Finally Thin

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-If you've ever struggled with your weight, trying one diet after another and feeling completely frustrated, you will be truly inspired by this story. She lost 212 pounds and 14 dress sizes, and has kept off the weight for 5 years. Kim Bensen is sharing her success story in her new book, "Finally Thin," and she's here today to tell us how she did it. So glad to have you in the studio. -Thanks. -Thanks for coming in- -It's really good to be here. It's like a dream come true for me. -Your story is so inspiring, and you say in your book that your weight problems really started when you were a little girl, first starting Weight Watchers when you were 9 years old. -I know, I remember that day. My mom said, "Would you like to try something new in your way of eating?" And I was like, "Sure." -And then- and then, it continued, though. You dieted, it worked at times but by the age of 40, you were 350 pounds and you said life continued to be extremely difficult. Tell us about some of those painful times, what you remember. -Well, some of the things I remember the most clearly, one of them was, we were flying to Europe and we were sitting in a seat, my husband and I, and fortunately, this- the arm of the seat moved up because I was half into his seat. But the problem was I couldn't get the seatbelt to go around me, and I didn't know about seatbelt extenders, and I didn't want them to kick me off the flight. I was really panicked. So, I had, of course, stretch belt- stretch waist pants that- over the outfit, the uniform I wore everywhere, and they were the only thing that fit, and I tucked the end of the seatbelt into my waist and hoped to goodness she wouldn't ask me- -Would notice- -Yes. -Speaking of stretch waist, you have these- -Oh, I know. Oh. -These were when you were at your biggest? -These were at my biggest and they were the highest size in the store, and I remember thinking, I knew I was still gaining daily, 'What am I going to do next? What's next for me?' But this was about 2 months before I started my diet the last time, so. -And you keep them as a constant reminder of the struggle- -I do. -and what it was like for you. Was it difficult to write about some of the painful memories? Because you really were sort of reliving it. -It wasn't difficult. It was very cathartic but right at the end, somebody offered to proofread my book. I wasn't thinking ahead, and they offered to proofread my book, and I said, "Oh no, then, you'd know all the awful things," because it's a very honest book- -Uh-hmm. -and there're some hard things in there. And it didn't occur to me other people were- I mean, I know, it sounds really dumb but Mark said, "You know, Kim, Random House has paid you to write a book and I think that they want more people than just you and I to buy"- -You have to get over it. You've got to get over it. What do you want? So, when people do read it, what do you hope they take away? -I hope, the whole reason I did this, I want people to know that it doesn't matter how long you've struggled; it doesn't matter how old you are, how much you weigh, you can still grab it and turn it completely around. There's always hope, you got to keep trying. -You do have to keep trying and that's what you say throughout the book, and it's not a weight loss program. -No. -It's actually a motivational book that's broken up into 3 sections. Tell everybody how it works. -Well, the first section of the book is my story and I hope that that motivates people and encourages them. I wanted them to know that I knew what it was like to be grossly obese, morbidly obese, 350 pounds. But you know what, today, I still struggle, you know, I work at it and I struggle with those 5 pounds up and down, so I know what it's like to try to live on maintenance too. So, the first section- -It's always work. -It is. You know, you've got to pay attention or you get the yo-yo- -Uh-hmm. -It's one or the other. So, the first section is my story. The second section is 10 steps of what I did different this time which was the number one question everybody asked me. And then, the last section are some great recipes that I wrote when I was losing my weight. -So, let's talk about what you did different because you say you were like a junkie addicted to food but in October of 2001, everything changed. Why, then, how, what did you do? -Well, it was lifelong, never stopping- I was always trying, I was always trying again but it wouldn't go along and then, that inevitable fall off the diet and everything. So, a lot of people think that I was just, like, so strong, and had so much self-control, and I was ready to go again, and that's- that couldn't be further from the truth. I was broken. I was on my knees, crying out to God and I knew I was eating myself to