Janice’s Secrets for Staying Skinny

by Susan

Did you see my post about how Janice was my visual motivation for losing my baby weight?

Yes, Janice has managed to stay slim even while having two kids.

Now, first off I want to say that I do not want to minimize how difficult it can be to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

If it were simple, the weight loss industry wouldn’t be the enormous money-making machine that it is.

The fact is that some people are luckier than others when it comes to weight and body shape. Some people eat whatever they want and stay skinny, and others struggle with their weight despite how hard they try.

But I think Janice and I are an interesting example of two people with exactly the same genetic makeup and body type.

For the last eight years, Janice has been much slimmer than I.

Why?

One reason: Janice consistently eats simple and very healthy foods.

Sure, she’ll splurge here and there — she’s a crazy woman in front of a pumpkin pie — but day in and day out she’ll eat tons of raw vegetables and tons of fiber.

I also do not eat much junk food, and I’d argue that I still have quite a healthy diet, but over the last several years I have let myself eat too much banana bread and other comfort foods. I’ve given in to eating extra treats and telling myself, “I deserve it. And I’ll burn it off later”. (Which of course, as a busy mom I never do.)

During our pregnancies, I ate whatever I wanted while Janice limited sugar and took extra care to ensure a healthy diet.

And while I use the excuse of not having enough time to exercise, Janice says her healthy eating is aided by her lack of time to cook.

Back in April, 2006, Janice showed us an example of her famous wraps.

Janice\'s Chicken Wrap

Just looking at it now, I am wondering why I do not make these more often. I love it when Janice makes them for me!!!

If you tracked all the food Janice ate in a week, you’d likely find the following repeating over and over:

  • High fiber cereal with skim milk.
    The following are her three favorite choices:
    1. Bran Flakes with All Bran cereal with skim milk and blueberries.
      She says the secret is to add that extra All Bran on top because the extra concentrated fiber helps her not get hungry again so quickly. In the winter, she uses frozen blueberries that she quickly thaws under warm water.
    2. Red River hot cereal. It’s tagline is even “Ridiculously Healthy Cereal”.
    3. A simple microwaved bowl of rolled oats. She adds a touch of salt, wheat germ, ground flax and sweetens with fruit or a tiny bit of maple syrup.
  • Raw vegetables.
    Janice is queen of raw vegetables and has always had Jackson eat raw vegetables as the first serving of dinner. While she prepares dinner, she gives him a plateful of raw veggies with a little low-fat dressing.
     
  • Simple, low fat dinners high in vegetables and protein.
    Her most common dinner choice is some variety of a chicken and avocado wrap. Her husband occasionally cooks and he’ll make steak or barbecue chicken with roasted potatoes and vegetables.
     
  • Whole wheat and multigrain bread.
    We all know carbs can be killers, so Janice does try to not overdue it on bread… although it is a weak spot for her. (She’d tell you that over the last few months she put on a few pounds because of starting to make homemade bread in a bread maker.)
     
  • Water.
    This is key: No juice. Only water and herbal tea to drink.

In August, 2006, Janice wrote a Thursday Thirteen listing 13 foods she regularly eats. The list is still quite accurate except that she has now cut out Orange Juice and eats fewer Craisins. (She made that change when she had a touch of gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with Olivia and has kept with it.)

So if you snuck into Janice’s fridge right now, here’s some of the staples you’d find:

  1. Raw vegetables: carrots, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, celery
  2. Skim milk
  3. Rotisserie chicken
  4. Avocados
  5. Low-fat cream cheese.
  6. Low-fat yogurt.
  7. Ground wheat germ and ground flax.
  8. Wraps — stay fresh longer in the fridge
  9. Cheddar and mozzarella cheese.

So as I try to trim off about 5 or 10 pounds, I am looking to my twin sister for inspiration.

It’s no fancy Hollywood diet, but I see — in front of me everyday — that it works.

What about you? Do you have any tips, tricks or secrets for losing weight or staying slim? What are your favorite healthy foods?



Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Goddess in Progress January 7, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Oh, the habits I should have. It’s amazing how some people seem to naturally incline towards eating healthy and some (ahem, me) do not. I really have to work at it. Habit? Genetics? Who knows.

