how i lost 15 lbs

Boy has this post been hard to write.
Weight issues are so personal.
I was receiving a lot of emails asking if I had lost weight and so I decided to share this with you.

I know right off that a lot of you are going to say that I didn't need to lose weight.
but I thought I did...and so I did.
I emphasize that this is my story because I am not an expert on dieting, in fact this is the first time I have actually been on a restrictive diet.
Bbut what I did worked for me and maybe it can work for you.

Four years ago, when I turned 50, I was 5'6  and weighed 120 lbs.  I was a confirmed vegan and pretty much ate what I pleased and was not bothered by the fact that I had gained a pound or two.  Fast forward to six months ago at my most recent check up I measured 5'5 and was now 130 lbs.  I was shrinking and growing at the same time.  I hated how  felt in my jeans.  Skirts were hard to button and  tight and I was looking to size up again.  Despite my vegan diet, my energy level was dropping and the dreaded middle age spread that everyone says is inevitable was upon me.  tabitha wrote a very interesting and funny post last month on the way women's waists have gotten larger over the last 60 years.  and you know what?  It was happening to me.   You can read her post here.
I really didn't want the middle age spread and so I took this as a challenge, and you know how I feel about challenges.

The first thing i did was make up my mind to lose 5 lbs.  For 3 days straight I wrote down every single thing I ate and figured out just how many calories I was eating in a day.  This was a huge eye opener for me.  I had no idea that I was consuming so many empty calories.  Remember oreos and potato chips are vegan.  I had slipped into a pattern of eating when I was anxious, bored, breathing and maybe even sleeping.  

Next I educated myself about calories.  You have to eat 3500 calories in order to gain 1 lb.  So I figured that if I could cut out just 500 calories a day, I could start losing a pound a week and that sounded sensible to me.  So I looked at my diet that I had written down and was able to see just what needed to be cut out.  I will tell you that the first week was awful.  I was starving!  I started substituting some low calorie snacks for when I was hungry but that wasn't enough.  I couldn't stop thinking about food, I was obsessed with it.  I had to get out of my head and get busy to take my mind off eating.  I started taking an afternoon walk and would even fabricate errands to run just to keep me busy.

I also wanted to keep my diet in alignment with my values of compassion and health. This little tool, sustainable table, is invaluable for that.  All i have to do is enter the area of the country I'm in and bam...a whole list of vegetables and fruits that are in season in my area appear.  This made menu planning much easier and it continues to inspire me to want to eat fresh everyday.

Another thing I needed to do was to slow down my eating.  By the time meal time came around I was pretty much starving and the urge to wolf down my food was overwhelming.  I started by concentrating on each bite and taking a drink of water between bites too.  I think this is called mindfulness.

Oh and btw, I cut out all alcohol and switched to sparkling water at dinner.  And i made sure that we used our small dinner plates that measure 8" across instead of the newer 11" dinner plates. This way the plates looked super full instead of skimpy, which believe it or not was comforting.

By the 4th week my system was adjusting and my energy was beginning to return.  That's when I decided to really get crazy and ramp up my exercise routine that had served me pretty well in the past that was obviously inadequate now.  So I threw in an extra mile in my morning walk, bringing that to 3, and added a strenuous 2 mile hike in the afternoon and I just generally became more active.  I started becoming aware of just how much I was sitting, so I'd grab a rake and go rake up leaves or sweep down the driveway. I'd do anything to keep moving. 

I learned a lot of these tips from my calorie counter.  I signed up online and they send me all kinds of great tips and information.

So it's 6 months later and I'm still 5'5 but now I weigh 115 lbs instead of 130 lbs.  I never, ever thought I'd weigh this again.  It feels great and being lighter makes all the sports I play a lot more fun and a lot easier.  We just got back from vacation and I skied 7 days straight.  I couldn't even do that in my 20's.  My clothes fit better and I feel younger.  And with all the extra physical activity, i'm sleeping a lot better too, which is an amazing benefit.

So in a nutshell I...

1.  found out exactly how much i was eating
2.  figured out how to cut 500 calories a day
3.  stepped up my exercise program and activities
4.  ate fresh vegan foods
5.  slowed down my eating
6.  ate off smaller plates

As you read here, nothing revolutionary.  I ate less and moved more and it worked.


  1. You look gorgeous! Love the outfit too!



  2. Hi Janet,
    Being lurking around for ages now and as myself, I'm one of your followers...but, because weight is is sooo defining, I don't want to admit to ever being fat! You are so brave. Wish I'd seen this post four years ago when I woke up one morning fifty pounds heavier. It has taken me almost four years but on New Years day I had me back...but, four years! I did eventually blunder into a system almost the same as yours except I'm vegetarian! You look amazing! Congratulations.

  3. You have great willpower! I'm glad to hear your reasons for overeating because I'm just the same. At least I know now that you're just like the rest of us. ha.

  4. Thank you for sharing this, Janet. Weight is such a personal thing to deal with let alone share with the world. You look fantastic now...and you looked fantastic 6 months ago. The important thing is how you feel and it is obvious from this post that you are feeling great. Good for you! I will try a couple of your suggestions and see if it helps me to get rid of a few pounds. ~~Bliss

  5. You look fabulous, but even better you feel fabulous! Know what I love most, you did it with no gym membership or exercise classes. You are a sane and lovely voice in my world! Xx

  6. Janet, I forgot to tell you the most exciting part: I've lost 13 pounds in the last 6 weeks. Aren't we both wonderful!

  7. Thanks for sharing your story. Losing weight is hard work. It's so easy to get off track. Your post is a reminder for me to go slow, be gentle, and be sensible with the process. Congratulations on your success.

  8. To the point . . . inspiring . . . I like it . . .
    and you look fabulous.

  9. Great reminder post. I'm inspired to eat better so I can be ready to exercise more after surgery.

  10. That you apologetically opened reveals the sad state of American body image. We seem to be feast or famine, literally. How eagerly we slam the thin AND overweight.

    Living abroad I was often disheartened by comments such as, "You're American? But you're so thin!?". Lack of character and gluttonous lifestyle were frequently cited as culprits. Truth is, they're sort of right. What you did takes immense personal strength and devotion...and you do this on top of your already admirable lifestyle!


  11. Gosh, you are beautiful. And it has nothing to do with weight, it has everything to do with the light in your eyes.

    I am 38 and if i looked like you I would be overjoyed.


  12. Once again, you provide inspiration for us all. And you look fabulous, to boot. More importantly, you FEEL fabulous. Thank you. And please keep the gray -- it becomes you (and you've earned it)!

  13. All really easy things to do but most of us me included don't take the time to step back and take a real look at what you eat. Congrats!

  14. You are right. Weight is such a personal thing. We all have to feel comfortable in our own skin and no one can define that but ourselves. Lookin' good Janet, but more importantly, feelin' good!

  15. Thanks for sharing your story. You look fabulous and always have.

    I love Dr Mc Dougall because he advocates a LOW FAT vegan diet. You can read many success stories
    on his website of people who lost weight effortlessly and regained their health. Losing weight does not have to be about sacrifice and starvation.
    you can eat lots of starchy foods and lose weight consistently. You don't have to measure or count calories.

