Dr. Maya Rosman, a clinical dietitian in her 40s whose own figure is a walking
advertisement for her expertise in getting people into shape, used to have 20
superfluous kilos on her body. But she lost the weight using the principles –
some of them unconventional – that she explains in her latest book, and has kept
them off for years.
The just-published hardcover, Hebrew-language volume,
called Harazim Shel Maya: Dieta Im Metukim (Maya’s Slimming Secrets: Diet with
Sweets), promises that anyone who follows her advice over 10 weeks will lose
some weight, even a lot.
Rosman, who appears frequently as a nutritional
adviser on TV Channel 2’s 7.30 p.m. Tochnit Hisachon (Savings Plan)
an impressive resumé. The Rehovot resident has a bachelor’s degree from the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem in human nutrition, and is registered as a
clinical dietitian; she earned a master’s degree in biochemistry and human
nutrition from HU, with a focus in the effects of diet on osteoporosis; and
earned a doctorate in molecular biology, genetics and nutrition with expertise
in colon cancer and chronic inflammatory disease.
She is also a certified
aerobic exercise counselor and coaching instructor for individuals and groups.
She has a private weightloss clinic and also runs workshops for individual and
WHILE HER career path is quite standard, some of her
opinions are unconventional. For example, there is nothing wrong, she says, with
dieters eating three small portions of higher-calorie comfort foods daily if
this frees them from the feeling that they are suffering and sacrificing. Pizza
– although regarded by some dietitians as a fast food to be avoided along with
hot dogs, felafel, hamburgers and chips, Rosman writes in her 200-page, NIS 95
volume (http://dietmaya.co.il) – should not be demonized.
In fact, pizza
has the amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat recommended by the health
authorities as being ideal and balanced, she explains.
contributes lot of calcium (from the hard cheese), antioxidant lycopene (from
the cooked tomato sauce) and complex carbohydrates (from the dough). Yellow
cheese, which she favors, is relatively low in cholesterol. Making pizza from
scratch at home is preferred to frozen pizzas warmed up, as what you make can
include higher-quality ingredients. You can also make the dough thin to reduce
calories and add a variety of nutritious vegetables, Rosman suggests. But avoid
eating a lot of olives, because each one contains five or 10 calories. Just 10
contain the same amount of calories as a big apple or a “lite” bread
The book is divided into 10 chapters, one for each week in her
recommended diet. At the end of each chapter are two pages of grids to list
every item you’ve eaten during seven periods of the day. You won’t eat seven
full meals, but eating nutritious, low-calorie food frequently makes it unlikely
you will suffer from hunger pangs, which trigger the consumption of undesirable
“Every diet must include ‘soul food’ and be suited to the
individual according to his daily schedule, with special treats chosen according
to what the person likes. When you feel good, she insists, your behavior
changes. You are in the mood to succeed.
ROSMAN’S APPROACH is to present
a healthful diet as a lifelong habit, “fun” rather than punishment, an
accompaniment to regular, enjoyable exercise and something that can be adapted
even to Shabbat meals, attending weddings and other high-calorie eating events
and going out to restaurants. When going to an event such as a wedding, Rosman
advises deciding before your arrival that you will eat prudently only from the
pre-event reception and not from the fullblown meal – or vice versa. Eating some
lite bread an hour before leaving for the wedding will also give you the feeling
of satiety and eliminate the feeling that you must eat all you can to justify
the size of the wedding gift you deposited at the entrance.
But if you’ve
“sinned” with a fattening dish, you should eat one of the book’s satisfying but
low-calorie “replacement meals” instead. Such a meal consists of an unlimited
amount of fresh vegetables (without fattening dressings), an egg, chicken breast
or low-fat white cheese and plenty of lite breads.
Eating a heavy meal,
she says, naturally causes the diner to want to top it with a sweet, fattening
treat. She does not recommend much fruit, which can be very fattening due to the
sugar content, or any fruit juices (which are even more packed with sugar). But
plain water is always a good way to promote satiety and banish hunger pangs for
a while, not to mention prevent dehydration.
