Becoming a Fabulous Dish Diva

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Live Events Transcript
Event Date: Aug. 24, 2005

You are a fabulous woman, so why are you making yourself miserable while trying to lose weight? Instead of depriving yourself, how would you like to become a Dish Diva, a woman who knows how to have fun and be healthy! Carolyn O'Neil, co-author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous, chats with Kathleen Zelman, director of nutrition for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic, to explain how you can lose weight, eat smart, and have a great time doing it. They joined us on Aug. 24, 2005.

If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

MODERATOR: Welcome to WebMD Live. Our guests today are Carolyn O'Neil, co-author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous, and Kathleen Zelman, director of nutrition for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic.

ZELMAN: Welcome Carolyn O'Neil, I am so excited to have you join us today. Carolyn is the co-author, along with Densie Webb, of the hot, new girl's book The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous. This '50s style, easy-to-read and fun book offers very simple and practical ways to improve your diet.

First, let's talk about you. How did you and Densie come together to write this girlfriend guide to being fabulous?

O'NEIL: I am a registered dietitian and was always interested in nutrition education. Who knew that a dietitian would end up on national and international television!

I joined CNN in 1982 and launched the network's food and nutrition coverage. Some very exciting times in the '80s when we first stared to learn that nutrition and diet really played a very strong role in health.

The news in the '80s, however, was pretty negative. It was all these stories about what you eat can kill you, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and the links to the bad stuff in our diets.

Happily, in the '90s, we started to report on more of the good news and how nutrition and diet can promote health and all of the things we should be adding to our diets, like more olive oil, oat bran, fruits and vegetables; the nutrients in fruits and vegetables that help prevent cancer, heart disease.

For me as a registered dietitian, those stories were really much more powerful and I think valuable -- people could make positive changes.

ZELMAN: Isn't it wonderful to be able to encourage people with good things to eat instead of what not to do.

O'NEIL: That is the reason for writing The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous. I teamed up with another dietitian, Densie Webb, who's a PhD, RD, so she's really smart.

Densie wrote about diet and nutrition for the New York Times while I was at CNN -- both of us covering the roller coaster of nutrition news and research. And we really came to the conclusion we wanted to share this message: the more you know, the more you can eat.

Now, what we mean by that in The Dish is the more you know about nutrition, the more you can enjoy all kinds of foods in the proper balance, whether it's chocolate or oranges or milk or merlot. Again, The Dish is about how all of these foods and beverages can fit into a healthy lifestyle, but you have to have the nutrition know-how.

In The Dish we share nutrition 101 -- the diet basics to arm you with that important information so you can live a modern-day, multi-tasking life: eating in, eating out, entertaining, traveling, whether you're picking up a snack at a convenience store or airport. Real-life solutions.

ZELMAN: I love it and could not agree with you more. Eating healthy is really a pleasure and it is easier than most folks think. Your experience as a CNN correspondent and 20-plus years as a registered dietitian shine through in yours and Densie's pearls of wisdom throughout the book. The dish divas have their finger on the pulse with sage advice peppered on virtually every page of the book.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you and Densie came together to write this girlfriend guide to being fabulous. How can the busy woman use the book and incorporate your stylish lifestyle attitude?

O'NEIL: The first chapter in the book I feel is the most important. If you visit a registered dietitian they will not hand you a diet on a piece of paper and say follow this, bye-bye, see you next week. They will ask you questions about yourself. It really is all about you.

Before we can get into tips, before we can get into diet plans, The Dish encourages the busy woman to read Chapter 1, The Dish on you and Your Diet, so you can take a snapshot, if you will, of your food likes and dislikes, your lifestyle and what makes you hungry, when do you find yourself snacking, and what you snack on. Then you can go to the appropriate chapter in the book.