December 28, 2004
Dee McCaffrey has the secret to losing weight.
By eliminating white flour and refined sugar from her diet, and walking for exercise, she lost 100 pounds in a year. And she’s kept the weight off since.
She also developed a flourless muffin available at a local grocery store chain, and helps others with her knowledge.
The epiphany for the Mesa 43-yearold came on a class hiking trip in 1992. She could not physically make it up a hill, and she knew then she needed to change her lifestyle. She also used to smoke, which didn’t help, she said.
At 4 feet 10 inches tall and 210 pounds, she needed to lose 100 pounds to get to a healthy weight.
She cut out what was making her fat in the first place — her love for doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies and Taco Bell. She lost 20 pounds within the first month from her new lifestyle change.
"You have to learn how to eat for a lifetime if you want to lose weight and keep it off," she said. "A lot of it is emotional and stress related. You also need a supportive atmosphere."
Now she eats only natural and fresh foods, and stays away from processed foods.
Her lifestyle change also included changing her job. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental chemistry from San Jose State University and worked as an organic chemist for 14 years in California and Phoenix.
Now she is a certified diet counselor who teaches others how to change their diet and lose weight the healthy way. With her personal experiences, she is able to help others through their weight problems.
"I get to share with other people," she said. "I’ve been where most people are. I know that desperation. It’s a scary prospect to let go of food."
She does personal nutrition and weight loss counseling around the Valley through her company, Health from the Heart. She’s also giving free talks on "How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off" at six East Valley Bashas’ stores from Jan. 4 through Jan. 9.
Her husband of three years, Michael McCaffrey, uses his background in sales, marketing and public relations to help with her many endeavors. Although he hasn’t completely adopted his wife’s lifestyle, he’s lost 30 to 40 pounds along the way.
"You realize we live in a life that does not support low weight," said the 40-year-old. "First you become angry, then diligent, then you make the change."
On her quest to find healthy goodtasting food, she also developed a recipe for flourless oat bran muffins. "Dee’s Mighty Muffins" have been available at participating Bashas’ markets and AJ’s Fine Foods since September.
Locally-owned Chompie’s baking company makes the muffins using her recipe, and the muffins are distributed in two varieties for sale at the local markets. The four-pack muffins are available in walnut raisin and apple
The recipe was developed after several years of perfecting just the right taste. In other words, the muffins don’t taste like cardboard, she said.
The muffins are all natural whole grain, and have no flour, refined sugar, artificial ingredients, preservatives, wheat, oils, transfats or cholesterol — which equals to no guilt. They are not low carb, but good carb, she said.
Dee McCaffrey’s free talks on "How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off" will be at the following Bashas’ supermarkets, with free samples her "Mighty Muffins."
• 7 to 8 p.m. Jan. 4, Bashas’ at Pecos and McQueen roads in Chandler
• 7 to 8 p.m. Jan. 5, Bashas’ at Ray and Cooper roads in Chandler
• 7 to 8 p.m. Jan. 6, Bashas’ at Alma School and Queen Creek roads in Chandler
• 4 to 5 p.m. Jan. 7, Bashas’ at Chandler Boulevard and Dobson Road in Chandler
• 2 to 3 p.m. Jan. 8, Bashas’ at Warner Road and McClintock Drive in Tempe
• 2 to 3 p.m. Jan. 9, Bashas’ at Southern Avenue and McClintock Drive in Tempe To learn more, visit