deb flint

Hi Debbie and welcome back to Oapschat! Today we are talking abou TTFLS and other diet issues at the top of our agendas at this time of year, post-Christmas, pre-holiday!

Freedom Eating is the system you talk about in your latest semi-autobiographical weight loss book called Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 - the 'When' Diet. Freedom Eating sounds like a great way to lose weight, can you explain the meaning behind this term?

It's basically unlearning all the dieting myths we've learned over the years, which makes us feel guilty every time we eat, never able to feel 'normal' around food or meal times, secretly indulging in 'bad' foods and constantly going on diets and off diets and gradually getting heavier and heavier as the years go by. Especially into menopause and beyond – even those who never had a weight problem when they were younger – can all find themselves stuck in a cycle of diet-binge-diet-gain weight-diet-get depressed etc etc . Whilst the mirror makes us feel more and more unhappy till ironically we feel so bad about ourselves we turn to food for comfort.

Debbie Flint

For people who have tried to lose weight but nothing seems to be working - try this.

Food is fuel, that’s all. Under TTFLS and Freedom Eating, we learn to listen to our bodies, eat when hungry, stop when satisfied and choose what’s exactly right in that moment. Even when on a traditional diet plan, Freedom Eating can work alongside it. It can help to avoid breaking a trad plan badly and going off the rails, thereby keeping us on track more than if we just attempted yet another diet plan on our own. Many of my members on ‘Till the Fat Lady Slims’ Facebook group report great success using TTFLS alongside Slimming World, the 5:2 diet, Paleo etc. It’s all explained inside the latest version – it came out in September 2014 and is an update on the original 2002 version. The new one has a purple cover, includes a lot more info about sugar addiction and some video links etc you can use to get off the white stuff in order to be able to listen to your body again like slim people do. It’s here on amazon.

Deb Flint

Full of usefull information

In January 2015 a limited run of 3000 was produced in hardback for QVC, signed and containing links to extra content, which is here on QVC whilst stocks last.

Did you have any health issues that made you focus on Freedom Eating back when you first discovered it in 1998?

Well, I was pushing towards 14 stone and in my first size 18’s so with a TV career it wasn’t a good look – there was only so much that designer jackets could disguise and I had a particular type of migraine, problems with my sex life (we got divorced two years later as it happens) asthma and awful constipation etc. If I knew then what I know now about nutrition of course I wouldn’t have done what I used to do. But sadly when you’re upset, a lot of us turn to food for comfort – and looking back, it seems I needed a lot of comfort!  I think I had the glutton version of bulimia – I couldn’t bear to waste it so never went as far as throwing it up after bingeing. Basically my main problem was that I was verging on depression too, but for lots of reasons, and burying it all with food.

So what happened? How did you discover the system you’ve written about in Till the Fat Lady Slims?

Two lovely ladies from the States, Vicky and Shawn, introduced ‘the Seven Secrets of Slim People’ to QVC customers and using their system I gradually lost 35lb over about five months. They asked me to write my own story and that became my 2002 version. I left QVC and spent 9 years doing all sorts of other things including running my own business, writing novels and working in the health food industry. I learned a heck of a lot about nutrition and realised what else was needed to bring TTFLS up to date. Having been back five years, I’d self-published the 2002 book, and many regulars who like my Back to You QVC show began using it to lose weight and sort out their mindset around food, saying it was the first thing that had ever worked for them. Then QVC asked me to do a version for them too, I began getting calls about it from radio shows and it seems to have taken off.

What’s in the latest book?

It’s split into three segments. Part three is the original, slightly abridged; because it’s semi-autobiographical, that bit hasn’t changed much. Part One is new – it’s a concise summary of the Supersix Principles of Freedom Eating, created to echo a keep fit device called the Bodyblade which uses a Super6 set up that resonated with me. (People use both on a three month challenge to sort out their eating and their fitness.) Part Two is full of the latest info about sugar and hydration and omega 3 and tons of links to other articles, features, and videos to watch on Youtube. They all help you on your quest. Plus the new parts of my journey – I’ve added another couple of chapters of my own story – what happened in the years in between the last book and this one. There’s also bonus info too, which you can find on the internet via my website, using the code in the book.

How has the new system been helping people?

If you look at the pics on the back, one lady has lost five stone over nine months, another went down four dress sizes – she’s in a mobility scooter so loves her new shape. Others report regularly on email or Facebook groups that they feel like a weight has lifted, they suddenly realise what they’ve been doing wrong for so long, or that they are finding losing weight EASY for the first time in their lives.

Easy? How come?

