GL: We have the privilege
of having Celeste with us tonight - thanks for joining
GL: And I just wanted to spend
a little time tonight talking about your story and
your weight loss and how you have been really successful
with that.To start with, you have lost about 30 pounds,
C: About 35 now.
GL: Really? Great! And
I remember the first email message I received from
you and just the excitement in your message. I think
this just really made a big change in your life in
a lot of ways. So would you just start by telling
us a little bit about that. What is different
now? What are you excited about?
C: Well, my overall health,
of course, is different. But I think that the
other thing too is that because of the success of
actually losing weight, how much confidence I have. I
tend to be a really, really shy person but I am much
more confident in myself in making decisions and stuff
like that. And I am really excited about maintaining
it. I am excited to see my body take shape. I am excited
to see my body do things I didn’t think I would
be able to do. Because I am going to be 40 next
year. So, it’s a really amazing transformation
point in my life. You know, I figure I am going to
be 40—I am not really old, but I was pretty
set in my ways.
GL: Good. And you mentioned
that you are thinking about going back to school to
C: I am going to become a nutritionist! I
was really inspired by you. I like the way you
help people. When I first—I had tried by the
way—I don’t think there was a weight loss
plan out there that I did not try. You know,
from juice fasts to lose 10 pounds—I did Weight
Watchers. Before I was a vegetarian I did Atkins,
Bevone. I mean, forms of those diets before they were
really called Atkins or Bevone, but the high protein
And really—I mean, I would
lose some weight on them, but I would never lose a
really significant amount of weight and I would never
be able to maintain that weight loss, ever. Within
a few months, the weight came back. But I guess when
I got involved with your program, the huge difference—I
had even been to another nutritionist before I actually
came to you. The difference that your program gave
me, what kind of inspired me to go back to school,
was that I was educated about what I was eating, which
I hadn’t been before. Actually, I had a
book that educated me about whole wheat. I mean,
things, you know—things I really didn’t
know, you know. And that made a big difference
And it kind of inspired me to think
like—I would like to be able to do what you
did for me, for somebody else. My goal would
be—I would love to work in a hospital kind of
setting, where people have maybe come in, have a health
crisis, maybe diabetes or something like that. Where
they really have to re-think their food life. I would
like to be that person that kind of guides them. So
yes—this has completely, really changed my life. I
am very excited about it.
GL: Good. Well. Let’s
talk a little bit about exercise.
GL: When you first tried to
lose weight this time, were you exercising then? Or
did you start as you started trying to lose weight?
C: As I started losing weight. By
the way, you were also the first person who ever told
me to exercise. Even the previous nutritionist
did not tell me to exercise to lose weight!
GL: You're kidding!
C: No. I am not kidding you. I
When I first started, I was very
resistant to the exercise. You know—a million
things. “I don’t have the time”. But
it is about making that time. But I did notice
that I was feeling different on this—I don’t
want to say diet—but it is. It is like
a life-style really. I felt very different. So
I felt like I had a little more energy even before
I started exercising. Within a few weeks I started
feeling better. And I thought, you know—and
every time we had our conference calls, you were stressing
the importance of taking your body and moving it around
every single day.
Because we really do live life-styles.
We go to work. We sit behind a desk, you know. I guess,
you know, unless you’re on a construction site
or something, we really don’t get a lot of exercise
in our day-to-day lives.
C: So I started doing that. I started
getting up in the morning and just walking at first.
And then the walk became like, I did the interval
thing, where I would walk and then I would run and
then I would walk. I got the heart monitor. And
then it just became where I realized that I could
run for a longer period of time. And now I am running
GL: And that is exciting I bet—to
be able to do that.
C: It is! The first time
I was able to make a complete loop around the park,
I couldn’t believe that. I mean, there
was a point when I first started doing this that I
thought, “Well, if I can just keep up the walking
every day I would be happy with myself.” And
then I realized, before I knew it—within six
months I was able to complete that loop. You know?
And I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t
believe that it was me doing that. It was amazing.
So the exercise was huge. But it wasn’t just
that—you also encouraged the weight lifting.
