Today’s guest is Lisa Tillinger Johansen, author of the nonfiction/nutrition/health book, Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off!
Would you call yourself a born writer?
I would. I wrote my first play when I was in 4th grade. My friends and I performed it for our class. And, of course, I starred in it. Too funny! I wrote another play the next year, which we also performed for our class. The last play I wrote, and starred in, was called Rocky and the Boys which followed the exploits of a group of bank robbers. That was when I was in 7th grade.
When I was in high school, I switched to writing essays and short stories and this continued through college. I made my first attempt at writing a book in my late twenties. It was a murder mystery entitled The Girl With The Kelly Green Scarf. From start to finish it was only 80 pages. Clearly I found fiction writing very hard! So I turned my attention to nonfiction writing and am very proud of my new book Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!, as well as my first book Fast Food Vindication.
What was your inspiration for Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off?
I wrote Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! because there are so many fad and bad diets out there that don’t work and can even be harmful to us. As a dietitian, I’m a big believer in eating balanced diets that are healthy and can be adhered to for life. That’s such an important message and I felt compelled to write about it.
What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
Since I’m a registered dietitian and work as a health educator, I focus my writing on diet, weight loss and overall nutrition. I write what I know.
How long did it take you to complete the book?
It took me two years to write Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! That’s longer than I like. I’m hoping to complete my next book in one year’s time.
Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.
I am very disciplined, but I’m not just a writer. I counsel clients one-on-one, teach nutrition education classes at senior centers and have speaking engagements at community centers, colleges and corporations. So sometimes I’m very busy and getting in writing can be challenging. When I do carve out the time, I like to sit on the couch with my two dogs cuddling next to me. I like to have the TV on. I have my laptop and my research files and I write for as many hours as I can.
What did you find most challenging about writing this book?
Time was the most challenging factor. I think that’s probably true for a lot of writers.
What do you love most about being an author?
There are two things I love about being an author. The first is how I get immersed in the process. Even with all the distractions of having the TV on and my dogs by my side when I write, these potential distractions are negated by how much I get pulled into my writing. It’s just me and my laptop and it feels great. More importantly, I know that my books can help people and there’s no better feeling than that.
Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?
For both of my books, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! I went through a small press, J. Murray Press which uses CreateSpace. I’m very happy I went that route because I was able to have full control of the process. But for my next book I’m considering going through a traditional publisher because of the support they can provide not only during the writing process but upon publication of the book.
Where can we find you on the web?
About the Author
LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post). She lives in Southern California.
Her latest book is the nonfiction/nutrution/health book, Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
For More Information
- Visit Lisa Tillinger Johansen’s websites – Stop the Diet, Consult the Dietician and Fast Food Vindication.
- Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Book:
Title: Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen
Publisher: J. Murray Press
The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?
Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts. With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.
For More Information
- Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
- Read Chapter One here.
The idea for this book began at a wedding.
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? The clothes, the flowers, the romance, the food…
Ah, the food. As we moved into the banquet hall, the culinary feast was on everyone’s minds. It was all anyone seemed talk about. But for some reason, guests weren’t conversing about the dishes being served; they were swapping stories of diets they had heard about from friends, magazine articles, even celebrities on talk shows.
I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science and years of clinical and health education experience. I’ve counseled thousands of patients and clients on all of these diets. But hearing the guests only momentarily distracted me from my horrible faux pas of wearing white (gasp!) to a friend’s wedding.
“I’m on the Blood Type Diet,” said a woman with an impossibly high bouffant hairdo. “You’ve heard of that, haven’t you? It’s the one where you choose your foods based on your blood type. I’m an AB, so I’ll be having the fish.”
“Really?” her friend replied. “I swear by the gluten-free diet. I’m on it, my daughter’s on it, and my granddaughter’s on it.”
I happened to know her granddaughter was six and didn’t have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Then there was the stocky guy who was trying to impress one of the bridesmaids. “I’m a paleo man myself,” he said, piling his plate high with beef kebabs. “It gives me more stamina, know what I mean? It puts me in touch with my inner caveman. There’s a restaurant near my apartment that’s paleo friendly. Maybe we can grab a bite there sometime, or…Hey wait, where are you going?”
And there were three Weight Watchers sisters who typed furiously on their phones and argued over their meals’ point values. Apparently there was some discrepancy between their various apps, and the sisters’ discussion was becoming more heated by the moment.
I’m past the point of being surprised by the wide range of weight-loss strategies—
some worthless, some crazy, some quite reasonable—being tossed around. In the past few years, there has been a tidal wave of diets washing up on the shores of our nutritional consciousness. Celebrities prance across our screens, promoting a variety of weight-loss schemes on talk shows and infomercials. Medical doctors star in their own syndicated television programs, exposing millions to weight-loss techniques, often unsupported by medical research. Other diets get traction on the Internet, racing all over the globe in social media posts, YouTube videos, and annoying spam e-mails. It’s hard to walk past a shopping center vitamin store without being approached by salespeople trying to pitch the latest weight-loss supplements. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the pie; the American diet industry tops $60 billion annually.
It’s classic information overload. You can’t blame people for being confused by all the diets out there, even as crazy as some of them may sound. I didn’t speak up to my fellow wedding guests that day, but it occurred to me they would benefit from some hard facts about the diets they so ardently follow.
So during the toasts, I thought to myself, I should write a book.
I counsel clients on these matters each week, giving them information they need to make the best choices for their health and waistlines. I find that all too often there’s nothing to the diets that are presented to me in my counseling sessions and classes. They just plain don’t work, particularly over the long term. And some of them are harmful, even potentially lethal. But it’s also unhealthy to carry extra weight on our frames. So how do we separate good diets from the bad?
In the chapters to come, we’ll take a good, hard look at the various weight-loss plans out there. I’ll pull no punches in my professional evaluation of some of the most wildly popular diets, both bad and good, of the past few years. And along the way, I’ll explore tried-and-true strategies for losing weight, based on my years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars, and community outreach efforts. More often than not, the best answer is not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but instead a few easy-to-follow guidelines that I’ve seen work in literally thousands of cases.
Enough is enough. It’s time for the madness—and the diets—to stop.