Because if you do full Freedom Eating, you think about what your body really wants and nothing is out of bounds. The irony is that you don’t then want the ‘treats’ as they’re not treasure any more. You also explore in great depth the reasons why not to feel guilty all the time, how to NOT beat yourself up after breaking a diet with one cake, not to eat everything in the kitchen cupboards and then start again tomorrow after yet another ‘last supper.’ There is no ‘being bad’ with Freedom Eating, there’s only observing and doing it differently next time - learning to make better choices. To that end, principle six means examining afterwards the effect your food choices had on your body – nutritionally this is where healthy eating kicks in. I find that I choose healthier options because nothing else will do and because my body WANTS those choices. Therefore there’s no more deprivation, no more control issues. There is one ‘must’ though, and that’s to stop when satisfied (not full.) But the book helps understand when that is – many don’t know – as well as when it’s time to eat, when you’re hungry enough, or when it’s time to wait, etc. Hence “The ‘When’ Diet.” This part of the new version was designed with my sister Linda who used to be a slimming club leader so understands the value of the mindset changes TTFLS introduces. She combines the Supersix with her choice of a loose diet plan – a rough counting system to lose weight. Then she relies on Freedom Eating for maintenance and hasn’t looked back. When you start acting like a slim person around food, you know you’ve cracked it. It’s all in the book. And readers are very welcome to come join our support system online too, so you’re never alone.

Do you find it easy to maintain your current weight?

Now I'm over 50 it's definitely harder. I just have to look at chips, and blubber goes back on my belly. And I had a thing for mince pies over Xmas, for instance. But Freedom Eating takes that all into account, we're only human. So I use my understanding of nutrition, kick start my healthier choices with a Youtube session to get my mindset back in place again, and off the weight comes once more. Mainly though, it brings me peace. We all know what to do, we don't do what we know. That's the old adage which explains why so many people are turning to Freedom Eating and Till the Fat Lady Slims for help to get them out of food prison – and once you get used to it, with all the hints and tips, it works!

So it seems your attitudes to foodstuffs have changed over the years, especially now that we hear so much about "evil" sugar and "evil" salt. Any tips on useful resources?

Yes! The video that turned me around from being a sugar-in-tea person was 'Sugar the Bitter Truth' on Youtube. A genius professor explains the bio-chemistry behind sugar addiction and the harm it does to the body, for diabetes, cholesterol, fatty liver etc. It's one and a half hours long and it took me four views to fully understand it. It doesn't date, and the lecturer, Professor Robert Lustig has been campaigning tirelessly to help people worldwide to cut back. Others which may be better for beginners include (just search these terms on youtube) 'Toxic Sugar' and 'is Sugar Toxic' – two shorter reports which put it plainly and make you realise that sugar is not all the same – fructose out of its normal whole fruit state is not good, and a calorie is not a calorie. Want an amazing fact? Fructose can be seven times more addictive than cocaine. Or - a third of all the calories we eat as fructose go straight back into fat, no matter how much we eat or how little or how much exercise we do – it's simple hepatic metabolisation – it can ONLY be digested in the liver and the whole explanation (in 'Sugar the Bitter Truth' or his book, 'Fat Chance, the bitter truth about Sugar') makes shivers go down your spine. There's also a brilliant explanation online about 'Fat Burning Simplified' by a superb nutritional expert Marlene Watson Tara – who cures people of all sorts, with a whole food, plant-based diet. All these links can be found on a blog I did which summarised everything – it's 'Aids to Cutting Back on Sugar' here. You can tell it's a bit of a pet subject of mine! Doesn't mean I never touch it, we're only human, but managing it rather than it managing me, is all part of Freedom Eating.

As far as salt is concerned, we all know its dangers, don't we? One day it'll be the same with sugar. The best thing is to educate yourself – it's not high fat you should avoid, it's high fat AND high sugar, and it looks like sugar's the more dangerous.

Is exercise an important part of your day?

Of course. Not tons, but I try to do my usual few minutes on a couple of different devices – Bodyblade included – it’s amazing for toning and High Intensity Interval Training.  A Leg Master also does hips and thighs and bum – both only minutes a day. God I sound like I’m doing my day job don’t I, sorry! I just get so enthusiastic about the things I know work! Haha! I walk my three Labradors – although one’s got a bad hip so I do it in two stages. Plus a bit of yoga stretching at night before bed always helps. I’m a member of a local gym but please don’t check my records – I’m so rubbish at getting down there! We all do it don’t we! I have to be careful as when I’m engrossed in my latest new novel or novella (like the Valentine’s one I’m just finishing) I tend to sit for hours on end. I’ve heard about ‘treadmill desks’ – maybe I should get one of those! If anyone has any tips like that do let me know – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Can you describe a typical day's eating plan?