C: So I do lift weights three times
a week. The weight loss has been great, but it
has been the weights that have given me a very, very
sculpted body. You know, I have a lot of definition
in my arms now that I never had. I have shoulders! I
never had that. So I do the weights three times
GL: Good. Now, I know that
you mentioned that you have also done a few races,
which are—I think, very motivational to exercise
consistently. And I think you said you found
the same thing. So at what point did you do your first
race? Was it several months after you started
exercising? Did you set that as a goal? Tell
us about that.
C: The first race I did was
the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Race. I really
said, “I am not going to run. I am going to
walk it.” But the thing that actually got
me walking in the morning, was—there was one
of the weekly newsletters that you sent around saying,
“Sign up for something you can’t get out
of”, kind of thing. You know. Sign up for
something that you can’t back away from. And
I had raised something like $400 or $500 and I was
like, ”Oh my God, I can’t NOT show up!” So
it really made me get up and walk every morning. The
first race I did, I walked most of it. But I finished
it—3.1 miles. That was the first year.
This year I ran the whole thing and it was like nothing—3.1
miles. It was like, “Oh my God, it was
easy!” It is amazing the difference a year
can make, you know, just from where I started to where
I am now.
C: But now I am also running
my second race this weekend, four miles. So. It
is really exciting, raising money again for another
charity, God’s- Love-We-Deliver.
C: Mmhmm. They are a charity
that started out delivering meals to people who have
AIDS and cannot get out of the house. Now they just
basically have expanded the program. They still deliver
meals to AIDS patients, but they also deliver meals
to people who are just shut-ins and can’t get
out. It is just a really wonderful program. It is
one of my favorite charities.
GL: Great. So—is that a 4-mile
C: Four miles, this Saturday.
GL: You know, you have an excellent
point Celeste. And I think you are not the only
one I've heard say that. When you lock into something
and commit to it and pay for it—sign up for
the race, pay your entry fee, and you feel committed—
You are much more likely to be consistent with exercise
if you know you are committed to that and you have
to do it. So that’s great. Good way to
C: It is. This is really,
really exciting for me. Like I say, when I look at
myself now—and the photos are on your website—[laughs]
I am AMAZED. It is like psychologically, I don’t
think I ever realized how heavy I had gotten until
I started losing the weight. And is what is amazing
to me is that people I hadn’t seen in a long
time who I ran into did not even recognize me.
GL: I bet you are having fun with
C: It was fun. Because
somebody said to my husband, “You know, I don’t
know—I saw you around town with some girl!”
C: And he goes, “That’s
my WIFE!” And they go, “No way!” And
he says, “Yeah, that’s my wife!” So
it was a little bit of fun. I was like, “Well,
you shouldn’t have told him.” You
know. But, yeah, it is exciting. It is hard
to believe when I look at myself, it is actually hard
to believe the life I had before this. Because
it is so much a part of my life now, that I am like,
“I can’t imagine that there was time when
I wouldn’t have gotten up and worked out.” And
it is that—you know. In the beginning it was
slow for me. I am not going to deny that it was a
struggle. There may have been a few times that
I would curse you, actually. “I can’t
believe that Greg thinks this is a good idea!” You
know? But now, I get it. There is that point
when you make that connection. You completely—“Oh! I
get it! Look at me!” You know? I do
feel better. There would be a point where if I didn’t
exercise, I would feel like I wasn’t going to
have as good a day.
GL: Yes. Now, other than
the motivation of looking forward to the races, Celeste,
is there anything—especially early on when it
gets tough—is there anything that motivated
you? I mean, in starting to see a little progress,
for example, motivation—what kept you going
when you thought about just throwing in the towel?
C: What kept me going was
this was something that I had done for me. That
is really what kind of kept me going. It was the first
time I really made a step that this was going to be
completely for me. And it was that that really
kind of kept me going, remembering why I started this.
That it was just for myself. And for the first
time I was really proud of myself. And I think that
is what really kept me going.
