Minnesotan Sue Given tried "virtually every diet known to man over the last 30 years," but she never thought she'd find one that worked and was fun. That is, until she discovered the Cooking Light Diet. After losing 70 pounds, Given says it's a service she'll continue using for the rest of her life.
Moms are the best. They give us life, love us unconditionally, let us lick the spoon after making a batch of brownies, and on and on. Sue Given of St. Paul, MN, is no exception. She's an awesome mom. Given and her husband, Andy, adopted their four daughters from the Philippines around Christmas in 2009, and their world has revolved around the girls ever since. But for a while it was hard for Given to keep up.
Given struggled with her weight, having attempted to drop pounds for a long time.
"I've tried virtually every diet known to man over the last 30 years, and I never found anything that I got to really cook the way I want to cook, and have variety trying out different things," Given said. "I'd even tried something and lost a little weight, but it wasn't something I could do longterm."
But then something amazing happened. Given discovered the Cooking Light Diet. After initially being overwhelmed, she decided there wasn't any reason not to make it work for her, so she did.
"I still cook all the meals, but I've streamlined it to where I basically eat the same breakfast most days," Given said. "And a lot of times I eat leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day, and then I use a lot of breakfast recipes on the weekends. I realized I could do this and make it manageable for me."
Not only did Given make it manageable, she says it became a source of catharsis. She wants to cook because it feels almost therapeutic. And there have been other benefits, too. Her family isn't dining out nearly as much (and Given said the food in her meal plans is better anyway). Their grocery bill is about the same as it used to be, but they're spending a lot less on pizza and fast food. Given even started exercising more, until she felt confident enough to register for a 5k run. Despite it being a rainy and overcast day, Given was all smiles as she crossed the finish line.
The best benefit, though? How the weight loss has improved not only Given's health, but her ability to be a better mother for her girls.
"To me, the best part about the Cooking Light Diet is that I'm so much healthier now that I'm able to be a much better mom for my kids. Seriously. That's the best part."
Given has lost 70 pounds*, and she said that's allowed her to do things with the girls she never would've been able to before. This past Halloween was a prime example.
"We adopted our kids seven years ago, and even though some of them are 16 and 14, they wanted to go trick-or-treating," Given said. "And this was the first time I've ever been able to walk the whole route with my kids for trick-or-treating. And that was pretty major for me."
Add to that the fact that both Andy and the kids absolutely love the food on the Cooking Light Diet, and it's a win all the way around for Given. Recipes like the Chicken-Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon are requested often, and the girls are picking up better snacking habits.
"We came home one day and my kids asked what they could have for a snack," Given said, "and my daughter asked me for an egg and an apple. Absolutely you can have an egg and an apple!"
And in what's probably the most surprising aspect of implementing this meal planning service into her life, Given is having fun with it. Never in her 30+ years of trying different diets did she think that was a possibility, but it's safe to say her Cooking Light Diet experience has altered that mindset.
"It's real food," Given said. "Healthy food. I could easily do this for the rest of my life. I can't see the reason why I wouldn't. I love it so much, and it's so fun. I know that's weird—I'm sure there aren't many people who say that a 'diet' is fun. I never, ever thought that about any diet I've ever been on. But it is."
It's safe to say the Cooking Light Diet is a hit for one of Minnesota's best moms. Thanks for sharing your story, Sue, and for being an inspiration, both as a mother and as someone who so successfully turned their goals into reality. You rock!
*Members following the Cooking Light Diet, on average, lose 1/2 lb. per week.