Before we get to the ten rules I've created for becoming naturally thin, you might want to know something about me. A lot of what I know about food comes from a natural passion for both food and health. I grew up eating every meal in a restaurant, and my proclivity toward healthy living has grown out of an unstable upbringing that inspired me to take control of my own life and make something good out of it. This has been a long progression for me: to rise up out of a difficult childhood that set me up for a lot of unhealthy attitudes about food; to embrace a more real, natural, balanced way of cooking, eating, and looking at the world. Today, I eat and live as a naturally thin person, but it has been a journey.
That journey, fueled by my passion for food and health, led me to the National Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in 2000. I spent a year at this school, and although I originally went there for fun, I was soon hooked on the chef's life and on new ideas for making the most out of good food. But what I did with my education is a little different from what most of my classmates did. I didn't go on to work in a restaurant. I wanted to do something bigger, something that would reach more people.
One thing I did was to start my own line of low-fat, low-calorie, dairy-free, wheat-free, egg-free baked goods, called BethennyBakes™, in 2001. I was a contestant on Martha Stewart: Apprentice and people referred to me as the breakout star on that show. (I'll tell you more about that experience later.) I have cooked for celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone, Denis Leary, and Mariska Hargitay. I've been featured on morning shows, including the Today show, CBS's The Early Show, and Good Day New York, talking about healthy cooking and eating; and I've appeared on other shows, too, such as Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, and Extra. I write a regular column for Health magazine, and I've written for or been written about in the New York Times, People, InStyle, Family Circle, Hamptons, OK! magazine, Ladies Home Journal, USA Today, US Weekly, TV Guide, and the Wall Street Journal, among many others. My cooking videos get thousands of hits on YouTube.com, and I have been a spokesperson for brands including Pepperidge Farms Baked Naturals Snacks, Cascade, and Tupperware. I recently finished filming the second season of The Real Housewives of New York City. And now, I've written this book.
What I know, and what I've learned over the course of my life, about getting and staying thin isn't just a matter of healthful, delicious food (although that is a big part of the picture). I've also learned a lot about how to think about food, how to balance diet with the rest of life, and how to stop torturing myself about every mouthful. When you live in New York City, it's difficult not to be obsessed with appearance, food, and dieting. But I realize it's difficult not to be obsessed with appearances, food, and dieting no matter where you live. If you share this struggle, then we have something very important in common, and I want to help you win.
I'm naturally thin, but I didn't come preprogrammed that way. I arrived there by changing my habits and learning how to think like a naturally thin person. The result: I became a naturally thin person, one of those people you looked at in high school and wondered how they did it. Amazingly enough, it was easy -- a lot easier than my diet-obsessed self would have ever dreamed.