It is just an unbelievable feeling. You
can’t imagine not wanting that. And I really
am incredibly proud of myself. And I haven’t
been able to say that much in my life, where, “I
am so proud of myself for this or that.” You
know? Most of us go to jobs that we are not necessarily
crazy about. I am one of them. You know? Maybe I wish
I had more money, or, you know? But this is something
that I really can concretely say, I am really proud
of this. I accomplished it with complete commitment
to myself. I can’t say completely on my
own, because you were such a help. But I can say that
I did this completely for myself.
GL: Yes. And you did the work.
C: I did the work. And
it was hard! But the payoff was huge, huge.
GL: Well. Let’s
talk a little bit about eating. First of all,
wrapping exercise up—Just to make a point, Celeste,
to people out there who are in the process of weight
loss or maybe just starting. Exercise has obviously
been an integral part of your losing weight. Can you
imagine doing without it? can you imagine having
lost weight without consistent exercise?
C: No, to tell you the truth,
no. I mean, I will admit that I lost a few pounds
in the beginning because I was just simply cutting
calories. But that stopped quickly as well. As
quickly as some of that weight came off, exercise
was the key to the weight loss. There is no doubt
in my mind that getting my heart in its proper range
and working out—that was what did it. You
know? That was it.
GL: Also, most people that are
successful at weight loss and have been exercising
consistently tell me that it’s not just the
physical aspects, the physiological aspects of caloric
expenditure, but that their daily exercise or near-daily
exercise puts them in a healthy frame of mind and
thus helps their eating to be consistently healthy.
Did that happen for you?
C: It does. Just because
you are taking that time—especially when I am
doing the runs. When I am just doing my run.
Not the weight so much but when I am doing the run. Or
for some people, just starting the walk. It is
a way of getting my day ready mentally. Mentally
I prepare what I am going to eat for the day in my
mind, so that I know when I am done I am going to
go home and prepare my food for the day. So,
I know the minute I get in the door what I need to
do. It is a way of organizing yourself and your
day. And taking that space is very helpful for
GL: Okay. Let’s talk
a little bit about eating. Going into this, what would
you say were your biggest problem areas as far as
eating? Was it what you were eating, how much,
when, etc.? Tell us a little bit about that.
And eating-wise, what changes did you make early on?
What did you find easy to stick with?
C: The first changes I made were
that I got rid of—white bread was gone. I haven’t
eaten white bread in over a year. Everything became
whole wheat. And more vegetables. Even though
I ate a lot of vegetables, I actually added more vegetables. And
I eat most of my calories before six o’clock
at night. When I come home there is no heavy
dinner. Maybe a bowl of cereal.
I would do that for dinner with
soy milk. I actually don’t eat a lot of cheese
or milk. I am really not quite a vegan but it is really
rare that I actually have cheese or milk.
But that is what I will do for
dinner. Most of my calories—I actually
eat more now that I did before I was on your weight
GL: Now, was that a change
for you Celeste? Did you typically come home
and eat dinner?
C: Yeah. I wouldn’t
eat during the day that much. I ate at night. I
think part of was that I was kind of heavy and I didn’t
want people to see me eating. So I would just come
home and I would just—I would start eating dinner
and I would not stop until I went to bed.
I would be so hungry at night.
It was a huge problem for me. And it would usually
be, you know? Like I said, I could eat a whole
loaf of Italian bread with butter! I am not proud
of it. That would be an ultimate dinner for me.
GL: You know, just for the
people listening and people who will be reading this,
that is such a typical scenario, Celeste. Most
people, or many people, eat very little during the
day and typically will eat nothing all afternoon even
if they do eat lunch. And they come home at 6:00,
7:00, or 8:00 at night famished, and when you are
that hungry, you have very little control over what
you eat and how much you eat. And like you said, it
is often just kind of a continuous eating thing from
dinner until bedtime, with a huge meal. That is the
worst possible scenario for weight and health.
C: It really is. It is almost
like drinking yourself into a stupor night after night,
with food. Because I would basically eat until I would
just have enough strength to brush my teeth and wash
my face and go to bed! And it was every single
night I was doing that. Every single night.
