‘Smoothie Girl Eats Too’ tells Robeks how she became a smoothie devotee
A yo-yo dieter who once weighed 233 pounds credits smoothies with helping her take off more than 90 pounds. Deb, who writes at smoothiegirleatstoo.com, says she uses smoothies as a healthy between-meal snack that keeps her appetite under control.
Robeks recently spoke with Deb about her weight loss and the glory of smoothie bowls and other healthy treats.
You mentioned that you were a yo-yo dieter. What changed?
I cannot tell you exactly what changed. I think after trying repeatedly to lose weight, it finally stuck. I read a statistic somewhere about smokers, saying that smokers who try to quit usually fail a huge number of times — six, eight, 10 times — but eventually they are able to do it. I think that overeating and having a weight problem is much the same.
In 1997, I took part in a very well-structured program offered by Health Management Resources, a company that sells diet products. I had heard about it from a friend of a friend who had always been heavy and lost weight while on the program. Why this one worked for me, in my opinion, is the fact that they used smoothies. That’s how I was introduced to smoothies. They taught you how to weigh and measure food and count calories, and they would require you to do a certain amount of physical activity. They had a really strict food program that consisted of all smoothies and shakes, but I told them that it wouldn’t work for me at all. They gave a basic formula: You must have three shakes a day, which were only 100 calories each. And then you have X number of carbs and X amount of protein, X number of fruits, X number of vegetables. It was so much easier to stick to the program because of all the smoothies.
I lost 90 pounds, but then I started getting lazy about my drinking my shakes and smoothies. When you don’t have smoothies in your life, that leads to a lot of extra hunger, which leads to extra eating, and you put your weight back on. I gained back 20 pounds. I maintained that steady weight for about eight years or so. Then a teeny little smoothie shop opened across the street from my gym and I started going there. It reminded me of how great smoothies are for filling you up, and they’re delicious, too. That’s when I got back into my smoothie routine and lost 20 pounds again.
It was very geared to the Gold’s Gym crowd — you could do shot of wheatgrass, which was very surprising when I tried it. I was like, “You put sugar in here!” — but, of course, they didn’t.
I see that you enjoy smoothie bowls. Robeks recently added smoothie bowls to our menu. Why do you like eating smoothies that way?
I think it makes it much more of an event — something to be celebrated rather than something to be sucked down. If I have time, I will always eat my smoothie out of a bowl. It feels more festive that way. You can dress it up. You can sprinkle some cereal on if you feel like having some crunch. You can put some nut butter on top of it, or have it on a spoon and eat the smoothie with the nut butter on the spoon and you get a tiny bit every time. You can doctor it up with berries. It feels so much more indulgent that way. If I’m on the fly, I’ll take it in a to-go cup, but if I have time, it’s so much nicer to sit down with a cup of coffee and a nice big bowl of deliciousness.
The food blog world has gone ape about having smoothies in a bowl. There was an oatmeal craze in the food blog world, with people encouraging one another to top their oatmeal with everything but the kitchen sink, and it’s much the same way with smoothies right now. It depends on your mood how you dress it up. I always have a sprinkle of something. Especially for people who are watching their weight, why not make yourself feel better about your meal and have it appeal to all your senses? It should be enjoyable.
Why do you recommend smoothies to other people?
They are extremely filling, and oftentimes smoothies can get you over that 3 p.m. moment when you’re reaching for a Snickers bar. It helps you get to dinner and be ready for a sensible meal, so you’re not incredibly hungry. In Los Angeles, sometimes it can take an hour just to get to the restaurant. If my day has been light on calories and I’m starved — that’s a dangerous situation to be in when you’re hungry. Your body will take over and you’ll dive into the bread basket and you may not order right when you get there. So I whip up a smoothie and have it on the way to dinner. That’s a strategy that I have used more times than I can remember. I’ve also used smoothies as breakfast for years now. I have not sat down and had eggs for years now. A smoothie for breakfast satisfies me. Strangely, if I have a regular breakfast, I find myself hungrier all day. Smoothies tame my appetite and give me good nutrition.