“I wanted to be full without being fat,” said Lani Muelrath. “I wanted to be able to eat when I was hungry until I was full and be naturally trim, and I really believed there was a way to do that.”
As someone who has “a long and colorful diet history,” Lani knew there was something wrong with the way she viewed food. “The biggest struggle for me when I was trying to lose weight was trying to change my relationship with food.”
She would see owls and other animals in the woods and watch them as they ate.
“They’re not counting and measuring stuff. They’re not staving off their hunger,” said Lani. “There must be an avenue, and I knew that to eat freely like that I was going to have to pay attention to quality and that quality would come with whole foods, low-fat, plant-based. That meant I was going to have to extract my fear of filling up, eating complex carbohydrates–carbophobia runs deep. Now I eat freely of rice, potatoes, and bread along with the beautiful fruits and vegetables.”
Since losing over 50 pounds and overcoming her weight and diet issues, Lani has become a plant-based fitness expert. She teaches fitness classes and coaches clients across the globe to be full without being fat so that “you don’t have to go crazy with exercise or dietary control.”
That path has led to a new book being released February 5, Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body Shaping Workouts.
“It’s the first real plant-based fitness book out there, or vegan fitness book. There’s dietary books out there that have a fitness component or chapter,” said Lani, but “it’s the first thing to come down the pipe that really has potential to cross over into the fitness world in a whole new way and bring new people to this way of eating, so it’s very exciting.”
I spoke to Lani via telephone from her phone office in California.
7 Questions with Lani Muelrath
1. How long ago did you decide to make a change?
Change comes in pieces. I’ve been a vegetarian for forty years. Over that time, being a person who was predispositioned to easily gain weight and struggle losing it, I was always trying to find a kind of way of eating that would meet my dietary ideal and to allow me to be full without being fat, which is really what all want–those of us who have struggled with a weight problem.
It wasn’t until I really went vegan and finally eliminated dairy and oil in my diet [that I fully changed], and that was just five years ago. Fifteen years ago I went through a change of my relationship with food, eating, and my body. I knew that not only was I going need to eat to higher quality to meet my needs for what I wanted for my ideal health, but it was going to take a change of my thinking about it all since I had such a long and colorful diet history.
2. What’s a few of your favorite meals or snacks?
Oh, I’ll tell you what I always have in the refrigerator, and this is what I coach people and suggest in Fit Quickies also, is to have a pot of brown rice made up, a pot of beans, lots of vegetables, lots of fruit, and I eat just freely within those realms. It could be anything from fruit and a chunky grain of bread to a bowl of rice with beans and salsa on the top to raw vegetables. I just make sure I have it all there.
I mean, a cold sweet potato? Yum.
3. You’ve kept the weigh off now for 15 years. What’s been the reason for your success while so many others struggle with their weight?
It really has taken those three pillars which is food–a whole-food, plant-based diet. And getting those extracted oils out of my diet as well, which are really, pretty much, a junk food. Sugar has everything extracted from it besides the nutrients, and we all recognize that as junk food, but somehow we’ve been marketed to think oil is a health food. Eliminating that has made a big difference.
[The second pillar] as I explain in Fit Quickies, is the story of the Fit Quickie exercise and five-minute fitness and what a powerful changer that can be on our health and our energy and our vitality and lifestyle.
And the third is the frame of mind and the mastery of your psychology. When the publisher came to me about doing this book, they said, “We’d love to do something with your Fit Quickie exercises,” and I said, “Fine, as long as we can include the whole-foods, plant-based diet and the mastery of mindset because the three are really important.” I can’t separate them. They all need to be addressed for lasting change. Otherwise it’s limping along. You need all three legs.
4. Which pillar has been the hardest for you?
The biggest change is mastery of mindset, because if you can get your mindset in gear and get in touch with your why and be willing to make the changes necessary to change habits, then anything is possible. I say you become unstoppable when you get all three together. So it starts with the mindset. At the same time you can actually change your mindset by going through your body, through exercise, and through activity. It has a tremendous impact on your frame of mind, your vitality, and your psyche.
5. In your book you talk about the problem of sitting for extended periods of time. What do you have against sitting all day?
I’m standing right now!
That’s the beauty of the power of the five minute fitness break. It also extrapolates to sitting less, and there is a big chunk of information in the Fit Quickies book about how too much sitting is hazardous for your health . . . even the people who are active and do their work out, if they are sitting for chunks of time the rest of the day they experience the same negative health biomarkers as someone who is sedentary The same rise in cholesterol, rise in triglycerides, drop in insulin sensitivity, all of these biomarkers change for all of us.
But it’s easy to reverse that and offset it by taking a five minute break every hour . . . Standing more than sitting, it invites all these intrinsic muscles of your core to come into play and have definite impact on reversing disease and slows down that acceleration of negative biomarkers just by standing up.
6. What kind of exercise do you enjoy, or do you mainly stick to those in your book?
I walk a lot. We live up here in the woods in beautiful northern California, so we’ll take a couple walks to the lake every day. I like to hike and bike. I like to scuba dive. I like the Fit Quickies because they were created as a tool for travel. We were on scuba holiday. My husband and I were somewhere in the Caribbean, and, you know, it’s hard to take your regular workouts to travel time, especially in this hot tropical climate. I just don’t want to do the workout stuff . . . That’s when I came up with the Fit Quickies idea. So I do these either peppered throughout my day or sometimes I put them all together in a workout.
There are other workouts I enjoy too, but I’m not a workout maniac. Just because I’m in fitness does not mean I like to workout all the time. Not true.
7. Anything else?
Here’s the thing. When I went through my transition and I realized that it was going to take time if I was going to do this in a way that would change for good, I thought, “Well, what if I only lose 2 pounds a month?”
That sounds excruciating, but would I be happy if a year from now I were 25 pounds lighter? Yes.
Lana Muelrath’s book, Fit Quickies, is available now. For more information including a book trailer, a free gift, and other information, visit her website.