    I think exercise is the key to weight loss and weight management. You exercised more and I think that helped you a lot.
    You do not mention menopause. You are the right age for menopause problems.
    About 90% of menopausal women gain some weight between the ages of 35 and 55. But they may not necessarily have to blamethemselves for this newly acquired weight - research now shows that weight gain during menopause is caused by shifts in your hormones, not greedy eating.
    Bio-identical hormones help so many women with the issues of weight gain at menopause. Without proper hormone balance it becomes impossible to feel energetic and control
    weight consistently within a healthy range. To me it makes sense that if the body is not in balance it will not function properly. I am into the natural hormone replacement and not the synthetic traditional medicine HRT.

    check this video - thousands of vegans were studied - vegans are the only ones who on average are at healthy weights-! even without exercise-!

    the healthy librarian's blog is wonderful:

    here is what she says about plant based eating:

    The beauty of eating plant-based oil-free, whole grain, no sugar, etc--is that the "rules" are simple to follow. And it just makes life easier, & weight-loss easier to steer clear of certain foods that sabotage both our health & weight. You really can eat until you are full. It's just impossible to overeat because your stomach receptors say, "Stop. There's no more room."

  16. Janet,
    You look fabulous but I understand about those few extra pounds that just make you feel not right. For me, it's a matter of about 8 pounds...when it's on me, I feel completely different.

    Your healthy living lifestyle is very inspiring...I appreciate you always giving us something to think about and work towards in our own lives. xo

  17. Congratulations - you look fantastic!

  18. adoring your skinny self from afar. thanks a million for motivating me. reading this one post may be the very thing to get ME back on track. thank you, janet. donna

  19. Great post. I lost 15 lbs over the summer and have kept it off by eating mindfully and exercising. It feels simultaneously empowering and scary.

  20. I have to agree - you look terrific! And having more energy is such a bonus. Thanks for the encouragement.

  21. For me, this is the best post I've read at your blog, and there have been many that inspired me. Full of wisdom!

  22. Janet,

    You are an amazing woman of many talents and your strengths are to be admired.
    Your posts are well written and the wisdom that you share with us all is so precious.

    I applaud you for your success.
    This is a difficult post for me to read as it just points out to me how weak I am when it comes to committing to and maintaining a reduced caloric intake.
    I have reached a plateau and find it so frustrating all I want to do is give up.

    You look fabulous and the fact that you feel younger and more energetic gives me hope.


  23. Good work Janet - I think it is important to find a weight that feels good for ourselves. I am 5'5" and weighed 130 lbs five years ago. I remember how hard I exercised and how much I deprived myself to stay there. I starved and worked out to get down to 123 lbs and I was rail thin. I could not maintain it. So I am surprised you are finding it possible. I found it to be extreme, so I think my natural weight is around 130lbs (I weigh more than this now!!). But then sometimes I think that we all eat way too much more than we need in this country. You are an inspiration - not to get to 115, but to get back to 130 perhaps! :D

    xo Terri

  24. You are so sensible and look great.
    Good for you!

  25. Could you maybe post a daily example of what you eat? Do you still use olive oil & earth balance? I love your blog!


  26. Thanks for sharing this Janet, your tips are wonderful. All the sitting we do is so bad for our health, I'm trying to be more active too.

    I've also been having sparkling water instead of wine, wine is so delicious but it has loads of calories!

    I'm concerned that you have shrunk an inch. Do you get PBS? If so you would get Miranda Esmonde-White's Classical Stretch show, the cure to stop the shrinking and even regain some height. Wait a second, do you even have a tv?
    I've just received her Season * in the mail, the "Age-Defying Series" of 30 workouts, I love it.

  27. Now all you have to do is work on your self-pride. Remember that ego and smugness can be uncompassionate too.

  28. You look better than ever, Janet. I applaud you for making such smart lifestyle changes.

    I must remind myself to slow down when I eat, and move more - much more.

    Thank you for sharing these helpful tips with us all. You are a gem.
    xoxo, A

  29. You look great, and most importantly you feel great. Good for you!

    Would you be willing to address how you've tweaked your diet and lifestyle during perimenopause/menopause? I'd be very interested in reading about your journey.

  30. susan - yes, i'm working on that!

    anon - maybe you can give me some tips.

  31. Anon 9.12 - really, what was the point of that comment? Speaking for myself, I read Janet's blog because I find she has a style and lifestyle which I find very inspiring and worthwhile. I think that she has an idea what her readers are interested in, and in discussing this topic she didn't, to my mind, show any sign of self-pride, ego or smugness at all.
    Thanks Janet for addressing something which many of us who have crossed that threshold (50)are grappling with!

  32. thank you patricia. it is so hard to share my life in an honest, straightforward way and yet i still offend people.

  33. You look great Janet! Well done!

    Madelief x

  34. I have struggled with exactly the same issue. I appreciate your honesty and applaud your dedication. You are delightful, as always. Have a beautiful day!

  35. JANET,



  36. Sometimes people are looking to take offense when none is offered. Perhaps anon was not having a good and generous day, or has many complex issues around weight and is not able to be gracious about your successful efforts not just to be slimmer but more importantly to be and feel healthier. I consider myself a rather keen critic and I have not detected the faintest whiff of ego in your blog (but am quite aware that I probably exude smugness and superciliousness myself from time to time). Your answer on the other hand was most gracious. It is one of the reasons I really do enjoy your blog.

    But back to the topic at hand--I too have never cast a second thought to weight having always been slim and eaten whatever I wanted...and then suddenly I was 47 and 6-8 lbs heavier and thicker in the waist. Not a nice feeling. And even if not important to anyone else, it does not make me feel light and energetic. So I do not regard it as shallow at all. In fact, if one was healthy at 18 that is the weight one should be for the rest of one's life.

    My only other comment is not to forget the importance of sleep. There are great data showing that sleep deprivation tends to lead to weight gain. Macbeth had it right--sleep is the "Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
    Chief nourisher in life's feast...." and helps us maintain a healthy weight! no willpower required.

  37. Great, inspirational post Janet and you do look fabulous!!! It's cutting out the glass (or two) of wine each day that is nearly impossible for me. :)
    Thanks for sharing this with us. I need to get up off my tush now and go move around.

  38. Yes indeed what are the anony poster's tips for not being smug and having too much ego..??...I'd like to know.

    I am sharing my HEALTH tips - here go a few more:

    I had a pre-mature menopause at age 36. I'm over 50 now and I weigh what I weighed in high school.
    I am 5' 8" and I weigh 116 - so my BMI is 18. But hormone balance was a problem for me for
    a few years until I began using natural progesterone cream. I urge all women over 40 to investigate
    bio-identical hormone replacement. Most women will eventually find themselves battling
    the "Seven Dwarves" of menopause:
    "Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy [ Tired ]
    Bloated,Forgetful, and All Dried Up " !!

    I encourage all of you for your own health and for the health of our planet and to reduce animal cruelty to go totally plant based & eat the low fat way of dr mcdougall.

    If you do then . . . from a diet perspective ... your day might look basically like this:

    Breakfast - steel cut oats type of oatmeal or other whole grain cereal with almond or soymilk & fruit,
    OR 1 cup cooked greens + some beans and a potato

    Lunch - a salad+ some soup + a starch + veggies and maybe a fruit . . . . .
    OR whole wheat pasta with a no-oil sauce instead of one of the above...

    Dinner - same as lunch . . . . .

    If weight is not a problem you can also eat whole grain bread, some nuts, no oil popcorn
    and a chocolate [ cocoa ] banana and almond milk smoothie . . .

  39. Lovely Janet, I haven't visited for awhile. Thank you for sharing your weight loss story. You look FAB. Pay no mind to those who are's a disease you know. Wish them only to "get well soon".


  40. "ego and smugness"??? Anon- why not have the courage to post an email address along with your cowardly rude and snarky comment.

    It's weird, I don't think Janet is smug at all! Funny how people interpret things differently.

