Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Today Damyanti of DAILY (W)RITE is hosting Denise Covey and I on her blog in a discussion about the history of the WEP. 
Stop by and say hello, but before you do...

Meet Lisa Tillinger Johansen, author of Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! She's here today to talk about her writing journey and her book. 
Take it away Lisa!

This Writer’s Winding Road
Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD
Author of Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!

        I’ve loved to read and write since I was a kid. I immersed myself in books, enjoying them so much that I felt compelled at the age of nine to become an author. I wrote several plays in elementary school that my friends and I performed for our classes. I loved it.
        Through high school and college I continued to write, turning mostly to essays (and quite a few tomes in the form of passed notes to friends). English was my favorite subject. After college, I took a stab at writing a mystery novel entitled The Girl with the Kelly Green Scarf. From start to finish it was eighty-seven pages long. What a riot! Clearly, it was at that point I found out writing a book isn’t easy. And while this didn’t stop my creative bent, I have to admit that I put away the pen for a while. To be more specific, it was years.
        In my early thirties I married my husband, Roy Johansen, who as it happens is an author. When we met he was primarily crafting screenplays, but shortly afterwards he turned his attention to books. He now mostly writes mystery novels, a favorite genre of mine. And his mom, my mother-in-law Iris Johansen, also writes books. Both are successful New York Times bestsellers. Not by design, but quite happily, I married into a family of authors.
        Some of you might think this would be a catalyst for me to start writing again. It wasn’t. My husband and mother-in-law are so good at what they do, I felt inferior. I had a self-confidence issue.
        When I went back to school to get my masters degree in nutritional science and became a registered dietitian, my husband encouraged me to write a book. Because I feel so passionately about healthy eating it felt right to do so. And I did. My first book, Fast Food Vindication, about how we can eat well, or not, wherever we find ourselves was well-received and won a few awards. It was an awesome experience. It was also the stimulus for me to keep going. Thus, the birth of my new book, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!. It covers the pros and cons of many fad diets, ultimately outlining a reasonable and healthy way to eat for life.
        Was it easy? No. Writing a book, at least for me, is hard. And even as an expert in diet and nutrition, there was so much research I had to do. And on top of that, I work as health educator teaching classes and counseling clients. So time was a factor. Ultimately, it took me two-and-a-half years to write my second book. But it was worth it. I believe that this book can help so many and that’s what I strive for in both my professional and personal life. It’s gratifying.
So what’s my message for you reading this blog?  If you’re interested in writing an essay, a poem, a play, a comic book, a movie or more, go for it. Follow your dream. Don’t let the obstacles hold you back. And it doesn’t matter if it takes a long time. Life can sometimes get in the way. And while writing anything is a path that can include a bump or two, it’s a journey worth taking.

 The Paleo.  The Zone.  The Gluten-free.  Another day, another diet.  We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry.  But do these diets really work?  And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype.  And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts.  With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

For More Information

  • Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:
The idea for this book began at a wedding.
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? The clothes, the flowers, the romance, the food…
Ah, the food. As we moved into the banquet hall, the culinary feast was on everyone’s minds. It was all anyone seemed talk about. But for some reason, guests weren’t conversing about the dishes being served; they were swapping stories of diets they had heard about from friends, magazine articles, even celebrities on talk shows.
I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science and years of clinical and health education experience. I’ve counseled thousands of patients and clients on all of these diets. But hearing the guests only momentarily distracted me from my horrible faux pas of wearing white (gasp!) to a friend’s wedding.
“I’m on the Blood Type Diet,” said a woman with an impossibly high bouffant hairdo. “You’ve heard of that, haven’t you? It’s the one where you choose your foods based on your blood type. I’m an AB, so I’ll be having the fish.”
“Really?” her friend replied. “I swear by the gluten-free diet. I’m on it, my daughter’s on it, and my granddaughter’s on it.”
I happened to know her granddaughter was six and didn’t have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Then there was the stocky guy who was trying to impress one of the bridesmaids. “I’m a paleo man myself,” he said, piling his plate high with beef kebabs. “It gives me more stamina, know what I mean? It puts me in touch with my inner caveman. There’s a restaurant near my apartment that’s paleo friendly. Maybe we can grab a bite there sometime, or…Hey wait, where are you going?”
And there were three Weight Watchers sisters who typed furiously on their phones and argued over their meals’ point values. Apparently there was some discrepancy between their various apps, and the sisters’ discussion was becoming more heated by the moment.
I’m past the point of being surprised by the wide range of weight-loss strategies—
some worthless, some crazy, some quite reasonable—being tossed around. In the past few years, there has been a tidal wave of diets washing up on the shores of our nutritional consciousness. Celebrities prance across our screens, promoting a variety of weight-loss schemes on talk shows and infomercials. Medical doctors star in their own syndicated television programs, exposing millions to weight-loss techniques, often unsupported by medical research. Other diets get traction on the Internet, racing all over the globe in social media posts, YouTube videos, and annoying spam e-mails. It’s hard to walk past a shopping center vitamin store without being approached by salespeople trying to pitch the latest weight-loss supplements. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the pie; the American diet industry tops $60 billion annually.
It’s classic information overload. You can’t blame people for being confused by all the diets out there, even as crazy as some of them may sound. I didn’t speak up to my fellow wedding guests that day, but it occurred to me they would benefit from some hard facts about the diets they so ardently follow.
So during the toasts, I thought to myself, I should write a book.
I counsel clients on these matters each week, giving them information they need to make the best choices for their health and waistlines. I find that all too often there’s nothing to the diets that are presented to me in my counseling sessions and classes. They just plain don’t work, particularly over the long term. And some of them are harmful, even potentially lethal. But it’s also unhealthy to carry extra weight on our frames. So how do we separate good diets from the bad?
In the chapters to come, we’ll take a good, hard look at the various weight-loss plans out there. I’ll pull no punches in my professional evaluation of some of the most wildly popular diets, both bad and good, of the past few years. And along the way, I’ll explore tried-and-true strategies for losing weight, based on my years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars, and community outreach efforts. More often than not, the best answer is not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but instead a few easy-to-follow guidelines that I’ve seen work in literally thousands of cases.
Enough is enough. It’s time for the madness—and the diets—to stop.
About the Author

LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post).  She lives in Southern California.

Her latest book is the nonfiction/nutrition/health book, Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
For More Information

Thanks Lisa, it was wonderful hearing about your journey.
What about you folks? 
Tired of the dieting game, or have you finally figured it out? 
Wouldn't it be wonderful if nutrition was taught from grade school through high school?
Oh, and did I mention - there's a Giveaway?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The WEP Write...Edit...Publish flash fiction challenge Spectacular Settings is open for sign-ups
Join the challenge and find out why you should on Damyanti's Blog


  1. Hi Yolanda! Hi LIsa! Isn't it great the pathway to your writing, LIsa. Writing about what you know here! And surely books about food/diet are the biggest of sellers. You really need to sort through the millions of words and find what works for you. I heard recently that for the first time for maybe forever, non fiction is outselling fiction. So I hope you do well with this. I must have a peek!

    Denise :-)

    1. Thanks, Denise! I do love writing what I'm passionate about. Thanks for encouraging words.

  2. A journey it is. Have to keep on writing and see what we can make of the words that want to pop on out

  3. A lot of these fad diets turn out to do more harm than good so this is an important topic.

    1. Thanks, Maurice! That's exactly what I was thinking when I wrote the book.

  4. Thank you for having me guest post. I appreciate it!

    1. Wonderful Lisa, thank you for posting and commenting. Love the information! Good luck with your journey!


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