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Success Story: France Blais

France Made a Change — Inside and Out

"You wouldn't believe how fast I used to eat! To eat slowly and enjoy my food — this is one of the most important lessons I learned on The Sonoma Diet."

I wasn't overweight as a child, but later in life I faced some challenges that led me to gain weight. In 1990, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, which kept me from exercising. Then, in early 2005, I hurt my back and neck in an accident. I knew that losing weight would help me feel better and allow me to focus on something other than the constant pain. I was finally convinced that it was time to make a change, and that’s when I saw Dr. Guttersen on the Today show. I was very interested, so I visited the Sonoma Diet Web site for more information and subscribed to the online program. This was one of the best decisions of my life.

Step by Step
I follow the diet guidelines very closely most of the time, but I occasionally have to make some changes. For example, I enjoy cooking, but back pain keeps me from doing it as often as I’d like. When I’m not feeling well, I choose something that I can prepare more quickly, like the Sonoma Express Wrap or Sonoma Express Salad.

To make the salads and wraps, I always buy lots of veggies. When I get them home, I wash and cut them so that I always have them at the ready. It takes much less time to prepare a meal this way.

A Day in Sonoma
On a typical day, I usually start with a bowl of whole grain cereal (I like Nature's Path brand) or an omelet. Sometimes I will follow the online Meal Planner exactly, and other times I’ll select something from the book.

For lunch and dinner, I often make a wrap or a salad, or both. When I make both, I’ll use the salad in the wrap with grilled chicken and save the rest of it for later. I like the Tuna Salad Sandwich, but instead of having it with whole wheat bread, I'll have it on a piece of whole wheat pita bread or a whole wheat tortilla. I never even use mayonnaise — I don’t need the extra fat, and the wrap is so good without it! The Greek Pizza is another one of my favorites, and almost any chicken dish.

For snacks, I usually have half a piece of pita with peanut butter, or a few nuts. Or sometimes I’ll have cheese wedges with strips of bell peppers. In fact, one area of the diet where I thought I would have a lot of trouble was the cheese; I really love cheese. But it wasn't that hard for me to cut back, probably because all of the food was so good and so satisfying.

A Catalyst for Change
On The Sonoma Diet, I just feel better. I can move more easily. I can tie my shoes without a problem. I can walk for longer periods of time than ever before — in fact, I’ve been walking about three miles a day for the past few months. Because I like my physical appearance better, my self-esteem has definitely improved.

I’ve accomplished this because The Sonoma Diet really helped me change my habits. I was convinced that this was impossible because of my age, but I was totally wrong. For example, I used to be a very fast eater. You wouldn’t believe how fast I ate! To eat slowly and enjoy my food — this is one of the most important lessons I learned on The Sonoma Diet. That wasn't easy for me at first, and I wasn't sure I would be successful. Now I set the table for every single meal. When I eat, I put my fork down between every bite. This helps me to slow down and really enjoy my meal.

And I have to say, I really enjoy the whole diet. I loved reading the book — I'm reading it for the second time now. Also, the Message Boards have helped me a lot. They help me stay focused, and they remind me that I’m going to accomplish my goal one step at a time, day by day.

France’s Tips and Tricks

  • Advice for Eating Out: Before I go to a restaurant, I make sure there will be healthy foods I can eat. I often choose my entrée before before I arrive, which helps me avoid temptation.
  • Sonoma Away From Home: Before I go to a party or a social gathering, I take a moment to sit and relax. I revisit all the reasons I chose The Sonoma Diet, and I look at how far I’ve already come. I’ve lost 40 pounds.* I feel healthier. I look better. I’ve won a huge victory over compulsive eating. And I think to myself, I am not going to lose all that for a few bites of food. It really isn’t worth it!
  • Favorite Compliment: “France, you have lost a lot of weight!” — said with an astonished smile. That simple statement thrilled me to no end!
  • Food for Thought: On The Sonoma Diet, I know that I have power and control over what I eat. To know that I’m making a conscious choice — that helps me to stay motivated.

*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

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