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2 Billy January 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Awwww you guys are so cute. Having had one of Janice’s famous wraps, I have to agree…they are astounding! And, believe it or not, super filling. Overflowing, in fact ;)
Miss you tons. You both look great. Deal with it haha

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3 BlueSkyRocket January 7, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Very inspiring. It is so easy to be thrown completely off of your healthy routine in December. I started back on weightwatchers.com (the online version) on Monday and feel it already starting to come back to me! Thanks for the extra boost of encouragment.

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4 Susan January 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Billy, A thumbs up from a vegan like you is definitely worth extra votes. I’ll have to tell Janice. LOL

BlueSkyRocket, I know… December throws us all off… even Janice went way off and gained a few pounds. That’s great that weightwatchers has an online version now… I didn’t even know that. Very smart.

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5 Renee January 7, 2009 at 9:19 pm

great post thank for sharing

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6 Camy Tang January 7, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I ditto Renee, great post! Thanks for sharing that.
Camy

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7 Jessica January 7, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Thanks so much for this post. I have just started my weight loss journey and it is always great to read how other stay healthy. Check out my blog PUDGET – Losing Weight On A Budget at http://pudget1.blogspot.com/

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8 Nancy January 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I think some people naturally gravitate to healthy foods. Unfortunately I am not one of those people and need to work at it. I really need to stock up on raw vegetables, and then eat them before they go bad. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for over a year and have lost 30 lbs (well I had until the holidays, but I’m back on track and will lose those extra lbs quickly), I have 25 to go. As long as I track what I eat and stay within my points, I do well.

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9 Laura January 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I actually sat by Janice at dinner when we were in LaJolla at that Sony thing last April, and we talked about this then! I’m almost positive she told me she’d rather splurge on the occasional bowl of ice cream than lasagna, and that she ate salads and healthy wraps every single day. I’ve thought of those words many times since then!

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10 Kim January 8, 2009 at 12:05 am

I’ve been going to the gym almost everyday, probably about 4-5 times a week. I walk on the treadmill usually about 30-45 minutes and recently I’ve added using the weight machines. I work my abs and back, my biceps and triceps, my hips, legs and butt. I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight but a friend I hadn’t seen in about a month told me yesterday she could tell I had lost some weight. Yippee!

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11 Meg Munson January 8, 2009 at 1:01 am

Great post…thanks for sharing! Those wraps look so yummy!!!

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12 Janice January 8, 2009 at 2:51 am

GREAT work ladies!

Way to go Kim on those muscles. I have next to no muscles! LOL

Laura – that is too funny that you remember that conversation.

Nancy – I am terrible during the holidays. I totally splurge and now I have to get back to my usual routine and lose the 5 pounds I have picked up since summer. I have been sloppy and strayed too often into the land of ice cream and treats.

Jessica – heading over to look at your site…

Billy – so glad you liked my wrap! :) It is my signature piece. ;)

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13 Alyson McNish January 8, 2009 at 8:01 am

I’m a skinny mom of 3 and 1 on the way.
It takes work but it is in the small things I do.

I LOVE to eat. I’m a picker. So…I always feed my kids lunch first and make myself lunch only if I’m still hungry AFTER I eat their leftovers.
sad but true:)
This way I don’t OVER eat

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14 Bri January 8, 2009 at 9:29 am

I like the wraps idea — I’ve never done much of those but I think I’ll try.

I love Pilates and have found that the increased muscle tone I have from it has kept my weight gain during pregnancy very low (20 pounds at 36 weeks). I think good health and weight loss is all about finding good things that we enjoy, instead of “punishing” ourselves with difficult diets or routines.

I love your websites!

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15 Julie January 8, 2009 at 10:31 am

I love to lift weights, plus I do cardio kickboxing. I am a big believer in exercising and building muscle because muscle burns fat even when you are not working out and it helps prevent osteoporosis as we age.

My must have foods include flaxseed, almonds, black beans, and pomegranate juice for the antioxidants. Because I lift weights, I eat a lot of protein, like whey.

To Kim, remember that muscle weighs more than fat. When weight lifting, it is possible to go down a size in clothing but still weigh the same. So don’t rely on the scales. Rely on how you feel.

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16 Amydeanne January 8, 2009 at 10:33 am

tuna is my diet food.. oh and homemade veggie soup!

