One Author’s Recipe for Loving Food and Losing Weight

Darya Rose’s secret lies in real food and real science.

Darya helps people fall back in love with food and redefine their relationships with health. Growing up in Southern California during the Bay Watch era, Darya admits she spent 15 years on diets. Darya’s dieting caused body anxiety and weight gain and she soon realized that magazines and doctors were not giving her the right answer.

Science gave Darya her answer. Darya discovered that in order to be her healthiest self she needed to start focusing on eating what she loved. Darya’s since written Foodist, created the blog Summer Tomato and acquired a Ph.D. in neuroscience. 


Read on to learn Darya’s fork trick to slow down your eating, how she built a supportive community on Summer Tomato, and why she uses about.me to help point people to what matters most.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Darya Rose, Ph.D., author of Foodist and creator of Summer Tomato, one of TIME’s 50 Best Websites. I studied neuroscience at UCSF and UC Berkeley, and now help people get healthy and lose weight without dieting. I eat amazing things daily and haven’t even considered going on a diet since 2007.

What kinds of experiences helped develop your eating philosophy for Foodist?

I grew up in Southern California back in the Bay Watch era, and dieting was a way of life. I spent 15 years doing exactly what both magazines and doctors told me to do– eat less and move more–and all I had to show for it was extra weight and constant anxiety about food and my body.

Fed up, I turned to science for a solution and learned that the advice we’re given isn’t just wrong, it’s actually harmful. We’re taught that we need to restrict what we eat and force ourselves to exercise to the extreme. But instead of helping, that mentality turns healthy eating and exercise into a chore and punishment, driving us away from them in the long run.

What I discovered is the most effective way to get healthy and control your weight is to reinvest your relationship with health by focusing on the things you love, that make you feel good and are good for you. When you do this you can turn your healthiest behaviors into habits that you actually enjoy instead of dread. Only then you can stick with them forever, and that is how you become a healthy person for life.


In a recent blog post on Summer Tomato, you talk about the process of learning to eat mindfully. What are some of the highs and lows along that journey?

Mindful eating is a crucial part of rebuilding your relationship with food, because it helps you learn to appreciate and savor real flavors and not just the sugar, salt and fat that hijacks your brain’s reward system. Research has shown that when people eat mindfully they enjoy what they’re eating more, and naturally eat less. It’s portion control without deprivation. Win-Win.

It is very difficult to adopt mindful eating habits in our culture. I was one of those people always eating at my desk or while doing other things. I would wolf down huge amounts of food, and always got a stomach ache because of it.

For me the secret was finding a trigger during the eating process that would remind me to pause and reflect. That trigger turned out to be the act of preparing a new bite by poking my fork around the plate. It’s a discreet action that is easy to recognize, plus it takes some time to finish so you have a second to process what is going on. When I notice myself preparing a new bite, I use this as a reminder to ask myself, “Is there anything in my mouth right now?” If the answer is yes, then I put my fork down and focus on chewing my food. This simple trick turned me into one of the slowest eaters at any table, and I never get stomach aches anymore.

What has been one of the most surprising realities of writing a blog?

I’m continually shocked by what a wonderful and helpful place the internet can be when you cultivate a culture of respect. So many websites, especially in health and weight loss category, are filled with negative comments and judgmental people. Summer Tomato is just the opposite. My readers are tolerant and supportive of one another, and always willing to help each other out. I feel very proud and lucky to have such an amazing community to work with.


Who inspires you?

I spend a lot of time reading and listening to podcasts for inspiration, so my list is very long. In food I love Michael Pollan’s work. In nutrition, Dr. Andrew Weil is a breath of fresh air and sanity. These days I’m really into psychology, and have enjoyed the works of Jonathan Haidt, Carol Dweck, Dan Gilbert, and Michelle Segar, to name a few. Spiritually I enjoy Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. I love Tim Ferriss’ podcast and the blog Wait But Why by Tim Urban. I could go on and on…

How do you find balance and take time for yourself?

I find balance by being really clear on my priorities, and at the very top of the list is self-care. I’ve gotten derailed enough times now to know that if I don’t eat well, sleep well, exercise, and take time to let my mind rest then every other part of my life suffers. I demand a lot from myself and don’t ever want to put my name on mediocre work or neglect my personal relationships. Self-care is the basis of making sure those things are taken care of. I drop everything else before letting it slip.

Describe your experience with about.me so far.

about.me has really simplified something in my life that used to be complicated, which was explaining who I am and where to find me. People are interested in me for different reasons. Maybe they want to get healthy and visit my website, or maybe they love my dog Toaster and want to see pictures of him on Instagram. Or maybe they just want to know why anyone cares about me at all. I can just put my about.me page in my email signature and all those questions are answered. It’s just so easy.



Anna Lizaur is a Marketing Manager with about.me. She graduated from the University of Virginia. Anna is fluent in Spanish and can count to 100 in Chinese.




48 responses to One Author’s Recipe for Loving Food and Losing Weight

  1. moni4321

    Thanks for sharing your information! Very interesting! I enjoyed the read !

  2. Ian massheder

    I found this article very inretesting
    And informative.

  3. Zee Gardner

    Maybe you’ll be the one to inspire me to write a blog. I just relocated to Vancouver from Toronto and am looking for something to do that I am passionate about. One of my friends suggested to write a food blog….
    Very interesting read. Love your fork trick!!

  4. Tomas

    Hy Darya! Congratulation for your achievments!

    Hola Darya…felicitaciones por tus grandes logros

    Un saludo


  5. Great philosophy! Beautiful kitchen. And cool dog!!! 🙂 I appreciate what you do. We all need to pay more attention to our diets. That would solve most health problems.

