This week, we shine The Cooking Light Diet spotlight on Leslie Culkin of Clifton Park, New York. Leslie manages a team of technical writers for a bank, or in layman's terms, she explains complicated financial language so that bank employees can more easily assist simpletons, like yours truly.
When she's not making economics and loan policies easier to understand, Leslie enjoys singing, exercising, and voraciously consuming fiction. So, understandably, when I found out she hadn't read the books on which Game of Thrones is based even though she watches the show, we fell into a wormhole of theories, spoiler alerts, and lamentation over there being no more good men left in Westeros (RIP, Jon Snow). And then we finally got around to talking about her Cooking Light Diet experience. She's six months into her plan and has lost 27 pounds*! Here's what Leslie had to say.
Matthew: How many times a week are you accessing your Cooking Light Diet account? Leslie: Oh my gosh, every day. Every day. I get an email daily saying, "Here's your plan for today." Every day I will go on and then coordinate between MyFitnessPal and the Cooking Light Diet. Usually on Mondays, I'll plan out the following week so that I can run the grocery list and get it ready for the weekend when I shop. So I definitely use it every day.
M: What has been the most refreshing aspect of using The Cooking Light Diet so far? L: I think it's the variety, and it's really introduced us to different vegetables. Last night we had jicama, and we don't have that ever. And this morning I had the Vanilla Honey-Nut Smoothie. I have never had tofu in my life. I like to cook, I like to try new things, so for the variety and the types of vegetables and the combinations and fresh herbs that make up a dish, I think every single meal we've had has been delicious.
I'm enjoying the ability to cook a really fresh meal for my family and myself to enjoy while I'm losing weight, and we're eating better. And not having to say, "If I have to have oven-baked chicken one more time I'm going to kill myself."
M: Has this aided in planning and organizing your week as a whole? L: You know, it's made me much more efficient. I think that's one of the reasons why I've been so successful with it is because you have taken the decision-making process out of my hands. I can go on the database and say whatever it is I'm having as my meal, and you give me the sides for dinner.
I work full-time, I was raising two kids, I have a husband and a house, and go-go-go. And for this [Cooking Light Diet], I don't have to use any effort. I can just print it out, know it's going to be good, go shopping with the list that's already prepared for me, and I don't have to think about it. I can go home and know exactly what I'm making. So it's definitely made me more efficient and just taken a lot of the stress out of mealtime.
M: Have you been motivated to exercise more frequently? L: Yup! So after I lost a couple of pounds and starting feeling more energetic, [in March] I started walking, you know, for literally five minutes. And now I'm walking about 2 miles four days a week. This is like a three-year journey for me, really. I have a lot of weight to lose, and I'm not going to do it in a rush this time because that never works. I've lost about—now it's about 27 pounds*—and I'm OK with that. If I can get to 30 this year, then I'll stay there and I'll do another 30 next year.
M: Is this something you'll continue to use after meeting that goal? L: Oh, absolutely. Even before this I was cooking from your magazine, so going on as a maintenance program? Absolutely. It's got everything I need. You're only missing one thing ... you don't have someone to cook the meals for me! [Laughs]
*Members following the Cooking Light Diet, on average, lose more than half a pound per week.