Marilyn McKenna lives and eats like it matters


by MIMI JUNG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @MimiJungKING5

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:12 AM

In Marilyn McKenna's kitchen, you won't find Doritos, Ben & Jerry's ice cream or fried chicken. These days, she's eating like it matters.

Six years ago, McKenna, the wife of former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, decided she was tired of being obese. At 265 pounds, McKenna says she felt like a failure.

"I don't know if other people could see it in my face, or can see it when you look at the picture. What I felt was like apologizing for taking up space. It feels so bad," said McKenna.

The mother of four had lap band surgery and lost 120 pounds. She's kept the weight off by changing her lifestyle.  That means no more Cinnabons, not even one.

"I can't, because I can't control it. I can't eat one serving of what a Cinnabon would be."

Now, exercise is her passion. She lifts weights, does yoga and runs. She completed her first marathon in 2011. She makes time for herself to workout. And she looks at food in a whole new light.

"Food isn't love, food isn't entertainment, food isn't distraction. Food isn't comfort. Food is fuel," said McKenna.

She's now writing a book about her journey called "Eat Like It Matters." She describes it as a narrative and personal look at her life, much like a diary.

You get a taste of what her book will be like by reading her blog, where she writes about healthy living. Her latest post is about why she hates the word motivation.

"The motivating thing is kinda like eh, it works on some days, but a lot of days it doesn't, but what does work is cultivating healthy habits," said McKenna.

It takes much more than motivation, she says, to walk by that Cinnabon now.

"I call that exercising my self-care muscles," said McKenna. "So when I walk by the Cinnabon, I give them one of these, not literally but in my head right? I'm better than that. I don't do that anymore."

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Vegan Cookies (recipe adapted from Whole Foods website)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


½ cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil
½ cup pure maple syrup
Fruit-only jam or jelly

Baking Instructions:

Measure nuts into bowl of food processor and grind until chopped very fine. Add oats and grind until blended. Add whole wheat flour and salt; pulse to combine. Empty ingredients into large mixing bowl and add oil and maple syrup. Stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Use 1” scoop to measure out balls of dough and place onto lined cookie sheets. Press your thumb into the center of each ball to create a well and place ½ teaspoon of jam into each. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 16 cookies. Approximately 200 calories each.