Weight Loss Inspiration From "Our Lady of Weight Loss"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 1:24pm

If you’ve ever struggled with your weight (and seriously, how many of us haven’t?) you’ve probably read the standard advice doled out by health professionals everywhere: There’s no magic, fat-melting pill (darn!); eat less, count calories, exercise and you’ll lose weight. It’s not brain science. You just need to get serious about it.

Well, Janice Taylor doesn’t believe weight loss should be serious. And to prove it she has written an entertaining book, Our Lady of Weight Loss. Sprinkled with recipes, “fat-oids”, reminders, art projects (yes, you heard me right) and all manner of tips and suggestions, her colorful, artistically stunning guide is by turns fun, inspirational, educational, and utterly distracting. And who doesn’t need a little distraction from obsessing about food when they’re dieting? Thanks, Janice, for chatting with us.

Buy Our Lady of Weight Loss

For starters, let’s clarify something for readers: What’s up with the Catholic theme? And who is “Our Lady Of Weight Loss”? Have you discovered a secret connection between weight loss and sainthood?
Whoa …………. That’s a lot-O-question.

The Catholic Theme:When I was a kid, I lived down the block from the Convent of Our Lady of Snow. I spent a lot of time there. (My friend’s father was a grounds keeper and my dad owned a pharmacy, so mom and I made deliveries.) The nuns were the only people in town who did not mention my weight! They just patted me on the head and said how good I was. The book is dedicated to the kindly nuns of Our Lady of Snow, Blue Point, New York.

Our Lady of Weight Loss: She is the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal. She helped me to permanently remove 55 pounds and keep it off for more than 5 years, thus far. She inspires, motivates, and makes weight loss fun. She introduced herself to me at one of those group meetings where people obsess about food and weight. I’d reached a new low (or high, depending on how you want to look at it). Suffice it to say, my fat roll had grown a fat roll. I was 5 minutes from never sexy!

Nevertheless, I got on the Scales of Injustice and weighed in. Tears came to my eyes and I thought, “I’m never going to make it.” That’s when Our Lady of Weight Loss gave me a ‘kick in the tush.’ She said, “If you think you’re never going to make it, you never will. You’re an artist. Make weight loss an art project.”

After exchanging 50 pieces of art for 50 pounds, I realized that Our Lady wasn’t just talking about art – she was talking about lightening up to ‘liten’ up. Have fun, do what you love! I wanted to share OLofWL’s message with everyone, so I wrote Our Lady of Weight Loss ~ Miraculous and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal.

Now, sainthood and weight loss: Saints do make you feel loved and it’s always good to have someone to give a shout out to in difficult times.

In the beginning of Our Lady Of Weight Loss, you describe your personal struggle with…um…chubbiness. How significant has the “weight issue” been in your life?
Babies usually lose an ounce or so their first week. Not me. I was the only baby to gain weight in the hospital nursery. An ominous sign! By the time I was 8 years old, I weighed 113 pounds. The kids would chant “Here Comes Fatty Lu” as I approached the bus stop.

I was a chubby teenager and a double-roller (two rolls of fat) adult! My weight was a significant problem and was definitely in my way. And it wasn’t just an appearance thing. My health suffered—my cholesterol was over 250 and my back hurt all the time—as well as my ability to simply be joyous and participate in life (you know, living, not just going through the motions!). I was self-conscious and never bent over to pick up anything in front of people (wide load!).

Do you struggle with maintaining your weight today? If so, what’s your secret weapon?
Permanent Fat Removal is a process. I am not struggling nearly as much as I was 5 years ago, when I first dropped those 55 pounds. Still, for those times when life gets to me, and I’m leaning towards going on a cookie and potato chip run (a triple fix: sugar, salt and fat), I make sure that I keep the house stocked with good choices, and turn to a project of any kind. Whether it’s an art project or a “clean out the closet” project, I have a list going and supplies ready. It’s as important as keeping carrots and flavored water in the fridge.

My secret weapon???? Okay—are you listening? Lighten up. Laugh. Have fun. Take a Load Off, Mary. Yes, that is a line from a song. Did you know that music activates the same feel good center of your brain that food does? I burned a killer CD of the most fun, energetic, food music I could find. One of my favorite songs is the Cabbage Roll and Coffee Polka. It’s a scream and makes me smile, big time, as I motor around the park in the wee hours of the morning.

