Get in shape for summer in a Pinch

Pinch Perfect Taco Salad
Pinch Perfect Taco Salad

As of Monday, Suzanne Lane, owner of Gray Goose Cookery in Old Mystick Village had lost 80 pounds on a diet she designed herself. Even more remarkably, she lost the weight in seven months.

Lane is understandably excited about this comprehensive weight loss plan she calls The Pinch Diet, and is sharing it with the community in classes she offers at her store, as well as on her website.

Lane's training as an adult learning specialist and her master's degree in higher education certainly helped to craft the program. She made sure to emphasize the importance goal-setting and included strategies for sticking to a plan, easy recipes and simple exercise routines that were created with the help of her husband, a world championship class duathlete.

Lane explains that developing this diet began with her own weight-gain over the past 10 to 15 years.

"My life was busy," she says. "People with kids, husbands, animals, have busy lives, get caught up, and lose some perspective on what is healthy."

She also blames part of the problem on being fed misinformation about what we should be eating in a country in which 70 percent of its citizens are overweight or obese.

"It took me a while to realize that," Lane admits. "I kept putting on 10 pounds a year. My knees hurt, I was compromising my lifestyle. I finally had enough of that."

Lane says she decided to do more sophisticated research, tapping into her degree and documenting the whole process. She came up with an easy to implement high-protein/low-carb regime that works fast.

When people began noticing and were inspired by how much weight she had lost, she decided to begin sharing the diet.

The diet includes what you may eat — which includes “pinches” of off-diet foods — what you may not eat, sample menus and detailed instructions.

Keeping a journal is a key element of the diet-not only recording daily food consumption but daily activity.

"The journal keeps you in check, on track while on the diet, reminding you you're working on a program," Lane explains.

And being active doesn't mean having to go to a gym.

"Kayak, bike ride, walk a trail, view some gardens-do something that's pleasurable, not necessarily a workout," Lane suggests. "Do things as part of being active; that you're not parking the car two feet from the entrance to and going in and sitting down-things that require you to move."

Some of Lane's many helpful weight loss tips include what she calls having to put your shields up.

"If you're at someone's house for dinner or a cocktail party, you really shouldn't be eating the cracker. Eat the cheese, not the cracker. And in a restaurant, get the salad and the meat or fish put on top. You've got to make those educated choices.

"People over-sauce everything-they put too much dressing, too much high sugar condiments on their food," she adds. "When you go to Starbucks get the latte with skim milk-there's a lot less sugar and fat in it. It's about becoming aware."

In her classes, Lane talks about what people are up against, how to set goals, how to stick with the diet, and serving and eating methods-as specific as the size of spoons, forks and plates.

"You go into some of these restaurants and they give you a fork the size of a pitchfork," she jokes. "They want you to eat and get out of there so they can put another person in that seat. We're up against things we don't even realize."

She gives everyone in her classes a demitasse spoon for their yogurt.

"You've got to relax and stop and enjoy what you're eating," Lane says.

Which is why she also stresses the importance of sitting down for meals.

"It's about getting back to simplifying your life, learning how to relax and de-stress," Lane says. "My husband had a lot of competitions in Europe and we traveled there a lot, which is part of the reason I had the 'a-ha' moment. In Europe people generally aren't fat. They take a lunch break in the middle of the day and sit down together and relax. The TV is off, the phones are away. It's good for families to do that, for kids to learn the process.

"When you're rushing through a meal, you don't even realize you've eaten it," Lane observes. "We're here to live life, not eat our way through life."


Suzanne Lane holds Pinch Diet classes every Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. at Gray Goose Cookery in Olde Mistick Village, 27 Coogan Blvd, Mystic. The cost is $10. For more information on the diet and classes, visit,
or call (860) 536-5306.

A Pinch Diet luncheon is scheduled for June 25 at Bank Square Books in Mystic. Call the bookstore for details at (860) 536-3795.


Serves four as a makeyour-
own meal

1 1/2 pounds 95 percent lean ground beef
1/3 packet taco seasoning mix
1 tablespoon water
4 cups salad greens
1 cup chopped tomatoes
4 teaspoons Stonewall Kitchens Corn Relish
4 tablespoons Stonewall Kitchens Salsa
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
Earth and Vine Balsamic Vinaigrette

Sauté the ground beef on low until cooked; as meat cooks, break it up with a fork. Add seasoning mix and water, and then simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors.

For the guacamole: One avocado mashed with 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice, 2 tablespoons minced tomato, dash of chili powder and 1 tablespoon minced onion.

Build the salad beginning with the greens, and then add 1/2 cup beef mixture, 1/4 cup guacamole, 1/4 cup tomatoes.

Garnish with 1 ounce cheddar and 1 teaspoon corn relish, 1tablespoon salsa. Drizzle edges with Earth and
Vine Balsamic.


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