is to realize you are only human� You are going to make mistakes, and the majority of those mistakes will be rebellious moments of eating what you want and not exercising�

But remember you can only change on the basis of your undesirable experiences� Therefore, forgive yourself if you get off the track�

Live and learn� Basically, draw a bridge and get over it�

13. Watch Food-Centered Socializing

This will definitely either make or break your desired weight and exercise regimen! Food, family and friends, sharing meals, cooking together—these are part of mealtime rituals�

This really creates a problem when you have a busy social calendar�

Most of the time, the gatherings are comprised of fattening foods and alcohol� Therefore, the key is to measure how much socializing you do� Remember, everything in moderation; you always have a choice—pick the best one for you�

14. Quality of Food, not Quantity

Are you happy with your weight? Well, you have to get a grip on what you eat; it really does matter�

The rise in obesity has been dramatic� I believe this stems from fast food, high-sugar foods, and less nutritional packaged foods� Even though people see the negative effects, they still tend to ignore the facts�

S 7 s

HoW To STaY SlIm one BITe aT a TIme

Have you noticed that people eat low- or no-fat foods in far larger portions than necessary because they believe that lack of fat means quantity no longer matters? This is also a myth with diet desserts and snacks� They do contain less fat or sugar, but the calories stil linger�

Don’t be fooled by the box; you cannot eat the entire box and not gain weight—you will gain weight! Therefore, eat a well-balanced meal comprising a good combination of meat, fruit, and vegetables� Once again, you only need an adequate amount� Once you educate yourself on the proper calorie intake for your size, gender, and activity level, coupled with a wel -rounded diet, you can take yourself off the “overweight”

list� Common sense is, don’t eat more than you need to eat�

It is interesting to know that, in the present age of diet soda, no-fat goodies, and numerous weight-loss programs and publications, the rise in obesity is dramatic� This is definitely a problem that stems from people who eat high-fat and high-sugar foods, fast food, and an overload of nutrition-less packaged food�

Despite all of the information on the negative effects of such a diet, people tend to ignore the facts�

15. eat Small Portions, but Don’t Forget nutrition How many times have you seen the human nutritional needs published by the US government? In school, at your job, the cafeteria, weight loss centers—it comes up everywhere� Well, this information will not help you unless you understand it as well as use it in your own exercise plan and daily eating habits�

Lack of knowledge is the No� 1 reason we fail to maintain a healthy-eating lifestyle� You have to read about nutrition to gain a S 8 s


better understanding of how to turn your hopes for a healthy and fit body into reality�

Read up on the nutrition, get sound current advice, and focus on a concentrated study until you know the facts so well that they become second nature to you�

Make a commitment to that eating style for a least a month� Just imagine: if you replace a nutrition-poor diet with one that follows informed guidelines, I guarantee you will experience positive returns in your vitality, weight control, and, most of all, self-esteem�

Remember, your body has to have a balance of nutrients to function efficiently and healthily� These are some of the reasons it might not be working well:

Eating food with poor nutrients�

The improper nutrients may contribute to a weight problem and other health-related difficulties�

Your body continues to demand food�

You feel a desire to eat, despite the fact that your have consumed as many or more calories than you require�

You continue to eat, not satisfying the real need your hunger represents�

Therefore, you eat more, and on and on� You can readily imagine where this cycle leads�

S 9 s

HoW To STaY SlIm one BITe aT a TIme

Finally, you reach the point of physical and psychological deprivation, leading to overeating�

16. learn How to Stop eating—Just Say no!

Why can’t we just say no to food? We know our bellies are full and we continue to eat� Well, this has to stop� You have to identify the common-sense rules that apply to your worst eating habits and take steps to change them�

I can hear the excuse now! “My mom told me not to waste food,”

or, “We would not have healthy, strong bones if we did not eat all of our food�” Is it not amazing how the habits learned early in our lives settles into a mindset for a lifetime? Of course, our caloric needs were high and our activity was constant� Unfortunately, we continued that style of eating not because our needs have remained the same, but because the habits have a pleasant association with our families�

Another problem is that we eat too fast; we are always in a hurry to get to a meeting, to pick the kids up, to meet the deadline� We only have half an hour for school or work lunch� This creates havoc in our system, which does not have enough time to register that we have eaten what we need—therefore, the brains says “eat more�”

As I mentioned above, I also ate slowly� I did not know these things mattered, but they sure helped me as I got older�

Whatever your reason for overeating is, stop. You have to come up with a better strategy. Therefore, a good suggestion is to put less on your plate, and don’t even think about seconds. If you are being served, tell the person to limit the