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17 Dee Dee January 8, 2009 at 11:29 am

I am a mom of 12, and though I managed not to pack on too much weight, the 40 or so extra pounds I gained over my adult life was really eating at my self esteem. I am a wellness consultant, so I eat healthy. We don’t eat sugar, and limit process carbs. I was still overweight. I made lots of excuses for myself. My family on my mom’s side all struggle with obesity, so relatively, I was doing well. But it still at at me. I hated being frumpy. As a certified weight management coach, I knew that ‘diets’ don’t work – not long term. You have to learn to think, and hence eat, like a thin person (so that means you are on the right track!) But, I couldn’t figure it out – I don’t eat alot, and I don’t eat unhealthy. What I found out was that 1)I wasn’t eating enough, and my thrifty gene was sabatoging my efforts, and 2)my metabolism needed to be reset because of my not eating proper low glycemic meals. So, I implemented low glycemic eating, and I added in nutritional supplements to support my body. Then in the fall, I added in a patented peptide product that facilitates targeted fat loss. I am now down to a size 6 and striving for a 5 which was my high school graduation size. When I started my tight size 14 pants were the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back and pushed me to being committed. The only missing part of my puzzle is some sort of organized exercise program. I saw the ad for the Wii giveaway, and was drawn to come read. :)
I am leading an Osolean Challenge group over at Fabulously40 and we are doing a Biggest Loser contest. Many of us just have a ‘few’ extra pounds to lose, so we are being creative with the rules. Come on over and check us out!
http://fabulously40.com – I am happymomma there. The site is currently having some technical difficulties or I’d give you the direct link to my blog post – Search for Osolean, and you should find it.

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18 Andrea January 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm

I follow many of what Janice does – high fiber, lots of water (so no “backing up” you know :-), fruits/veggies, lean proteins. And, truly (for me) lots of exercise.

I lost 32 pounds last year by eating a lot of those goodies above and including exercise in there. It is the only thing that really works, I truly believe.

And, as I focus on losing my last 10 pounds until goal, I’ll follow the same routine and not get discouraged. This has now become my lifestyle!

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19 Lisa January 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Thanks for the inspiration…I thought I ate fairly well, but realizing that I don’t eat enough of the simple/healthy items! Need to work on that!

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20 Courtney January 8, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Thanks for this great post! I love seeing how other people live, especially when those other people are successful at something that I would like to be successful at! Great tips!

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21 Katy January 9, 2009 at 12:33 am

As my dad always taught us, stop eating when you are 80% full. You should never fell stuffed.

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22 Organizing Mommy January 9, 2009 at 7:16 pm

That’s great, but I don’t think ANYONE would could consider Susan.. big? You BOTH look great. I am going to try to look at Janice’s foods also. Nice post.

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23 Laura January 9, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Thanks for this post!

I am a big fan of the wraps myself: one of my favorites is turkey, baby spinach, and lofat herbed cream cheese in a whole wheat wrap.

As for other weight-control tips, I found this tip in the book “Living the Simple Life” by Elaine St. James very helpful: Put a chart on the wall near you scale. Weigh yourself every day & mark your weight on a graph with a red marker. The point of this is NOT to make you feel bad, but to encourage you to make those small adjustments on a day-to-day level that can make all the difference. Otherwise it can be all too easy to let those pounds sneak back on!

BTW, I agree with Organizing Mommy that you are both gorgeous as you are!

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24 lori-hearttooheart January 9, 2009 at 11:16 pm

I agree, certain body types may help or hinder our body weight. I am a mother of 4 weighing in around 105.0 lb (my height is 5′ 2″). Over my 4 pregnancy terms I’ve lost a total of 170.0 lbs. I gained 50.0 with my first and 40 with the last three. I do not always eat the heathiest but I do watch what I eat and limit fat and empty calories (like juice). I gave up soda years ago! I feel so much better w/out it! I also drink a 1/2 gallon of water a day. I have to admit, excercising is not at the top of my list. But I squeeze it in when I can. My long term goal is to stay under 110.0 lbs. I have a very small body build and don’t carry extra weight well. I don’t know if any of that was helpful but it works for me….. :)

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25 lori-hearttooheart January 9, 2009 at 11:21 pm

I totally agree with Laura in the post above. Weigh in often. It really keeps you on your toes!! I weigh in at least three times a week.

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26 Stephanie January 13, 2009 at 11:19 pm

You BOTH are super skinny…and so pretty too.

Thanks for sharing some of your “tricks of the trade.” I also munch away on raw vegetables frequently and I strive to drink plenty of water. But I’m not a big cereal fan. I prefer fruit smoothies, toast, or a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast.

What do you two do for exercise?

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