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Do you see this? This is a cookie. A rich, chocolate-coconut-walnut-laden cookie from one of my favorite lunch restaurants in Richmond, Café Caturra. Take a good, hard look at it. I’m certainly going to. Because if good intentions have anything to say about it, this cookie and I won’t be seeing each other for a long, long time.

Sigh. It is a delicious cookie. I enjoyed every decadent crumb yesterday for my mid-afternoon snack. With coffee, of course. And then I promptly decided to join Team Digest Diet. Starting Monday, September 10, I will officially begin the Reader’s Digest’s “Blog it Off!” campaign. For 21 days, I will study this book, follow its guidelines, try its recipes, and—if there is a God—watch the pounds melt away. I’ll also blog about the process.

I’m telling you this because I’m going to need all the moral support I can muster. Eating delicious food is one of my favorite pastimes. Dieting? Not so much. But as I’ve gotten older—and especially since I had to bid farewell to my thyroid gland after it went and turned on me by developing cancer—the pounds have crept on. I know how important it is to my health to lose weight and exercise more. I’ve been bad about this, especially as I’ve gotten busier and more sedentary. (Computer, I love you but we’ve got to stop meeting like this. Is there an app that will boot me out of the house for a nice, long, invigorating walk? I didn’t think so.)

And so this diet challenge. I discovered The Digest Diet at the BlogHer conference I attended in New York City last month. Reader’s Digest, one of the conference sponsors, had a suite at the Hilton where I happened to saunter in one day because I heard they had cupcakes. (They were delicious. But they were from a different book—Reader’s Digest’s new Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes. Oh yes. I’ll be trying some recipes from that book, but after the diet challenge, as a reward for good behavior.)

In the interest of full disclosure, the kind folks at the Reader’s Digest suite gave me a copy of the diet book to try. (They probably saw me eating the cupcake.) And at my request they also sent me a copy of Best Loved Recipes, from whence the cupcake recipe came. But that’s it. There was no expectation on their part that I’d do anything with either book. This is something I want to do because, as I’ve already established, I need to lose some weight. And, as you already know, this blog is chock-a-block full of recipes, and I’m always on the lookout for more to share with you. Reader’s Digest is not paying me, either.

Now that I’ve dispensed with that business, I will tell you that because I signed up for the challenge, I will be checking in with you a couple of times a week to let you know how my experiment with the book is going. (I’ll share some of my favorite recipes from the Digest Diet, too.) And I’ll be tweeting and facebooking about it. You know, I’ve tried Weight Watchers before and enjoyed great results, largely, I suspect, because of the communal nature of the enterprise. But since I’m working from home (alone) and on the computer all day anyway (walking for exercise the exception), I view social media as just another way to supplement my efforts to lose weight. It’s kind of like keeping a food journal, but in a very public way.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a huge step for me—not just the jumping-on-the-diet wagon part but the being-so-public-about-it part. I’m a little fearful of things like letting the world know how much I weigh. Nevertheless, one of my editorial missions for this blog is to present you with good information and resources. If this diet works for me, you’ll observe it happening. If it doesn’t—for whatever reason—you’ll see that, too. You’ll learn while I learn. (And if I lose my resolve or willpower, I hope you’ll cheer me on.)

So there you have it. Starting Monday. That gives me the rest of today, Friday, and the weekend to gear myself up for the Digest Diet challenge and strengthen my resolve to leave the sweet treats and rich foods behind me for a while. After all, turnabout is fair play; they’ve certainly remained on my behind for a while.

Other than providing me with a copy of The Digest Diet, Readers’ Digest is not paying me to blog about my experience on the program. (If I lose the weight I hope to lose, that will be compensation enough.)