Cook Yourself Thin Faster

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too with Over 75 New Recipes You Can Make in a Flash!


By Lifetime Television

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 29, 2009. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

From the #1 New York Times Bestselling Series . . . Cook Yourself Thin FASTER

Lose Weight without Losing Your Mind!

Discover what everyone is talking about: the easiest, most enjoyable way to lasting weight loss. Following the smash hit original comes this brand-new collection of over 75 even easier recipes, plus smart cooking tips and real-life success stories. Finally, a diet to savor . . .

Cook Yourself Thin FASTER delivers more mouthwatering low-fat recipes, more skinny alternatives to your cravings, and more quick and easy meals in HALF the time! We know there’s hardly ever enough time to cook. With Cook Yourself Thin FASTER you can drop a dress size without sacrificing the foods you love and spend less time in the kitchen so you can enjoy . . . life!

Have your cake and eat it too with these delectable recipes:

  • Mini Blueberry Muffins
  • Seven-Layer Dip
  • Pineapple Mojitos
  • Asian Chicken Salad
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Cheese “Fries”
  • Carrot Soup with a Kick
  • Flank Steak with Indian Salsa
  • White Pizza with Roasted Mushrooms
What are you waiting for? Cook Yourself Thin FASTER!


Potential results will vary. Consult with your healthcare professional for health and nutritional information and before undertaking any new diet.


The inspiration for this book came in response to the enormous enthusiasm of all the readers and viewers of the first Cook Yourself Thin book and television series. Thousands of you clamored “More! More! More!,” and this book is for you, created by a number of talented people whom we would like to thank.

Lauren Deen’s creative and editorial vision led us through the first book and series, and continues here—thank you for your delicious recipes and tips, and for all of your wide-ranging talents. Anne Petito project-managed the entire book process with enormous enthusiasm, professionalism, and grace. Stephanie Lyness and Genevieve Ko-Sweet provided invaluable help with recipe development and testing, and got us to the finish line!

Special thanks to Evan Sung, who once again captured gorgeous pictures with his keen eye and inimitable calm manner. Morgan Haas skipped her honeymoon to continue the delectable food styling. Many thanks to Christopher White for the lovely prop styling, as well as his Texan charm. And a big thank-you to Adam Wayson, Eddie Roche, and Rhonda DeGarmo, who all lent a critical hand at our shoot.

An enormous thanks to the Tiger Aspect USA/IMG team for all of their incredible help and support: Christine Connor, executive producer, and Adam Steinman, VP of development. On the business affairs and legal end, thanks to Peter Devita, and many thanks to William DeMayo for his efforts with our shoot. From the Tiger Aspect UK team, who created and originated the show, special thanks to Andrew Zein, managing director; Jo McGrath; and Jenny Spearing.

It’s been a privilege to have another opportunity to create a book with Hyperion, who indeed are the perfect partners. A very special thank-you to Ellen Archer, president, and Barbara Jones, Voice editorial director, and our fabulous editor, Sarah Landis.

At Lifetime Television, special thanks to Andrea Wong, JoAnn Alfano, Jessica Samet, Sandy Varo, Julie Stern, Linda Rein, Beck Sloca, and Doug Strasnick.

Lauren Deen would also like to thank all of the guests who participated in the show and shared their stories here. You were the ones who did all the hard work! And a very special thank-you to her family—Anthony, Mathias, and Natasha—who often found themselves eating a slightly different version of the same dish night after night, and all of the Bank family for their various kitchens and comments, and for all of their love and support.


Here’s the most important thing you need to know:


This is not a diet book—we don’t believe in dieting. We don’t want to tell you what not to eat. This is a book filled with delicious food that we want you to cook and enjoy so you can have your cake and eat it too!

We don’t want you to give up your “guilty pleasures”—we just want you to eat better versions of them, which we’ve created for you. Everything is designed to come together quickly and simply, with style and of course big flavor and great taste! There’s no reason to feel guilty about these dishes, and they’re nothing like rabbit food. A few clever changes and some smart swaps will have you whipping up everything from Pasta with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes to Shrimp Scampi and impressive desserts like Mocha Mousse in a flash.

These recipes are quick to prepare, and they don’t require exotic ingredients or a trip to the health food store. We’ve cut the calories and the fat out of your favorite recipes, and added new dishes for you to experience and devour guilt-free—like Chilaquiles, Cod Saltimbocca, and Meringue Clouds.

Good food that’s good for you—it’s that simple! There’s no need to look for a quick fix—it’s all right here—so get ready to Cook Yourself Thin Faster!

