(NEW YORK) -- You’d think a woman married to an Italian chef would know a thing or two about staying in shape. Eileen Daspin, wife of Cesare Casella, executive chef of Salumeria Rosi salumi and wine bar, writes: “I taste everything but eat almost nothing,” in her latest book The Manhattan Diet.
Daspin, a size 10, studied how Manhattan, a city of four-star restaurants, Magnolia Bakeries and Starbucks on every street corner, still had such skinny women. After interviewing over 100 Manhattanites, Daspin discovered their secrets to staying thin.
What she found was that New York women were using the basic idea of portion control: they were indulging their cravings by only eating a small amount.
One of the women Daspin interviewed, Sarah Pilot, is a mother of two who says her secret is never to finish everything on her plate. A size zero, she's always on the go: "That's what keeps New York women very thin. It's that we're always moving, we're with our children or we're with our friends or we're working," said Pilot.
Critics of the diet suggest that it promotes small amounts of unhealthy foods, but Daspin disagrees. "Most of the people I interviewed don't eat processed foods - they eat whole foods meaning things like this that don't have chemicals. And I was surprised a lot of women actually cook for themselves."
She stresses the importance of eating small snacks like dried fruit or vegetables throughout the day.
"As a Manhattanite, someone who lives in New York, you always have to be somewhere, you're always running late, whether you're walking or whatever it is that you're doing, you're always moving," says Daspin.
Exercise and portion control are the keys to being a skinny New Yorker. "Really enjoy what you eat, but just eat less of it," she says.
Here are some helpful tips to get started:
- Buy and eat small portions and use smaller plates.
- Get competitive in exercise classes - bring a friend or try and compete with the person next to you.
- Shop for groceries early and often (to ensure freshness).
- Sneak in workouts.
- Cheat once in a while with small desserts or a glass of wine.
- Carry small snacks in your bag for on-the-go cravings.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio