Hi everyone! As we slim down after the massive feasts many of us took part in, I present to you a number of guest bloggers in the coming weeks who will get you to think out of the box about cooking and eating. The first one is by Mary Lou who will discuss her days in the sisterhood and the convent diet that helped her keep her weight off! by Mary Lou Reid Here’s how I lost 50 pounds and kept it off for 50 years without doing any yo-yo dieting in between. I entered a convent at age 18 as a very overweight, insecure but idealistic teenager determined that devoting my life to God would mean living the perfect life. I had no thoughts of losing weight. I simply entered the convent and followed the program. The food “program” was nothing special. After all, nuns take a vow of poverty so we weren’t eating pheasant under glass…maybe baked chicken. This is exactly one of the keys to success: eat what you know, like and can afford. Change is hard. No one can follow “hard” for a lifetime. Our meals included basic food groups plus a bit of sugar. We had dessert after lunch and dinner plus homemade sweet rolls on Sunday morning. Voila – principle #1 – Always Eat Dessert. Here’s why eating dessert works: something yummy and decadent finishes the meal and takes away the craving for seconds. How many times after eating a slice of chocolate fudge cake have you said to yourself…I think I’ll have another serving of chicken and dumplings? Probably never. And now, for those of you who say, “How many slices of chocolate cake can I eat?” Or as one lady asked, “how many rows of thin mint girl scout cookies can I eat in a box?” Here’s the bottom line: if you eat less, one row of cookies instead of two for example, you will lose weight. In time you will be satisfied with only 2 or 3 cookies; cut back gradually and you can do it for a lifetime. Because eating dessert is not only allowed but prescribed, the guilt of eating what you love is gone. Guilt goes away and another holy habit for permanent weight loss principle kicks into place, “after me you come first,” which means take time for yourself…how about slipping away to the spa after some no longer forbidden dessert? RECIPE FROM THE CONVENT: Refreshing Cantaloupe Soup by Sister Kate Hendel, BVM INGREDIENTS: 1 medium sized cantaloupe, 1 c. cottage cheese, minced fresh cilantro leaves (dried may be substituted) INSTRUCTIONS: Peel cantaloupe and remove seeds. Place melon in a food processor with cottage cheese. Mince several fresh cilantro leaves, add to mixture and blend until smooth. This refreshing soup may be served immediately or chilled.