What’s It All About?

Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures—and we don’t want to take that away from you! The problem starts when we think losing weight means that we have to deny ourselves everything that isn’t a green vegetable and give up all our favorite foods (wave good-bye to chocolate). We make ourselves miserable until our cravings give way to temptation. Sure enough, suddenly the diet’s a disaster and we’re back on a vicious cycle of deprivation and cheating.

The great news is that we know there’s another way. If you want to drop a jeans size for good, you just need to become calorie aware. The key to weight-loss success isn’t a magic potion or only eating six raisins a day. It’s simply knowing how many calories are in the foods you’re eating and how many calories your body needs. In this book we’ve done the math for you with calorie and fat counts for each recipe. Our tips and ideas show you clever ways to cut calories so you can start losing weight right away. If that sounds too difficult, just turn to some of the success stories from our first book and television show to read the real testimonials from people who’ve done it!

This is not a diet manual or a nutritional guide. It’s a cookbook. We really believe that if you want to lose weight for good, the only way is to cook yourself to your goal. After all, if you’re the one doing the cooking, you’re going to be in control: You’ll be mixing great ingredients together in the pan, not pouring in extra fat, sugar, or salt to perk up the flavor. And when you’re the chef, you can make sure you cook smart.

None of us wants to follow a diet that tells us we can’t even look at a piece of bread. You really can eat what you want—you’ve just got to be clever and creative about it, and watch your portion sizes. That’s why we’re here to help. Love cheese on your pasta? Then look for a really strong Cheddar or real Parmesan, and you won’t need to use as much. Want to have chocolate cake? Let’s face it: Who doesn’t! So preheat the oven for our indulgent Chocolate Volcano Cakes. Cook Yourself Thin Faster is all about showing you how small changes in the way you cook and shop can help you cut your calories.

What about the “quick and easy” bit? If cooking is going to be a regular part of your life, then you need to make sure that it never becomes a chore. Recipes that are delicious to eat but can fit into a busy life of work, family, and friends are essential. To help, we’ve even picked out recipes that are ultraquick for those of you who like to be in and out of the kitchen in less than twenty minutes—just look for the lightning bolt! Most of these recipes have very short prep times and don’t require a laundry list of ingredients either.

Counting Your Calories

The most important thing to remember is that the only way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you use up. Once you are consuming fewer calories than your body uses, you will start to lose weight.

A calorie is a unit of measurement that tells you how much energy is in food. We need that energy to breathe and for our body to function, as well as to walk and to exercise, but if we eat more calories than we use up, then we store that energy as extra weight.

One pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. So in order to lose a pound of fat a week, you need to reduce your calorie intake by around 3,500 calories a week. On a daily basis, this could mean cutting down 500 calories. Five hundred calories may sound like a lot, but just one midmorning croissant with butter and jam and a latte will take you over that amount, so cutting down might not be quite as hard as you think. To lose two pounds a week, you would need to reduce your intake by 1,000 calories a day.

Depending on your current intake, most women will lose weight at a healthy rate of one to two pounds a week on a calorie intake of 1,500 calories per day (for men, it should be about 1,800 calories per day). Consult with your doctor for your ideal calorie intake rate.

Once you know what you need to slash, you also need to know how to maintain your goal weight.

We use this equation:


your goal weight x 10 = the number of calories you can eat per day

How Are We Going to Do It?

Forget crash dieting. Those diets don’t work and they’re not good for you. You might lose weight to begin with, but then, when the diet becomes too much, you go back to your old eating habits and the weight comes right back on, often leaving you in a worse place than you were when you started.

Results might not be as dramatic as with crash diets, but making small, gradual changes to what you eat will drop those calories and allow you to change your eating habits for good. The real beauty of this is that slow, steady weight loss is more likely to be permanent, and the changes you make will stay with you for the rest of your life.

The Key: Your Food Diary

A food diary is the best way to get a sense of how many calories you are consuming each day. Be ready: You may be really surprised, even shocked. Things add up quickly.

The best way to see where changes can be made is to analyze what you’re eating currently by writing down everything you eat (and we mean everything—the devil’s in the details here) in your food diary. Being as truthful as you can is key. After a week, sit down and try to see if any patterns emerge. If you notice that you’re always grabbing a mid-morning snack, perhaps your breakfast isn’t hitting the spot. If you’re munching chips after work, eating dinner a bit earlier might help, or grabbing a better snack may be the answer.

That’s where Cook Yourself Thin Faster comes to the rescue. We’ve done the work for you, cutting the calories and slashing the fats from your favorites and providing some new dishes that are sure to become favorites. You’ll be replacing your caloric recipes with our new dishes in no time.

