You know it's time to change your eating habits when the local Jimmy John's delivery guy starts addressing you on a first-name basis.
In all seriousness, I decided to start a 3-month run of using the Cooking Light Diet for a litany of reasons. The ancillary reason being that I've been in charge of customer service since we launched in May 2014, and it was high-time I started practicing what I was preaching.
But the real reason was that I was tired. I was tired of throwing away money eating crappy food. I was tired of not being able to fit in half my T-shirts. I was tired of sweating while sitting at my desk and doing nothing that would justify sweating in the first place. I was tired of being unhappy.
So I put my money where my mouth was. And, having talked to so many Cooking Light Diet community members who inspired me with their tales of success, I realized the importance of having a support group. Hence, the Cooking Light Diet Task Force was formed, a motley crew of staffers from all the brands located here in Birmingham—Cooking Light, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Oxmoor House, and MyRecipes.com. Together we would all start the Diet on the same day, October 13th, and share our experiences with you lovely people. You can follow along on our journey here.
I've learned a lot so far not just about the Diet, but about all the bad habits I'd incorporated into my daily routine along the way that I'm doing my best to disassociate myself from. Here are some of the big ones.
- Portion control is KEY. Apparently I'd been eating enough food for three me's. Sure, I want enough mashed potatoes to build a miniature replica of the Washington Monument, but I don't need them. The Diet has helped me learn that portion is paramount when it comes to healthy eating habits.
- Consistency works for me. There are things I want to do with my time after leaving work that don't involve spending the evening cooking. And I also knew that it'd be hard for me to adapt to a new way of eating. That's why, for the first month, I built my menu around three meals, all of which I prep on Sunday evenings. That's right—I've eaten (basically) the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the last 30 days. You tailor this Diet to fit your life, not the other way around. And, for me, I built a menu that was incredibly easy (and cost-effective) for my current lifestyle. Will I branch out into new recipes the second month? Absolutely. But I've had success eating repetitively because I've now created a habit of eating more mindfully that will be easier to stick with.
- Treat YoSelf. Katie Anderson knows what I'm talking about. Hey, if I go to a friend's birthday party and splurge on a Chik-Fil-A nugget platter one Saturday evening, guess what? It's not the end of the world. Life gets in the way, or you have a bad day, or things come up that require you to deviate from your menus. And that's okay. I can pick right back up after I slip-up and keep the healthy lifestyle rolling.
In summation, this first month has been revelatory. I'm exercising more and playing soccer again. I'm making smarter choices when I dine out. I'm actually using my kitchen. I'm not sweating at my desk anymore (unless there's hot coffee involved). My T-shirts aren't so tight now. I'm down 12 pounds*. I'm just happier.
So I've learned that practicing what you preach can be pretty amazing. Especially when you're preaching the Cooking Light Diet.
*Members following the Cooking Light Diet, on average, lose more than half a pound per week.
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