Harry Papas is fast becoming an international star within his field of expertise. Ironically, here in the United States many of us will come to know his name because of his book “Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight.” I say ‘ironically’ because while we focus on the book, it is what inspired the book that truly matters.
Papas was born, raised, and continues to live in Greece. Fit and strong in his own surroundings, he suffered the stress of separation and loneliness once he left his comfort zone for college. In one year, Papas gained 110 pounds. Worse, like so many of us, he couldn’t find an affective way to shed the pounds and regain the happiness that left when the weight moved in. He tried many diets, but inevitably regained the poundage.
So he shifted mental gears and decided to find something that would bring him the success and satisfaction he sought. But, he also figured that if he was going to develop his own diet program, the food wouldn’t just be tolerable, or “good.” He wanted the food to delight his palate and leave him excited about sitting down for the next meal. The first questions to be answered were what had kept him in reasonable shape at home and why had it worked? The search for those answers led him to change his major from Economics to Diet and Nutrition.
Switching majors afforded Papas access to research he hadn’t known to exist. He soon learned that research had affirmed the premature death rate from heart attack for Greek men was 90% lower than that of American males. Living in Greece, Papas ran with this information to learn if he could refine the causes into a weight loss program transferable to the rest of the world. It would be easy to say that the Greek lifestyle during the early studies was far less stressful than the European and American counterparts. Times and circumstances change. Papas understood he needed to create a diet that could withstand inevitable social and lifestyle upheavals. And again, the food needed to taste wonderful. What he developed became known as “Slimmer: the New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight.”
Using everyday terms and a laid back writing style, Papas first discusses how the program came about and why specific ingredients were selected. Then he lays out the program in detail along with a multitude of recipes critics and readers have repeatedly heralded as really good food, regardless of the diner’s intentions. And, yes, Papas encourages exercise. But his suggestions are activities most of us do on a daily basis. He just explains how we can use our activities a little more intelligently.
Is the book as good as the meals? Mmm, probably not. I’m not much into eating paper. I do love a great meal though and will be trying a number of the recipes, and maybe if I’m not careful, I just might improve my health while hoping there are seconds still left in the pan.
Q) It’s one thing to find a program that works for you; quite another to offer it to other people. What gave you the courage to tell folks, “Hey! Try this. It works!”?
A) I spent years depressed and discouraged about my weight. When I finally developed Slimmer and realized I could keep the weight off, I wanted to share my discovery with everyone. I want everyone who has struggled with weight or health issues to know there is an answer and to be encouraged by my story. It is possible to start living a happy and healthy life today.
Q) You didn’t enter into diet and nutrition to write an international bestselling book. So, how did it feel to learn “Slimmer” had become just that and your name was being talked about all around the world?
A) I’m ecstatic that others around the world are adapting the Slimmer and making improvements in their lives. It gives me such joy to help people turn their health around. I feel the book is a great way to reach out to struggling people and give them the positive push they need to get started on a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.
Q) The obvious follow up question: Will there be another book, and, when and why?
A) I would certainly be excited to release a follow-up, perhaps a cookbook with more recipes and photographs. There are no definite plans at this time but it is without doubt a possibility.
Q) Many view diet plans as fads. How do you believe your plan can avoid that pitfall?
A) Many diet plans are fads. The diets only work for a short period of time and then the weight comes back. At that point, the diet fades from popularity. Slimmer is not a diet plan; it’s a very sustainable lifestyle. Slimmer is about adopting research and long-term experience-proven healthy habits that our culture has simply forgotten. It’s a very balanced system that gives you tons of choices and never denies you a food. Slimmer also addresses the psychological issues for weight gain and helps you develop a positive outlook. When your mind is in the right place, your body immediately responds to your new attitude. You feel so good living the Slimmer lifestyle that you never want to go back to the person you were before. Health and happiness will never go out of style.
Q) I’m addicted to pizza, so thank you for including a pizza recipe in “Slimmer.” Where did the book’s recipes come from?
A) My mom and her sister run a famous restaurant on the Greek island of Cefalonia. I spent my childhood summers in that kitchen learning to love the fresh and natural flavors of food. This knowledge of the art of cooking combined with my university studies in health and diet helped me develop the Slimmer recipes. I originally developed the recipes just for myself, so I made sure every recipe was appetizing and filling, in addition to being healthy.
Q) Any parting comments for fans and potential readers?
A) To everyone who is struggling with their health, I’d like to say: Stop wasting so much energy hating your body; it makes you weaker. Everything good in your life begins from the moment you begin accepting, understanding, respecting, and loving your true self. Losing weight can be enjoyable, not a depressing chore. Enjoy eating healthy, delicious food and feeling your mind and body be reinvigorated. You can take great happiness and joy in your weight loss journey. And to my fans, thank you. I’m so proud of you for taking the steps to get your health on track. Be an encouragement to others and remember, love always wins!
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net