Why is Tanya Zuckerbrot on our Fit List? You’re saying, “Easy. I know! She’s one of the most knowledgable dietitians.” True, that! Tanya holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Studies from New York University and completed a two-year dietetic internship at NYU Medical Center. She is an accredited member of the American Dietetic Association, the Greater New York Dietetic Association, and a member of the National Association of Professional Women. Tanya completed her CDR Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management as well as her CDR Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. You’re right. Very Fit List worthy, but there’s more.
You say, “Ok. Let me try again. The woman’s famous!” Yup, she sure is. She’s a best selling author, and she is a lecturer, consultant, spokesperson, and national media contributor. She is a nutrition news contributor for Fox News Channel for its TV programs and writes a weekly nutrition column for Foxnews.com. Tanya has also appeared on national television programs including NBC Today; CBS News; CBS Early Show; Live with Kelly; The Dr. Oz Show; The View; Rachael Ray; Good Morning America; Telemundo, and more. She is an editorial advisor to Women’s Health magazine and the Official Dietitian to the Miss Universe Organization (advising the reigning Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA). In 2011, Tanya became the first registered dietitian with her own nationally distributed food products. Impressive, yes! Fit List worthy, you know it! She could be on the Fit List just for her fame, but there’s still more!
You say, “One last guess. Is it because she developed a diet that makes sense and actually works?” Right again. Tanya is the creator of the renowned F-Factor Diet, the only dietitian-created program for weight-loss and optimal health that is based on fiber-rich nutrition (more on that in our interview below).
All in all, pretty amazing, right? We think so too. But the biggest reason we are beyond excited to welcome to Tanya to our Fit List is not just her healthy (and gigantic) heart but the incredible soul that goes with it! Having had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Tanya, we were blown away by her spirituality, her candor, and the passion, drive and faith with which she leads her life. That heart and soul will forever be an inspiration to us! Tanya Zuckerbrot, welcome to The Fit List!
1. How did your career start? How did you know you wanted to be a dietitian? Who inspired you?
I received information for NYU, and the program was listed as a Masters in Nutrition and Food Studies. So I thought this would be the perfect path for me, because in this program I could study apples and kale and apply that to what I thought would be my future career, owning a health food store.
It wasn’t until I arrived the first day at school and was handled a list of prerequisites … and where I thought I’d be taking courses on farming, all of a sudden as a nutrition student, I was expected to take courses in anatomy, chemistry, biology, physiology, biochemistry, and inorganic chemistry … when I’d never studied science in my life!
2. How did you create F-Factor? What is different about it, and what did you hope to achieve?
While working in a clinical setting, my focus was on cardiovascular and diabetic patients. My job was to create diets for these patients to follow that would lower their cholesterol or for diabetic patients to help them manage their blood sugars. A byproduct of these dietary changes was unanticipated weight loss, increased energy, as well as better managed blood sugars that I attributed to fiber.
Excited with these results, I was motivated to spread this knowledge on my own. I went into private practice and wanted to utilize nutrition intervention to make patients healthier. I would work with endocrinologists and cardiologists, who would refer patients to me, and I would participate as an extension of their medical team. Across the board all of these patients were losing weight … and what was interesting is these patients were still going to work, attending social engagements, drinking alcohol…
What I had not anticipated was that by prescribing so much fiber, these patients were simply feeling fuller throughout the day on fewer calories, which led to weight loss without hunger.
F-Factor is like no other diet out there … it is based on four disruptive principles that are counterintuitive to everything that we believe about the weight loss space:
Why cut out carbs when the right carbs are filling, low in calories, and even boost metabolism?
Dine out from Day One because on F-Factor no menu is off limits.
Drink Alcohol (if you are of age, of course!)
It’s true – dieting and social drinking does go together as a happy, healthy lifestyle.
On F-Factor you’ll shed pounds and build lean, fat-burning muscle without spending hours at the gym.
3. Losing weight is hard work. How do you motivate your clients to stick with it?
Once the scale starts to move, and it does after the first week, the motivation kicks it – there is a huge return on investment with this diet. I work with clients to find consistency in their lives. If you kill it at your job, have a great family and friends, why not have the best diet out there? I always tell clients, don’t settle for mediocrity. We only have one life to live, why would you want to spend it not looking and feeling your best? You can have it all- look and feel your best, without sacrificing your quality of life.
4. You have to be “on” every day. What do you do if you’re having an off day? What is your advice for powering through?
It’s not always easy. Though there are days that I don’t want to get out of bed, I always show up. Showing up is half the battle. I believe in “faking it ‘til you make it.” I love working with people and I love a challenge – I put the two together, I also know that in a matters of days, the person who walked into my office a bit vulnerable and timid will soon be feeling their confident, energetic, beautiful self. I love being part of that person’s journey.
5. It’s 3:00 pm, and I am feeling tired and hungry. I ‘m about to go get a soymilk latte and some yogurt with granola. Good Idea? Bad Idea? What’s better?
No! Bad idea- this snack sounds healthy, but its not. This snack is filled with hidden carbs. When your body does not burn off excess carbs, they are stored as fat. Lattes, granola, and even non-fat Greek yogurt are sources of carbs. While carbs alone don’t make you fat, an excessive amount without being burnt off will. Instead, I would opt for a high fiber snack topped with lean protein. This could include high fiber crackers topped with peanut butter, turkey slices and mustard, or cottage cheese. The source of fiber combined with lean protein will keep you feeling full and energized until dinner. If you’re in need of a caffeine kick, I would opt for an Americano with a dash of cream or a warm tea.
6. How important is working out? If I only have limited time, what should I focus on?
I always tell clients, let F-Factor be your cardio. People do cardio to create a caloric deficit, but I encourage clients to go to the gym for every other reason other than losing weight- mood boosting endorphins, heart health.
When you are in the gym, I focus on building muscle through strength training exercises. This not only creates a lean physique, but the presence of built muscle will boost your metabolism and keep it going throughout the day, while not increasing your appetite.
7. It takes confidence to promote what you know to be right even when it may be out of step with popular beliefs. You’ve done that with F-Factor and your nutritional advice generally. Where do you get your confidence?
I live the F-Factor lifestyle. I know it works, I see success with my clients. Work for me is self-validating.
8. You’re about more than just nutrition. We know you have amazing life advice as well. What are your tips for success?
A phrase I live by is “Always Show Up.”
9. Many of our She’s Fit To Lead followers are budding entrepreneurs. What is your best advice for starting a business?
Advice I give to other entrepreneurs is to not have a plan B. It’s either plan A or bust. If you start out with a Plan B, I guarantee you will turn to it when times get tough. There’s a reason why it was always a plan B- because it was not your original dream. If you went with plan B that would be settling for mediocrity and in the back of your mind you’d always wonder what could have been. I’m not saying plan A will always work out perfectly, because chances are- things will change, and it won’t. That’s why it’s ok to create a new plan A. Underneath it all you need passion for whatever it may be, because it is not a straight line to success. Even in the darkest hour, if you have that passion and emotional connection you will make it through.
10. What does Fit To Lead mean to you? How do you think some becomes Fit to Lead?
Someone who is FIT TO LEAD means what they say and says what they mean. They also lead by example – – do it first. In my case, I am the face of F-Factor.
You can bet that I have GG crackers in tow, whether I’m in the office, out for lunch with friends, or traveling around the world.
Thank you Tanya! Welcome to The Fit List!!
To learn more about Tanya, check out ffactor.com