Losing Weight, Eating Great!

Dressing for Maggy and Andy’s wedding over five years ago and then again for Sharon and Tony’s just a few weeks I go, I distinctly remember being grateful that I didn’t have to crash diet for either event. For nearly seven years I’ve kept off the forty pounds I lost between 2004 and 2005.

How did I do it? It all started when I hit bottom in 2003. I was sitting in an empty house physically ailing and emotionally spent. We had just moved to a new town, Maggy was off to England for her junior year abroad, and  Sharon was starting her freshman year of college. I spent the next nine months finding a new doctor, tending to my ailing body, and healing emotionally.

Only then was I ready to embrace a new lifestyle, to finally shed the weight. There are two ways to do it—exercise more or eat less. From years of personal experience I  knew diets didn’t work. As soon as they were over I reverted back to my old ways and the pounds came back with a vengeance. Normal eating coupled with increased exercise was what worked for me.

I used to use food as a vice to satisfy my overworked, exhausted self.  After healing I started to see food as a pleasurable way of taking care of myself. I was finally able to ask myself what I really needed to eat to be happy (see video below for what worked for me).  I didn’t deprive myself of anything. I simply set boundaries about when and how much I’d eat. This became the new normal. When I reached my weight loss goal I had established a new pleasurable way of eating. All I had to do was cut back on my exercise (bummer : )).

As you contemplate the new year, don’t attempt the newest fad diet. Vow instead to love yourself, take care of yourself, and put yourself first so that you can then truly help others. After that, don’t be surprised if you find yourself living in a new way. If you’re interested in finding out more about this approach, check out my book The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great.

Losing Weight, Eating Great!
Black Bean Soup with Cumin and Salsa Verde
Serves: Serves 4
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans, drained
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup prepared salsa verde
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves, plus extra sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Garnish: ¼ cup light sour cream, cilantro sprigs
  1. Puree all ingredients except garnish in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered and stirring frequently, to blend flavors, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve, garnishing with sour cream and optional cilantro sprigs.


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  1. says

    I totally agree with your method, it’s the best way to achieve these goals. More good food and moderate exercise. Congrats on your continued success.

  2. Tina says

    For more I recommend Pam’s book, The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great. Besides practical, satisfying, and delicious recipes, you get Pam right there with you sharing her journey and encouraging you on your own. She takes a whole person approach to the issue: it comes from a place of truth and love and might be just what you need.

  3. LoriM says

    Love this recipe; made my second batch this week-end – and the visiting teens even liked it! Now to always keep beans and salsa in the house…..I have a place to use up extra cilantro…

    Inspired by your weight loss story.

  4. Sue says

    Thanks for the inspiration Pam…I am going to follow your advice, and I think I’m going to check out your book too-thanks Tina for the suggestion! Cheers!

  5. Cathy H. says

    This is one of my fav recipes. As a matter of fact, I had it for lunch today. Thanks for doing what you do – and sharing it with the rest of us.

  6. Nancy says

    Thank you for posting this! I could NOT agree more, too, having been in this same exact situation. God Bless!

  7. Greg says

    Great post – would you ever think of doing a sequel? Maybe “The Perfect Recipes for Living Your Perfect Weight “. I have used the recipes in the original book over and over and I think at this point it would be great to hear the story of your maintenance – what the majority of people really struggle with. – creating a lifestyle of exercise, balance and terrific food/recipes – maybe?

  8. says

    Love this post Pam! Your cookbook “The Perfect Recipe For Losing Weight and Eating Great” is one of my favorites. Everything I have made out of their has been a hit and it’s awesome food that can be served to guests. Thank you!

  9. Greg says

    Also wondering… where do those great desserts fit into your day?week? Do you cut something else out in order to have dessert? Or run a few more miles?

  10. Barbara E. says

    I watched the video & was impressed by the pasta dish, then I realized I already have your cookbook! I made Mushroom Flavored Creamy Pasta with Ham & Rosemary last night & my husband rated it a 10 – a great way to start the new year!!

  11. says

    I remember reading about this in your book (The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great), and I was so incredibly inspired by it… I came home from our camping trip (where my SIL shared your book with me), and tracked you down online :). I’ve been reading your blog ever since. Just today, while in the checkout line at the library, I saw that the lady ahead of me was checking out this very same book! I hope she’ll be just as inspired as I was.

    And btw, my husband bought me your newest book for Christmas and I cannot wait to dig in!! (literally and figuratively :))

  12. says

    This is so true! thanks for posting and i’m so excited to learn about your book! i will definitely be checking it out. I have tried so many things but it wasn’t until i cut back on portion size and ate more meals that it made a difference. and who said you have to sacrifice flavor to eat healthy!
    An inspiring story and an encouragement to keep going! Congrats on Keeping it off!!

  13. Patty says

    Love this book. I use it and one other of yours, “How to Cook without a Book,” all the time. (I own many cookbooks, but most just sit on the shelf. Not yours!)

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