    Janet, good for you- I thought your post was interetsing and you look really well. I didn't think you needed to lose weight, but you did, so congratulations on meeting your goal.xxxxxxxxxxx

  41. Thanks for sharing your story, Janet. I could tell you much the same story except that it hit me at age 45 (after I quit smoking), and after a lifetime of eating whatever I wanted and always being slim, it hit me pretty hard. I remember seeing my backside in a full length mirror and being startled because I thought there was a stranger in the room with me (it was me, sorry to say...). I did pretty much what you outline here and in a few weeks I'd lost 15 lbs too. It's been about 10 years now, and with better eating habits, running (and some walking),and a daily yoga habit it has never come back. It feels so good to feel better than I ever have! Good for you on your accomplishment!

  42. Janet,
    You look great! Keep up the good work.

    I work in an office and sit most of the day; I've noticed several people who have begun using standing desks and treadmills in their offices and it's amazing to see the weight come off. I keep meaning to bring in small weights to use during teleconferences . . . thanks for the extra push/inspiration.

    Now I just have to work on being more mindful when I eat.

  43. I had to come back to encourage you Janet, though you are ever-gracious, to ignore this anon@9:12, I mean seriously what an idiot. Anyone can see that your helpful and generous tips are very valuable and can certainly help us, as women, have the energy and health to do all of the worthwhile things we need to do... to feel good is very empowering as others have noted.
    If the comment had any meaning besides being just a sh*t bomb I am quite sure anon would have posted it properly, that is with a name.
    Sorry about the swearing, I know we are trying to cut back on that!

  44. Janet: I have always envied your figure, we are about the same weight and I'm two inches shorter than you.
    I have had a spare tyre all my life so God knows what I'll be like after menopause!
    I religiously count my calories, it's old school but works for me, I gained 7lbs on Atkins and I was bloody miserable, I thrive on a fairly high carb diet.

  45. Uch, Anon must think she is the reincarnation of the Buddha - who by the way could stand to lose a few pounds.

  46. Just the inspiration I was looking for. I am surprised at the body I see in the mirror these days and have recently moved to an almost vegan diet (milk in my coffee, a must have). I have a sedentary job so started wearing a pedometer to remind myself to MOVE! Thank you for sharing this, Janet.

  47. Janet,
    You are so smart and so pretty! Losing should not be so hard, but accountability is what it's all about. I've been trying to lose 10 pounds for 10 years...I know I will feel better. I've just started entering everything I eat into to MyPlate by after taking a break...not a good idea. Now reading this I am more motivated than ever! Your post is so thoughtfully and well written... I turn 50 in May so if this post, seeing you look so fabulous in your boots and the thought of turning 50 with an extra 10 pounds doesn't motivate me...well...that's not going to happen! I just checked out your link sustainable table...very interesting. Thank you Janet for the information and motivation! Skiing seven days straight...I haven't done that since my 20s...very impressive!

  48. I think being mindful of what you eat is half of that battle. I'd probably stop halfway through dinner if I weren't eating mindlessy. And I'd look as good as you.

    I suppose you're going to have to go and spend five bucks on some new outfits!


  49. never a dull moment at the gardener's cottage. You look fantastic (but you did before too). Some day I hope to have as much dedication, focus and discipline as you have. Keep on doing what you're doing Janet!!

  50. It speaks volumes to write a piece that evokes comment as well as criticism. Perhaps even more telling are those who so quickly jump to champion your braveness. They offer even greater evidence of your like-ability and intellect.

    I admire you. And I'm not surprised that those who are are seemingly awash with jealousy still stop by and take the time to read and respond.

    I'd say that your decision to continue blogging was an excellent choice! I'm certainly glad you stuck around. …and I LOVE the banter!

    Keep up the good work!

  51. You were a perfectly healthy weight before, and now you are starving. For someone who professes to be a deep thinker, did you think at all about your REAL motivation for this?

    I don't understand why people are complimenting you. This is not inspiring - this is one more woman jumping on the self-hatred bandwagon until she is thin enough to be superior to other women.

    If women like you continue to "mindlessly" jump on the starvation bandwagon, dieting to the point of being underweight, the media will continue to sell starvation, and sell women's bodies, and sell misogyny.

    The root of the problem is sexism. Do you see men starving themselves to 120 lbs? Starvation is one of the few socially sanctioned forms of self-destruction we have, and young women are being sent the message every day that it is more important to be pretty, emaciated, and popular like the actresses on TV than to actually accomplish something.

    Your weight would be perfect at 125 lbs. The extra 10 is just ego and media having its effect on you.

    While I applaud the exercise, living on vegetables and intentionally going hungry is not good health.

    Lila in San Diego

  52. You look amazing and fabulous. As a woman who is 36, I aspire to look as great as you look now....let alone when I'm 54. I love your approach. I have found that the key to my overall success in any aspect of my life, but particularly in healthy food choices, is sleep. Sleep...sleep....sleep. Thanks for sharing your experience. MamaP

  53. Lila in San Diego:

    Your points are interesting, thoughtful and actually quite applicable to many women's motivation to lose weight, myself included. If you want to attack a woman for struggling to lose weight and firm up to rock a bikini after having two kids....come on over to my blog. I struggle with many of the issues you discuss in your post, and even when I realize that my body image may be distorted or that I've taken my exercise regimen too far, it's hard sometimes to pull back. So, you have valid points. Janet, however, is the farthest example I can think of from what you're describing. She is an inspiration because her approach was thoughtful, personal, mindful and resulted in her feeling better, healthier and stronger. She's NOT out rockin' the beach bikini and wondering if younger guys are checking her out. She's skiing for 7 days, hiking miles at a time and enjoying her body as the blessing that it is. That's not superiority, smugness or vanity. It's just good sense. Perhaps you need to get off the bandwagon yourself? MamaP

  54. Hi Janet,

    Long time reader, first time to comment. You are an inspiration to me in countless ways. I promise...this post will not influence me to starve myself. Reasonable weight loss and physical fitness are worthy goals for everyone. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  55. Several, congratulations on achieving your goal. I, too, lost weight in precisely this manner. Calculating the numbers. I found more nutritional substitutes for some of the empty calories I was consuming, so that I wouldn't feel hungry. I have been able to keep the weight off because this is a lifestyle commitment to a different way of eating. Two, because I did not appear to others to be overweight, and because according to some weight charts, I technically was not overweight (there are wide ranges in these charts), people assume that you don't need to lose weight. That is a personal decision. It has nothing to do with jumping on a bandwagon. I did not feel good carting around an 15 extra pounds, regardless of what someone else might think is a healthy weight for me. Three, I detect no smugness or super-ego on your blog. I enjoy reading. Keep up the good work. Kathy

  56. Great and thoughtful post!

    I've been writing down foods as well and wondered how do you figure out nutrional facts of say, a casserole or maybe a seafood chowder I made from a recipe ? Have you found an easy on-line site for this?

    Love your sensible approach to everything - keep it up!

  57. lila in san diego,

    how do you know my perfect weight? i was starving the first week into my diet which i think is quite normal when you start eating less calories. and when on earth have i ever professed to be a deep thinker? i think i was clear about my REAL motivitation to lose weight. i was putting on weight and losing energy! you are so far off base re me wanting to be superior to other women by weighing less. are you kidding me? i am an extremely active woman married to an extremely active man. i love being physically fit and keeping up with him and my sons through sports. you seem to think you know my "perfect" weight and yet you know nothing about me. this is my blog and i do share many aspects of my life here but there is much i do not share. i really don't understand why you would come here and be so rude and and unkind.

  58. thank you to everyone else for your support and kindness. thanks mama p!

