The Martha Diet

As I announced this morning on Martha Stewart Radio Morning Living Live (Sirius XM), I’ve lost 13 pounds on what I’m calling The Martha Diet (and if you heard me on the radio, would you email them and say you enjoyed it? Here’s the link– in the middle of the page over to the right, it says “send email). I’ve tried lots of diets in my life and this is really the easiest weight loss I’ve ever experienced. There’s no gimmick, no crazy restrictions and I’m not even counting calories. I’m not paying anyone (nor is anyone paying me!) and I’m not buying bad food or going to support groups. I’m making delicious, wonderful food and I’m also making and eating desserts. How is this possible?

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I committed to giving my life a Martha Stewart makeover. I entered into a one year commitment wherein I would do at least one Martha project or Martha-ish project per day – cooking, crafting, decorating, organizing, etc.

The weight loss started without me even really noticing. A few pounds just fell off because I was cooking and eating Martha food. I finally noticed what was up and thought about it. I’m giving my life a Martha makeover, but what about my body? Maybe I should include that in my plan. Martha takes very good care of herself – she makes it a priority to eat well, exercise, and stay healthy. It’s a priority for her and maybe it should be for me too, I thought.

Now if you are a Martha follower, you know that each January she promotes a Body and Soul diet. Frankly, I never quite understood it. I didn’t feel as though I could really find the program anywhere in one concise place (she talked about in Body and Soul Magazine, on her show, and on her site, but it never felt cohesive to me). This is not the Body and Soul diet. In fact, it’s not really a diet at all. I’ve changed how I buy, make, eat and think about food because of Martha.

Here are some of the basic tenets of what I’ve been doing:

– I always ask myself “Would Martha eat this?” if the answer is no, then I don’t either. That means no soda, junk food, prepared foods, etc.

– I shop like Martha. I buy fresh ingredients and usually they are for Martha recipes I plan to make.

– I still make dessert! But I think about it like Martha does. Desserts are for sharing. I love to make them and taste them, but Martha does not make a pan of brownies and let it sit on her kitchen counter all week so she can slowly eat her way though it. She makes things, enjoys them, and shares them. So I give away the desserts I make, after I have had a piece to enjoy.

– Throughout the day, I try to think about food like Martha does. She loves fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken, whole grains and other healthy things, prepared in ways that are beautiful, elegant and delicious. I find that because I am cooking wonderful food, I no longer crave junky things. I feel fulfilled and satisfied because the food I am eating fills my emotional and physical needs.

– I eat a real breakfast. For years, I had Cheerios for breakfast. Now I eat eggs, fruit or yogurt for breakfast and I feel full longer. One day on her show, Martha showed the audience and viewers a tray containing her breakfast. That really inspired me.

– I eat a fruit and a vegetable with lunch. I also used to eat a lot of leftovers for lunch, but because the foods I make for dinner are so healthy, my leftovers are good for me. On the show, Martha has often exclaimed while cooking that she would be saving a piece or a serving of whatever it was to have for her lunch that day. So now I eat salads, fish, fruit, cheese, and a small amount of carbs for lunch.

– I drink a lot of water throughout the day. If I snack, I do so on fruits, nuts or cheese. I find that they satisfy every craving I have – sweet, salty, or filling.

I feel wonderful and healthy. And of course I am exercising. I’ve been walking 3 miles a day for years, but I’m trying to mix it up with swimming, kayaking, badminton, and other fun things so that I sneak in more exercise while I am having fun.

I’ll keep everyone posted about my progress and share more insights and secrets as I go along! This feels like a big life change for me and I want to share it with you as I move forward.

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20 Responses to The Martha Diet

  1. Jessica says:

    I found your tips and story quite inspiring. I live my life like this as well, but it’s nice to read this and refocus myself. Thanks for sharing and good luck to you!

  2. marthaandme says:

    Thanks! I have found it to be really enlightening. All these years I’ve tried to lose weight and it’s like I suddenly understand how to do it!

  3. Congratulations — you are really living and losing weight at the same time. Women hardly ever do that. The fact that you can have dessert (one that is homemade, too!) is wonderful. Kudos also on expanding your exercise options; you’ve inspired me to do the same.

  4. marthaandme says:

    Thanks Kristen. I hope I inspire others with this. I’m already trying to think ahead to winter when it comes to exercise. The options feel so much more limited. I’m thinking of signing up for swimming at the school pool before school in the morning. That at least will give me one other option beside walking at the mall. I’m not a fan of gyms and I really hate exercising outside in the cold!

  5. Julie says:

    I’ve always heard the secret is to make yourself behave, not the food. This fits right in there.

  6. Congratulations! The best thing about it is that it didn’t start from a place of deprivation or self-hate (“I can’t stand the way I look!”) Instead, you concentrated on enhancing your lifestyle and making and enjoying really good food. How inspiring! Maybe living well isn’t the luxury so many of us have assumed it to be.


  7. marthaandme says:

    You know, you’re right. That is a very good point. And I definitely agree that living well does NOT have to an unattainable luxury. You need to make yourself a priority – and really it doesn’t take much more time to make delicious, healthy food.

  8. marthaandme says:

    Yes, you’re right!

  9. Stephanie says:

    This is great! It’s always inspiring to see women lose weight without having to deprive themselves. Well done.

  10. Kelsey says:

    Congratulations! I love that you ask yourself what Martha would or wouldn’t eat, it is a great tool to help you self-edit in a smart, healthy way.

  11. marthaandme says:

    It is actually very effective and rules out huge categories of food. There is no bargaining (“I’ll just have 5 Cheetos”).

  12. Ron S. Doyle says:

    This is outstanding, Brette! I think you’ve found a VERY good reason to contact Martha and share your story.

  13. barbfreda says:

    I love this, Brette. And I’m jumping into the swim for a Martha Plan No-Diet Life: I’ve been exercising faithfully since Feb–some weight loss, but I keep telling people: it’s not about the scale. I’m focusing on getting to the pool and eating well. Not on “failures.” This seems to be a natural extension of that.

  14. marthaandme says:

    I agree – and good for you. I want to stay positive and feel good about myself. I’m amazed at the weight I’ve lost so far and if I lose more, great, but I will not starve and deprive myself.

  15. Pru says:

    This is wonderful! Well done!
    I often use the WWMD – What would Martha do? and I will follow your lead and think about what food I am eating.

    Congratulations! Its lovely to lose weight when you aren’t even thinking about it.


  16. marthaandme says:

    It is an amazing guiding principle

  17. Donna Hull says:

    Congratulations on an inspiring post. With an emphasis on fresh, healthy foods and exercise, how can you go wrong? Now, to follow in your Martha steps.

  18. marthaandme says:

    Thanks! Yes, please join in if you can.

  19. Willow says:

    I have listened to Martha’s comments about her diet. Aware of her diet choices and because it is summer and the vegetables and fruit are abundant, I have (unconsciously) been eating in that direction. I really did not realize what I was doing until I discovered and read your Martha page. I have a lot of weight to loose and I find that I enjoy this way of eating. I am looking forward to a year from now to find out how much weight I have lost. My concern is the winter months when less produce will be available at a reasonable price. I will certainly be watching your page for information. Thank you for posting the information.

  20. marthaandme says:

    I’m glad it has helped you! My weight loss has stalled with some health issues but I hope to be able to lose more soon. Please keep me posted – I’ll be interested to see how this works for you!

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