Tosca Reno was an overweight Mom of three who decided to turn her life around at 40 to become a fitness model. She has graced the cover of Oxygen Magazine many times, became a bestselling author and now has her own reality TV show. This amazing women offers us advice in her interview on how to be inspired as we age, best practices for raising a healthy family and tells us more about her books and reality show.
Gabrielle Reilly: What age/weight where you when did you decided to become a fitness model?
Tosca Reno: I didn't lose weight and start training with weights until around the time I turned 40 - I started entered my first bodybuilding competition shortly after but found figure more to my liking. Fitness modeling happened after that.
Gabrielle Reilly: Many women go through doldrums around the 40 something age. What advice do you have for them on turning their life around and starting a new and exciting chapter?
Tosca Reno: I think age 40 is when a lot of women (myself included!) step back and take a good look at their lives. It's a good time for self-evaluation. Instead of just buying a new sports car (like many men), my advice would be to ask yourself what you want out of life . after all, you only get one! Set out your goals and make a realistic plan to achieve them - there is no better time than the present! And I can't tell you how often I hear people say "it's too late." Well let me tell you it's never too late. I've heard from women in their 70s and even 80s who have lost weight and started working out and changed their lives for the better.
Gabrielle Reilly: Most parents will do anything for their children. How did you use that innate human trait to turn your life around?
Tosca Reno: Seeing pictures of myself on the beach with my daughters was a real wake-up call for me. Like many overweight people, I hated having my picture taken. I looked at their smooth, fit dancer's bodies and then at my own lumpy, out-of-shape one, and wondered what on earth had happened to me. But it wasn't just my body. It was also my face. I looked unhappy, even though I was supposed to be having a good time, and even though there was a smile on my face. I knew I needed to make that smile a real one.
Gabrielle Reilly: Just to delve a little further into the parent motivation concept because I don't believe it is tied to fitness and diet enough. Can you think of a way for parents to visually/mentally attach their eating and exercise habits to the well-being of their child from behavior and grades at school to having more all-round success as an adult?
Tosca Reno: It's simple really. Happy, healthy children usually grow into happy, healthy adults. Of course there are always bumps in the road, but nothing that can't be overcome through patience, strength and love. Studies have shown that children who eat well-balanced diets do better at school, are better adjusted, have more energy for sports and activities, and sleep better at night. It only makes sense that children who do well early on will have a better chance at being successful adults. Children do by example - it's important for parents to exercise healthy lifestyle habits to set a good example for their children. And now we keep hearing about children developing diseases that children never had before - last year we kept hearing about kids getting fatty liver disease, and now we're hearing about kids getting kidney stones! We are killing our children with junk food and inactivity just as sure as if we were giving them a slow-acting poison.
Gabrielle Reilly: When my kids were toddlers I would walk them around a lake in a stroller and we would all have water bottles. Along the way we would stop in a beautiful setting and pretend we were in a Coke a Cola ad. We would all hold up our water bottles and say together "Ahhh, refreshing H2O" and then giggle, tickle and kiss. I figure if they can sell Coke as a lifestyle you can sell anything. I never stop my kids from drinking soda because it becomes the forbidden fruit but they always just naturally order water out of preference because it is comfort food that is associated with very sweet memories. What tip can you share with parents on encouraging good eating habits?
Tosca Reno: The best thing you as a parent can do to encourage good eating habits is to lead by example. If you are telling your kids to eat their vegetables, but turning up your own nose to them, you are sending very mixed signals. Monkey see monkey do! The other thing is that we, the parents, are driving the bus. Back in the day, parents said what was for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Period! These days children are calling all the shots. But I remind you that they are children! They are not yet capable of making informed decisions for their own health and safety. We are the ones who have to do it. If your kids get upset, it won't last long once they know you mean business. You wouldn't let your little one walk to the park by himself, no matter how much he screamed and cried, because it's unsafe. Well feeding him junk food because he's screaming and crying is also unsafe. Take a stand.
Gabrielle Reilly: Along with good eating I think many parents underestimate the importance of sleep on behavior and grades. Any thoughts on that?
Tosca Reno: I agree that getting a good night's sleep is very important for people of all ages, especially children. Proper sleep not only keeps your children alert and ready to learn at school, it also helps their bodies grow stronger. And proper sleep comes easily when kids are active and eat right.
Gabrielle Reilly: How often do you work out in a week?
Tosca Reno: I train with weights four times a week and try to get in four sweaty cardio sessions as well.
Gabrielle Reilly: Tell us about your new upcoming TV show.
Tosca Reno: My TV show is set to air in June, on the W Network and VIVA Channel. It's sort of a documentary/reality show. For a few months I had cameras following me around, filming what I do on a day-to-day basis. It's basically an opportunity for my readers and followers to find out what it's like to be me, as I meet deadlines for my columns and books, give seminars and do other appearances, answer emails from fans, help families with their own health and diet struggles, compete, maintain a healthy diet and of course look after my own large family at the same time. I am very excited to see the first episode!
Gabrielle Reilly: Tell us about your "Eat-Clean" series of books.
Tosca Reno: I had the idea to write The Eat-Clean Diet because I kept getting endless letters about diet. Many of these letters said the same thing: "I work out all the time, why can't I lose weight?" But the truth is that exercise is only a small part of the beautiful-body formula. Diet is 80%. Sure, exercise, and weight training in particular, helps you mold the hard, fit physique you desire, but if your food isn't Clean then you're still going to have a thick layer of fat on top.
I had no idea that the book would become so popular, but soon I had so many requests for more recipes that I wrote The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook. Readers then were asking questions about my workouts, so I wrote The Eat-Clean Diet Workout and The Eat-Clean Diet Workout Journal, which makes it easy to keep track of your fitness progress. I wrote The Eat-Clean Diet for Family & Kids because busy moms and dads wanted to know how to implement Clean Eating into their family life with foods their kids would be excited about eating, and because so many parents know what they need to do, but they need help doing it. And THEN (phewf!) I wrote The Eat-Clean Diet for Men with my husband Bob, which is specifically tailored for the tastes and physiques of men. The men's book comes out in May. I am so proud (and overwhelmed!) by the success of the books. If I can inspire one person to become healthier, or change one person's life, then it's all been worth it!