  6. I enjoyed this interview with Darya immensely. I am extremely intersted in her professional accomplishments and now want to learn all about her book, blog and the healthy lifestyle she has
    created. Thanks to Anna Lizaur for this great piece!

  7. Troy Cunningham

    Love your energy and vibe. You’re doing a wonderful thing.

  8. Robkhoo

    Thanks Darya – An awesome read and inspiring content. The fact self conditioning is at the top of your list of priorities really resonates with me – I try the do the same but ironically work derails me at times.

    Oh and I like the website – A breath of fresh air on the standard health and fitness sites. I shall be logging in regularly🙂

  9. Great post I got a lot out of. I am struggling with making self-care a priority and regaining my health, and I am sharing this with others in my family who have the same struggle. You’ve put into words what I have been realizing for a long time, but haven’t really implemented: “What I discovered is the most effective way to get healthy and control your weight is to reinvest your relationship with health by focusing on the things you love, that make you feel good and are good for you. When you do this you can turn your healthiest behaviors into habits that you actually enjoy instead of dread. Only then you can stick with them forever, and that is how you become a healthy person for life.” Thanks!

  10. Wally Barr

    I believe you can make a real impact. Your science background provides great cred! The current environment for girls and body issues is absolutely awful. the education of eating healthy and added with portion control is vital. The education on fast food marketing and getting people to understand what they do is key. Rock On with your projects!

  11. JD singh

    Extremely motivating to eat healthy the right way! I share the view that most of the websites on food and health are both unauthentic and wrong.

  12. sarbjit singh lobana

    Darya gone through your page .Really you are a hard working and impressed with your interest on research on food regarding health.

  13. i would say its a great words for anyone regarding of a healthy food and diet.
    i love this its help anyone

  14. thomas downie

    HI Darya nice to hear your comments ,healthy eating I am a lover of Fish green veg,fruit love long walks over the hills in my home town Greenock Scotland ,may life be good to you & family

  15. Manuel Lugo

    Woooooow! Excellent profile! Congratulations Darya Rose!

  16. I have gone on a healthy eating life style about 2.5 month’s ago..I feel great…id like to learn more from you…aol introduced us.

  17. Bilal

    Really fasicinsting & inspiring work.
    I would really like yo learn more about your work regarding Neuroscience of eating

    Keep up the healthy work🙂

  18. Congrats to you and all that you have accomplished, as someone who struggles with trying to loose about 40 more pounds (my heaviest was 335lb and I’m down to 215) my biggest problem is that trying to eat healthy for one is very hard and very expensive along with the fact that I’m a double amputee (half right foot, left leg below the knee…MRSA) and trying to get help through my insurance company is almost impossible. I’ve always been single and loved living alone, I have a good support group with my friends (an only child and no real family left). I’m hoping to get more of the weight off once I start getting around again…Thanks for the motivation…and if that is your kitchen you are in…Bravo on a great design job as a Manhattanite I’m jealous of the space.

  19. Wow , im blow away by her openness on her article. I love the idea of her laying out all the positive and negative of dieting. Keep up the good work.

  20. Richard Smith

    Hi Darya,
    I love your page and am glad that you posted it on About.me! I’m impressed!

  21. Really nice to meet someone who is incorporating mindfulness into her life. Darya’s experience with mindful eating spilled into other aspects of her being. Just as mindfulness has in mine. Last November, while attending a conference for people who care for Native Alaskans with Diabetes, I participated in a workshop by a woman who also has written books about mindful eating. Good for this important message being spread to different audiences.

  22. From someone who practices calorie/glucose restriction and is mindful of fructose toxicity, your article is both timely and accurate.

  23. Poco Reese

    Wow! I am so glad to hear things I had forgotten. I am on a new journey and will now turn my attention to my health. Thanks for the info and inspiration. I am starting this morning with an assesment of where I am in life and my plans for becoming a better ME. I agree that Life Should Be Awesome!

  24. Amy

    The comment you made about taking care of yourself with good food, exercise, sleep etc… Really resonated with me. We have to put the ” oxygen mask” on ourselves first. Thanks for sharing @amylazare

  25. Hi Darya,
    You were introduced to me by about.me. Good to know someone with common interests (good food and loosing weight).

    Perhaps we can exchange some healthy recipes and loosing weight tips. Keep in touch.

    Chris Ng


  26. Hi Darya! What an interesting story. We have much in common. I have relentlessly indulged myself with research on this topic online. If you feel you want to expand your reach and give your own podcasts and lessons for whatever you think people need, feel free to join Thepeoplesuniversity (my project). We are new and we host & promote both formal and informal educational courses. You could sign up at http://www.facebook.com/thepeoplesuniversity. Should you need to know more feel free to drop us a line.

  27. Srinivas Pyl

    Six Surprising Habits That Stop You From Healthy Eating – is helpful and I learned some new ways of managing daily life. – Thank you – Srinivas Pyla – Hyderabad, India

  28. Thank you for this interesting information, I have enjoyed reading it very much and can relate to the ‘largeness’ problem which I too am trying to reduce.I usually eat healthily but do enjoy my chocolate and coffee too much. I am studying for an Arts degree right now and am spending too much time sitting at my desk researching topics. However, I feel I should follow your suggestions.
    Thanks again and regards, Junee

  29. A P.S. to my former note, I love your dog, he reminds me so much of my labradoodle, Barney, whom I lost 5 years ago when he ate something he found whilst beach walking. I miss him terribly. I can well imagine how much you love and enjoy your little one there.

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