The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness

How I Lost 40 lbs and Kept It Off-And How You Can Too!

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From Maria Menounos, self-proclaimed EveryGirl and host of E! News, comes a lasting weight-loss program based on the Mediterranean diet of her childhood that will encourage women to think “smarter, simpler, healthier”—a personal mantra that helped the star lose (and keep off!) forty pounds.
 
TV host and journalist Maria Menounos was once more than forty pounds overweight, low on energy, and often sick. Desperate for a change, she tried a wide array of diet and exercise fads—with zero success. Like most EveryGirl out there, Maria lacked the time, money, energy, and willpower to get in shape.
 
Determined to overcome those obstacles, Maria spent a year developing commonsense diet, exercise, and lifestyle techniques that transcended traditional nutrition and weight-loss plans. As a result, she lost the extra pounds, regained her energy and health—and saw her career take off. Now, applying those techniques and bolstered by the wisdom, insight, and secrets of some of the world’s leading health and fitness experts—as well as the glamorous, superfit superstars she interviews regularly—Maria has created the ultimate no-time, no-money, no-willpower guide to losing weight, getting fit, and gaining long-term health and success: The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness.
 
Inside, you’ll discover all of Maria’s secrets:
 
• her 9-step plan for losing weight fast
• her lifelong plan for health and well-being
• a complete blueprint for rebuilding your physical and emotional foundation
• healthy, delicious, and easy-to-prepare recipes
• the quickest, easiest, most effective workouts (no gym or trainer required!)
• 1,000+ tips, tricks, and techniques for losing weight, getting fit, and staying that way
• how to do it all when time and money are in short supply
 
The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness is simply the most complete, effective, and convenient manual for all the EveryGirls out there who lack the time, money, or willpower to change. It’s not merely a weight-loss book. It’s a guide to help you get fit, feel healthy, be productive, and embark on a longer, happier, healthier life!

Praise for The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness
 
“With so many diets and fitness trends out there, sometimes the most obvious route to wellness is good, old-fashioned common sense. . . . Maria Menounos lost forty pounds on a ‘common-sense’ diet, exercise and lifestyle regime she created that doesn’t require a lot of money and time.”StyleBistro

“When you look at Maria you want what she’s having. This book tells you how to get it.”—Suzanne Somers
 
“I love Maria’s approach to health and fitness. Her tips are easy to follow and she proves you don’t have to avoid some of your favorite foods in order to be fit. I recommend this book to anyone trying to get a jumpstart on a healthy lifestyle!”—Serena Williams
 
“For the multitasking busy girl, Maria proves by example that it can be done! Maria is very inspiring.”—Kim Kardashian
 
“It’s not about being skinny. Maria shows you how to live a happy and healthy life—and still indulge. This book finds new ways to help you stay inspired and gives you techniques that will change your life and get you in shape.”—Khloé Kardashian

Under the Cover

An excerpt from The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness

Chapter 1
 
When ABC called and asked me to be on the hit series Dancing with the Stars, my first thought was, No way. Born with crooked legs that required metal braces and steel- reinforced shoes, I grew up as an uncoordinated kid and still have an awkward running style to this day. Nor was I much of a dancer. Growing up, I never performed in recitals the way other girls did, as my parents couldn’t afford dance lessons. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of the whole world. And unlike some of the other Dancing with the Stars contestants, I had a full-time job, hosting Extra every day. Entertainment news is like any other news; it never stops. Would I even be able to fit in hours of rehearsing every day? At the last minute, I decided to do it. My parents; my boyfriend, Keven; and his mom were huge fans of the show, and Kev thought that the added exposure would be good for my career. It wasn’t easy, emotionally or physically. I didn’t learn the steps as fast as the other contestants, and I was constantly terrified that I’d mess up. I fractured both of my feet (in multiple places) and two of my ribs during our rehearsals, and I was in pain throughout. Time was tight—I hosted Extra every day I was dancing, and had to cram in my Dancing with the Stars rehearsals during the evenings. Yet for all the pain, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had; an amazing fourteen weeks learning about my body—and about my life.
 
Any success I had in the dancing department, I owe 100 percent to Derek Hough, my dance partner. He is the most superb dancer and a genius-level choreographer and teacher. He makes every partner look amazing. He really is that unbelievable. Derek, his parents, his sisters, and their children are like family to me, so I got a lot of emotional support, too. However, I take full credit for any success I had in terms of stamina. I owed that success to the hard lessons I’d learned in the arena of diet and fitness and the strong foundation I’d established as a result.
 
That foundation took years to build, and I didn’t do it alone. It involved a lot of trial and error, and it certainly wasn’t easy.
 
My Story
 
My parents were immigrants who came to the United States in their twenties. Before that, they lived in small villages in the mountains of Greece without electricity or running water. They could afford to eat meat only once a year, usually during holidays, so their daily meals were made up of fruits, grains, and vegetables harvested directly from their gardens.
 
When I was a kid, that’s the way we ate pretty much all the time. My parents didn’t change their diet all that much when they came to America, for two reasons. First, it was the way they liked to eat. But it was also because my dad has type 1 diabetes. We never had anything with processed sugar in the house; there were no chips, ice cream, or sugary cereals in our kitchen. I didn’t even know what bagels or waffles were until late in high school. For dinner, we had a variety of dishes made with lentils, vegetables, and beans from the garden. Our dessert? Fruit.
As a result, I was pretty thin growing up. At times my dad even worried I was too skinny. In the old country, being skinny was a sign that you were poor. So Dad would come home from work with the biggest chocolate bars he could find and give them to me so I could put on weight.
 
