Question: I’m here today with Christine Lakatos, the author of the popular My Diva Diet. Thanks for taking the time for this interview, Christine. What can you tell us about your background and qualifications in the fitness industry?
Answer: Well, Jonathan, I’ve been in the fitness industry since 1980 when I became an aerobics instructor –– lol, with the leg warmers and all the crazy attire and back when you didn’t have to be certified. I was also an athlete growing up –– a track star mainly, running a 5:40 mile and great at all sports . Then in 1988 –– when I was about 26, I saw a photo of Rachel McClish (later I met her at Gold’s Gym Palm Desert, CA) and that inspired me to compete in bodybuilding. I won my first competition, Ms. San Luis Obispo 1989 (with 6.9% body fat) and placed in a few others. However, due to the fact that in the 90’s women in bodybuilding were getting bigger and were taking steroids I switched to fitness shows and I went on to place in the top-ten Ms. Fitness USA in 1990
and Ms. Fitness San Diego 1995 –– just to name a few. I was also a competitor on American Gladiators in 1990
It was about that time that I decided to become and ACE Certified Fitness Trainer, training thousands of clients with a very, very high success rate. Ever since, I have continued my education in health and fitness with my main focus on nutrition as well as one of the most well-respected fitness organizations to date –– the C.H.E.K. Institute.
As a woman in my late forties –– almost 50 –– I can say that even though I competed at 5 to 9% body fat, with a frame size of a teenager, I still maintain around 12 to 16% body fat year round and between size 2 and 3. And that is after having children –– two of the most wonderful daughters on the planet!
Question: You refer to My Diva Diet as the last diet book a woman would need. What makes this diet so special?
Answer: First and foremost, My Diva Diet is based on sound nutrition and IT WORKS! It is not like many of the other diet programs that offer quick-fix solutions to a problem
that requires a lifestyle change of proper diet and exercise. It is also tailored JUST for women. Since women have different body types, goals, energy requirements, and health and weight-loss concerns than our male counterparts, MY DIVA DIET’S fat-loss diet book provides a precise method for women (of all ages) to reach their health and fitness goals. Also, it is jammed packed with tons of information (in a user friendly format) so that women have all the tools they need to lose fat the safe, healthy and lasting way –– including a diet quiz, complete directions, workbook, special guides, tips and charts, meal options and recipes, restaurant eating guide and grocery shopping tips, and information about foods, reading labels, nutrition, exercise, body fat, calories and more.
Question: Why do you think that so many women fail with so many diet plans these days?
Answer: One of the biggest problems is that there are thousands of diet programs on the market today causing confusion. Yet, while many are FINALLY “preaching” proper diet and exercise, there are still too many programs and products offering a QUICK FIX. What these “quick-fix” programs do is deceive women into believing that losing weight is easy or they promote the other extreme; like starvation or low-carb diets. Furthermore, by using these types of diet programs, women lose weight (not necessarily fat, which is more important), only to regain the weight, plus more and many fall into what I call “yo-yo dieting.”
Worse is that many of these quick-fix diet programs can ruin one’s health. These quick-fix solutions fail to tell women the truth –– that losing fat is best accomplished by implementing the proper diet and adding a comprehensive exercise regimen. In addition, in order to keep the weight (FAT) off, it must be a lifestyle.
I think most women lack “three key ingredients” to success –– I call it E.A.M.: Education (the proper information), Application (how to take the information and apply it to their lifestyle), and Motivation (as in discipline). I mean you can have all the discipline in the world, yet lack the correct information and you won’t lose fat the safe and lasting way. And vise-versa, you can have the “right information,” but if you are not disciplined, you won’t get results.
Question: I notice that fiber plays a key role in the diet. Why is that?
Answer: Great question, In fact I am a write for a popular on-line forum called Blogcritics Magazine and I even have a section called Fitness Flash, where last February I wrote a blog called “Show Me the Fiber!” –– based on the movie, Jerry Maguire starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise with that great scene of them on the telephone.
