Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen

Best. Week. Ever (Seriously).

Sara Tane
February 08, 2018

Let me start by saying that this past week of following the Cooking Light Diet has been one of happiest weeks of eating (truly)—everything was fresh and delicious, I felt satiated but not stuffed, and I still felt like I had some wiggle room to deal with spur-of-the-moment occurrences. This post is #not #sponsored. I’m just very enthusiastic. While following the Diet (whose hashtag is #TheUndiet, and I promise you that it lives up to its name), I learned plenty (and lost 2 pounds, YIPPEE!*), so it’s only fair that I pass along my newfound wisdom.

Counting calories is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

There, I said it. For whatever reason, the weight loss community gives counting calories a pretty bad rap. I get it, though—fastidiously counting each calorie can be time-consuming and straight up inconvenient. However, this was made extremely easy by the fact that the Cooking Light Diet generates a meal plan for you, and the calorie content of each meal is already calculated for you. Huzzah! I love when tedious tasks are done for me.

Sure, becoming obsessive or overly concerned about how many calories you’re consuming in a day is not a healthy practice, so counting calories may not be for everyone. However, I must say that I really enjoyed knowing what my personal calorie goal (which the Cooking Light Diet determines based on your age, height, gender, weight loss goals, etc.) was each day. It almost felt like a puzzle, and each day I strategically had to put all the pieces together so that I’d come in at just the right amount of calories (or close enough). Here are a few of my key takeaways from the experience.

Watch Now: 6 "Bad" Carbs That Are Actually Good For You

Variety is key.

When I tell you that I have not felt like I’ve been on a diet for the past week, I’m being extremely honest. I was able to fool myself into feeling this way by making sure that I was switching things up throughout the week, introducing new recipes, and making sure that I had a meal on the horizon that I was excited to try. For some people, taking a couple hours over the weekend to prep out uniform lunches and dinners for the week is a good way to stay on track. However, I know myself too well to believe that this would work for me. By making time each night to prepare myself a luxurious dinner and making sure I had a handful of snacks on deck, I was never bored with or tired of the food I was eating.

Writing a food journal is a great habit to get into.

I’ll admit it—I have known this for a long time, but I’ve just never been able to get myself into this daily habit and stick with it. I decided to pick it back up again, mainly because it helped me map out my meals and make sure that I was meeting my calorie goals. That said, I felt like writing out my food diary held me more accountable for the food that I was planning to eat, while also helping me curb mindless eating. Sure, things came up that I hadn’t planned for (you better believe when I saw a carrot cake hanging around in the test kitchen, I didn’t take a couple bites…), and when they did, I made sure to jot it down later that day just to stay on track. Like calorie counting, this is a practice that doesn’t work for everyone, but for someone like me who could mindlessly snack on whatever is in front of me without even realizing it, this is an extremely helpful strategy.

Nothing needs to be “off limits” in order to find success.

Sara Tane

I think there is a lot of pressure when someone tries to eat healthier that they need to eliminate certain foods. From Whole30 to paleo to veganism to detoxes, there is some level of avoiding certain foods or food groups at all costs. Personally, this makes me insane. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those ways of eating, but I find comfort in knowing that I can eat what I want, (essentially) whenever I want. The beauty of the Cooking Light Diet is that there is nothing that’s entirely off limits. You can still grab a beer with friends, munch on a cookie when you’re craving chocolate, or eat a bowl of cheesy pasta for dinner and call it a night. Sure, you might have to make adjustments to the rest of your meals that day, and it’s probably for the best that you don’t go crazy and have a massive portion, but life happens, and that is okay.

Cooking is seriously the best hobby.

Again, this is something that I already knew, but let me just reiterate this so that it’s crystal clear—turning on some music, pulling up a recipe, and going to town in the kitchen is objectively the best thing you can do for yourself. I might be biased, but my favorite part about the Cooking Light Diet was skimming through the seemingly-endless database of recipes, deciding which ones I couldn’t live without, and bringing them to life in the comfort of my cozy apartment. Even though I’m someone who on most days already packed their lunch and made dinner at home, I was surprised to find that in my 7 days on the Diet, I still managed to try unexpected flavor combinations, experiment with cooking methods that I’m not used to, and discover new foods that I like to cook with through the help and guidance of Cooking Light recipes.

If you’d like to know more about the Cooking Light Diet, visit CookingLightDiet.com, or email us at feedback@cookinglightdiet.com. We’d love to hear from you! 

**Members following the Cooking Light Diet, on average, lose 1/2 lb. per week.

You May Like