The Cookie Jar Diet
At her day job as a policy associate at the nonprofit Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, she used to eat six or eight Hershey kisses a day. But "once I made up my mind, I just stopped," she says. "I save the calories for a really fine piece of chocolate"-her favorite is Michel Cluizel 72 percent dark. And when she finds herself eyeing one of her own chocolates with longing, she reminds herself that this is her business, and she should sell the treat to a paying customer.
It helped that working in the kitchen was much more physical than her desk job doing research and writing. It also helped when she decided that "hunger pangs were a mark of progress."
One complication was that she lives in the Great Oak cohousing complex, where residents share meals about four nights a week, so she had to figure out how to eat healthy without having any voice in what was being served. Now she helps herself to a big salad or the side vegetables, while taking only small servings of calorie-heavy main dishes. "It's about portion control," she says.
At first, she didn't add exercise. It was all she could manage to keep up with her work, her diet, and her then two-year-old son. But she did keep an online journal of her food and dieting progress and she posted weekly weigh-ins for friends and others to see. They saw steady progress. She lost fifty-six pounds, and went from women's size 16 or 18 pants to 6 or 8 now. She's holding steady at 142 pounds-and plans to stay there with good eating habits and some walking and step aerobics.