  59. I think Anon's comments about women (the generic "women," not specific individuals) who purposely don't eat when they're hungry just to maintain an idealistic, unrealistic weight, sadly is true for some individuals..we've all seen them, whether at the mall, in the media, or elsewhere. They are sad creatures indeed, and I always think, geez, please go eat a sandwich. Then there are people who glance at a cookie and suddenly gain a pound, just as there are those who have to plan meals and snacks so they can try to ward off losing weight. It's wrong for Anon to judge you without knowing you, your bone structure and metabolism. Being too thin is just as dangerous as being overweight (from an illness, I was barely 110 lbs a few years ago, but when I'm over 120, I look and feel as you did...sluggish, sore, brain-fogged. I'm 5' 4" and by no means lacking in the hip and belly dept). Eating well, exercising so you feel good, not overdoing anything, that's all we should expect of ourselves and of others. Compassion for ourselves and for one another, not judging, not denying ourselves the joy of food and treats, nor gorging on them...moderation in all things, including moderation. And that includes judgments that really have no place. It's no different than anyone slamming you for spending less money and finding outfits at rummage sales. It's your life. We're all just visitors, and will take what lessons and inspirations we wish from you, leaving the rest behind.

  60. Thank you for this perfect post. Although you may think what you did to lose weight was pretty basic, its not. We get so inundated with diets and fads, that sometimes its easy to lose sight of how simple it really is to regain your energy and health. I have recently started on the path to becoming vegan, and though I'm not having a hard time staying away from meat, I am having a hard time staying away from dairy, and I am lactose intolerant and need to. How do you approach cooking and eating out so as not to consume dairy? I guess I'm just curious to know what a basic week looks like for you food wise.
    Thank you for being so honest and I'm so glad you are enjoying your new found health and energy. You are an inspiration. I love every part of your blog.

  61. This post really resonates with me Janet as my husband and I approach an overhaul with our weight and well-being.
    I've been nursing a foot injury for two months which has curtailed my walking and so I've spent enforced time sitting on my backside. Not exercising has Not worked miracles for my middle region.
    So in Feb hubs and I are embarking on an alcohol free month and this weekend I'm hauling out my daughters hoola hoop and letting rip to get the flab hopefully under some sort of control. My calorie intake is pretty good, I take my time eating a meal and chew the food well.
    I understand totally where you are coming from, and to be carrying this extra weight around my middle is making me feel so uncomfortable. Plus I'm finding my posture is suffering. Thanks for the tips and maybe I'll do a post on my success (hopefully) and lets see how many anon silly comments I receive.

  62. @Lila in san diego--living on vegetables AND starches is THE healthiest way to live.

    Here is a quote from DR. JOHN MCDOUGALL:

    "The diet that I recommend is the diet that most people that have ever walked this earth have consumed. It's the diet of all successful populations throughout all of recordable history. There are no exceptions. And unfortunately science or historians or the general population has a hard time recalling history. If they did for a moment they'd figure out what the human diet really is. In recordable history - I'm talking about times where we really have adequate information about how people ate, and that dates back to 13,000 years ago, maybe 24,000 years ago. We really have good records from camp sites and writings and all kinds of things as to what people ate. And if you just stop for a minute you realize that people are starch eaters. All successful populations of people have lived on starch. For example, the Mayans and the Aztecs. They were known as ‘People of the Corn'. So was the American Indian, native American. They lived on corn and squash and beans. That was their diet. As a matter of fact there's a new dollar out called the "Three Sisters" which represents those crops. If you think about Asians for at least 5,000 years their primary calorie intake has been rice. But it's been other things. It's been sojourn and buckwheat and sweet potatoes, but rice is classically the diet of most Asian populations. In the Middle East, five, eight, 10,000 years ago it was millet and wheat. If you look at South America and you look at the people of the Andes. They live on potatoes, still do today, potato based diets. And there are populations that lived on sweet potatoes like those in New Guinea and those in the Caribbean. So wherever you look the primary source of calories for human beings has been starch and when they've consumed those calories, they've had no type 1 or type 2 diabetes. They've had no multiple sclerosis, heart disease as far as we know. Well we have examples of these people living on starch based diets up until recently, and in fact there are a few isolated populations that haven't been touched by the American diet and we can still see that they don't have type 2 diabetes. They don't have coronary artery disease. They don't have multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc."

  63. Hi Janet,

    You are an inspiration to me with every post! Please don't let rude people change a thing . You look great:)

  64. A. " i know right off that a lot of you are going to say that i didn't need to lose weight. but i thought i did...and so i did."
    B. "This is not inspiring - this is one more woman jumping on the self-hatred bandwagon until she is thin enough to be superior to other women."
    Post Hoc Fallacy:
    A. does not really lead to B. when one examines all the facts at hand.
    I am grateful to read about a woman my age who felt how I feel now, did something about it, and shared it with the world. To address aging, a thickening waistline, and sharing how one personally lost some extra pounds does not necessarily lead to starvation as a socially acceptable way to self-destruct nor does it have to necessarily lead to misogyny.
    Sparks sometimes fly and unfortunately they can sometimes burn. We can, however, always learn from any given moment, and Gretchen's post was encouraging with the key word being "compassion."
    Keep shining, Janet! I am now ready to read about more food ideas. (celery soaked in veggie juice was a very good idea btw)
    I was jumping to the conclusion that you lost your weight the "low-almost-no-fat-McDougall-vegan way." Pleasantly surprised to NOT read that you threw out the Earth Balance! Yesssssssss!!!! Keep blogging. Keep blogging. Keep blogging!!!! :-)
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  65. P.S. I love being a vegan. And I love my Earth Balance too. :-)
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  66. Well, you look amazing. It's harder to lose weight when you do not have a lot to lose. There is no secret to losing weight - one has to be disciplined, eat less calories and the calories you do eat need to count. Exercise of course helps as long as you don't eat those calories back :) Great work Janet.

  67. Janet....I have alway thought you were lovely, and I love how committed you are to what you believe. You continue to inspire. Congratulations and what a great way to start the New Year! Bonnie

  68. Janet, thanks for sharing this.
    I also am over 50, and seem to be losing the discipline that I had. The days start well for me, but mostly end in disaster as to what I have consumed and the amount of exercise I have gotten(more of a winter problem for me). So this is very inspirational. I intend to start my day moving tomorrow, even if its below 20 degrees.
    All the best.

  69. Fascinating reading. Weight issues still pack a punch to our deepest selves it seems.

  70. Janet, I've been reading you for awhile now, and LOVE your fashion posts. And I LOVED this post. You were always fabulous, and now you are even "fabulouser". I am 53, and 2 years ago took your approach (except that I am not a vegan). Kept it off 2 years no problem, then suddenly went on a 3 month carb bender. Throw in the holidays and I'm up 10 pounds again. *Sigh*. At least I know what I need to do, and I've begun. I remember how GOOD I felt in my clothes and during my walks when I was lighter. It did help my "ego" but it isn't really about that at the base of it. It's about doing right by your body. It's the adult thing to do!

  71. Wow, Anon and Lila in San Diego, you must be a couple of rather unhappy women (I'm assuming Anon isn't some guy) envious of Janet. You appear to have a load of problems and be filled with jealousy. Such ugliness from you two. Why don't you spend 2012 working on some self-respect ...

