Dian Thomas Talks Johnny Carson, Her Dramatic Weight Loss & Best Selling Books

Episode 113

Video Transcription

Jackie: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take a close look at
what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller and I’m the
founding Director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading food
company. You know during the course of my work I’ve had the
privilege of working with people from all walks of life from all
over this country and all over the world. I’ve been able to
travel to every continent and have traveled through most of the
United States as well and during the course of this I’ve heard
great stories about getting healthy and staying healthy.

There’s a general perception that almost no one succeeds in the
maintenance of long term — long term maintenance weight loss.
However, research has shown that about 20 percent of overweight
individuals are successful at long-term weight loss when defined
as losing at least ten percent of initial body weight and
maintaining the loss for at least one year.

The National Weight Control Registry provides information about the
strategies used by successful weight loss maintainers to achieve
and maintain long-term weight loss. The National Weight Control
Registry members have lost an average of 72 pounds and
maintained the loss for more than five years.

Many registry members follow these basic strategies. Rule number one
they never cheat. They don’t give themselves break not even on
holidays, not on weekends. Rule number two they eat breakfast.
The National Weight Control Registry shows that one of the most
common traits of those who succeed in keeping those pounds off
once and for all. And rule number three they get on the scale
every day. They don’t let the pounds creep up.

Rule number four they put in the equivalent of a four mile walk seven
days a week. Number five they watch less than half as much TV
as the overall population. Rule six they eat 50 to 300 calories
per day less than most people; moreover, weight control gets
easier over time and after individuals have successfully
maintained their weight loss for two to five years the chance of
longer term success greatly increases.

Continued adherence to diet and exercise strategies, low levels of
depression and disinhibition and medical triggers for weight
loss are also associated with long term success. Many registry
members say that these behaviors are common traits but not
something they necessarily do all the time.

Well, my guest today is a woman whose story could be in the National
Weight Loss Registry instead it’s in her book “Tipping the
Scales in Your Favor”. Dian Thomas, author and self-published
the book in 2011 losing amazing 120 pounds. Dian hails from the
beautiful mountains of southern Utah where she grew up in the
family of boys as the daughter of a forest ranger. She
developed wonderful camping skills including a host of
activities centered around outdoor cooking and after completing
her master’s thesis Dian published her first book “Roughing It
Easy” which made The New York Times best seller list and landed
her on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from that came
contact with the Home Show, Good Morning America, and now you
can catch her own Hallmark’s Home and Family Show.

I met Dian ten years ago and at that time she weighed 326 pounds,
I’ll let her tell the rest of the story to you. Dian, welcome
to Food Exposed.

Dian: Thank you.

Jackie: Thank you so much for coming down from Utah. You know I know
people are really captivated by weight loss stories but yours is
unique. What motivated you to lose weight?

Dian: Well, I was here in Santa Monica speaking because I had been on
television for so long. I was speaking about how to do publicity
and how to do performances and I was all finished and all
gathering up and I remember this wonderful woman came and said
you know I went to my car and I decided I should come back and
here’s my card and I can help you lose weight and that was you.
I have been grateful ever since because it gave me hope.

I think one of the big things is and I haven’t done it perfect as you
know but one of the best things is you stay on the track and
even if you slip a little bit, you keep staying on the track and
you stay on the track. Pretty much at whole I’ve conquered it
but I still am challenged a little more when I travel and that’s
a hard one for me.

I’ll still work on that. I’m not going to giving it up but I
remember in the beginning I said to myself I’ve got to find an
activity that I love and if I don’t, I’m not going to stick with
it and so I think that was a huge, huge key and that was riding
my bike and that’s opened up the gate. In fact, this year I’m
riding my bike down the Rhine River and through the tulips in
[inaudible 00:05:38]

Jackie: Wow.

Dian: . . . and in Paris. So it still is a passion for me.

Jackie: That’s great. So what changed in your life because you lost
the weight?

Dian: Oh, I have a new life. It’s totally new. I love traveling and
I was always really active. As you mentioned, I’m from the
forest, and my dad was a ranger, we went out camping and all of
that. So I had a really active upbringing and also I traveled
the country doing promotion, promoting books, but pretty soon
when you get so heavy you’re just looking for the next chair to
sit down and your life totally changes. And it’s kind of like
you go downhill and then coming back up is really difficult.

