Grandma who shed weight runs diet cafe

March 30, 2011 at 1:43 PM
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., March 30 (UPI) -- A grandmother who lost 387 pounds in three years is helping other dieters at her D'Lynne's Delights Cafe in Springfield, Ill.

A restaurant specializing in meat pies and cupcakes might not seem like the place to cut calories. Debra Swihart's meat pies, however, named Aldona's Cuddlers after her mother, are only 130 calories, filling and all, and her "everyday" cupcakes only 65, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported.

Swihart, who worked for many years as a chef at the University of Illinois, said she changed her own eating habits because she wanted to live to see her grandchildren grow up. She learned portion control and low-fat and low-calorie substitutes for butter and cream.

She opened the restaurant last year.

"I use nonfat and lowfat products all the time. And I play with spices. It took years to perfect all my mother's good cooking into lowfat foods," she told the newspaper.

Swihart, who went from 550 pounds to 163, is still dieting. She eats a bowl of unsweetened cereal and a half banana for breakfast while lunch and dinner are a cuddler with soup or salad on the side.

"I want to be able to say I lost 400 pounds," she said. "That has a nice ring to it."

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