The psychological boost of
reaching your optimal weight, she says, is a big plus, because the “new you”
earns a boost in self confidence and “learns to love himself.” Looking good can
affect one’s whole personality and help achieve other life goals. All one needs
to lose weight, according to Rosman, is “a little motivation and a positive
approach along with patience.” That is what is needed to achieve your dream. “If
you hit a crisis, you don’t abandon the diet or the difficulties. You cope with
it,” says Rosman. For every problem created, one can find a way to return to the
right path with a positive approach and renewed motivation.
The body is
clever, the author suggests. When you diet, the tempo of your metabolism (how
many calories your body burns daily according to the physical activity you carry
out) changes. Body cells don’t know that we are eating less and are
intentionally ‘starving’ ourselves to look better in fashionable clothes. For
body cells, diets don't give them the necessary energy for their activity
because they have nothing to “eat.” The body uses its energy from food more
efficiently and will be able to expend fewer calories on the same amount of
Rosman recalls that when she was 15 years old, she gained two
kilos and decided to follow a temporarily extreme diet to lose them fast. He
friend recommended eating only dairy products and green vegetables. After a
week, she had lost the two kilos, but her body “learned” to burn less energy –
only 1,500 instead of her usual 2,000 daily. When she started to eat her normal
diet containing 2,000 calories, she gained weight. The phenomenon is even more
common and extreme among people who adopt restrictive diets lifelong. The more
diets one attempts, Rosman notes, “weight reduction is slower and gaining weight
Her advice is to use the first week for a balanced diet
including all the nutrients, proteins, vitamins and minerals one needs.
Healthful food in midmorning and mid-afternoon should be included, along with
small amounts of almonds, pretzels, ices or even cookies or cake if you feel a
hankering for a treat. A few squares of high-quality dark chocolate will improve
moods and raise antioxidant levels.The maximum one could expect to lose is some
three kilos a month – and not more, the clinical dietitian
Before eating breakfast cereals, take a close look and prefer
whole-grain brands with little or no sugar, as the sweetened, overprocessed kind
mean a lot of empty calories.
Rosman is a strong advocate of lite bread,
especially whole-grain, and does not insist on 1%- fat milk if it seems to you
too watery, noting that 3%-fat milk doesn’t really add many calories. To those
who think that eating one heavy meal instead of numerous small ones provides
real satisfaction, she advises not doing so because the body naturally needs a
certain amount of energy to function properly throughout the day.
writes that in general, it’s easier for men to diet than for women, not because
they have more self control but because they have more muscle tissue, which uses
more energy than fat tissue, which women need for their reproductive capacity.
In addition, women’s smaller fat cells usually accumulate on their hips, and are
harder to “empty” with a diet than men’s larger fat cells on their
The notion that you’ll lose weight if you eat nothing after 6
p.m. is not suited or healthful for all, says Rosman. And don’t eat snacks in
front of the TV set, as without being aware of it, you may have gobbled up 1,000
When going out to a restaurant for lunch, chose a tuna
or low-fat chicken-breast sandwich using fullgrain bread or one filled with
avocado or Bulgarian cheese. She turns thumbs down on sandwiches containing
vegetable spreads containing a lot of oil or mayonnaise and almost no protein
(such as eggplant and mushrooms). As for sushi, it is considered dietetic by
many fans, but in fact, as finger food that can be eaten in large amounts, it
can be very fattening, especially if a lot of sugar is added.
The book is
full of meal suggestions, calorie lists and recipes that include treats such as
reduced-calorie apple pie and chocolate and coconut mousse. There are also
special suggestions for coping with meals for Pessah, Independence Day and Lag
Rosman, who appears on the cover in a black bodysuit with a
scale, measuring tape and food diary, has given Israelis plenty of material to
chew on and digest.