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Melissa Mayo

August 25, 2015


Post by Melissa Mayo

As a chef the question I get asked the most is “How do you cook for a living and stay so thin?”

The question I get asked the most as a mother is “How do you find time to cook?”

The truth is that both questions can be answered with one simple philosophy….. It all begins with what you put in your shopping cart each week. Once you control what goes into the dish you can control what goes into your body and the weight will fall off. This should change depending on what is in season and what is freshest at the time. Nothing boxed or prepackaged

I am a huge yoga fanatic and I love to work out. I hit the gym more for my mind than my body. I prefer the slow paced long holds and stretch classes. I have found that the more cardio I do the hungrier I am and the calories I burn are nothing compared to the food I consume after wards. I can only compare it to wanting to eat a horse. I find that it is far more effective to control my weight with proper eating.

Diet is far more important in the battle to lose weight. Eating out you never know what you are getting. Even something as simple as a salad can be loaded with hidden calories. Portion sizes are getting larger and one dish can often feed a family of 4. Success starts by making food at home!! Using lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and lean proteins. I make all of my marinades and dressings. I rely on citrus juice and zest, ginger, fresh herbs, spices and chillis for calorie free flavor…

It is also important to involve your family in the decision. You might give each member of your family a chance to pick the weeks meals. By involving them they are much more likely to eat the dinner on the table. I also like to get my marinating done at the start of the week before I pack away my shop so it is easy to throw dinners together the rest of the week.

I steer clear of any pre-packaged, boxed and bottle stuff. I tend to grill, roast, broil, blanch and sauté food and avoid anything deep fried and battered. Substitute a good quality olive oil, avocado, and balsamic vinegar instead of heavy and creamy sauces. Under rather than overcook fresh produce. It’s tastier when it is crunchier rather than mushy. Use a thermometer to test that your meat and chicken are cooked perfectly.

Color and variety also plays an important part. We eat with our eyes first and colorful food makes you feel more satisfied so you don’t over eat. Adding texture also helps. I use dried fruit to add sweetness and nuts for texture and crunch.


  1. “COOKING IT OFF” is RULE # 1- The NUMBER ONE TIP I can give you to lose weight is to get into the kitchen and cook. Once you control what goes into the dish you can control what goes into your body and the weight will fall off.
  2. Get your family involved in the cooking process… They will be more likely to eat the food if they are involved in the preparation.
  3. Break a sweat once a day... 30 minutes of moderate exercise is better than marathon training sessions which generally make you ravenous. Get your heart rate up… It is the oxygen that helps elevate your mood and release toxins. It doesn’t have to be in a gym. Walking around the block, cleaning your house or taking the stairs all help.
  4. Eat 5 small meals a day– They keep your metabolism going. When you miss meals your body holds onto calories.
  5. Never go to the store hungry and use a list- Keep a bag of nuts in your car. Have a handful with a small bottle of water before shopping. You will be more likely to buy healthy food.
  6. Drink 2 liters of water a day… most times you are thirsty not hungry – Water is the best beauty secret around hands down.
  7. Chew your food – it fuels the digestive process and you’ll be more likely to stop eating when you are full
  8. Portions size is key – You can have everything you love in moderation.
  9. Don’t eat after 8 pm…. Try have dinner with your family earlier and make sure to sit down at the table
  10. Try to eat off a smaller plate and fill most of your plate with greens. This is the easiest way to eat less.
  11. Stop eating when you feel full
  12. Eat full fat full cream stuff in smaller quantities rather than low fat/fat free stuff. Usually they have more sugar and preservatives
  13. Citrus and fresh herbs flavor a meal without adding calories – Plant a herb garden
  14. Use healthy cooking methods -Roasting, grilling and searing , broiling, steaming and blanching.
  15. Have a plate of fresh cut fruits and veggies at the front of your refrigerator or on the counter. You will be more likely to snack on these instead of junk food
  16. Finish off a meal with a block of dark chocolate– It’s loaded with antioxidants and has very little sugar but it will satisfy your sweet tooth.
  17. De-stress before Dinner with some vino– The Europeans do it and have the lowest risk of heart attacks and very low rates of obesity. But limit it to one glass. . It’ll keep your arteries clean and it is loaded with anti-oxidants
  18. Portions size is more important than what you are eating
  19. Never use the word diet. It is a lifestyle… There is no need to avoid anything. Making a food forbidden makes you crave it more and you are more likely to binge. Instead reduce portion size and have a little taste of everything you love.
  20. Protein portion size – the size of your palm
  21. Not all fat is bad – Olive oil, nuts and avocados are wonderful fats. They actually curb hunger and cravings and burn calories
  22. Never over cook vegetables… they taste better crunchy
  23. You are only one meal away from being back on the program
  24. When eating out ask the waiter if you can take half your food home before he brings it to the table
  25. Colorful food makes you feel more satisfied- Color and variety help!! We eat with our eyes first so a variety of colorful foods make you feel more satisfied so you don’t over eat.
  26. Don’t Multitask-Make it a point to avoid doing other activities while you are eating.
  27. Get a good night’s sleep– During the night our body heals and repairs. Studies show that people who sleep between 8-10 hours are thinner than those who don’t get enough zzz’s
  28. Don’t drink your food– Juice cleanses are a no no. It is all fine to supplement occasional meals with a green juice but juice fasts slow down your metabolism .Whatever weight you lose is water weight which will come back as soon as you begin eating again.
  29. Avoid heavy sauces and premade meals and dressings – instead make your own with a good olive oil, some vinegar, some citrus, ginger, garlic and fresh herbs
  30. Listen to your body. If you are hungry eat. Some days your body just needs more fuel. So if you are craving that slice of pie order it but just have a spoon or 2.
  31. Plan meals and make a shopping list for the week ahead of time so you don’t end up ordering out or eating processed food.
  32. Stretch and twist and focus on core work. By ringing out your organs you fire up your metabolism internally.
  33. Keep food in its place –Try to eat only at your kitchen table or dining table. You will eat less
  34. Set realistic goals– The slower the weight comes off the longer it will stay off. Crash diets don’t work. You need to think of healthy eating as a lifestyle change. Don’t look at it as a diet. If you ate badly make your next meal super healthy. Don’t ever give up! You are going to get bad days/weeks; it happens! Just get straight back on it and limit the damage.
  35. Buy some new clothes when you are down a size or two. That way, you are reminded of what you have achieved and not to go back to old sizes. Give them away.. You aren’t going to need them again.

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