I remember I used to ride my bike. That was really my main exercise.
I used to ride it for two hours in the morning at home. I would
be so exhausted some days that I couldn’t do much the rest of
the day and I still, I did, the highlight for me was when I rode
across to Iowa two years ago and rode every mile.

So one of the things we do is called RAGBRAI. Some of you may know
especially if you are in the middle part of the country but
15,000 bike riders come to Iowa towards the end of July and Iowa
is bordered by the Missouri River on the West and the
Mississippi on the East and so we start riding our bikes, we
back our back tire into the Missouri River and then you ride
across the state and each day you ride about 60 to 80 miles.
And then in the next day you get another 60 to 80 miles and so
there’s about 25,000 people. So some of the towns that you stay
in are only 3,000 people so here’s all these bike riders, so I
think associating with people who work out and do healthy living
things also is a big help for me.

Jackie: And you have a new career I think in there as I . . . tell us
about it.

Dian: Which one?

Jackie: Well you mentioned like riding your bike down the Rhine River
and tulips in Holland. I think you’ve had a few other trips
that are pretty exciting since you’ve lost the weight.

Dian: Absolutely. What happened, to be honest with you Jackie, is
when I lost the weight I rode my bike so much that everybody
knew I was riding my bike. Every day I was on my bike and a
friend of mine told the travel agent in Salt Lake about that and
they called me when I was in California and said would you come
and do a bike tour to China? I go that’s a no brainer. I mean
of course I would do a bike trip to China.

And so I went in, met with them, and they never got enough people to
go to China for the bike ride but all of sudden I found myself
in China. He said just go take tours for me, go take tours, so
I had been China to 16 times and I also stay in China and I ride
my bike which is pretty dangerous. It’s not like riding in LA
because they don’t anticipate you. It’s like they have rules in
China but nobody follows them so people are coming from all

So I decided Europe is where I’m going to go because they have bike
lanes and they actually have that in China but so I started
doing tours to China and then next one was to Peru to Machu
Picchu which I’m going back again in a couple of weeks. And this
last I just got home two weeks ago from South Africa where I
went to Kruger Park to see the animals and next year I’m going
back and take people on a camping trip in South Africa.

Jackie: Now would that have been possible at 326 pounds?

Dian: No, none of it would have been possible and so it’s really
thrilling and that’s one thing that keeps me going. Like I
said, one of my challenges is when I travel. But you just keep
working on it. I mean a lot of people the thing about weight
which you could have told me is it’s a long-term effort and just
because you fall off the wagon what I used to do is, “Well I
fell off the wagon. I’ll just eat for a week, and then I’ll go
back on.”

But no you get up the next morning and you start and then your own
way again so I think losing weight is a challenge. Our country
is as you know we have a challenge with that and that’s why it’s
so good to have people like you who lead the way and show us. I
have a background in home economics but it’s not just knowing
the information. It’s really applying the information.

Jackie: So how valuable was it to have a coach through this process?

Dian: I don’t think I would have done it. I have told many of my
friends I don’t think I would because it’s a long term you have
to just keep doing it. And again in my suitcase I brought down
some more books to work on tonight to make a plan and I think
eventually I’ll get a plan.

But one of the things I think plagues is we need fast food. Not fast
food in the terms of McDonalds and all of those but when you get
ready to eat. You’re tired, you’re back from the office, you
need to be able to fix it fast and so that’s been my challenge
is learning how to set my kitchen up so that when I go in there
I can make something really fast and is healthy. That’s the

I tell people I can fix . . . this is my kind of mantra. I go
shopping on Saturdays, come home, and if I can set it up like
even pre-measure all of the stuff. Last night as I’m getting
ready to come here I just bought some turkey hamburger and when
I buy it I get about four pounds or so. So I measured it all
out, made the hamburger patties, and put them in the freezer,
and then they are all ready to go. I just take them to the
freezer up, put them in a pan, turn it over, and then turn up
the heat, go into work, and then when I come back out, I need to
steam some vegetables or something like that, and I have a meal.
So it’s fast.

Jackie: Well about doing some fast cooking with me today?

Dian: I would love to.

Jackie: So let’s join me in the kitchen.

Dian: I always love watching your stuff. It gives me ideas to do so.

Jackie: Let’s do it together.

