Shonda Rhimes may be the titan behind some of the most successful shows on ABC, but for years there was one thing the Grey’s Anatomy head writer and executive producer couldn’t do: pen a successful plan for weight loss success.
The mastermind behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, The Catch, and the upcoming series Still Star-Crossed (working title) has struggled with obesity for years. And in her bestselling book The Year of Yes, she reveals that her crazy work schedule and less-than-healthy stress coping mechanisms were to blame. As her TV shows became more popular, the heavier she became. The excess weight left her feeling fatigued and overall “blah,” but it wasn’t until she realized that she had become too big to fasten her airplane seatbelt across her lap that she decided it was time to tackle her weight issues head on.
After she decided to finally lose the weight, she made a commitment to herself that she would trim down the right way. That meant no gimmicks or shortcuts. Instead, Shonda applied the same solid ethic to her slim down plan that she continually uses to maintain her reign over Thursday night television.
“I work hard—that’s how I succeed. That’s how anyone succeeds. So why in the world did I think weight loss would be any different?” she writes in her novel. Shonda then goes on to reveal the weight loss tips that helped her shed an impressive 117 pounds—and how she learned to make her health a priority. Here’s the highlight reel:
1. Call in the Pros
Kick off your weight loss journey by seeing a licensed physician, à la Shonda. This will allow you to document exactly where you stand in terms of things like cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. Though you may not lose a pound every week, your blood pressure may drop down to a healthy range or you may replace fat with muscle, which are things also worth celebrating!
Rhimes also hired a personal trainer to help her torch the fat. (She’s a big fan of Pilates.) Even if you don’t have room in your budget for one-on-one attention, you can still hit the gym and work out on your own or pop into a free group fitness class. If you prefer to break a sweat at home or somewhere less busy, head outside for a walk or jog or try some of these 31 Sneaky Ways to Work Out—Without Hitting the Gym.
2. Only Eat When you’re Hungry
Shonda also recommends only eating when you’re actually hungry. Just because it’s noon, doesn’t mean you need to scarf down a sandwich if your stomach isn’t rumbling. And speaking of starchy goodness, Shonda believes that no food should be off-limits.
“I eat everything I want to eat but I try to make it much less and smaller portions,” she says, adding, “But [after awhile] you change what your palate wants. I’m suddenly craving fish and salad.”
So, when cravings strike, allow yourself to indulge—but only in moderation. A great way to keep portions in check is to pair your indulgence with a big glass of water and something wholesome. That might mean, eating a small burger with a salad instead of fries or adding some raw nuts and fruit to a single scoop of ice cream instead of getting a double- or triple-decker cone. Looking for even more healthy ways to indulge without consequence? Don’t miss these 25 Nutritionist-Approved Ways To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth!
3. Drink More Water
Shonda drinks 64-ounces of water a day, which is about eight cups. Not only does it help keep her satiated she also says it’s noticeably improved the quality of her skin. If you’re not a fan of plain ol’ H20, whip up a pitcher of detox water to sip and slim down.
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