Take a look at your food diary and see how many calories some of your “guilty pleasures” contain and you’ll see that cutting 500 calories a day is easier than you think.

It gets easier when you see our great 100 Calories or Less Snack List. And if you add some exercise you’ll be in better health and you’ll burn more calories to help you lose more weight. Now that’s being good to yourself!

And don’t forget—once you start losing weight, don’t give up the diary! Continuing with your food diary is a really great way to stay on track.

Five Big Changes You Can Make

After you’ve analyzed your eating patterns, there are five really important changes you can make.

1. Eat Regularly

We’re sure you know this one already: Don’t skip breakfast! Research has shown that adults who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight than those who skip it. We have a whole chapter of great breakfast ideas—and variations so you won’t become easily bored.

Stay on a schedule. Plan ahead so you eat at roughly the same time each day, because then you’ll be less likely to think about food in between meals and to resort to those high-fat and high-sugar snacks. When you know you’re going to be on the run, pack a few smart foods in your bag to help you eat at your planned times. And don’t let yourself get to a crisis point. Even if you’ve managed not to give in to a sugar craving, when you eventually do get to eat a proper meal, you are more likely to overindulge because the craving has made you absolutely starving and your hunger will be controlling you.


2. Watch Your Portion Sizes

Beware big, value-saving portions at restaurants and while at home. Big portion sizes mean you may be doubling your calories, and that’s no bargain! Know what a real portion looks like. If you don’t know how big a portion should be, then start looking carefully when you cook the recipes in this book to know what a good portion size should look like.

Don’t use trendy oversized plates or you’ll pile on the food to fill up the space. A good trick is to overfill a smaller plate—you can fool the eye! A reasonable portion of food, nicely arranged on a plate, won’t leave you feeling cheated and will make you feel indulged. Also, while we’re discussing time spent at the table—slow down! Give your tummy a chance to let you know when it’s full, and drink plenty of water with your meals.


3. Avoid High-Fat Snacks

With snacks, you need to think ahead, or you’ll find yourself reaching for a muffin at the coffee shop or a bag of chips as soon as you’re hungry. We’re recommending you have two 100-calorie snacks a day, so have a go at some of our great recipes for homemade snacks and keep a supply of your favorite treats from the snack list below. Each one is about 100 calories.




2 medium apples

1 small banana

1 low-calorie hot chocolate drink and a small vanilla wafer

1 small bag of reduced-fat chips

2 breadsticks and 1 tablespoon light soft cheese

3 rice cakes

1 small packet of licorice

1 small container low-fat fruit yogurt

1 small packet flavored mini rice cakes

1 Low-Fat Granola Bar

4 chocolate kisses

1 small handful of dried apricots

18 small pretzels

1 hard-boiled egg

Small (5-ounce) glass of wine

1 tablespoon peanuts and 2 tablespoons dried cranberries

1 cup baby carrots and 2 tablespoons hummus

Starbucks tall skinny latte

1½ cups strawberries

2 light string cheese snacks

2 sheets of graham crackers

Chocolate milk (1 cup skim milk plus 1 tablespoon light chocolate syrup)

1 cup raspberries with 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt and 1 teaspoon honey

3 cups air-popped popcorn

10 peanut M&M’s

2 egg whites scrambled over 1 slice whole wheat toast

1¼ ounces turkey jerky

Mini Blueberry Muffin

10 baked low-fat tortilla chips and 3 tablespoons salsa

½ cantaloupe

1 cup vegetable juice and 2 ounces oven-roasted turkey breast

About ½ cup frozen yogurt

Half an English muffin with 1 teaspoon peanut butter

½ cup edamame

1 cup cherries

10 raw almonds

NOTE: Brands vary, so always check the nutrition labels.

4. Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are fabulous, filling foods, packed full of important nutrients. At the same time, they are usually low in calories. It’s because of this that the recipes included in this book are loaded with these wonderful foods. Remember, five servings a day is ideal—and easy with our recipes. Other tips to get your five-a-day include:

  • Keep fruit out in a bowl, and always have one packed to go on the run so when you’re hungry, you can just grab a piece.
  • Try adding just one more variety of vegetable to everything you’re making. If you’re making a chicken and lettuce sandwich, slice in a tomato as well. If you’re making a chicken and mushroom pasta, stir in some fresh baby spinach or chopped frozen spinach at the end.
  • When in the produce aisle, veer off your usual list and reach for something new. Try jicama and cut it up instead of peppers for dips and salads. Try a new green, like kale or Swiss chard, and swap it in almost any recipe that calls for spinach. Many supermarkets provide cooking tips in the produce aisle too.
  • Experiment with more exotic fruits, such as mangoes and kiwifruit, and have these as a snack instead of sweets, or add them to smoothies.
  • Don’t forget that dried and frozen fruits (in natural juices) also count as one of your five-a-day, as well as frozen and canned vegetables.

