I'm challenging myself to follow the Cooking Light Diet for six weeks starting today, cooking breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner almost every day. And I want you to be my accounta-bilibuddy.

WHY AM I DOING THIS? Great question. The main reason being that I've gotten to the point where I'm unhappy in my own skin. I've become lethargic, lazy, and in serious need of a kickstart. So to boost my mental health and be happier in general, I'm going to cook up 42 days of Cooking Light goodness. And I know—unequivocally—that following the CLDiet will help me get there. I've worked on this service since we launched in May 2014, and if I know one thing it's that this service has the ability to change lives for the better. Just ask these folks—or these folks—if you don't want to take my word for it. Also, I've done this before. This time around I intend to be more vigilant, though.

That brings me to my second reason for this undertaking: money. I don't know if anyone has ever let you in on this little secret, but the older you get, the more expensive it gets to get older. Fact. I bought a house back in January and had new floors put down in the kitchen last week, during which time I couldn't cook. So I dined out. A lot. In one week, I spent $192.84 on food. For one person. Yikes. I'm convinced I'll save money cooking for myself, and the $98.98 I spent on groceries last night for a week's worth of Cooking Light Diet meals backs that up. Comparatively, that means I've already saved myself almost $100 over last week's fast-food binging. I'm now a little closer to getting new countertops to go with the floors!

The third reason? Skill sharpening and menu variety. I work with immensely talented food-centric individuals, and sometimes I feel like a clueless simpleton who's lack of food knowledge sticks out like a sore thumb. I want to be more confident in my cooking, and I want to expand my recipe arsenal beyond the six dishes currently in my wheelhouse.

WHY IT WILL BE HARD. As stated above, I'm in the middle of a kitchen remodel. My counter space is minimal right now, so it will be a challenge to prep and cook until I get new counters in. Also, I'm cooking for one. Never easy, so I'll be repurposing leftovers. Also, I work for Cooking Light. Do you have any idea how many temptations constantly pass by my desk in the form of experimental recipes, snacks to taste test, and Darcy pies to devour?? Oh, the humanity! Staying on plan will be a tough order. Also, I have two jobs. On the weekends, I bartend at Avondale Brewing Company here in Birmingham. It gets really busy, so much so that I don't really have time to eat on Saturdays if I don't make sure to do it before work. Oh, and I get two free beers everyday there, which will be tough to say sayonara to. *weeps internally* Lastly, I'm going on vacation in less than two weeks, meaning I'll be away from home base and at the mercy of my willpower to ensure I don't overshoot my daily 1,700 calorie goal by a lot. It's not going to be easy, y'all.

HOW YOU CAN HELP. Follow along as I blog about the process here each week. I'll also be posting photos of my meals to Instagram, posting in our CLDiet Facebook group, maybe even doing some Facebook Live video of my feeble attempts to emulate Thomas Keller, and keeping a food journal I'll share. Please feel free to comment in any of these places with words of encouragement and motivation. Anytime someone changes their ingrained behavior it's a tough task, so I would really appreciate support in holding me accountable.

MY GOAL. At the end of these six weeks, my goal:- be a lot happier- have more energy- be exercising again- become handier in the kitchen and more conscious of what I'm putting into my body and how much I'm eating (because portion control is key)- be 15-20 pounds lighter than when I started (currently 205 pounds)

I'll be logging my calorie intake daily to hold myself accountable, and I will venture off plan only when completely necessary.

WEEK 1 MENU: I'll be keeping it simple to start and slowly expanding my repertoire as I get more confident with the cooking.

Breakfast: Strawberry-Orange Smoothie with English Muffin Half — 366 caloriesLunch: Turkey-Cheese Melt with Medium Apple — 482 caloriesDinner: Roasted Pork Tenderloin Tacos (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, one lunch) w/ a light beer — 472 calories; Noodles with Roast Pork and Almond Sauce (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, one lunch) w/ a light beer — 508Snack: 4 cups of Sea Salt Popcorn — 140 caloriesThis gives me a total of 1460-1496 calories a day, meaning I have 240 calories a day of wiggle room. I'll likely use the extra for coffee with cream & sugar (80 calories) like I did this morning, an extra English muffin half (60 calories), and maybe a little more popcorn for snacking.

Wish me luck, and thanks in advance for your support!


If you’d like to know more about the Cooking Light Diet, visit, or email us at We’d love to hear from you! Have a great week.

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

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