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Julie’s introduction to the healthy life

SASS! Yourself Slim

From Julie Baker, Publicity Director at HarperOne.

Over the past few years, I’ve taken a much greater interest in all things “healthy living.” This could be due to the fact that I’m inching further into my thirties. This could be because of my recent wedding. But mostly—I like to think—it’s due to the fact that I really like being healthy. I want to look healthy, feel healthy, and enjoy all the benefits a healthy lifestyle has to offer. Lucky for me, I work at HarperOne, and have access to many, many good books on the subject.

I started with acclaimed nutritionist Cynthia Sass’s book, S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim, which I approached with a keen interest in the “Five Day Fast Forward”—five days, five foods, and, I hoped, five pounds. The plan was neatly packaged and clearly laid out. There was even a shopping list! One trip to the store and I was ready to get started.

For five days I stuck with the food plan and the schedule, from the morning egg scramble to the evening smoothie. I struggled at times—watching my friends drink wine and my now-husband indulge in takeout—but I valiantly (or stubbornly?) stuck with it.

And as she promised, I saw results. At the end of the five days, my cheeks were hollower, my pants were looser, and my energy was significantly higher. I had expected some change, but was pleasantly surprised with just how noticeable that change was. Those five days had really paid off!

And so I continued on—not quite as strictly as I had for the “Five Day Fast Forward,” but I certainly took her book to heart. Cynthia not only has some great recipes, but some pretty incredible advice. I learned that the salads I previously enjoyed on a near-daily basis—delicious concoctions of cheese, nuts, avocado, and oily dressing—were actually not so good for me. I learned that some surprising foods, like almonds and eggs, could actually contribute toward weight loss (when consumed in the right quantity). I learned how to correctly balance each meal, and how key pieces of a “puzzle” go together to form a healthy diet. I learned that it’s okay to feel hungry between meals. And most important, I learned that I wasn’t craving the unhealthy foods I once enjoyed so regularly. Instead of cheese and bread, I actually wanted to eat Brussels sprouts and bell peppers!

The best part? I took this challenge nearly two years ago, and, with the help of a regular workout regimen and an ongoing commitment to a better diet, I’ve continued to be happy with my weight and my overall health. I still use Cynthia’s recipes and her “puzzle” when planning my meals. And as my co-workers can attest, I regularly indulge in her yogurt parfait—though to be fair, I’ve opted for blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and even mangoes over the raspberries I ate on a daily basis during the “Fast Forward.”

The lessons I learned from S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim have stuck with me. And I’ve since found plenty more inspiration from many of HarperOne’s other healthy living experts.

Up next, Tracey Reifkind, The Swing!, and my new kettlebell workout…

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