In your opinion, what’s the least productive way people deal with being overweight?
Negativity! Plain and simple. How are you going to move forward in any area if you keep telling yourself that you can’t? One of the things I do as a weight loss coach and in my workshops is help people to first see how they view weight loss and then turn it around. I made a list of everyone’s excuses. Want to see it? (Of course you do).

Excuses For Not Losing Weight:

Slow Metabolism * Genetically Cursed * Addicted to Almonds * I Buy Cookies for My Kids * I Just Can't * It's So Hard * It's Too Hard * My Husband Is Skinny & Eats A Lot & I Have to Eat with Him * I Don't Want to Insult the Host * I Am Stressed * Tired * My Illness Made Me Eat * The Rain Made Me Eat * I'm Depressed * I'm Bored * I'm Anxious * I'm Sad * I'm Happy * I'll Start On Monday * Start Tomorrow * I Love Food * Food Equals Love * Addicted * Can't Quit * Can't Give Up Chocolate * Food Is My Friend * Simply Not Inspired * Food Calms Me * Guilt * Member of the Clean-Plate Club * I'm Hungry * I Can't Exercise * It's the Drugs I'm Taking * I'm Peri-Menopausal * I'm Post Menopausal * I'm Pre-Pubescent * College Food * My Lifestyle Is Not Conducive * It's Winter * It's Summer * No Time for Exercise * No Time to Food Shop *Not Motivated * I Can't Afford to Eat Healthy * Can't Afford a Trainer * Can't Afford to Join a Program * I Just Can't Afford it * I'm Healthy for a Few Days But ... * I've Tried Before * I Always Fail * I Eat Out a Lot * It's My Birthday * Lots to Celebrate * Travel Makes It #006600Impossible * I'm Trying * I'm Too Busy to Focus * Not a Good Time * I'm Injured * I Always Fall Off the Wagon * I'm Doomed * I'm Overwhelmed * Too Old * Too Young * I've Been This Weight My Whole Life *

What’s your excuse?

Did I forget any?!

How important is self-esteem when you’re trying to lose weight?
Sweetheart (is it okay if I call you sweetheart?), you gotta learn to love yourself. It’s number one on Our Lady of Weight Loss’s Ten Commandments to Permanent Fat Removal. I can tell you, too—having been on both sides of that fence—that loving yourself is a good thing. There’s no reason to beat yourself up for eating a muffin. When I was a kid my grandmother used to say that it wasn’t nice to say or think too highly of yourself because people would think you’re conceited. Bologna! There’s no arrogance in loving yourself.

We’re all fabulous!

Are the “Confessions” your way of trying to gain absolution from your personal diet guilt? What’s the significance of guilt when you’re dieting?
One of the biggest pit-falls for dieters is that we take one bite of the brownie and then go on a 10 year diet-detour. I know—I’ve done it. (A sad tale that’s too long for this interview. Essentially, I lost 40 pounds. Then, with one bite of cheesecake, I did myself in for 10 years!)

So the really important thing is that we get back on the wagon, fast. No one is perfect. Least of all me; and yes, I am confessing a lot and hopping back on the wagon. Which is considerably easier for me now than it was 50 pounds ago. I’m graceful about it now! As Our Lady of Weight Loss says, “All Is Forgiven, Move On!” (FYI, she’s making bumper stickers to that effect.)

You give readers lots of art projects. Does making art help with weight loss--even if you’re not an artist?
The projects in the book are D.I.Y. arts and crafts project. I call them “Pious Projects”! You don’t have to be an artist to be creative or to make a Tape Measure Bracelet. All you need is a plastic or cloth tape measure, elastic thread and a needle! It’s easy as pie (my grandmother made a killer apple pie…oops, I digress). And it’s a fabulous conversation piece! (Guys comment on it too, if you’re in the market for one!)

Some of OLofWL’s readers have found other ways to tap into the ‘thinner cores.’

Anita G., from Long Beach, California, got so involved in teaching her dog tricks and dressing him up in glitzy outfits (well, she lives in Hollywood) that the dog now has an agent, and Anita is now a stage-mother! She’s thrilled; she’s connected to her ‘thinner core’; and she has already lost 7 pounds. Instead of staying home and moping about, she’s busy at auditions talking to the other dog moms!