I think one of the biggest things
for me is preparing everything that I am going to
eat ahead of time. Knowing what I am going to
eat every single day is a huge thing for me because
I know what I am going to have for breakfast, I know
what I am going to have for a snack, I know what I
am going to have for lunch, I know what I will have
for another snack, and I know what I am going to have
for dinner. When you don’t know, it is
really easy to go off track. So I prepare everything
ahead of time. Whether it is the night before,
or right after my run—getting up a little earlier,
there is no room for me to say, “Oh. I need
to grab something fast,” during the day. That
was a huge help to me, preparing everything so that
I wouldn’t have any excuses to go off of my
GL: That is an excellent point,
Celeste. You know, so many people come into a weight
loss program not wanting to, or not thinking that
they need to spend the time planning. And I just
think that’s critical. You bear that out.
If you don’t PLAN what you are going to eat
you will end up eating things that are quick or available. It
is just critical that you have that planned and set
up. Because when you are hungry you are just not going
to take the time to find or prepare something healthy. So,
that is excellent.
Would you take us through a typical
weekday now, and tell us how that goes, as far as
exercise and eating? Just take us from the time
you get up in the morning.
C: From the time I get up
in the morning—which I get up a little earlier
now because I have to fit everything in before I go
to work. I get up in the morning, I will go for a
run. That takes me, by the time I get to the park
and do the run that is almost an hour right there.
I come home and I take maybe 15 to 20 minutes to prepare
my food for the day.
I don’t have my breakfast
until it is almost like—I am not going to eat
anything until I prepare my food for the day. Which
means, you know, my vegetables that I am going to
snack on, my sandwich with whole wheat bread that
I am going to have. I like peanut butter, so I usually
have a peanut butter sandwich. But I have eaten
egg salad sandwiches which are just as good. You can
find a couple of pretty great recipes that aren’t
really outrageous in calories. And then, when
all my food for the day is prepared, then I will have
my breakfast. Which is usually either soy yogurt with
a little bit of granola, which I really like. Or,
a bowl of some type of whole wheat cereal with soy
milk, which is very nice.
Sometimes I will put a little bit
of dried fruit in it. But again, you have to be careful. Because
you have to watch everything. You know, every
thing you eat and drink has some calories. So you
want to be careful. You want to measure what you are
putting in so you know how much you are eating.
So I have my breakfast. And
then I go through the day. I have my little baggies
with my vegetables and my lunch, and sometimes a piece
of fruit for my snack in the afternoon. Like I said,
I am eating five times a day, which I hadn’t
been doing before—breakfast, snack, lunch, snack
and then I come home to a really light dinner. Which
can either be—if I have had granola in the morning,
I might have a bowl of cereal for dinner. Or, if I
have had a bowl of cereal in the morning, I might
have a protein shake at night.
But I am not insane about it. I
know that the holidays are coming up. There will
probably be sweet potatoes with butter—but I
know that I can have one. And I might, you know,
if I am going to be eating a little bit more, I am
going to be very careful anyway. But I might exercise
a little longer, too. You know? Everything has
to have a balance to it.
C: I went through the last
holiday season and I was careful. I enjoyed everything. I
just enjoyed it in moderation.
GL: Good. Good point.
C: The holidays are tough.
GL: So, the majority of the
time, Celeste, it sounds like you bring your lunch
and snacks to work. Is that right?
C: All the time. I never eat out,
to tell you the truth. One, it is kind of expensive. But
I think the second thing is, having more control over
what I eat has been the biggest part of maintaining
what I have done.
And like I said, you know, I’m
not crazy. Some people will, you know—I
have gone out with friends and I have eaten out. And
I have had potato skins with a little bit of cheese
on it. I know that maybe one or two is enough.
You should be able to go out with
your friends. And you should be knowing—And
people drink. Drinks have alcohol. I tend to
just have water.
GL: Yes. That’s a good
C: Calories, you know?
GL: That’s right. It
is very concentrated calories. And eating out,
like you said, you need to be able to handle that
and do that every now and then. But especially when
someone is in the weight loss process, that is one
of the things that needs to be limited. Because
it is usually hard to consistently find healthy food. And
when we are at a restaurant, we are more tempted.
