A self-proclaimed gourmet cooking aficionado, Lara Kertesz loves cooking from scratch. She loves it so much, in fact, that she grows a lot of her produce at home in Hawaii. However, because she's so passionate about cooking and eating, she has to exercise caution as she can gain weight easily. So when Kertesz joined the Cooking Light Diet, she didn't start right away. She'd tried a lot of different diets in her life, but now that she is older she wanted something that was sustainable and could offer good food. When she finally felt ready to begin the CLDiet, the success started too. This is her story.
Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Lara Kertesz

Some of us dream about waking up each day in paradise. For Lara Kertesz, it's her reality. The retired speech pathologist lives in Hawaii with her husband, whom she met and fell in love with in The Aloha State. Together, they live an extremely active lifestyle—scuba-diving, cycling, swimming, golfing and tennis are just a few ways they fill their days. They have a modest sailboat they enjoy sailing out their front window, and they've also enjoyed landscaping their home, filling the grounds with all manners of avocado tree varietals, lemons, limes, tangelos, and oranges, and they even have a pineapple patch going. It's all picturesque and serene.

But one thing that was missing from Kertesz's idyllic Hawaiian existence was a way to embrace her passion for cooking and enjoying great food. She loved cooking from scratch, creating gourmet meals that filled the house with amazing smells, but because she loved to eat and cook, she had to be careful as gaining weight was all too easy.

Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Lara Kertesz

"I've tried lots of different things—Weight Watchers, a fasting diet, etc.—so I've always been kind of conscious and struggled at times with my weight, but in the last 20-25 years, I was very conscious about serving good food," Kertesz said.

Coupling her penchant for good grub with a feeling that she needed a new way to eat after beginning to gain some weight, Kertesz decided to give the Cooking Light Diet a try. The result? Almost as idllyic as her island home.

Kertesz said that the CLDiet has helped her build good habits that will go far beyond the length of her subscription to the service.

"I've been bogged down in diets before where it was monotonous, and even did a fasting diet where two days a week I'd have like 600 calories. That was very limiting, of course, and I'd be very grumpy. It was effective, but it didn't really build good habits. And I see the Cooking Light Diet building good life habits. That whole mindset of 'Oh, I can't have that.' Well, you can have it," Kertesz said.

Of course, it's easier to build better habits when the food is good, and Kertesz credits the tasty recipes in the plan—like one of her favorites, the Chicken, Apple, and Cheese Snack Box with Dijon Dipping Sauce—with making that process easier. She also says recipes like the Snack Box are great for when they're working outside and need to get some quick food and energy, but time is at a premium.

While Kertesz has enjoyed the benefits of a CLDiet subscription, she said you can't change any habits without the right mindset.

"It's a mindset. It has to be a mindset first. You've got to be ready to do it," Kertesz said. "You've got to make up your mind, 'Ok, this is important to me. I'm going to do it.' And then this is the tool to use."

The right mindset has attributed to the success Kertesz was looking for. And it's not success that necessarily needs to be measured on a scale.

"I don't use a scale," Kertesz said. "I can tell by my clothes. I can tell how I feel. I know that doing it this way takes longer, and probably the weight comes off more slowly. But again, it's a lifestyle change. It's habits I want to create, and work with, over time."

And time is the metric of success Kertesz would prefer her Cooking Light Diet progress be measured by, not weight.

"It's important for us to be healthy. My husband had a stroke five years ago, and he's survived and doing really well, but we know how things can change. And so moderation is a good rule to live by. I don't want to weigh 300 pounds, so I have to keep it in check. I want to be healthy because I want to be around. I want to see my grandchildren grow older and grow up. So I really appreciate the Cooking Light Diet. It's a great way to go for me at this point in my life."

Glad we can help, Lara. Aloha!