Chrisetta Mosley's career as an author is taking off. She has a second book about healthy eating – "Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box" -- and loads of readers for her bright and positive blog, "Farewell Fatso!"
But what really motivates Mosley is saving peoples' lives through exercise, good food and community.
"The thing is, when I was close to 400 pounds, I could barely walk and I could barely breathe," she says. "Everything seemed to me like an obstacle course, basically.
"My sense of life was gone – I wasn't really living life."
Today almost 200 pounds lighter and much, much happier, Mosley leads free cooking classes at Chuck's Produce & Street Market at 13215 SE Mill Plain Blvd. in Vancouver; and she runs the "5 or 50" Women's Sustainable Weight Loss and Lifestyle Group at Cascade Park Community Library.
She has book signings for "Shop, Cook, Eat," on Thursday, Sept. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. at Chuck's (with food sampling); and Friday, Sept. 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Tully's Coffee at 1801 SE 164th Ave. in Vancouver.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Mosley celebrates the one-year anniversary of her cooking classes at Chuck's, and she's planning to fix Asian and Mediterranean-inspired lettuce wraps – straight out of the new cookbook.
Her biggest goal is to persuade more people to walk away from processed, unhealthy food that's eaten on the fly – in favor of home-cooked meals enjoyed at the dinner table with family and friends.
"My first book was called 'Bringing Cooking Back,' and my goal was to bring everybody back to the kitchen so that we would cook at home again," she said.
With "Shop, Cook, Eat," Mosley says, "I'm going to show you simple ways that you can do that -- it doesn't have to be complicated."
According to Mosley, the biggest challenge in building a healthier life is simply to prepare for it. "I'm going to be honest with you – it's going to take a commitment," she says. "It doesn't just happen, and that's why it's so difficult – because so many people are pressed for time.
"But we have to start making it our priority."
Mosley says that unlike many people, she didn't eat because of family trauma or abuse – but nevertheless her relationship with food wasn't healthy. So one day she literally decided she was going to change that.
"I was very fortunate because – I did have high blood pressure but I never developed diabetes. I think that I may have had sleep apnea but the doctors never diagnosed it. It just came from the excess weight," she said.
"So there weren't as many health problems, it was more me being very, very uncomfortable with myself, and knowing that if I didn't stop I was going to end up with a slew of health problems and eventually I might die from it.
"I was just too big, and my body couldn't take it and I couldn't take it."
Mosley says first, she started working out – and she started losing weight and regaining her mobility; her high blood pressure vanished.
"I started exercising and feeling really good about myself," she says.
But advice from the trainer at her gym shifted her vision of health into overdrive.
"He said, 'You can work out one hour a day but it's the other 23 hours in the day that are going to be the most important and that's because it's your nutrition.
"'The food is going to be the biggest piece – so you need to look at what you're eating.'"
So Mosley enrolled in a health class at Clark College and started reading everything she could find, from Dr. Oz to health department reports and the famous food author Michael Pollan.
"I just really started dialing in," she says.
Now her new cookbook is required reading in the health class at Clark College.
Mosley says she is not into fad diets; she's not a vegan or a vegetarian or gluten-free, and she's not enthusiastic about the trendy new "Paleo" diet in which you can only eat things that cavemen ate.
She prefers to eat a wide range of foods – including organic, chemical-free meat and dairy – with an emphasis on loads of fresh veggies and grains.
Mosley's philosophy dovetails with that of Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," whose now-famous guidelines are: "Eat food. Not a lot. Mostly plants."
On a recent morning Mosley pulled out of her purse Pollan's newest book, "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," in which the author suggests sticking with foods that your grandparents would recognize.
"What's a Go-Gurt?" Mosley asks.
"We are a very reactive society, I believe, so when we start hearing these buzzwords – healthy, gluten-free, we buy into those things," she says.
"What's happened is people aren't paying attention anymore. So, you've got Nabisco telling you that these crackers are fresh and they have this and this and that.
"Nabisco is going to promote themselves as good food, they're going to tell you that this box of stuff is healthy, but that does not mean that it is healthy," she says.
"I would just ask people to be mindful of their choices.
"I would prefer that you don't eat anything out of a box, but if you do, you're going to turn the box over and you're going to be careful and you're going to make some smart choices about what you do bring in the house."
Find out where to get Mosley's book, and find out how to sign up for her free cooking classes online at her blog, "Farewell Fatso!"