To be honest, every day is different, but if I've got my 'clear signals' head on, I follow a largely macrobiotic diet when I'm left to my own devices. I rarely eat dairy – I found out my body doesn't like it (principal six ties in with making the right choices within Freedom Eating if your body doesn't like something.) I also don't really eat much meat. But I do like fish – oily fish in particular. Another pet subject is eating enough EPA omega 3 and having the right balance of omega6:omega3, but that's for another time! Just google it – 'benefits of high dose EPA' and you may be surprised. I supplement my diet with it if I don't eat it. But veggies are really my 'thing' – I'll have stir fry for breakfast some days – or green soup (my favourite!) – and leafy greens are what my body often craves more than anything. If my head gets in the way and wants something sweet too often, I know I'm slipping back into sugar controlling my cravings again, so it's back to Youtube! But dark choc is often sufficient. Nowadays I'm one of those who can eat a small bit of something to get a taste of it, and stop, rather than eat the whole packet. I've got a lot to thank Vicky and Shawn for!

Do you buy organic foods?

I do when I can. Specially eating tons of veg as I do. I just started getting a 'veg box' delivered each week – some things I've never heard of let alone eaten! Quite a feat at this stage, and me a proud foodie too! Lol! Jerusalem Artichokes (look a bit like ginger, smell a bit like potato) for one thing! And the taste of the carrots – OMG – never known anything like it! I do like washing the dirt off them and all that – sometimes I wonder if they've specially added more dirt just for people like me! Haha!

Do you have time to read food label packaging?

Oh yes, always – as long as it's in a bright enough light or I've got my glasses! I avoid dairy as much as poss, and anything with high total sugar content. I was drinking fruit juice – a famous brand 'with bits' and wondering why I was putting on a quarter of a stone every six months – well thanks to Youtube I now know and thanks to Freedom Eating I understand it was the Sugar Devil making me do it. Honest guv'nor! Aspartame is something else I avoid too, to be honest.

What about eating out for special occasions?

Well I eat mainly veggie but no cheese and no pasta so usually I'll have a salad or a fish dish. I say I 'eat mainly veggie' cos if my body feels like a bit of chicken it will have it, but that's rare. And almost never when out. I also carry my own almond milk around with me – soooo much better for me than dairy. I'm one of those two thirds of the world who are lactose intolerant I think. It's fine for some but reinforced alternatives are fab. (Not soya though – it makes my hot flushes resume as I'm low oestrogen.) I looooove Japanese restaurants eg Yo Sushi or Wagamama's – stir fry is probably my fave, if I had to choose one thing forever! But if I wanted something that isn't strictly on the menu – like the occasional halloumi or whatever – I have a bit – I just have to realise why I'm spending the next morning coughing up tons of mucus! Eurgh!

Please give us three important tips to stay on a healthy diet.

OK. If you think you're hungry, drink some water – have a big glass of hot water with lemon regularly throughout the day. Wait fifteen minutes and if you're still hungry you should be able to listen to your body and choose accurately what your body most needs for that mealtime. If not, you were probably thirsty. Thirst and hunger centres are side by side in the brain and by the time you feel thirst you're probably dehydrated. Dehydration is the body's enemy – it's amazing how much difference it makes to drink sufficient water each day. Secondly – depression gets many people comfort-eating with a vengeance. Please google 'how high dose EPA helps depression' and consider obtaining a supplement or liquid which can give you at least 500mg a day of actual EPA (not just 'omega 3'), up to 2000mg a day. It's been associated with all sorts of benefits too – including for improvements in hair, nails, skin, heart, eyes, sleep, immune system, inflammation (arthritis etc), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, joints, brain function and behaviour and aggression, as well as children's learning (go for DHA if a nursing mother or for under 5's). Check with your health professional – if they're up to date they'll know about the Durham school trials and Professor Alexandra Richardson's work at Oxford University – see for more info.
Lastly, get off sugar, for all the reasons above! Then follow the six principles of Freedom Eating to make the difference you've never made so far.

Debbie's website, featuring links to her writing (steamy romance and short stories with a twist), her QVC blog, and her pages on health, 'Back to You' and 'TTFLS' is here –

Click here to view Debbie's Amazon page.

twitter @debbieflint

Facebook – search 'DebbieFlintQVC'

The Valentines Romantic Tales with A Twist will be FREE on Valentines Day!  Free on amazon for your kindle or kindle app, on February 14th, 'Roses are red, six short romantic stories with a twist' from Debbie Flint and others.

One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of TTFLS in a future Oapschat raffle to be announced in the coming days!

Thank you for your time Debbie and may I on behalf of Oapschat, wish you, your family and friends a great 2015!

Hi everyone!  Debbie has asked me to describe what the website is all about. It is a community magazine aimed at people over 55 and their friends and families of any age. There are over 310 articles to date which you can read. Topics include holidays, hobbies, fun, days out, memories, friends, families, food and much more! On the Home Page, under the Home Link is an About Us section which explains more in detail. There are two great interviews with Debbie on the website! This latest one can be found in the Well Being section and the other one under Topical Issues.
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