There is just a lot more temptation. So at least for
a period of time it is just very helpful when somebody
can bring their own lunch and snacks.
C: Absolutely. When I
started the weight loss plan, I didn’t eat out.
I didn’t do anything for six months. It
was six months before I even ate in a restaurant.
Because I really wanted to see something very significant
before I even thought about that. And when I went
to the restaurant—I went to a Mexican place
with my friends, I actually only ate half of it. And
I made a point of saying, “There is a lot of
cheese and stuff, and I only need half of this.” And
I wound up making two meals out of it. And I
was really full, believe it or not, just eating half
GL: Great. Anybody have any
Now, the other thing, Celeste,
what about snacks? Give us an idea what kind
of snacks are your favorites, what you use, what has
worked for you.
C: Some of my favorite snacks are
raw vegetables. I was lucky that I really liked
vegetables. I just wouldn’t really take the
time to prepare them for myself before I started losing
weight. So, I can snack on—I love raw cauliflower.
I love tomatoes. I love snacks like that. Those
aren’t for everyone. But sometimes they
give these nuts and fruit mix, like nuts and dried
C: And you know, a quarter-cup
of that, which is about roughly 140 calories, is actually
a pretty filling snack. And the most important thing
is—make sure you drink eight glasses of water
a day. That also will fill you up.
GL: That’s right.
C: A lot of times I would
think I was hungry, I was actually really thirsty.
C: So, sometimes when I think
I am hungry—In the beginning, the very, very
beginning, when I was re-training myself to eat earlier
in the day, the nights could be really tough and long
when you thought, “I think I’m hungry.” I
would sit down and have a glass of water. And it turned
out I wasn’t really that hungry, I was thirsty.
But those are the kind of snacks
that I like. I like things like raw vegetables. I
am lucky enough that I like nuts and dried fruit. But
again, everything in moderation. I like granola. I
like to snack on that.
GL: It sounds like you eat a lot
of cereal too. You eat it for breakfast or dinner.
C: I do. Like I said,
I am lucky that I like cereal.
GL: It’s a good, quick,
healthy meal. You can’t beat it for that.
C: You really can’t. If
you get a really good cereal and you have that whole—like
how to measure—I think it is in your manual
actually, how to measure a good cereal. When
you get yourself a really good cereal, because there
a lot of cereals that just aren’t worth it. But
if you find a really healthy cereal—I found
a really great Raisin Bran that I like. It is
Skinner’s Raisin Bran. It has no sugar added
to it really. Because a lot of raisin bran has
sugar on the raisins. And I found this really great
Raisin Bran that is pretty low on calories. It is
whole wheat. You know? I love it. It
is very filling. Whole wheat really also gives
you a very nice feeling. You are full without
feeling too full. And because your body burns
it slower, you feel fuller for longer.
GL: It sticks with you.
C: It really does stick with
you. Like I said, a good cereal—it’s
a very healthy meal.
GL: One more question, Celeste,
and we will wrap it up.
GL: Was there a point where
you realized—As you mentioned, you had tried
to lose weight several times before— Was
there a point where you realized, “I’m
really going to do it this time”? How motivating
C: The point I realized that
was from the first phone call. The start-up meeting
phone call that you have, the welcoming kind of meeting.
That was when I knew. I just can’t
explain it to you exactly, but I knew that I was going
to do it this time. Because you were talking about
different personality types.
You said, “Well, you know,
the perfectionists, if they don’t get it right
the first time,”—you know, “I can’t
do this.” And that was me. It was like,
“Oh my God, I mean, how does he know me?”
It was your approach to it that
really made me realize that I knew from that moment
that I was going to do this. I didn’t know how
long it was going to take. I didn’t know
any of that because I had never been on a successful
weight loss program before. But I knew from that
moment, that I was going to stick with it. And within
the first couple of months I saw changes in myself. I
knew I had not just changed my eating but I had really
changed my whole life-style. So it was really
that first phone call.
GL: Well, Celeste, you have
been a big help and an encouragement to people. I
really appreciate you coming on tonight.