How Paula Deen Dropped 40 Pounds without Dieting

Paul Deen, the 68 year old cooking maestro who recently appeared on Dancing With The Stars, has dropped an impressive 40 pounds. She now looks a lot healthier and feels far more energetic.

Paula kitchen

Paula achieved her huge weight drop without resorting to any type of diet. Indeed, the mention of the word ‘diet’ is enough to get the pint sized chef all worked up . . .

I hate the word diet. I don’t even want to say that word with people as I’m trying to help them because you automatically start out feeling deprived and beaten. My favorite word in my new lifestyle is moderation. You know, we can have a cookie. It’s that other five that we have that do the damage.

Why Paula Hates Diets

Paula laughingPaula has seen first hand how dangerous diets can be. She’s been on plenty of them and all they’ve done is make her miserable – and fatter than when she started.

Whenever Paula went on a diet, she became obsessed with food. It’s the classic pink elephant scenario. If you are told not to think about a pink elephant, what will constantly pop into your head over the next five minutes?

You got it . . . images of pink elephants.

Same thing with food. At least it was for Paula. When she was told not to eat a certain food for a long period of time, she particularly thought about the food that had been forbidden to her. This makes the task of sticking to the diet that much harder.

Another thing that happened to Paula when she restricted her eating was that she got more stressed. Research backs up that dieting increases anxiety. A 2010 study out of Los Angeles proved for the first time that diets are stressful and lead to the release of the cortisol hormone. This in turn, leads to temptation to binge eat and keeps you awake at night, inhibiting the release of the hunger and satiety hormones grehlin and leptin.  In these ways the stress will also make you fatter.

As a result, Paula has sworn off even the mention of the word diet. So, how did she lose all of her weight?

                The Moderation Mindset

Paula black dress

For Paula, learning to eat in moderation has been the key to getting on top of her nutrition. Moderation means that she follows a clean eating approach 80% of the time, and allows herself a small treat or two the other 20% of the time.

Paula has learnt to limit her portion sizes, too. In fact this was a major fact in her ability to reduce her daily caloric intake.

Paula realized that people, herself included, have a psychological need to fill their plates with food. If we don’t, we feel as if we are cheating ourselves. So to limit portion size, people need to actually purchase smaller plates! Then slow down when eating. So this is exactly what she did. By listening to her body, she was able let it dictate how much she should be eating.

Paula blenderReducing the size of her plate was a practical step that Paul took immediately to control her weight. She had come across a study out of Cornel University which revealed that adults eat, on average, 92% of what they put on their plate . According to the research, even when we are full, we still have a voice in our brain telling us to finish off the plate. So, the smaller the size of the plate, the less food we have to demolish before our brain tells us our job is done.

Using smaller plates allowed Paula to use visual trickery to defeat obesity. When she looked at her meal, her brain was taking in a whole lot of information, Because she had never learnt to actually eat when she was hungry , her brain used the eyes to figure out how much she’d eaten. When the plate was empty, her eyes told her brain that the job was done. Using a smaller plate allowed her to get the job done without consuming excess calories.

Eating on a smaller plate reduced Paula’s daily caloric intake by about 200 calories. That’s the equivalent of jogging for 30 minutes on a treadmill.

Filling Up On Water

One reason that Paula identified as to why she used to pile her (large) plate with food is that she mistook thirst for hunger. Once she understood this, she started drinking water when she felt hungry. Then she would check if the feeling of hunger went away. If it returned, then she needed food. If not, she was just thirsty.

                   Paula Does DWTS

Paula DWTS

As well as taking in fewer calories, and eating in moderation, Paula began to training for Dancing With The Stars. Her dance partner, Louis Van Amstel, introduced her to dance training and exercise routines that had her sweating and puffing as she slowly got her body into shape. The hours of practice of her dance routines burned a whole lot of calories. But it was the weight she lost before signing on for the show that gave Paula the impetus to take on the DWTS challenge  . . .

This was either my fourth or my fifth year being invited to do the show, and I very quickly said no every year. And so I dropped 40 pounds and then when this invitation came in, my team was so happy and so I really accepted it for them and for my family. But I said maybe it would be doable now that I gotten four 10-pound bowling balls off of me, maybe I could struggle through!

In addition, to the dance training that she did 5 days per week for 3 months with her SWTS partner, Paula also began jogging. She started off slowly, just running for a few minutes and then walking for the same length of time. She worked up to being able to jog for a whole hour without taking a break. She found that taking her daily jog in the early evening, about an hour after dinner was a great way to unwind. It also meant that she was far less inclined to reach for an unhealthy snack in the evening.

                               Deen Does It

Paula before and after

Paula’s formula for weight loss without dieting has given the 68 year old queen of the kitchen a refreshing new outlook on life. She can now enjoy food without guilt or sacrifice. Her new lifestyle has given Paula a whole lot more energy as she continues to pour out books and TV shows, sharing her healthy eating success story with the world.

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