death. And you know what, I stood up from praying that day and the thing that I was given was the courage to try again, to try one more time and I put everything I had in me into it. -And how long did it take you to reach your goal weight? And tell us what that moment was like because it had to be incredible. -It's still incredible. I feel like Cinderella when I wake up every morning and slip into a pair of jeans. It was an amazing moment. My sister had flown out from Minnesota. My grandparents had driven down from Maine. Everybody took off work and they all went to my Weight Watchers meeting with me. And it took me 2 years to lose it, and we all went on that final day and- -And you weighed less than you thought you were going to weigh? -I did. I got on the scale. My scale had broken. I was getting, like, really obsessed and weighing myself all the time and my scale had broken, and I didn't weigh myself, and I had no idea how much I weighed. And I went there that morning, and they were playing music, and there was flowers, and there were people taking pictures. It was just- it was so amazing. I just- -And you want to just hold on to that? Well, you look absolutely fantastic. -Thank you. -Your story is motivational, inspirational; I'm so glad you came in. -Thank you so much. -Thanks for sharing it. And for more great advice, stories, and recipes, you can pick up a copy of Kim's book at bookstores now. You've got to do it. And coming up, Kim is going to show us how to make one of her delicious recipes from her new book, so stay with us. -You're watching Parents TV. Email us at <>. -Welcome back. I have 2 little friends joining me right now and my second- actually, they're my sons. My second-grader, Andrew, and my fourth-grader, Allan, and we have a pop quiz for you. What is the recommended number of fruits and vegetables our children should be eating each day? Well, if you answered 5, you're absolutely right. And believe it or not, this is something that even your really young children can grasp and understand. Here's a fun tool that I've used with each of my boys to help them get the 5-a-day concept. This is an 8 and a half by 11 that's downloadable from my website,, and when you print it out, you can laminate it or not laminate it. But we've laminated some of our pieces and Andrew's working on them right now. You've cut them out, right? -Yes. -And what are you busy doing right now? -Sticking the magnets on the back. -And they're magnetic and we're going to stick them on our refrigerator. And each child can have his own fruit basket, put his name on it, and then, every time Andrew eats a fruit or a vegetable, what do you do, Andrew? -Put it in the basket. -Put it in the basket. Stick it right on the refrigerator. Well, that's great if your little guys love their broccoli and they long for their kumquats, you're all set. But what if they don't like anything? I have 4 children and 3 of them have no problem with getting in their 5 a day. And then, there's And- Allan. Right, Allan? I mean, Andrew's favorite snack is Ranch Dip Mix and carrots but Allan doesn't really enjoy fruits and vegetables at all. But now, there's times when Allan knows he just has to eat what he has to eat but it's really nice to try to make fruit eating a fun experience. So, Allan, and Andrew, and I have devised a wonderful new recipe, right? And Allan's going to show you how to do it. He has cut up some banana here and we're going to put it all right in the blender. Right, Allan? Go ahead and pop it right in. And then, he's going to put a cup of ice. And this is a fun thing that your kids can do with you. And this is a great way to get the fruits and vegetables in if they don't like it. Just dump it all right in now. And then, we've got a teaspoon of vanilla and a little bit of sugar or sugar substitute and then, Allan likes chocolate shakes. So, we're going to add a little bit of sugar-free chocolate sauce and put the lid on. And go ahead and start the blender there Al, right here on the end. Add the milk in, a cup and a half of milk. There, we got the ice chopped up. Now, we're adding our milk, the most- one of the most important parts there. Okay, go ahead and start the blender. Good job. The banana and the ice make it nice and thick. We're going to pour it right in. And if your toddler prefers vanilla, you don't have to add the chocolate sauce. But in here, they've got a great cup of fat-free milk and delicious banana. Here you go, boys. -Thank you. -Help your kids to make their food experiences really enjoyable but most of all, moms and dads, set a good example for them. Help them learn and remember that 5-a-day concept as they grow, and grow, and grow. And don't forget to check out our website for more tips, recipes, and healthy eating ideas for you and your family. For Parents TV, I'm Kim Bensen.