All right, Dian. We are ready to cook.

Dian: I’m excited.

Jackie: I know you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In fact, you do
a lot of your cooking at home. You can do that when you are
home, but do you do that all of the time?

Dian: All of my cooking. Yeah.

Jackie: So I thought that I would give you a couple of another ideas
to take home.

Dian: Yes, I would love that.

Jackie: These are really easy and they are very quick and they are down
your alley because I know you love vegetables. You tell me all
the time you go to the farmer’s market, you pick up what’s
special, what’s seasonal, what’s fresh, what just and then you
come home and create.

Dian: Exactly.

Jackie: And that’s sort of the way this recipe evolved. It’s very
simple pasta dish so its base of carbohydrate is whole grain
pasta, and for protein we are using white beans, and for fiber
we are using kale. So vegetarian pasta dish with just a little
bit of feta cheese at the end, which of course is optional. You
know you don’t have to do it that way but I think that kind of
rounds it out.

So let me get started with some extra virgin oil. As you know the
extra virgin means that it has the best flavor and the highest
purity so we need the least amount because every drop is going
to contribute just a little bit more flavor benefit so just
enough that we don’t burn the bottom of the pan.

Dian: Good.

Jackie: And of course we love to start all of these dishes with some

Dian: Oh yeah.

Jackie: And you know we like to start with something that people are
familiar with because when you don’t do a pasta dish that has
meat or something like that, sometimes your guests are “okay
like well something is missing.” “You know like this more like
an appetizer than an entree,” but the truth is that you don’t
need the meat. What you need is something that smells good and
looks good.

Dian: It really smells good.

Jackie: Yeah, it’s very fragrant so.

Dian: So this is the kale?

Jackie: This is some fresh kale. Now we steamed it a little just to get
ahead start.

Dian: So that’s the big leaf.

Jackie: That’s the big leaf kale. You can use baby kale, you can use
red kale or blue kale or any kind of kale you can get your hands
on but I like the dark rich green color of this. And since I
don’t want to add anymore oil and I don’t want to burn the
bottom of the pan, I’m going to add in a little organic
vegetable broth, and that’s just enough to give it some juice
and keep that garlic from burning and the vegetables can
continue to cook a little bit and now.

Dian: Did you blend the garlic? That’s one thing I noticed right off
the top.

Jackie: I did not. That is fresh garlic, that we minced, mince, mince,
mince. We set it up like you talked about setting up your meals
in containers. We set up our ingredients in these little
containers, food safe containers designed for food to keep in
the refrigerator and that way you don’t have to start completely
from scratch. You know you are starting with something, some of
the harder stuff already done. The beans, I pre-cooked the
beans and these are just white beans. Now you could use
cannellini beans, black beans, red beans.

Dian: You could freeze this ahead of time, couldn’t you? So I got
two great ideas from you today already. Chopped up garlic and
you could do that so you can just put more in.

Jackie: You can do that at the start of week and have it all week long
and the beans…

Dian: The beans could be frozen.

Jackie: Put them in an eight ounce containers or two cup containers and
you are good for the week.

Dian: Good.

Jackie: And then the same beans can be used in many different ways.

Dian: So now I think that’s the key to that because doing it ahead of time
is easy. This is fast food, really good fast food.

Jackie: This is fast food, yeah. And you mentioned that’s really been
one of the challenges, right?

Dian: Yeah, that’s the key.

Jackie: And then another not so secret secret is of course is to have
these salt and sugar free spices available. This is one of ours
it’s Mediterranean but you know you don’t have to have ours to
make this recipe work you can do your own and this is a brand
new bottle so I’m going to do another little trick that I like
to do which is to crush the seasoning and really releases all of
the flavor in the dried herbs.

Dian: That’s nice.

Jackie: Now I’ll let you stir for me here while I clean my hands.

Dian: Looks nice.

Jackie: And I love the smell on my hands of those seasonings but I also
appreciate having something to kind clean of my hands and add a
little more flavor to it. I’m going to take some lemon and go
right into that with some fresh Meijer lemon and I’m going to
clean my hands too. So my hands now smell like lemon which I

Dian: So you could use lemon or lime?

