Remaining Faithful

Although NOT to keeping this blog current, I have remained faithful to The Sonoma Diet. Results so far? One hundred and two pounds. The fat is melting at a more reasonable pace now, but just short of a year into it, I think that I have actually changed the way I think about eating and about food.

The three most important lessons?

1) . If it is to be, it’s up to me.
2). Life is too short to not enjoy good food.
3). Cook something you’ve never tried before each week.

That is all.


Auld Acquaintance

As you may have guessed, I am not a faithful blogger. I have been faithful, however, to my efforts on The Sonoma Diet. As of this writing, I’ve lost 95 pounds. These ten — from 90 to 100 — are taking longer than expected, but slow and steady wins the race!
Most of all, I’ve learned to eat in a whole new way. It’s not going to be about “maintainainance” when I get to my desired weight (probably still a year away), but about continuing a healthy diet for the rest of my life. Hopefully I’m adding years .
My three resolutions:
1). Stay positive, and keep on doing what I’ve been doing.
2). Increase exercise.
3.) Weigh 55 pounds less than I do now one year from now.

Sonoma Meets Italy

The report about the tools (for the blog) can wait a little longer for this breaking news about my newly invented Sonoma Diet recipe, employing the principles of adding great flavor, cooking once and eating twice ( I can’t wait to have the leftovers tomorrow), and enjoying great food in the right proportions of grain, protein and vegetables.   This dish was so good that it felt sinful.  Those who know me best will appreciate how much I enjoyed that!

Since shopping day is tomorrow, I used what I had on hand, taking two large mushrooms, half a white onion, and half a green pepper, all sliced thin, sautéing them in a nonstick pan with about ½ tablespoon  of olive oil.  When they were about halfway to being cooked through I added ½ of the chicken breast, cubed,  left over from last night, and cooked through till slightly browned. As I started heating the pan for the sauté I started boiling a pot of water.  Taking the last ¾ c of whole wheat penne that I bought at Wal-Mart when I started this diet six frieking months ago tomorrow (I guess it was a Great Value since it lasted this long, and I will not be buying it again) along with ¾ c of the wonderful Barilla tri-colored veggie pasta, I added the pasta to salted water as the veggies and chicken got all happy in the pan.  Peppered the sauté – no salt, because of what comes next….La piece de résistance…. When the pasta was done I added it to the sauté pan then, while still hot, took the last bit of crumbled Gorgonzola ( about 2 oz) that I had been using in salads all week and put it in the pan while I washed the remaining dishes, let it melt for about 90 seconds, stirred, then put half on my 9” plate and half away for a meal tomorrow.

The Sonoma Diet meets a classic Italian pasta dish (Pasta Gorgonzola) meets my taste buds meets a huge milestone on my scale tomorrow….Buon appetito!


Eating Well In Wave 1

In this blog I would like to not only share my experience with The Sonoma Diet, but to make it a resource for those who, like me, love good food and want to use the internet to seek out recipe ideas.  The emphasis here will be on learning a healthy new eating lifestyle, using the tools so readily available.  Since the dawn of the digital age it has constantly amazed me how anyone can learn anything instantly with a few taps of the keyboard, and achieving diet success is no exception.  

At the same time today, I’ll share sites where you can find three delicious recipes, and in the next entry I’ll show you how I created my own simple culinary creation using the principles of The Sonoma Diet 

The first and second recipes use Dr. Guttersen’s time-saving idea for busy people, “Cook once, eat twice.”  

Frugal diet gourmets will appreciate that this delicious grilled steak recipe uses London Broil, which our astute author at Katly’n Kitchen points out is really not a cut of steak but a method of preparation.  Try the site for great recipe ideas in general, but for the Sonoma Diet Marinated Flank Steak in particular.

The next day, treat yourself and amaze your coworkers in the lunch room with a delicious Sonoma Steak and Blue Cheese Wrap, from a quirky but useful site, Key Ingredient.  When you don’t know what to do with leftovers, this is the place to go!  This sandwich gets everything right: it is tasty, unusual and satisfying.  Since starting this diet my intake of red meat has decreased drastically, and this is just about the only way I’ve figured out to enjoy beef in a more healthy way.

At least twice a week I reach into my freezer for my favorite low-calorie protein,  shrimp.  You can’t get enough shrimp!

It took me two weeks to assemble all of the ingredients for this awesome recipe for Sonoma Diet Szechuan Shrimp, courtesy of  It was worth every minute (and dollar) of the scavenger hunt.  The results will leave you wanting to make it again soon,  and you will have plenty of sesame oil and Chinese chili paste to make it many more times.  Enjoy!

