People often balk when I tell them that I was once a fatty.
I’m tall and big-boned, so I can easily carry some extra weight, but there was a time when I was very clearly overweight. My parents immigrated to Canada from Romania/Russia and my mother was a wonderful cook. Her super tasty meals were traditionally centered on meat, potatoes, and bread. In our family, we were encouraged to go back for seconds and, of course, to always clean our plates. Wasting food was a sin.
I was always physically active, but the Canadian winters are long, and every year I gained more weight than I could possibly lose over the summer. By the age of fourteen, I weighed nearly two hundred pounds. I was hypersensitive about my size, and the social pressure of high school made me so miserable that dropped out after the tenth grade. I ended up getting a job as a dishwasher for a mom and pop café down the road.
Fast-forward to twenty years later, and I found myself being lauded as the top chef for one of the best health spas in the US. Yes, there was a lot of hard work in between, but my upbringing clearly helped lay the foundation. So I get it. I get what it’s like to struggle with food and your weight. And as an expert in cooking for weight loss, I rely equally on empathy as I do on skill. So if you want to know where my wellness concepts and healthy recipes come from, remember…I get it.