The Meal Plan Map Interview: Linda Spangle RN, MA

Linda Spangle is a weight management specialist who is recognized nationally as a leading authority on emotional eating and other psychological issues affecting weight. I sat down with my long-time friend to learn about her newest book and to get a healthy serving of proven advice on weight loss.


Check out her advice here, and then be sure to get a copy of 100 MORE Days of Weight Loss at






So, what is the difference between this book and the first 100 Days of Weight Loss book?

In this book, the lessons go deeper. They really challenge readers to work on getting past the barriers that keep them from being successful with losing and maintaining their weight. There are lots of stories that will connect with readers.


You often talk about motivation and encouragement – how can people stay motivated to lose weight, especially after working on it for years?

Never give up. On average it takes smokers quitting 10 times before they become a non-smoker. But since that’s the average, it means some people are successful after one try while for others, it may take 20 tries. But smokers never know which attempt is the magic one that will make them successful with quitting.

You don’t know which of your weight loss attempts will be the one that sticks.


What do you suggest for helping dieters avoid becoming a victim of sabotage?

Look at what’s behind it and work on the real issue. Lots of times weight is protection. It feels like you won’t be harmed if you stay overweight.


What do you suggest for people who feel hopeless with regard to reaching their goal weight?

Hope is the secret word that keeps you going when you’re discouraged and ready to quit. Sometimes you have to rebuild your hope and get rid of failure messages. Always look forward, not back. Your past does not determine your future.


Which of the daily lessons is the most intense or difficult for people to deal with?

Day 39 is the story of Vicki who was very obese and blamed herself for it. She always had lots of negative self-talk about why it was all her fault and why she wasn’t a good person. She got on a plane to visit her family and had someone refuse to sit by her, saying: “I need to be assigned to a different seat … this woman is taking up so much room I couldn’t possibly be comfortable in my seat.”

Vicki curled toward the window and cried quietly. But a little while later, she felt a hand on her shoulder. The flight attendant said, “I want to apologize for that insensitive passenger. Don’t let them ruin your day. You are a valuable person and don’t ever tell yourself that you aren’t!”

No one had ever told Vicki that she was valuable. And she certainly hadn’t been telling herself that. She made a decision to change that and start acting like she really was a valuable person. After that trip home, she joined a new program and lost 160 pounds. Now she helps mentor other women who need to lose weight.


What are your favorite lessons in this book?

My favorites are the lessons that tell about my own life. Like Day 10 which tells about my first year after my breast cancer surgery. I had to overcome a lot of discouragement and fear about life. I went on a trip where there was a zip line and I was scared to death to jump off the line.

I remember my mentor saying, “When you face a scary situation, build your courage and do it in the fear.” So in my fear, I jumped and ended up loving it.

When your weight loss efforts seem to hard or impossible, reach deep for courage and do it in the fear. That’s how you get past the roadblocks that get in your way.

I also like Day 30 where my husband sees me pulling out the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies and asks me, “Needing therapy?” It was a really hard December that year, and I was not coping with it very well. But instead of eating cookies, I was reminded to lots of self-care and pay attention to all of the ways I am blessed.


What is your advice for helping people maintain their weight?

That would be in lesson Day 92. We all know how to NOT maintain. So, I advise readers to do the opposite.

Don’t ask a program or book to do it for you. Instead, use concept of ownership. I had to figure out what worked for ME, and then I had to do it. Regardless of which type of plan you are using, you have to OWN your program and make it work yourself.



John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.


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