In that blog, I discuss the fact that the American diet is full of processed foods and we lack sufficient fiber in our daily diet, which not only is critical for health it can help with weight loss. A high-fiber diet has many benefits, which is not limited to normalizing bowel movements.
While research to determine whether high-fiber diets reduce the risk of colon cancer is inconclusive and ongoing, we do know that high-fiber diets have a major impact on the health of the colon — fiber plays a role in lowering the risk of common intestinal ailments like constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticular disease. Protect your colon because it is the place in which many diseases start.
In addition, fiber also lowers blood cholesterol levels, can help lower blood sugar and manage diabetes. Fiber also aids in weight loss due to the fact that high-fiber diets are “energy dense,” which means fewer calories for the same volume, and fiber gives you that feeling of fullness, thus you are less likely to overeat.
Question: In the diet you talk about ‘fitness superheroes’ and ‘diet villains’. What can you tell us about those?
Answer: I decided to present the MY DIVA DIET message in an entertaining way by using “fitness superheroes” and “diet villains,” –– in order to make it “easy to digest and fun to follow. Also, The MY DIVA DIET mission is three-fold: to empower women so that they can get into great shape, to challenge them to be better women, and to ensure a legacy of good health for the next generation!
I realize that some love the idea while others think it’s corny, but my book is different that’s for sure. And I have big plans for my Fitness Superheroes. I am in the process of developing an animated TV series and video game called Super Fit Kids to educate and motivate our youth, in an entertaining way, toward health and wellness –– especially since childhood obesity has risen dramatically over the past decade.
Question: How does exercise fit into the diet plan? What kind of workouts do women need to perform?
Answer: Exercise is critical to the success of any fat-loss, get-healthy program and it is Factor #5 in the My Diva Diet program. Due to the fact that my diet book was already lengthy –– over 400 pages, I just gave an introduction and outline on exercise. This topic actually deserves an entire book and I intend to focus book number two of the My Diva Diet Fitness Book Series on exercise. It is called Work It Girl: Work the Fat Off and the Firm On. It will pick up where I left off and expand in detail on the Six Components to an Effective Exercise Program and give workouts to follow.
- Cardiovascular Conditioning
- Strength and Endurance Training
- Flexibility Training
- Core and Balance Training
- Corrective Exercises
- Functional Training
Question: Why is strength training so important for successful fat loss?
Answer: It is actually one of the six components to an effective exercise program that I just mentioned. To me it’s kind of like “the fountain of youth.” This is because strength (and you can throw endurance in there too) training can offset the bodies natural decline in muscle mass, which not only affects ones tone and firmness, strength and more (see benefits below), but it increases lean body mass, which means a faster metabolism. Bottom line (pun intended), weight training will guarantee women the body they want –– low body fat and a firm, fit, and functional physique!
Blog Link: Exercise Strength and Endurance
Benefits of weight training:
- Increases metabolic rate
- Increases bone density
- Increases lean body mass
- Injury prevention
- Improves balance, flexibility, mobility and stamina
- Decreases risk of coronary disease
- Aids in rehabilitation and recovery
- Enhances performance in sports or exercise
- Slows the aging process
- Makes you feel and look better
Question: Can men use My Diva Diet or is this strictly a women’s diet plan?
Answer: Yes, all they need to do is add more calories to the overall plan. Instead of 1300 calories as recommended for fat loss for women (although that is just a baseline, everyone is different and there are many variable that dictate ones caloric intake –– and I explain that in the book), men can start with 1600 or even 2000. Again, that depends on how many calories one is consuming already, the quality of calories as well as their activity level and other variables.
Question: If you can give one tip for women who want to lose weight but have failed time and time again, what would it be?
Answer: It’s never too early to start a lifestyle of the proper diet and an exercise regimen, and it’s never too late either!