    Shelley Rose

  72. You are to be applauded, Janet! Thank you for sharing in this public forum your private journey. I can identify with your situation in so many ways.
    I became a vegan about a year ago and it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. You cannot argue with the research about the vegan diet. The effects on overall healthy and wellbeing are well documented. Just when I began my quest for a return to my younger weight, energy and blood numbers, a vegan friend said to me..."you know this is the fattest nation in the world and even vegans can be very overweight, so do your homework and don't go wild." Further research revealed to me, major problems with most soy and the problems with GMO, corn (a grass) and grains. I assure you that we eat delicious food, far from nothing but steamed or bland anything. We are with you 100% and my ex-meat-eater husband loves the way we eat now with great appreciation for the health benefits as we age..
    Way past 50...
    Love this post!
    Thank you, Janet!

  73. Wow! you look fabulous Janet and this has been a really popular post looking at the number of comments already. Always chic though whether you weighed 130 or 115.. Personally I would love to weigh in at 130 but there again as you say, this is a very personal journey for everyone... XXX

  74. Enjoyed the post.

    You look great.

    When we lived in Europe we started eating off of smaller dinner plates, it is helpful.

    Love the hair also. Inspired me to let my gray show.

    Thanks for taking the time to post.


  75. I kwow, I know. Even wearing a size 2, my waist had melted away in a square of fat.

    When I joined the gym my body weighed in at 30% fat. Skinny fat a friend said.

    Stopped smoking and started exercising. Training twice a week, zumba once a week and walking as much as possible. I also cut back on carbs and meat.

    All was looking and feeling Good. But I've started eating with a bit more abandon and I can see the jiggle returning.

    Mindful eating. Yes thank you. I shall heed your words.

    xo Jane

  76. The fact is that anyone who criticizes your success is jealous. Period.

  77. Janet,
    You look beautiful. That being said, check your BMI. You are quite close to being underweight. Please promote healthy lifestyle and note. Once people are on that track of weight loss it can continue to a point of illness. Lovely, positive comments have been left, but I lost a friend who thought she need to Lose weight and she died. Gain just a few pounds. Too skinny has it's I'll effects. Again you are beautiful and I love your blog, but as a health care professional I could'nt not say something. Nameste!

  78. my bmi is 19.1 which is right in the middle of normal. thank you for your kind comment. i do my best to promote a healty, compassionate lifestyle here on my blog. and just so everyone knows, i love food! xo janet

  79. Janet- you looked fabulous before and fabulous now!!


  80. Hi Janet! I guess I liked your appearance more before your weightloss but I totally understand why you wanted to lose weight. A loss of energy is really disturbing. Plus those extra pounds you need to carry up a hill - just think of the weight of 1, 2 water bottles in the backpack. It's great to lose that extra weight and move more freely. :-)

    Also your timing was very considerate, you did not lose that weight in 3 months but in reasonable 6 months! I can imagine 7 days skiing also did its part, few activities burn as many kcals as skiing.

    You write 19.1 is right in the middle - it is actually at the border to underweight! In the middle would have been your former weight, a BMI around 22 is "normal normal". In German BMI-charts underweight starts with any BMI below 20.

    However, we should not forget that the BMI is just one parameter, just another statistic. According to the BMI people with cancer end-stadium would be healthy, because they are seldom obese, so those numbers can't tell the truth about how healthy we are.

    In my office I have a colleage, she is your age, lives an extremly active life and wanted to lose weight. Her BMI back then was close to yours before you started dieting. And she succeeded in losing weight. She lost lost weight but she also lost he softness and her hips and her cleavage vanished. A moderate hourglas-shape turned into a H-shape. It quite shocked me, when the woman I used to know suddenly looked like a man when I saw her form the back, standing at the copymachine. I mistook her for a man! Bony shoulders and scapulas look scary.
    It's probably my personal transformation from a androgyn person in my younger years (including no hips, no waist, no curves til my early 30's) to a feminine body today that explains my suspicion towards "extreme" weight loss. (extreme is in my personal terms a diet when the person had a BMI in a totally healthy range, around 22, and loses more than 10 pounds).

    About Tabithas posting - this was more on the waist-hip-ratio and not so much on weight gain - the hour glass and the H-shape, no? I don't know you from real life, only from the photos I am sure your fabulous hourglass-shape is still full in effect.

    Now there is only one thing left to say: best wishes for keeping those pounds off your waist!! Don't let the "comfort zone" get you. The comfort zone is when you have forgotten about the frustrations you had firsthand and when you fall back to the old habits, because the pressure, the need to lose weight is gone.
    I guess every woman has her weight-history. Each and every woman. It seems it became a norm.

    best wishes, Paula

  81. As someone else posted, you cannot argue with the research about the vegan diet. The effects on overall health and wellbeing are well documented.
    When you add in the benefits to the environment and diminishing animal cruelty, it's a wonder everyone does not go vegan.

    I have 2 dear friends who are struggling with weight - they count calories, measure food portions & starve themselves. I keep telling them " go low-fat vegan" They are so stubborn they will not even try it. They would rather be miserable I guess. One friend got breast cancer 4 years ago !

    The Harvard study says people who ate lots of bacon, BBQ meats & chicken had lots
    more breast cancer, endomeitrial cancer & prostate cancer.

    The women who ate the most meat had the highest rates of breast cancer.

    The nurses study found women who ate lots of diary had triple the rates
    of colo-rectal cancer 20 years later. Americans are so culturally indoctrinated into eating dead animals and animal products and it's killing us!

    I've never been overweight but my husband had a few extra pounds pile on after he turned 50. Lots of bread, butter and cheese!
    He and I were dairy eating vegetarians for 20 years. Then in Oct 2010 my husband had to have 2 stents in his coronary arteries.
    And was told he needed a 3rd one - come back in 3 weeks they said.

    That was a wake up call. I thought we had been eating healthy but we were not. So in Dec 2010 we both went oil-free [ low fat ] vegan.

    We now eat the low-fat Dr Mc Dougall vegan way and have for 13 months. We feel great, have lots of energy, I sleep well and my weight is fine - my BMI is 18. My husband lost 25 pounds in 5 months time, got off his statin drugs and BP meds in 8 months time & no 3rd stent required-!! His follow up
    heart tests showed good strong blood flow to the heart. We eat vegetables- and salads - but that's a minor part of our diet. The main part of our diet is starchy foods. It's potatoes, rice, corn,
    beans, lentils, lasagna, pastas, those kinds of foods.
    We also eat whole grains like steel cut oats type of oatmeal, barley & wheatberries & quinoa & whole grain breads & corn tortillas. We enjoy fruit
    smoothies and almond milk, cocoa & banana smoothies at times. I am able to eat more bread than my husband and more nuts and seeds. he has to be super careful about oil. We are never hungry. I also eat one to four fruits a day - hubby eats 1-2 fruits a day and as far as fats - no added fats -no oils added to any of our foods.
    None of our foods are cooked in an oiled pan. I make no-oil salad dressings.
    I think vegan is the easiest way to eat. I make a giant pot of veg or lentil soup every 5-7 days.
    At breakfast we have steel cut oats type of oatmeal or raw buckwheat groats with rice milk & cinnamon
    and fruit - half a slice of whole wheat toast with-- lunch can be a bowl of soup
    a salad and bean and salsa wrap or a veggie sandwich and dinner can be a salad and soup and a sweet potato or two or pasta.

    I really don't miss the junk food we sometimes ate or the dairy. It is really nice to know that we have the power through diet to heal ourselves and that
    if i live to be in my 70's I'll stand a good chance of remaining healthy and active and I won't have to get stents in my coronary arteries
    and be on 15 Rx drugs & suffering like my husband was doing.

  82. Shell- where are you getting your protein? I think the vegan way sounds fascinating but I wonder about protein. Some vegans I know seem to eat a lot of processed protein products (packaged meat substitutes) which are loaded with chemicals...