Jackie: Lemon or lime either one. And you just want a little bit just
to because we are not making a tomato base sauce here. We are
making a vegetable based sauce so I’m going to go ahead and add
in now some pre-cooked. I pre-cooked a little bit of vegetable
penne, whole wheat penne. And again you don’t need much.

Dian: Could you freeze this as well, couldn’t you?

Jackie: You can, pasta will lose a little bit of texture in the
freezer. So when it comes out what you could do with this which
would take care of the texture issue we are going to serve it
just fresh out of the skillet but let’s say you had frozen the
pasta and it had become a little watery when you defrosted it
and you were like oh it doesn’t look beautiful anymore. Well
you take it, you added some mozzarella cheese, you pour it into
a baking dish and you bake it. Now you have a baked pasta bean
vegetable casserole as opposed to the way we are doing it here.
So you see very easy.

Dian: This is fabulous. This is great.

Jackie: Look at how easy that is. And now to add just a little bit
protein to it because we know we like cheese this is low sodium,
low fat feta cheese.

Dian: Cool.

Jackie: And it’s just going to be enough to again to bring some color
to the dish. It adds a little bit of salt flavor because you
notice you didn’t add any salt.

Dian: But you add the extra. See that’s what I love about watching
you because you know those little tricks to put into to make it
so it’s gourmet.

Jackie: Well, it’s a dressed up version.

Dian: That’s right.

Jackie: Very rustic Italian dish which as you know pasta with white
beans. So it’s a pasta fagioli upscale.

Dian: There you go. I’m going to get you a plate.

Jackie: No, this is going to be your plate.

Dian: Is this my plate? Oh good.

Jackie: I need to dish up for you.

Dian: I’m ready to try to that.

Jackie: Just try that? All right.

Dian: That looks beautiful. One thing Jackie told me a couple weeks
ago is that my food is a little boring, so I came down here to
jazz it up but I can see why.

Jackie: Hot, hot, hot. Careful.

Dian: That is great.

Jackie: Thank you. That’s so sweet but you know Dian I know that
viewers are going to want to get in touch with you. They are
going to want to not only know how to contact you just to hear
your story and hear more of your story and of course tipping the
scales in your favor to find the book but they are also going to
be interested in following you through your travels so what’s
the best way for our viewers to find you?

Dian: Just to go my website, it’s www.DianThomas.com and I do have a
. . . I spell it different without an E but I also have on with
the E so either way DianThomas.com.

Jackie: All right.

Dian: And if you want to see Johnny Carson, you can go to my website
and watch that today.

Jackie: Well, great. Well, thank you so much for coming down.

Dian: Thank you.

Jackie: It is always a pleasure to see you, we are going to keep
working together, and keep up the good effort.

Dian: You have been a fabulous coach so if you need a good coach.
Call Jackie, she’s the best.

Jackie: Oh thanks, Dian.

Dian: You’re welcome.

Jackie: My coaching moment today is about how committing to your goals
helps you achieve happiness and is based on the work of Sonja
Lyubomirsky in the book “The How of Happiness”. She writes that
people who strive something for personally significant whether
it’s learning a new craft, changing careers, or raising moral
children are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams
or aspirations. Find a happy person and you will find a

You know I think she’s right we all know people who have goals but
lack the motivation to pursue them. What really makes us happy
is when we find the drive to chase our dreams. So what is
committed goal pursuit do it for us? Well, let’s consider the
opposite for a moment when you don’t have that significant goal,
it’s hard to feel connected to something. Having a goal gives
us something to work for. It also increases our self-esteem.

Goals make us feel confident and every time we accomplish a step
along the way you get another emotional boost. These lift are
not only reinforcing our happiness but they help us stay
motivated. And third having goals to pursue give us structure
and meaning and we can also have a natural way to connect with
others through our goals.

Related to this is yet another benefit of being committed. It helps
us schedule our time and ourselves and should something derail
us from one goal, we are better built to cope with problems and
replace that goal with another.

Finally, as human beings we have a need to belong and engage with
people if only on a goal-related level. Goals can be happiness
inducing even in virtue of just connecting us with other people
and this contributes to our continued vitality. In the words of
Robert Louis Stephenson, an aim in life is the only fortune
worth finding.

Thank you for joining me today on Food Exposed. I hope you will join
me next week as we take another close look of what’s on your
plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on emPOWERme.tv and
until next week make food your best friend and exercise your
companion for life.