Shedding pounds, without losing the taste |

Shedding pounds, without losing the taste

Tammy Westergard
For the Appeal

What an honor it is to be asked by one of Carson City’s favorite food authorities, the renowned Linda Marrone, to contribute to this space on the topic of “healthy eating.”

Fear not, dear readers, I AM a bona fide “food authority” and, well, that’s the problem.

Over a lifetime, I’ve authorized myself to take liberty with far too much food and not enough exercise. Now I’m over 40, and about 18 months ago my bad habits finally caught up with me.

I was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Then, adding insult to injury, I learned as an over-40 woman with diabetes, I was begging for a heart attack or stroke.

Major bummer for a food authority like me. You see, if food was alcohol, I would have been at Betty Ford a long time ago!

So in the last 18 months, I’ve lost almost 75 pounds and 14 sizes, and no longer require any of the three medications I was taking. My blood pressure is in check, and my cholesterol is normal.

Last month, I ran the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon, all 26.2 miles of it.

How did I pull this off? Well, I generally followed a book written by Diana Schwartzbein, an endocrinologist in Santa Barbara, titled, “The Schwartzbein Principle.”

In concert with my wonderful – and butt-kicking – local doctors’ input, I used the book to learn to eat healthfully.

It’s the kind of plan that fits my personality and preferences by basically cutting out starch and sugar. If you want to know more about Schwartzbein, she has several books out, including a cookbook. Find information at and, of course, consult with your physician first to make sure your heading down the right path for you.

Also, take advantage of programs at work if you’re lucky enough to have them. I work for Carson City, and our human resources department offers excellent information to help point employees toward healthier lifestyles, which is organizationally smart and very progressive.

Many times people can choose to be healthy if they’re just supported, and why not? I now know healthy choices are not as impossible as I’d let myself believe.

I’m no saint now, not by any means, but I’m doing a heck of a lot better, and it has paid off. So you know, once I started eating as described by Schwartzbein – with modification by my doctors – within 14 weeks, I lost 10 sizes, going from a size 20 to a 10 and dropped about 45 pounds.

My average fasting blood sugar went from 315 to under 100, my bad cholesterol went way down, good cholesterol way up (now within normal ranges) and my blood pressure returned to normal. All this was accomplished without added exercise because, at this point, I was walking about four hours per week. The bright idea to run a marathon didn’t come until later.

A final note, check out the American Heart Association’s Web site at It has lots of good info about knowing your cholesterol numbers and the warning signs of heart disease.

Tammy’s Favorite Lemon Caesar Salad

• 3Ú4 cup olive oil

• 1Ú2 cup fresh lemon juice

• 1 tablespoon lemon rind

• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

• 1 teaspoon anchovy paste

• 3 cloves minced garlic

• 2 tablespoon. Worcestershire sauce

• 1Ú4 teaspoon pepper

• 3 tablespoon sour cream

• 6 cups torn romaine lettuce

• 1Ú2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Blend all ingredients and toss with torn romaine lettuce and finish with Parmesan cheese. To enjoy as a meal, add 1 cup, cubed cold tri-tip tip or chicken. Serves 4 – 6.

• Tammy Westergard is the Economic Development/Redevelopment Deputy Manager. She is filling in for Linda Marrone, who is on vacation.