5. Don’t Forget the Starchy Foods

We mean it. This plan is not about cutting out any sort of food from your life. It’s about balance: eating more of certain foods and less of others. Yes, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, but you can also have some starchy foods, preferably whole grains, including bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, and breakfast cereals.

Very often people cut these foods out when trying to lose weight in the belief that they are fattening. Too much of any good thing is fattening. But making sure your diet includes starches that are high in fiber (such as whole grain or multigrain bread, whole grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta) will help you feel full longer. Start your day with our Overnight Oatmeal and compare your energy levels after your usual slice of white buttered toast!

But Wait, There’s More…

6. Exercise

You knew we’d be mentioning this somewhere, didn’t you?

Let’s face it, some of us do, and some of us…well, really need to. The best way to think about exercise is not as a chore, but just something to build into your day and be a part of your life. Walk to work, buy yourself a bicycle, take up swimming again—it doesn’t have to be all gyms and spandex, if that’s what’s been putting you off. If you build half an hour of moderate exercise into your daily routine, you’ll start to feel the difference—not just physically but mentally too.

Exercise is the other side of the coin in the weight-loss formula. The calories you’re eating give you the energy you need for physical activities, but if you don’t do any, your body will store these extra calories as fat. These recipes show you how to consume fewer calories—but of course, you can also use more calories up. The best weight-loss plan of all is one where you balance the two. Try it—you deserve it!

NOTE: It’s important to remember that the calorie values on these pages are not intended for anyone whose calorie requirements may be different for medical or health reasons. For example, if you are under eighteen years old, breastfeeding, or pregnant, you should not start a calorie-controlled diet without consulting your doctor. Furthermore, these plans are not intended to replace any advice that has been provided by a qualified health professional. If you have any medical problems, it is best to seek advice from your doctor before embarking on a calorie-controlled diet.

Good luck–

and enjoy cooking yourself thin faster!

Success Stories

Cook Yourself Thin Faster wasn’t dreamed up in a gadget-filled professional kitchen or written by an haute cuisine chef. It’s the result of a real love of food, filled with recipes that help you make better choices and use clever swaps so you will change the way you eat, and lose weight or maintain your weight by eating simple but delicious food that you crave. The first Cook Yourself Thin cookbook and television series were incredibly successful—all the guests on our show lost weight, felt better about themselves, and made real changes in their lives. We thought you’d like to hear a bit more about their stories and learn some of their tips.



Kristen    BEFORE: Size 14   AFTER: Size 10


“I was saying, ‘Hello, size 14—’ Now I am a 10—I am a 10!”


Kristen was a self-proclaimed junk food junkie. She loved her burgers, fries, and a shake, her pizza with everything, and her drive-through breakfast sandwiches. And guess what—she still loves them all, but now they’re CYT versions. Ask her how she dropped those two dress sizes, and this is what you’d hear:


“That (weight loss) was definitely, totally from ‘cooking myself thin.’ I followed the CYT way. I got healthier, low-calorie foods. And you know what? I realized that you are what you eat, so I got foods that were vibrant, that were firm—and that were just—they were colorful. So I am vibrant, firm, and colorful.

“I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything. What I was eating was making me feel heavy and sloppy. Like that breakfast sandwich—my breakfast sandwich was sloppy. Your breakfast sandwich was perky and cute and tasty. Guess what? I am what I eat!”


Has she slipped up?

“I have. I have slipped up, and you know what? My body was, like, ‘What are you putting in me? Let’s go back to that other good stuff.’ So that’s what I did.”


Any advice for those who are still battling their diets?


On Sale
Dec 29, 2009
Page Count
208 pages
Hachette Books

Lifetime Television

About the Author

Lauren Deen is a multiple Emmy Award-winning lifestyle producer and director for Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, Food Network, Food & Wine, Walmart, and Condé Nast. She is also the co-executive producer of Cook Yourself Thin (Tiger Aspect/IMG/Lifetime Television). Lauren is the author of Kitchen Playdates (Chronicle 2007) and the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Cook Yourself Thin. A Blue-Ribbon graduate of Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now ICE), Lauren lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young children.

Learn more about this author