  83. Hi Janet,

    Please don’t let the very few negative comments discourage you from sharing in the future what your readers love from you – the parts of your life you open up to us. Your blog to me is like a woman’s support group. We give and take; we learn new ideas and incorporate them into our lives where we need it. Putting yourself out there for so many to read is a courageous step in itself and one that takes a great deal of confidence and belief in what you are writing about – you have that. No need to explain or defend yourself to the ones that have a different opinion on what you are doing it would just be kinder of them to keep it to themselves. By the way, you look fabulous….

  84. katie - the only way i know of to breakdown the nutritional contents of a particular recipe is to look up ea individual ingredient. this is v time consuming and that is prob why i don't post nutritional facts for my recipes.

    family of firstborns - first i'd look into just how our dairies are run here in the usa and that will super motivate you to get off dairy. i cook with soymilk and almond milk, i just substitute it for real milk. i just don't eat cheese but i know that there are some v good vegan ones on the market now. as far as eating out goes, you have to check ahead and find restaurants that have a vegan menu or are willing to veganize their recipes. restaurants are getting with the vegan vibe a lot more recently and i've been finding more and more local restaurants that are. good luck.

    kelli - vegans get plenty of protein in their diets. we forget that all plants have protein in them and as americans we consume way too much protein anyway. i did a post on this awhile back.

  85. shell - thanks for sharing so much info, you really should get a blog and share your passion!

  86. Hi Janet,

    Over 10 years ago my weight had crept up a little. I worked out with a personal trainer for a short time and one thing she had me do was write everything down that I was eating. She also taught me to push myself a little harder with the work outs. I ended up losing 10 lbs. I may fluctuate a couple pounds here and there but for the most part I have kept it off since that time.

    Congratulations on your weight really do look amazing. (but don't lose anymore) :)


    P.S. My husband and I have a motto around here..."keep moving"!

  87. shell- I couldn't agree with you more! my husband and i have been following dr mc dougall's diet for years. within a month of eating this way my husband was able to get off his blood pressure pills & his cholesterol meds (total chol now at 146). i can't remember the last time we have had a cold or flu. my father reversed his type 2 diabetes doing this also :). the hardest part for me was giving up my cheese & oilive oil...but it was worth it!


  88. Kelly-Janet is right -plants have protein and so do beans & lentils and tofu. as long as you consume adequate calories to maintain a healthy weight from a variety of whole plant foods, (and not from junk foods and/or just fruit) you will get in all the protein you need.

    Plant proteins can easily meet all our needs (especially soy protein, unless you're allergic). We may not be as efficient as the ruminants and other herbivores extracting protein from plants
    but we can still easily flourish on plant food. Check out the American Dietetic Association's position paper on vegetarian diets:
    Vegetarian Diets
    Volume 109, Issue 7, Pages 1266-1282 (July 2009)
    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary

    Also go to and you can read tons of info on there - dr mcdougall says excess protein overworks the kidneys - that's why so many people had kidney problems if they were on the atkins diet.
    we had a dear friend almost die of kidney failure a few years ago - due to atkins diet.

    Janet-you are welcome and you know, you are making me think of getting my own blog-!
    Thank-you! Maybe I will-!
    Susan--wow that is great to know you and your hubby are eating the dr mcdougall way! I think it's the easiest and best way to eat!

  89. Here is a good article that explains why it's practically impossible to get a protein defiiiency :

  90. Janet,

    Having energy to ski 7 days straight, tells me you are eating well.

    I don't think you are in danger of anorexia. :) As we age, we tend to lose fat in areas we would like to keep it. Too, we gain fat in areas we don't want it.

    We older women get it for sure! :)
    I will be 50 next Thursday.

    I need to get rid of about six pounds. I hope to do just that!
    Thanks for the post.

    LOL, being superior to other women!
    Janet, that is not the image you portray. I say a sense of self respect, love for others, and, enjoying what life brings your way.

  91. Janet,

    You look trim, fit, and fabulous.

    Thank you, Shell, for information about the protein myth

    Here's more information about the protein myth from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

    and "the mighty convincer" ~ "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian"

  92. Lets not forget about the health benefits of eating right and exercise. It's not all about looking good!!! Just look at all the sick people in this country, my god. Sorry, I just had to comment again because a few of the haters are pissing me off. :/ Smug??? You??? I don't think so.


  93. thank you linda and everyone else who seem to know just where my heart is. xo

  94. KO-you're welcome and thank-YOU for posting those excellent sites. wow the 101 reasons one was something. here is reason number
    50 - Nine billion broiler chickens per year go through America’s factory-farm system. In highly concentrated, dust-filled, toxic environments, they suffer leg, lung, heart, and respiratory disorders. Terrified, they are sent to slaughter where they are painfully shackled upside down by their legs, which have already been bruised and broken by the gathering process. The electrified trough stuns just enough to conveniently immobilize the birds, but not nearly enough to dull pain. Some birds miss the trough and the knife altogether and are burned to death in the scald tank where feathers are loosened.

  95. It cracks me up when nonvegetarian/vegans worry about protein and calcium intake. I wish I could do vegan, but I do think I'm seriously addicted to cheese and yogurt. I've tried substitutes but to no avail, so I consider it one of my very guilty pleasures. What I'd love to know is what you do for your sweet tooth, Janet...a woman who ate Oreos obviously likes sweets, so did you find something that would substitute for those scary chemical (yet tasty) treats? I love fruits, and pies, but there's gotta be a better way, and somehow I suspect you may have some really good suggestions...

  96. gretchen - i do love chocolate but i get weak in the knees for potato chips. thick cut potato chips! savory snacks are def my weakness. i do make fairly healthy cookies and my friend just made me a vegan chocolate cake that was delicious. i'm going to post that recipe soon.

  97. Dear Darling Janet, you created quite a stir did you not with all your skinniness and fabulous glamour and of course honesty. Why am I so surprised to read the crappy comments? I did not know regaining energy and not moving up to the next size was so controversial. I guess I just think don’t read if you don’t like. I just don’t get it. I am so glad you have commented back to those rude comments. I adore your blog and what you share and I NEVER thought you were superior EVER. Now I have been inspired to write down what I am eating! Of course I have heard this simple idea before but YOU have inspired me to think about this. I thank you for sharing you with me the reader and I hope so much that you continue. I so look forward to your posts. There are only a handful of blogs that I just can’t wait to read and you on the top of that list. Janet, you do know you have a great blog right!

  98. Janet!!!!!!!!

    Hi it's me. The reason I don't reply to questions on my blog about my weight is because of the snark that would no doubt come along via comments.

    Weight is a very personal issue. I was super happy when I was pregnant and put on 11 kilos and at my thinnest I was sad, because I'd been grieving and stopped eating really.

    Altho I didn't think you needed to lose weight you looked good and frankly it's probably healthier to be slimmer than over weight.

    Don't let the haters get to you.

    I like how you March to the Beat of Your own Drum. Wish you lived locally x

  99. That's awesome Janet! Well done you!

    You look fabulous and how great that you now FEEL as good as you look.

    Kudos to you for your efforts, ethics, ethos and all the inspiration you so graciously give to others.


  100. Ditto Janet's comment about the blog to shell...
    Thank you to you both and others for thought provoking information.
    Our outward selves are no accurate indication as to what is going on inside our bodies. I love being thinner and I hope that my future Berkeley Blood Panel and other testing will confirm what a REAL healthy diet will do, at any age.
    Study on, Sisters...keep is so fantastic!

