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Health Experts

Clean Machine

Learn the secret of lasting weight loss and vibrant health from Tosca Reno, author of The Eat-Clean Diet.

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Quick Takes

Q: What motivates you?

A: My kids. They were the whole reason I started this journey. I was walking up the stairs in my house and I was completely breathless. It was embarrassing and scary.

I decided in that instant that something had to be done. I want to see every first date, every graduation, every wedding, every grandchild.

Q: How do your start your day?

A: I have coffee with my husband in bed while watching the morning news. Three or four mornings a week I will hop on the treadmill or take the dogs for a run to get in some cardio.

Q: What’s your favorite way to unwind?

A: Reading a book in the sunshine with no cell phone, no computer, no TV, nothing!

Q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

A: It’s a tie between dark chocolate and red wine!

Q: What’s your best piece of health advice?

A: A lifestyle change is a process. It took me a couple of years to get it all sorted out. Be gentle with yourself. You are a wonderful person who deserves this
change. Now do it!

A decade ago, Tosca Reno found herself weighing just over 200 pounds and “seriously unhappy.” She knew she had to change her life.

After years of yo-yo dieting, she began “eating clean” and working out. Her positive changes, which also included getting out of a bad marriage and going back to school, snowballed. She soon found herself posing as a cover girl and swimsuit model for fitness magazines-at age 41, no less-and writing a regular column in Oxygen magazine.

Because so many people wrote to her asking how she accomplished her amazing transformation, she decided to write a book. The Eat-Clean Diet attracted a celebrity following and coverage by The Washington Post, the New York Daily News, and USA Today. Reno followed the success of that book with five more, including The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook and The Eat-Clean Diet Workout.

Here, she shares wisdom and tipsfor sensible weight loss and glowing good health.

Q: How and when did you discover eating clean?

A: In 2001, Robert Kennedy, a mainstay in the bodybuilding world, offered me a challenge to compete in a bodybuilding competition. I was terrified by this idea, but decided to give it a shot. He told me eating clean and weight training were the secrets to attaining the fantastic shapes that grace the stage at these competitions. It was so easy and effective that I continued to eat clean after the competition in order to maintain my new physique.

Q: What are the most important foods we should include in our diets for healthful aging?

A: I would love to tell you there is a magic ingredient out there what will do it all, but there isn’t. It’s all about variety. I can definitely tell you what to avoid-sugar, fat, and chemical-laden foods. These will cause a huge toxin buildup in your body leading to premature aging. Drink water, eat flax and tons of veggies and fruit to increase your antioxidant load-the more diverse and natural, the better!

Q: What is the best way to deal with cravings?

A: Cravings are nasty little things! I used to crave peanut butter and ice cream before I started eating clean. The key is to avoid feeling deprived. Eating every two to three hours will satisfy hunger and stabilize your blood sugar levels. Drinking plenty of water is also important for battling cravings.

Q: What are some tips for dealing with kids who beg for sodas and sugary cereals and snacks?

A: Tough love, moms and dads! Empty all the crap from your cupboards. Take advantage of this lifestyle change as a time to teach to your kids what healthy food is all about. Take your kids to the grocery store and allow them to choose a new veggie or fruit to try each week so they feel they are part of the change.

Q: What is some advice for very overweight people who want to begin exercising?

A: Talk to your doctor first. Once you get the stamp of approval, start slow and light. It’s easy to overdo it in the beginning when things are new and fresh. The muscle pain experienced after a hard workout can be a shock and discourage you from coming back. But eventually you’ll learn to love the “sweet pain” of a good workout!