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This isn’t really a diet book, in my opinion. It’s more a handbook for a healthy way to eat.

Yes, I did it! I reached my implicit goal: to get my weight below 200. I now clock in at 199 pounds 8 ounces, for a grand total loss of 9 pounds 6 ounces. Yay me! Yay Digest Diet! Let’s recap, shall we?

I started the Digest Diet three weeks ago, weighing in at 209 pounds 4 ounces. I’m a 56-year-young thyroid cancer survivor with a job where I spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer in my home office. If you were paying careful attention, you can count three significant factors in that previous sentence: age, the loss of the body’s metabolism regulator, and lifestyle. These factors gave rise to my weight gain over the years. My issues with weight have been pretty consistent: I’ve needed to lose a good bit of it, and I’ve lacked the proper motivation.

There’s no motivator quite like telling the world what you’re up to. I believe one reason I’ve found success on this diet is because I’ve checked in a couple of times a week—not just here, but also on the Digest Diet Twitter hashtag (#DigestDiet) and their Facebook site. The community of Digest Dieters in the blogosphere has been incredibly supportive, as have the staff at Readers’ Digest.

If you’ve been tracking my progress, you’ll recall that my explicit goal was to lose 15 pounds. Although I fell slightly more than five pounds short of that goal, I’m satisfied with my results. The big deal for me, at least psychologically, was not to see the numeral two leading off the numbers of my digital weight. I cannot tell you what this means to me. I also went down a bra size, too. (I’m not much for measuring myself—I’ve always sort of gone by how my clothes fit and look on me—so I don’t have those stats.)

But let’s take a look, shall we? Here are my before and after pictures:



When I tell you that this is the best diet I’ve been on, these are the indices I used:

  • I continually lost weight. I might have plateaued a day or three, but I never reversed direction. The trajectory was down, down, down. And I hope you can tell from the photos, but the sleeve on my shirt is looser than in the first photo, the girls look more reined in, and one of my middle bulges is nearly gone.
  • My self-esteem trajectory was up, up, and up.
  • I had more energy. It was easier to take extended walks for exercise—at minimum one mile—because I didn’t get winded and my knees didn’t hurt.
  • My skin has more clarity.
  • With one or two rare exceptions, I’ve absolutely loved every recipe I’ve prepared from this book—so much so that I plan to incorporate almost everything I tried into my regular routine. And here is the answer to the second question in my headline: I’m not done. Not by a long shot. Not only do I not want to see weight creep again, I want to continue this pattern of healthy eating. And I promise to check in with you down the road to let you know if I’ve done so.

Here’s what I cooked for dinner the other evening, toward he end of the diet. My husband loved this, and so did I.

Spaghetti with Super Mushroomy Marinara

I’ll try, before the end of the week, to share the recipe for this pasta dish. Coming from someone who is half-Sicilian, you know you can trust me when I tell you that this satisfied my pasta fulfillment requirements.

Now, three minor caveats about the Digest Diet:

First, it will help enormously if you love to cook, don’t mind cooking frequently, and have access to a good market with a wide array of produce, seafood, and the occasional esoteric item, such as almond oil. Fortunately, I love to play in the kitchen and a fabulous market recently opened up within walking distance of my home, so I enjoyed pulling these recipes together. But do note that there is a time, labor, and shopping factor involved here, and this diet will require a level of commitment that must take those factors into account.

Second, I’m not sure I would have been as successful on the diet if I were working full-time away from home. The flexibility that being self-employed gives me enabled me to weave the demands of frequent cooking, shopping—and yes, eating—into my day. You’re eating five times a day on this diet, not three, so those with a different daily schedule might find it all a bit challenging. If you are willing to be more organized and dedicated, you’ll do fine. Trust me. Two days into this you will want to keep going. When you see the results and experience how you’re starting to feel, you’ll find it’s worth spending the extra time in the kitchen and at the market.

Finally, there are no guidelines in the book about eating out in restaurants while you’re on the diet, something that my husband and I do about twice a week. (We just avoided restaurants for the duration.) I did, however, find a page on the Readers’ Digest website that addresses this issue. Perhaps a subsequent edition of the book could incorporate the great information on the website.

Last Friday I had a lunch meeting with a client, my first foray into a restaurant since starting the diet. I chose a tossed green salad with feta cheese, grilled chicken, walnuts, and cranberries in a raspberry vinaigrette. I ate some of the cranberries but felt they might have too much sugar, so I left most of them on my plate. Once you’ve been on the diet for a week or so, you’ll get a sense of what foods to avoid and what foods will help you continue to release those damn fat cells.

Would I recommend this book to someone struggling with weight? In a New York minute! I have tried so many diets throughout my lifetime, and nothing—I repeat, nothing, compares to the Digest Diet in terms of results. At no time did I feel I was starving or denying myself of something delicious to eat.

Do you believe that some things in life are just meant to be? I do. I was meant to go on this diet, right now. Here’s the sign the universe sent to tell me so. Do  remember the chocolate chip/coconut/walnut cookie from my first Digest Diet post? You know, the “Royale” from Richmond’s Café Caturra? Here’s a photo to refresh your memory:

The restaurant doesn’t make this cookie anymore. They changed distributors and no longer have access to the required ingredients. Now if that’s not a sign from the gods, I don’t know what is.

(Just don’t ask me how I know.)

Related posts:

How to Buy the Book

13 Things You Didn’t Know About the Digest Diet

The Digest Diet: Day 18 and Wow! The Loss I’ve Seen

A Fat Releasing Salad that’s Good and Good for You

The Digest Diet: Day 13 and Slowly Getting Lean

The Digest Diet: It’s Day Eight and I’ve Lost Weight

The Digest Diet: Day 3 and 2 Pounds Free

21 Days of the Digest Diet: Days 1-4, There’s a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Buh-Bye, Cookie. I’ll Be Blogging it Off With the Digest Diet