Next: Shrimp Putanesca


Riding The Waves

In her best selling books The Sonoma Diet (Sterling Publishing Company,) and The New Sonoma Diet, Dr. Connie Guttersen outlines a new way of eating healthily and deliciously presented in three “waves.”  Wave 1, which is the first ten days of the plan, focuses on breaking the bad habits that plague  obese people and the American diet in general:  too much white bread, rice and pasta, fat and carbohydrates.  Wave 2, which lasts for as long as one wants to continue losing weight, aims to instill a lifestyle change based on portion control, healthy ingredients,  Mediterranean foods, and extremely tasty recipes.  The third wave is what the Weight Watcher’s people would call maintenance.  The Official Sonoma Diet website is a great place to learn all about it.  

In this post I would like to share with you my experience of Wave 1 and how I, a lifelong “foodie,” followed it religiously, reaping the promised results of a smaller waistline and higher energy in ten days.  

Speaking of religiously, it was early in Lent when I began, and for me Wave 1 had many of the qualities of the traditional Orthodox Lenten fast.  I embraced it with the enthusiasm of a postulant monk, knowing that I had to radically break with my former way of eating if I was going to achieve my goal of losing at least 150 pounds.  

This wave is not easy, but it is worth every sacrifice.  Check out the list of allowed foods here, from the really helpful diet site  

In a word, this wave is austere.  No more white bread.  No more snacks from “The Snack Guy’s” box at work of Frito’s or Doritos.  No more lunches of 5 or 6 oz. of cold cuts and too many potato chips, followed by a unhealthy handful of Oreo s. No more of my favorite easy go-to weeknight supper of Spaghetti Carbonara.   And, for these first ten days, no alcohol.  The light at the end of the tunnel was Day 11, when I would be able to enjoy a glass of wine with my healthy dinner.  I did.

When I look back on it, this was like priming the pump for the new healthy eating patterns that have developed over the past five months.  It set the stage for the dramatic 72 pound loss (almost halfway there!) that I have enjoyed so far.  

Tomorrow I’ll share three of my favorite Wave 1 recipes, two from the book and one of my own invention.  It’s all about enjoying good food, which is why I have been able to stick with it for so long. 



A Buck for a Book, a Forum and an App

It started with a book.  One day my boss and I were commiserating about  how fat we were and how hard it is to lose weight.  She was a few months into Weight Watcher’s at the time, and didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.  I was just plain disgusted with my weight and had resolved for months that I would do something about it.  She told me about this diet that she tried once, and that her biggest problem with it was that it involved too much cooking.  Since I LOVE to cook, I was intrigued.  

The next day, she brought in her copy of The Sonoma Diet, and when I read it I fell in love.  This one was right up my alley. Then, one night shortly thereafter while was cooking a recipe from it, I spilled tomato sauce all over my boss’ book!  Quickly resorting to my computer, I found that copies of this edition were now considered obsolete since the publication of The New Sonoma Diet, and that the original, now an overstock, was available from Barns and Noble for a dollar!  I am not only overweight, but frugal, so I was all over that like brown on rice (no more white rice for me).  

And thus on March 7, 203, my new eating lifestyle began.  I did everything that the book suggested, including cleaning out my pantry and refrigerator of all manner of forbidden food.  

Early on, while Googling one night, I discovered the wonderful forum, Three Fat Chicks on a Diet.  Just about all of the Sonoma recipes were there, as well as a boatload of information for the neophyte dieter.  It has been my go-to place for great healthy recipes ever since.  No matter which diet you decide to follow, there is a forum and plenty of recipes to go with it.  

Even though the precepts of The Sonoma Diet counsel against slavishly counting calories, I have found just the right balance of motivation and self-accountability at myfitnesspal  (I’d link it here, but I can’t figure out how to make it NOT link to my personal info!).  This is not only a food diary where you can view your nutritional data for every day, but you can also plan a day’s worth of meals to see how much fat, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, etc. that you plan on in-taking, but it gives the ability to make adjustments accordingly.  For example, when I noticed that my sodium intake was higher than I wanted it to be over the course of a week, I cut my morning glass of V-8 juice from 7 oz to 4 oz, and this did the trick.  

A book, a blog, and an app — these are three tools that have helped me so far.  The search continues.

Tomorrow: Wave I of The Sonoma Diet and how I survived it.


I hate diets!

This blog will chronicle my adventure in learning how to get off the diet rat wheel and learn a new way of eating which, I hope and pray, will last for the rest of my life.  For most of my 55 years I have been overweight.  Five months ago I decided once and for all that I had to do something drastic if I wanted to live past 60.  My doctor advised me that, for a number of reasons, a surgical solution was not feasible.  But I knew that I had to lose at least 150 pounds, and my love of good food was not going to disappear.  

I’ve tried the weight loss meeting clubs and the no carbohydrate and the no fat and just about every fad diet that has  come along.  I am the poster child for the yo yo effect.  This time, I turned my love of playing at the computer into a new way of losing weight, using tools that are freely available to anyone.  I would like to share them with you as my journey continues.  So far I have lost 72 pounds, and my motivation is as strong as it was on the day that I started, which was March 7, 2013.