This blog begins with a confession, that the editor of the world’s biggest healthy-cooking magazine needs to lose 20 pounds. And an assertion: I’m going to enlist friends, coworkers, and readers—you—to help me do so. Is it a diet?

Well, diet is a loaded word at Cooking Light: We are emphatically not a diet magazine. Our POV is that to eat in a healthy way produces many benefits, one of which can be weight loss or weight maintenance. We especially shun the diet label because it’s tossed around by people who haven’t closely read our words or eaten our food and don’t know that Cooking Light is a celebration of great food, joyful cooking, and a food-positive, healthy life. So we’re pretty emphatic about not being about dieting.

However, many folks know this drill, this dilemma: What if you’re eating healthy and find yourself at Weight Point A and want to get to Weight Point B, and you realize that, in order to do so, you’re going to have to pay a lot more attention to portion control, total calories consumed, and energy burned? What if you realize you need not just a philosophy but, for the A–B journey, a plan?

Well, if it walks like a duck on a diet, it probably is a duck on a diet. So I’m fessing up that I have a weight goal and a plan to get there, call it what you will. I’m calling it the Cooking Light Food Lover’s Social Diet because I like long-winded titles. The Food Lover’s part is there because we who are doing this aren’t giving up the foods we’re passionate about, even—especially—the treats. The Social part, involving social media and apps, you can read more about by following this new blog.

Here, for disclosure, are the numbers: I’m 5 feet 10 inches tall on a good day, 53 years old, 198.4 pounds. (Or at least I was three weeks ago, when I weighed myself for the first time in months. Today, as I write this, I’m 6 pounds lighter, using methods I’ll describe in future blogs.) That puts my BMI at 28.4, well into what the NIH calls the overweight category. I’m probably more portly than fat, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I also eat healthy food, mostly plants; I exercise 15 times a month (now, on the plan, more like 25). My somewhat elevated cholesterol, which I seem to have inherited, is moderated by a statin drug, but I have naturally high HDL  (the “good” cholesterol), and my blood pressure is normal. There seems to be no imminent and present diet-related danger to my health. But I’m nagged by a feeling that I don’t quite practice what my magazine preaches—not mention the general oppression of tight pants.

Yes, I’m a guy, and most of the magazine’s readers and followers are women, so I apologize in advance if I sometimes explore territory that many find familiar and well trampled. To some degree, I won’t be able to help that: Every journey is both different and the same. But some very smart women are joining in on this blog: Allison Lowery, our digital editor; Michelle Lamison, our VP of marketing; Erin Clinton, our PR wiz; and Allison Fishman Task, our TV star. All of them want to go along on this journey or share their past experiences, and they make up what we’re calling The Board of Advisors. I’m also inviting readers to share.

Cooking Light advocates healthy body weight through good food chosen in right proportions, deliciously cooked, and eaten in sensible portions. I’m a good cook, healthy eater, careful shopper. I just need to do a little work on the sensible portions front—that’s what I have known in my bones for a while now.

Next time out I’ll describe how I’m going to lose this 20 pounds.

Would you like to join our weight loss project? Set goals, share ups and downs, and let us know what works for you.  Comment here, email @, and tweet @ScottMowb or @Cooking_Light using #SocialDiet.