  101. Thank you for this very inspiring post. You look wonderful and healthy. I admire your discipline! I often wonder where my will power is hiding.I have lots of wiggly flabby fat to get rid off but I am practically scared to lose it, as each time I lose weight I put it back on, plus a bit extra. Pathetic, I know.

  102. Janet,
    Just want to say that we all know where your heart is and what your intentions are. For anyone who noticed your "loving kindness" sign-off at the end of your piece, it is clear you not only care about wanting to be the best you can be, but you want the same for everyone. Lila of San Diego is not represenative of your loyal followers. We are grateful to you for sharing the highlights, challenges, and rewards of your life. Thank you for your generous nature and soulful kindness. We love you!

  103. Again, thank you for an awesome post! You are a true inspiration..I have been thinking about this post for the last two days. And on top of it you are brave - putting yourself out there is not easy but you have done it with grace. You "glow" inside and out.

  104. Hi Janet,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful, transparent post, and for your blog in general. It is always an inspiration to me.

    I am another devotee of Dr. McDougall's - I have been eating a plant based diet since 2003. I am 5'5" and currently weigh 110. I am very small framed and feel really good at this weight. I am almost 53 and have more energy now than I did in my 20's.

    Here is what I like to make for our family to satisfy the potato chip craving - just thinly slice some potatoes either in french fry shape or in rounds, lay them on a non stick cookie sheet and bake them in the oven. You can sprinkle any seasoning on them that appeals to you. They are so yummy!

    Take care and keep on being true to yourself!

  105. Congratulations on being able to do something that was important to you, difficult to effect, and good for you, all at once. And then to communicate it so plainly to everyone here.

  106. Janet,
    You always look great, and you're looking fabulous. What a great feeling to have met your goal, and in such a healthy way.
    And I feel sorry for Anon. I think Anon people like that must be very unhappy.

  107. Congrats, Janet, for your inspiring post. I've read all the comments and have something to add. I'm 65 years old and have struggled with weight and eating disorders for a lifetime. I'm 5'2" and the weight at which I feel most energized is 110. Each person's best weight depends on a number of factors including bone and muscle structure, activities, etc, but this is known best by how one FEELS, physically. If I weigh 115, I feel more sluggish;if less than 105, I feel weak. So my best "set point" is 110. If I compared height/weight with Janet, I would think I should weigh less than 110. But we can't compare...we are each unique. This is the point I want to make. I have a cousin who is 5'4" and feels weak if she weighs less than 125 -she is a rock climber and needs the heavier weight muscle one should not judge.

    BTW I have gained an average of 8 pounds per year for the last 8 difficult years an and now weigh 170 (on my 5'2" frame!). I am embarking on a juice fast after much research and watching the movie "Sick, Tired and Nearly Dead". It is drastic, I know, but I want to re-boot and get back to whatever comfortable "set point" at which I FEEL best. I don't know what it will be, maybe 100 lbs, maybe 130lbs. I will know by how I FEEL. Wish me luck to attain the best FEELING in my body that we all deserve.

  108. Nothing gets women talking more that the topic of weight!

  109. Geez...where have I been. What an interesting post!

    Janet, you indeed looked great before you lost a few pounds and look even better now. Love your boots BTW

    Having just consumed a tuscan chicken sandwich with aioli and balsamic glaze along with a glass of pinot grigio, I can honestly say it was way too many calories but it was delicious and I don't comingle guilt with eating.

    I don't live to eat but eating great food is truly one of the greatest joys of mine and my family. We love the dinner table and the whole process of cooking and relaxing and making an event out of a apecial meal.

    But, thankfully ....I exercise, garden and pretty much go non stop untill the tank is empty!

    I doubt I will ever be really skinny again but as long as I feel pretty good in my jeans and my other favorite things I'm pretty much OK. And lets not forget the power of a great pair of shoes!

    Not so sure you need to cut out the wine, though!

    xo kelley

  110. Thank you, Janet for having the "guts" to a) recognize your own unique situation, b) set a goal, c) work for it, d) achieve fantastic results and e) be open and share your results with us.

    More than 20 years ago, I read Dr. McDougall's book and it changed my ideas about food. Before, I would deny myself my favorite sugar-laden junk, think about it until I caved in, and then be upset with my lack of willpower. After reading his book, I learned about his scale of food, from dangerous to health-supporting.

    Now, I think about what I want for my body; food that is good for me and enhances my health or food that causes me to be overweight, tired, sluggish, irritable and an easy target for every cold and flu bug that goes around.

    Of course, every”body” is different. Heredity plays a part, but our actions play a bigger part. Healthy food, adequate sleep, exercise and mindful living make a big difference in the way we look and feel. We are what we ate. Do I want to be a walking ad for profit-making food and drug companies or do I want to be a healthy garden that I make with my own hands?

    If you’re interested, read Dr. McDougall’s books or website. There are lots of recipes and menu plans to get you started. You can gradually change your foods to be healthier or if you’re brave, you can go whole hog (so to speak)!

    Categories of Food:

    His Program to get you started:

    Handing the microphone to someone else now...


  111. hooray !! another dr mcdougall fan! thanks skye for posting that-!!

    I had not seen that categories of foods article by dr mcdougall. it's a good one!

    I've already said too much but i have to say a couple of more things--
    dr mcdougall's website is wonderful - there are a ton of articles and success stories
    on there. his books are in all libraries.

    vegan food can be quite delicious and even very creative. It's not just vegetables on a plate.
    I can't eat chicken sandwiches or any form of chicken any more now that I know how dreadfully chickens are treated and how bad chicken is for you --it's like 24% fat not that much less fat than beef-!!!

    and chicken meat is not good for you! i think people SHOULD feel guilty eating meat !

    it is clear that a thoughtful and informed plant-based diet is the key to avoiding degenerative disease. If you have not read The China Study, I highly recommend it. the science is very sound and impressive, and I know many people whose lives have been changed for the better by it. this is exactly the kind of knowledge that so many Americans lack, and are dying for. this is the real key to keeping health care costs down and improving productivity,
    not to mention living longer and better!

    chicken & eggs are at the top of list for causing inflammation.
    inflammation leads to cancer, heart disease, alzheimers, arthritis & diabetes.

    92 % of chickens are contaminated with fecal matter

  112. I have been reading the comments with great interest. I have struggled with being moderately overweight for most of my life, although most look at me and think I'm perfectly average. Now unemployed with more time to concentrate on myself, I'm working on improving fitness and eating. So far, little change in weight. So frustrating! Congratulations to you, I find you motivating.

  113. Janet you are AWESOME!

    I knew something was up when you said you'd been skiing for 7 days straight. Nobody can argue with that amount of energy!!

    As others have said before, you looked great before and great now. The details (thanks for sharing them) are specific to you. But how anybody can argue methods with a happy, healthy and strong woman I do not understand.

    I thought Anon and Lila's comments must have been jokes so divided from reality they were. Embittered people tend to be generous with their poison, don't they. Keep letting the poison roll off and away.

    Thank you Janet for being witty, informative, inspiring, beautiful (inside where it really counts) and joyful!

  114. janet,
    really, you are inspiring in many ways.
    bravo to you and your motivation for energy and lightness of being. you look marvelous!

  115. Janet,
    My Father has always told me to "Act like a duck, let it roll off you back" - In your case, let it roll off your svelte and energetic back....all those jealous comments.
    You look great. Before and After. Then and Now.

  116. I think that because so many of the people we see around us are fat then that becomes the norm. And so, when you get down to a proper weight, everyone thinks you're practically anorexic. 115lbs is absolutely fine! it's what someone of your frame should be. 112lbs would be ok too!

