Photo: Jennifer Causey

Following a healthy diet means more than just losing weight.

August 29, 2017

A common misconception about dieting is that it's meant for people who want to lose weight. You start a diet, follow a plan, drop pounds, and try to stay on track once you've hit your goal. That's not always the case, though.

Take Eileen Calo Morales. She's not looking to lose weight. As a dietitian in Puerto Rico, Morales aims to spread knowledge about healthy eating. And her personal goal? Cook delicious and—most importantly—healthy meals for her entire family, every day. She embodies true health, because her diet is her lifestyle.

Morales's relationship with food hasn't always been an easy one. Diagnosed as hypoglycemic at an early age, she had to be careful about what she ate in order to regulate her blood sugar. Sometimes that was easier said than done. Before her current job, Morales sold scientific equipment full-time, spending days on the road. She had two episodes where her blood sugar went way too low and she fainted. After years of experiencing side effects from being hypoglycemic (weight gain, migraines, and fainting), Morales's doctor finally referred her to a dietitian. 

Photo: Eileen Calo Morales

Consultations with the dietitian finally helped Morales achieve control over her body and blood sugar. She lost 25 pounds, her regular migraines finally subsided, and she hasn't had a repeat low blood sugar episode since. Inspired by the healing powers of the profession, Morales quit her job, went back to school, and began working full-time as a dietitian. 

But as Morales put it, as a dietitian, "You have to walk the walk." Meaning, if she was to present her clients with healthy meal plans, she had to follow one as well. The problem with that approach? Her life was a little hectic. By day, Morales was seeing client after client. By night, she was a wife and mom to a teenager and a toddler. And recently, Morales also took on the role of student, studying hard for summer science courses and the MCAT to further her education and expertise. Understandably, she struggled to dedicate the time needed to sort through recipe after recipe online. She needed a meal-planning solution.

Photo: Eileen Calo Morales

Morales started reading Cooking Light magazine, and loved the way the recipes' nutritional information was broken down. She found that the meals were easy to follow and prepare, and had few ingredients. Not only did she begin to make them herself, but Morales also started recommending the dishes to her clients. Then, one day, Morales came across an advertisement to join the Cooking Light Diet. She looked into it, and was amazed at what she found.

The meal-planning service allowed her to easily schedule Cooking Light recipes into a weekly calendar, meaning she could cut meal-planning time down to around ten minutes a week. 

"I got hooked, and I’ve got to be honest—I recommend this to everyone that passes through my office. It does work." 

As a Puerto Rican, Morales explained that a lot of their traditional foods are very heavy. But the Cooking Light Diet allowed her to step out of her comfort zone and be a little more adventurous. For example, Morales now loves slow cooker dinners because they mean less time spent in the kitchen and more quality time with family. One of the family's favorite recipes is Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja. The traditional Cuban dish is one her husband, Benjamin, grew up eating with his Cuban family. It's a real winner in her kitchen! 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Recipes like that Ropa Vieja have helped Morales experience a lot of success using the Cooking Light Diet. Though she didn't join to lose any weight, the experience has helped her in many other ways. Now that she can stick to a simple meal plan, she can shop just once a week, save a ton of money on groceries, and cut down on food waste.   

One of her biggest successes? Making healthy choices easily and with regularity. Morales finds that even though she's a health professional, the Cooking Light Diet has helped her in moments of temptation.

"Even...with all [my] knowledge, I’m tempted to go through a drive-thru. It’s easier. It’s faster," Morales said. "Knowing that I can just go home and have something healthy in under 20 minutes, and I have all the things that I need to make it in my fridge already, has made me more savvy in terms of avoiding the drive-thru trap."

Photo: Eileen Calo Morales

Morales's story is the perfect reminder that even dietary professionals struggle with food, so tools like the Cooking Light Diet are an excellent resource to help make the right choices, no matter your knowledge or experience. Thanks for sharing, Eileen!

If you’d like to know more about the Cooking Light Diet, visit CookingLightDiet.com, email us at feedback@cookinglightdiet.com, or join the Facebook community.

*Members following the Cooking Light Diet, on average, lose more than half a pound per week.