Then when I was thirteen, I got a job at Dunkin’ Donuts. Surrounded by all that sugar, I couldn’t resist indulging. (If you’re not from the East Coast, you may not understand, but Dunkin’ Donuts is particularly addicting. Even today, it’s my first stop every time I visit Boston!) In my freshman year of high school, I was a size 3 and grew about a size every year. By senior year, I was a size 8. An important note here: Though I was gaining weight, I was definitely comfortable with my appearance. Even though I was told I was too short for a modeling career, I participated in small fashion shows, did some print work, and competed in the Miss Teen Massachusetts pageant—and yes, there was a swimsuit segment. For any of you girls who think you need to be a size 0 to be attractive, maybe you’ll change your mind after I tell you that I actually won that pageant.
 
But things got worse in college. Off my parents’ proverbial leash, I could keep candy and chips in my room and eat all the late-night pizza I could afford. The college cafeteria offered endless rows of all-you-can-eat fries, steak and cheese subs, sandwich melts, cake, pie, pudding, and ice cream. I had access to everything I could never have before—and I went nuts.
 
At my peak of overeating, I would have a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast; a large steak and cheese sandwich with lots of French fries for lunch; and ice cream, candy, and assorted junk in between. I was so obsessed with brown sugar Pop-Tarts that, to this day, I won’t eat them for fear that the taste will get me addicted again. At dinner, I could down a whole pizza by myself. Two hours after dinner, I would have three Eggo waffles for dessert.
 
Nobody could contain me.
 
Soon, neither could my clothes.
 
I grew to a size 14 and kept growing. Eating became a game to me. I started to compete with guys to see who could eat the most, and regrettably, I always won. At my heaviest, I was more than 160 pounds. Every time I came home from college, aunts, uncles, and cousins had something mean to say. They would poke fun at my size and how much weight I had gained. It hurt so much that, in defiance, I would buy a gallon of ice cream and then hide in the garage and eat it.
 
Looking back, I should have laughed them off, the way I hope to inspire you to do in your own battles. I don’t remember thinking I looked that bad back then, and when I look at old pictures, I still don’t think so. And I should have taken comfort in the fact that I was actually thriving in my life as an on-camera talent. Emerson College, my alma mater, was attended by the likes of Jay Leno, Denis Leary, Henry Winkler, and countless other showbiz heavies. They have an annual award show called the EVVY Awards for their outstanding students. I was the first freshman in the school’s seventy-five-year history ever to win an EVVY for my on-camera hosting. So again, for any of you who think you need to be a size 0 to be on camera or to be beautiful, I won that award when I weighed upwards of 160 pounds and wore a size 14.
 
But I know how I felt: sick and lethargic. I wanted to nap all the time and struggled to get out of bed each morning. All my Emerson professors and my boyfriend, Kev, whom I had just started dating, warned me about the high level of energy and stamina I would need to work in television, especially the news. You have to be prepared to work eighteen-hour days six to seven days a week. Their unanimous advice was if you want to make it in this business, you have to be physically fit and strong. In addition, I learned that my overeating and weight gain was putting me at greater risk for diabetes. I knew too well how the disease had affected Mom, Dad, and me. The writing was on the wall: I had to take my health and my eating habits more seriously.
 
One Diet After Another
 
I tried a ton of diets—shake diets, the grapefruit diet, and the coffee diet among them—but not one of them lasted. Like the EveryGirl, I was putting in long days, trying to do it all: study, work, build a career, be a good daughter, and have a social life, too. Between my schedule and trying to make ends meet, being on a diet was just one more stress factor in an already stressful life.
 
An Ugly Cycle
 
When you’re used to eating unhealthily, as I was, it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to do a 180-degree turnaround and follow a rigid diet plan. You’re tired and you crave foods that will give you that surge of energy you desperately need. Unfortunately, they’re the same foods that are loaded with junk like sugar. They do give you that jolt, but they make you crash soon after. You feel even more exhausted than before, and you reach for even more of the unhealthy food to lift you up again. It’s a cyclical habit that leads to weight gain and poor health, as was clearly the case with me. And it’s tough to break all at once. Is it any wonder, then, that every time I tried a new diet I’d get discouraged and gradually resume my old eating habits? Trying to do a complete diet overhaul was too much to handle.
 
My “Diet” Discovery
 
Finally, in January 1999, I’d had enough. I was tired of feeling tired, getting sick all the time, and wondering why. I was tired of being out of shape, nothing fitting right, and spending way too much time trying to find clothes that would hide my flaws. Since I couldn’t find a plan that worked for me, I decided to create my own. The reason the word diet is in quotes above is that it wasn’t really an official diet. It was just me opting to set a goal and to make some dietary and lifestyle adjustments (which I’ll describe in detail later). Within a year I had lost forty pounds. Little did I know that I’d stumbled on the secret to losing weight in an easy and practical way, and had found the best way to ensure I wouldn’t gain it back. Things still needed a little tweaking, though.
 

- About the author -

Maria Menounos is co-anchor and managing editor of E! News and the New York Times bestselling author of The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life and The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness. She co-founded AfterBuzz TV with partner Keven Undergaro, and created and executive produced the ABC special #DanceBattle America alongside Keven Undergaro and Julianne Hough. She also recently launched a line of Greek food, Maria’s Greek Delights, with her mother.

More from Maria Menounos

The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness

How I Lost 40 lbs and Kept It Off-And How You Can Too!

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The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness

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