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Bell peppers cut into short strips are sautéed with fennel and garlic in this delicious dish.

I won’t leave you hanging. So far I’ve lost five-and-a-half pounds on the Digest Diet.  This is amazing to me, not because I’ve never lost that much weight so early in a diet before, but because, with a few rare exceptions, I haven’t felt hungry or starved. I’m eating well—good, wholesome, healthy food—and it’s mostly been delicious. I wasn’t wild about a snack of green pepper boats stuffed with low-fat Ricotta cheese and sprinkled with pepper, but then I’ve never been a fan of raw green pepper. I love Ricotta. I’m half-Sicilian, for goodness’ sake. All of the meals I’ve prepared, using recipes from the Digest Diet book, have been superb. Take a look at this photograph, for example. Yes, those happen to be green peppers. They’re accompanied, however, by red and yellow bell peppers and sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil with fennel and garlic. Delicious.

And what a wonderful feeling to use salt again. I always cook with Kosher salt, using sea salt as a finish when a recipe warrants. The recipe for Peperonata with Fennel called for a generous pinch of fine sea salt. I buy coarse-ground, but since I have a mortar and pestle I simply ground the salt to the desired consistency and keep it nearby for later use.

I served this dish with a 4-ounce grilled boneless pork chop for Saturday’s dinner. And guess what? I enjoyed it with a 4-ounce glass of red wine—a robust Zinfandel. If this is what losing weight tastes like, well, I do believe I can keep this up for the full 21 days!

The recipes in this book are delicious and fun to prepare.

Everyone will tell you that it’s not enough to eat mindfully; it’s important to exercise, too. Monday through Friday last week, I walked one mile each day. I took the weekend off, and probably shouldn’t have. But this focused commitment to walking regularly is not in character for me. When I was walking regularly, it was only three times a week. (I wrote a post about the health benefits of walking last year. I’m disappointed in myself for not keeping the momentum going, but I’m trying. I really am.)

So this morning, after drinking a mug of hot lemon water (that’s not in the Digest Diet, but actually a regimen a good friend recommended years ago, when I was recovering from surgery for a broken leg), I walked a mile in my favorite park.

Here’s a picture, taken last year, of my favorite place to walk. (It’s too early in the season to make way for goslings.)

I like to listen to French music when I walk. I wonder: if I continue to lose weight thanks to the Digest Diet and regular, brisk walks accompanied by the French chansons of Edith Piaf and Charles Trenet, do I have to count my weight loss in kilos?

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.)