I am a 56 year old woman who lost 35 pounds – 20% of my weight –
4 years ago and have kept it off ever since. In 1999 when I moved to Chicago, I was the most fit I had ever been, physically and financially. The food consulting business I started in the 80s was doing extremely well, my savings were substantial – almost enough to retire – and I was the new owner of a 3 bedroom condo in a great neighborhood. I was on top of the world.


Six months later, the stock market crashed and thirty years of my savings went with it. Not only did I lose my financial security, but when the economy took a dive, my business took one, too. The harder I tried to get back on my feet and couldn’t, the more frustrated I became. The more upset and worried I was about money, the more I ate, and ate, and ate. I went from exercising daily to finding myself huffing and puffing up the subway stairs. I couldn’t fit into my jeans or a closet full of clothes. My wardrobe became basic black and anything that stretched. Worst of all, I couldn’t stand my reflection in the mirror. Who was that woman? I didn’t even recognize her.

Feeling “out of control” and not wanting to spend even one more day overweight, I decided to make my health my number one priority. It took me five years to put the weight on so I was prepared to spend five years or more taking it off. I just knew I had to stop my weight from going up. Much to my surprise and delight, I was able to take off the extra pounds in six months and still maintain a delicious eating lifestyle.

Taking the weight off and keeping it off all these years would be noteworthy under any circumstance, but it’s even more remarkable given my personal situation.


First, to keep writing this book – I started in 2005 – I borrowed against my home until I couldn’t borrow any more and then I took out loans that caused me many a sleepless night. Still I did not overeat.

Second, my profession has always consumed most of my waking and sleeping hours. I have been researching food and observing the eating and food purchasing behaviors of consumers for more than thirty years. During that time, I have gone to 6 – 12 food trade shows a year, sampling up to 5,000 food products annually, buying and tasting new foods that I see in specialty food stores, farmers markets, and supermarkets, and creating, testing, and tasting thousands of recipes. And still I have not gained any of the weight back.

And finally, in writing this book I’ve had my share of setbacks and disappointments including the inability to find a publisher willing to take a chance on me, many long days and nights – researching, writing, recipe testing, calculating, retesting, rewriting – and numerous hair-pulling episodes. Still I persisted with the book and did not gain weight!



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