  117. Hi Janet -

    If you care to share, have any thrifty tips for a week of skiing?



  118. hi ann,

    i wish.

    but this is what i did...
    start by marrying a man that will do anything to ski. 2nd make sure his dad lives in a ski in ski out condo with an extra bedroom. also make sure you marry a man that will shovel snow for $25 an hour to offset cost of lift tickets.

  119. Janet, many thanks for your honesty and willingness to share what worked for you. I just went to the doctor last week for a physical and a thyroid check, hoping that the five pounds that have lodged themselves on my 5'4" frame were the result of something--anything--but my eating and exercise habits! Letting the 5 turn to 10, 10 to 15 isn't where I want to be. I had a good laugh with the sustainable table website, in Vermont the only listings were Christmas trees and maple syrup! I'll try some other options until Spring arrives. Thank you again for the inspiration and honesty! Cheers...

  120. From the pictures you look great. But, keep this in mind... when you are underweight at this age, it can actually make you appear older in your face. There have been studies done showing that people over age 40 actually look/appear younger when they are at a healthy weight (or a few extra pounds) for their frame size. I have noticed the very thin women I know my at age (mid 40's) look drawn or haggard in the face. I personally keep this in mind when I feel I am getting too thin myself. PLEASE promote healthy weight & lifestyle, not just about dieting to be thin.

  121. Janet -

    Those are the tips I was looking for. Realistic ones, shoveling snow for $25 a hour to offset lift tickets.



  122. Hi Janet! Oh wow, what an inspiring post! I don't intend to lose any weight, but I so badly need to begin eating a healthier diet! You've motivated me to take a second look at my lifestyle.

    I don't write white waxflower anymore, but I've begun writing a new blog that I think you'll appreciate. It's all about mine and my husband's big goal of paring down to just 366 belongings this year:)

    Hope you're having a great day!
    Mary Grace

  123. You look (& looked) great. congrats...I need to drop 10 lbs so many I'll take some of your advice...but I'm not cutting out the way...

  124. well you knew this post would be controversial, the comments are interesting! so here is my southern 2 cents worth, You Go Girl, its your life, your health, your blog! as with any information we can choose to learn from it and apply parts or all of it to our own unique selves! that being said, here is thought provoking question...When are you posting all of the new outfits that you have to buy now!

  125. Kat,

    You wrote:

    "PLEASE promote healthy weight & lifestyle, not just about dieting to be thin."

    There's nothing in this post or any other on The Gardener's Cottage that suggests Janet supports dieting just to be thin.

    On the contrary, Janet has been an eloquent spokesperson for good health and compassionate food choices.

    I must also say Janet looks fit, trim, feminine and vibrant.

    Kudos to Janet for promoting healthy eating and compassionate living.

  126. "Shell" mention menopause, and this also appeals to me as I am right in the thick of it. This post was so helpfull and if you were inclined I would love to hear how you have dealt and/or are dealing with menopausal issues.

    I just love your beautiful blog, and so appreciate the things you take the time to write.

  127. OMG! I love this blog!
    I usually come by to check out your decorating tips but today instead I find the answer to my problems. I have been feeling AWFUL lately. I ache all over, my knees hurt, I'm sick to my stomach and I just want to sleep all the time...just no energy for anything. I knew I needed to stop my unhealthy junk food habits but just didn't know where or how to start. Now I do! Thank you SO much!
    ...and Kat is right about the looking old thing. I'm your age but people guess me to be in my late 30's all the time. It's because my wrinkles have been puffed out by all my fat!
    LOL! I'd rather FEEL good any day. Wrinkles be damned.
    Thanks again! - Cindi

  128. Just thought I'd weigh in with my thoughts on this subject. I am a fairly new reader to this blog and really enjoy reading about Janet's fashion and home - both are lovely. It is distressing to see ugly and rude comments when they are undeserved and unnecessary. Just because you don't agree with someone doesn't give you the right to blast them.
    That said, someone previously posted that people are hiding under the anonymous title. Just remember, not all of us have blogs or are on facebook. So I'll have to sign as "anonymous" just as several other positive commentors did. You go Janet...I'll keep reading what you write!
    - Vicki from Missouri

  129. Hi Janet - It's Deborah here. Congratulations on your weight loss and thanks for passing along some inspiration for eating and living well. I haven't been around lately, but enjoyed catching up on your blog today. You have a wonderful way of expressing yourself. No matter what the topic, your heart and mind are always front and center.

  130. Hi Janet

    I have been reading your blog for quite a while and absolutely LOVE your home. I live in the south west of England - a very beautiful area to live in - in a modern home but your house is my ideal, unfortunately my husband loves his stuff so living in a smaller home isn't on the cards! Anyway I just wanted to say that I think your post on weight was written very thoughtfully and you made it very clear that you had gained weight to a point where you were uncomfortable and wanted to address that issue. I think the problem that some commenters have is to do with the social concept of weight. Women have been so pressured by society into thinking they must be thin that anyone who talks about weight loss is seen to be giving in to the social pressure to be an "ideal" size. For many women this has been such an issue and it is a very emotive subject. I speak as someone who has weighed well over 200lbs for most of my adult life - and I'm only 5ft 1!! Over the past two years I have been gradually addressing the issues with weight and have lost 42lbs so far but with a long way to go. I would love to get to 140lbs - I haven't been there for 25 years - but will do it very slowly and mindfully so it will take a while. I have recently converted to a vegan diet after reading The China Study - what an eye opener. Thank you to your commenters who have also suggested the Macdougall site, I will check it out.

    I think you have always shown consideration and compassion on your blog and those who wish to make very unhelpful, abusive comments must really have issues. I do think that some commenters have just raised their concerns about your motivation because of the pressure within western society for women to conform to certain ideals - any women talking about weight issues and particularly wanting to lose weight - is seen as bowing to social pressure and I think they just want to raise awareness of the dangers of following that path. That being said I do not think you are guilty of this and it is a shame that as women we cannot discuss the issue of weight or aging without it being seen as capitulating to social pressure. We need to reclaim the right to do what we need to do to maintain our health and wellbeing and to discuss it, sharing the knowledge of what is useful, helpful and works! If we are unable to do that then the patriarchy within which those of us in Western society live really has managed to shut us up!!

    Well done on a fabulous blog Janet, keep up the good work!! Karen Somerset UK xox

  131. karen - thank you for your thoughtful comment. you are right, esp re the commenters here. they are a group of people who are so educated and kind and they are a constant source of inspiration to me.

  132. Hello Janet, I am a new Follower. I read and re-read this post, you are so right, it is a simple fact of eating less and moving more. Thank you for this great informative and honest post. I wrote down everything I ate for a few days and that forced me to consider exactly what I was eating. Also I now serve dinner on a smaller plate and my husband and daughter have not yet noticed! I am really inspired by your blog and plan to keep reading. Thanks again, Kind regards, Ann

  133. I too an a new follower. Loved your post. After battling dermatitis for a year on my face. I stopped eating dairy and gluten, which had always caused me stomach issues. In about 7 weeks I lost 11 lb, I kept a food journal to try and figure out if my dermatitis was food related. I think it was because it certainly got better without the dairy and gluten. I feel so much better, have more energy, no highs/lows throughout the day and through the process started to look at what I ate and why/when. I was eating quite healthy and certainly not overweight but at 56 it seemed to be in all the wrong places. Having fun looking at substitutions for dairy and gluten and finding some amazing choices out there. My bloodwork this year compared to last, showed significant improvement in all areas. For me this is working, it is not about weight loss which was a bonus since it was puffy/bloat weight for me.

  134. nm, i like this one, simple and cute.

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