Sally joined an organic food co-op. Not only does she get her fruits and vegetables at cost, she met a guy! She gained about 165 pounds of hunkin’ man!

And another Kick member started to read the pile of books that she’d accumulated over the past 2 years! She’s outta the kitchen!

So you see, it’s about embracing a fun and cultivating a creative approach.

There are 42 “Kicks” in the table of contents. Describe what a “Kick” is and why you organized your book this way.
When Our Lady of Weight Loss first came to me, she pretty much gave me one mighty ‘kick in the tush’ to get me going! So, each chapter is a Kick, short for Kick in the Tush! She dictated the book to me, so honestly I don’t know why 42 Kicks. I thought it might have to do with the I-Ching. Only she knows for sure!

By the way, I publish a weekly e-newsletter called “Our Lady of Weight Loss’s Kick in the Tush Club”. It’s free and it’s totally fun. To sign up and get weekly motivational tips, recipes, and projects, just go to my website. The KICK in the TUSH newsletter has sparked KitT chapters all over the country, like “The Mystic Order of the Anti-Fat and End of Dunlop Chapter of the KITT Club”, Cleveland, South Carolina. Their primary objective is to use comic relief to deal with the worst ailment known to 'our' kind—Dunlop Disease (as in, my belly dun-lopped over my belt)!

Where did you get all those easy recipes?
I made them up! Can you imagine?! I was the send-out queen. My pointer finger hurt from hitting those buttons. I ordered-in with a vengeance.

Making friends with the kitchen is a process, too, and although I have made great, great strides, I don’t want to push it and be in there for long periods of time. So these recipes are easy, tasty, low in calories and fat, and fast! Most are one-bowlers.

Everyone loves lists. Will you give us your “Top 10 Tips” for losing weight?
Here’s an abridged version of Our Lady of Weight Loss’ Ten Commandments to Permanent Fat Removal.

#1 Thou shalt honor and believe in thyself.Our Lady of Weight Loss believes in you and is with you every ounce of the weigh.

#2 Thou shalt move thy booty. Move it and move it some more. (Pretend you’re Madonna! Blast the music and dance in your underwear…when no one's home, of course.)

#3 Thou shalt never go hungry again. Eat small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. (Mini-meals decrease the chance of a ravenous hunger setting in and taking over—causing you to act in a reprehensible hoggish manner.)

#4 Thou shalt stock thy fridge with the right stuff—the fruits and vegetables of the earth. Ripe juicy fruits and sexy vegetables! What could be better than these delectable earthly delights?!

#5 Thou shalt honestly write it down. If you bite it, you must write it. (After all, YOU are responsible for what YOU put in YOUR mouth!)

#6 Thou shalt weigh and measure – thyself and thy food. You can’t fool Mother Nature or the Scales of Injustice.

#7 Thou shalt drink enough Holy Water to frighten Noah and map out all the restrooms in thy village. Water is a natural appetite suppressant and helps us to digest our food. It even promotes weight loss and helps the body to metabolize fat into energy. Bottoms up, baby!

#8 Thou shalt not deny thyself a treat now and then. Ninety percent of women crave chocolate. Chocolate has a soothing effect, and its taste alone brings pleasure. For weight loss purposes, stick with dark chocolate in small and savored amounts.

#9 Thou shalt not eat out of misery, boredom, anxiety … but should thou indulge, thou shalt forgive thyself. Our Lady of Weight Loss absolves you of your food sins. All is forgiven. Move on.

#10 – Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s plate. Dinnerware should be either black or blue. The color of the plate subconsciously affects your appetite. Dark colors diminish your appetite. Bright colors, like red, stimulate your appetite.

At the beginning of Our Lady Of Weight Loss, you admit that your goal with your book isn’t to tell people how to lose weight and keep it off. What is your goal?
Our Lady of Weight Loss is about ‘lightening up.’ It’s about being your absolute best—having fun, being inspired and motivated. And if you happen to permanently lose weight in the process, and people are slippin’ and slidin’ on that fat trail you’re leaving behind you, all the better!