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The Small Change Diet

What better way to celebrate the American Dietetic Association’s National Nutrition Month than with an interview with my friend and colleague Keri Gans, author of a brand new book that’s sure to help many, The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You (Gallery). Here are the highlights from our conversation:

What inspired you to write this book?

Having been in private practice for over 10 years and listening to my patients’ struggles with weight loss, and then seeing their successes, I thought what I had to say could be very helpful to others. Also, so many times over the years when I worked with the media, a journalist or producer would ask if I had written a book. After having to answer that question with a no so many times, I decided I should do something about it! I thought to myself, if they think that what I have to say is important, why not share it with more people.

We’ve all heard about how small changes could lead to big results…what makes your particular approach to making small changes different/better/more unique than others?

We have heard before that small changes lead to big results, but my approach is different because I individualize that concept for every reader. There are no time restraints, no specific order you must follow, and no beginning or end. The changes I suggest should be approached in any order you feel comfortable with, and you should take as long as you need to adopt the new behavior as a habit. When you successfully change a habit, it helps you feel very positive about yourself and motivated to stick with it. Along the way I break down every small change into smaller, specific, easy steps so you can continuously feel you’re moving forward.

A question I’m often asked is “Can I really eat French fries and other foods I enjoy and still lose weight?” What say you?

You bet! Losing weight shouldn’t be about avoiding the foods you love, since deprivation  almost always leads to failure. I encourage readers to continue to eat the foods they love, but just learn to eat them in a new way. Perhaps it is simply eating a smaller portion, decreasing the frequency you eat the food or learning to prepare the dish in a healthier way.

On twitter, you often say “skip the bread basket.” You know I—like so many others—love bread. So what do you tell your readers who want to have bread?

I love bread too! The reason I recommend skipping the bread basket is because most of my patients not only eat the bread (and more than one piece for that matter), but also continue to eat a huge bowl of pasta or mashed potatoes which they most definitely finish. Something has to give in order for a person to lose weight. I encourage bread as part of the meal, i.e. on a sandwich, or with an omelet, but not as an extra. However, if out for dinner and they really want bread then a decision must be made on what they order and how much of the rest of the meal they eat. An entree of fish with a side of veggies could leave room for a piece of bread, but a burger with fries most definitely would not.

What are the top small changes you recommend for people who want to lose weight?

I recommend ten small changes, and don’t place any more emphasis on one or the other. In order for a person to maintain a healthy body weight, I think all ten need to be adopted. Increasing fiber intake, cutting empty beverage calories, and reducing undercover calories of dressings and sauces are among them.

For more information about Gans or The Small Change Diet, go to

What small changes have you recently incorporated that have made a big difference in your life?

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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