The Foodie Magazine “Diet” Challenge

The Foodie Magazine “Diet” Challenge

I had a crazy thought today, and I think I’m going to try to run with it.   (Because crazy thoughts are USUALLY the best.)

You see, winter wasn’t kind to my waistline, and I need to get back into the swing of paying attention to what I eat. (Anybody else feel me there??)

My first reaction came from YEARS of conditioning: I need to go on a diet! It took a lot of time (and a nice therapist) to realize that this is actually my eating disorder talking.  YUP! I was diagnosed several years ago with “disordered eating” which is a generalized eating disorder in which, to put it bluntly, you let food run your life. (I’m doing much better these days; but I think this sort of diagnosis is a little like alcoholism, in that you’re never “cured” but recovering.)

Anyway, before my logical brain caught up to me, I was thinking the big D word.  I thought at first I might try a Paleo-style diet, because one of my writing clients right now is a health coach, and it’s what she recommends for many of her clients—but y’all know how I feel about giving things up. 😉

So then I had this marvelously crazy idea: What if I went the other way instead? What if I tried to show that you can get back down to your fighting weight while eating like a foodie? (It’s not that big of a stretch; I’ve done it before.)

What if, in fact, I took a foodie magazine and cooked and ate out of it for a month? Could I still lose weight?

Well, we’re going to find out! I started Saturday night with this amazing flatbread salad from this month’s Fine Cooking.

Fine Cooking flatbread salad from


I altered the recipe a bit based on what I had on hand (you can see my version here!), but it was mighty, mighty delicious.

So, here’s how I envision this working. The Rules, if you will:

  • I will cook and eat dinner from the June issue of Fine Cooking 5 nights per week for the next month. (Why 5? Because as I’ve mentioned many times, meal planning for 7 nights a week is just asking for trouble; the other two nights will probably be leftovers or eating out.)
  • I picked Fine Cooking because a) I already subscribe to it and like it, b) it provides the nutrition information of all the meals, so keeping track will be a bit easier, and c) the meals aren’t inherently low-cal, low-fat or any of that, so it will be a good challenge that way.
  • I will be allowed to modify the recipes based on what I have on hand and to make them a bit healthier.  These changes will NOT change the overall foodie nature of the recipes, but will serve to demonstrate how to make easy healthy choices when cooking.  (See the modified salad recipe for an example.)  So, in other words, I might cut back on the amount of fat in a recipe, but I would never cut it out all together.)
  • I’ll be making healthy choices for breakfast and lunch, but I don’t intend to starve myself. Also, there will be times when I won’t be able to make super-healthy choices for those meals—like Saturday, when I attended a 3-year-old’s birthday party and ate pizza and purple castle-shaped birthday cake. (Seriously, it was amazing.)
  • I’ll be keeping track of everything I eat using the Weight Watchers website—because it’s a flexible plan, I’m familiar with it, and I already have the tools. But it’s basically calorie counting, so if you’d like to play along (see below!!), you can use the free SparkPeople website or any tools you choose.
  • As for exercise… Y’all know I’m pretty lazy! (LOL!) But I’m going to try to get in a very moderate amount of movement. And I mean VERY moderate: 5 minutes of intentional exercise 5 days a week. I’ll be using Erin Stutland’s Shrink Sessions videos (the 5 minute ones!). She’s also running a FREE challenge in June with very short videos that sounds like it would pair really well with this challenge, if you’re interested.  But you can also follow my Pinterest board, “Fitness for Lazy People (Like Me!)” which has a variety of free 5–10 minute workouts. I really like the scientific 7-minute workout and this timer. (Well, like is a strong word… It kicks my booty, anyway.)
  • I’ll do the before and after thing, but only after I have a good after.  😉
  • You can join me! If you want to play along, follow these steps:

    • Leave a comment below letting us know that you’re IN and what magazine you’ll be using. 🙂
    • Sign up for the email list (the form is right below this post) if you’re not already on it so that you can keep up with all the updates.
    • SHARE this post on social media and try to get your friends to play along.  😀
    • Weigh yourself (oh dreaded scale!) or measure yourself to have your starting point. You do NOT have to share your stats. Unless you want to. 🙂

I’d love to get a bunch of people doing this and dispel the myth that eating healthfully has to be hard or boring or all about self-deprivation, because it doesn’t!  I lost 36 pounds last year as a restaurant reviewer!  And if I can do that, we can do this.  🙂

I’ll have posts over the next four weeks updating you on my progress and sharing tips on how to do this thing.  It’s gonna be awesome!

Check out the recipe for the flatbread salad for an example of how I modified the recipe and don’t forget to leave a comment below if you’re joining me!

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