Erin and I have been Hungry Girl fans for awhile, and we were totally geeked when Lisa Lillien agreed to do an interview with us. Seriously, Tofu Shiratakinoodles are like family to me now that I’ve tried them, and it’s all because of Lisa.
For those of you who don’t know Lisa, you must be living under a rock and without a computer, TV or magazine within your reach. Hungry Girl is everywhere these days with a New York Times’best-selling book, Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World, and a provider of content on Yahoo, weightwatchers.com and Seventeen magazine. Not to mention her website and e-newsletter that has about a gazillion subscribers. Ring a bell?
Seriously, how cute is she in that Cookie Monster T with a hamburger phone? Below are the answers to your burning questions, as e-mailed to and chosen by the FBGs. (We may have sneaked a couple in ourselves, too.) Enjoy!
Hungry Girl: The Interview
FBG: In your recipes, you use some interesting and unique ingredients—from Tofu Shirataki noodles in fettuccine Alfredo to Fiber One asbreading to fat-free dairy creamer that makes desserts extra creamy. You’re quite inventive in the kitchen! What is your process for coming up with your recipes and how long does it take for you to perfect them?
HG: Thanks! There’s no real process for coming up with recipes. Ideas come from pretty much anywhere. I can be driving by a fast food restaurant and see a sign for something that inspires me—or see a commercial on TV for some really decadent food—or watch someone on The Food Network make something and decide there needs to be an HG version of it. I also get ideas from subscribers and the fantastic HG staff as well, of course!
FBG: Do you have any recipes that have been a total flop?
HG: Hmmmmmm…a TOTAL flop? None that I can think of. Sometimes they’re not home runs on the first try of course, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a tremendous disaster.
FBG: On the flip side, have you had any accidental successes in the Hungry Girl kitchen?
HG: Sure! I would say Fettuccine Hungry Girlfredo was an accidental success. Long story short, Tofu Shirataki noodles found their way to me by accident, and I was sort of afraid of them at first glance. I decided to try them with some Laughing Cow Light cheese and a few other things to make a low-cal Alfredo and IMMEDIATELY fell in love!
FBG: What do you say to the critics out there who say that you promote too many processed foods?
HG: I say Hungry Girl is about REAL WORLD eating strategies. For most of us, that means eating processed foods. I don’t eat all that much processed food—but you really don’t need me to tell you to have a piece of salmon and some steamed asparagus. I’m here to tell you how to kick a craving for brownies, onion rings and pizza. And HG versions and food finds are often made with processed foods. I think every now and then indulging in that stuff is ok.
FBG: As Hungry Girl has grown from an e-mail newsletter to a New York Times’ bestselling book, how does it feel? How has Hungry Girl changed?
HG: It feels AMAZING!!!!! REALLY Incredible!!! I love knowing that I am helping so many people. That’s definitely the best part. How has HG changed? It really hasn’t. I mean—I’m a lot busier now and being pulled in so many directions. And our staff has grown to about eight people. But other than that, the content and our philosophy have remained consistent.
FBG: What’s a typical day for you? What’s a typical day like in the Hungry Girl offices and kitchens? We want the behind-the-scenes scoop!
HG: A typical day? If I am travelling (like I am now), I will do TV or radio appearances and have meetings, then spend a few hours writing. If I’m at the office, I’ll spend a few hours writing, doing recipe development and tasting, brainstorming and generally running the business. I wake up at around 6 a.m. and start working and answering e-mails right away. I typically get into the office at around 9 or 9:30 a.m. and stay there til around 6 or 7 p.m.—then I go home and work some more. If I’m lucky I go out for sushi in between though…
FBG: What’s new for HG? Anything in the works
HG: YES! The next HG book. It’ll be out in mid-April 2009. VERY EXCITING!!!
FBG: That’s exciting news about your second book coming out next year! How will it differ from Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World?
HG: The next book will have even MORE recipes…200 of them!
FBG: Any other thoughts or words of wisdom for the Fit Bottomed Girls’readers?
HG: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Live one day at a time—and don’t expect to see big changes overnight. Looking at the big picture and thinking about changing your lifestyle can be overwhelming. Set realistic goals. Start slow…and enjoy the ride!
We could not have said it better ourselves. A big thanks to Lisa for taking the time out to answer our questions. And be sure to check out her website and book! It has the FBG stamp of approval and then some. —Jenn
Dying for FBG to interview someone else in the fitness world? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do our best to make it happen.