Nobody likes to be a loser but for once, you wish you were.

You’d like to lose the chub on your chin, the wiggle in your middle, take a few pounds of junk from your trunk, and that ain’t all. You know how much better you’d feel but it’s easy to make promises and hard to make weight.

In this case, losers always win. You just wish you were one of them.

Ada Howard wanted to lose weight, too, but being healthier was only one of the reasons why. In the new novel, “Ada’s Rules” by Alice Randall (c.2012, Bloomsbury, $24.00 / $25.00 Canada, 335 pages), Ada had to lose her suspicions first.

Ada Howard was a daughter, mother, director at KidPlay, preacher’s wife, and head bookkeeper for Nashville’s Full Love Baptist Tabernacle. Her hands were full and so was her head, so it was no surprise that the pounds crept to her thighs and chest before she really noticed.

But what made her finally see herself was an envelope that came in the mail.

It was class reunion time and Matt Mason–her first real love–had written a personal note on her invitation. It thrilled Ada to her toes just thinking of doing something with him that she hadn’t done back in the day. He’d wanted her then and she’d said no, but she wouldn’t let another chance pass her by.

Yes, Ada was Full Love’s first lady, but that didn’t change the fact that her husband, Lucius–whom everybody called “Preach” and some ladies called “Lucious”–had been steppin’ out on her. She had no proof, but with his last-minute meetings, emergency calls, and disappearing acts, Ada didn’t need it.

She wanted Preach, but he didn’t want her.

There was no way she’d meet up with Matt Mason carrying 220 pounds. She wasn’t about to put flab between her and a one-time fling. She needed to lose weight, so Ada went on a diet.

It was easy to change things at the church’s day care; kids love fruit anyhow. Her elderly parents ate whatever she cooked. She learned to exercise, eat right, and to trust her body. She was ready for a new Ada, but first she needed to do a little housekeeping.

She needed to find out who her husband was cheating on her with . . .

When I first started reading “Ada’s Rules,” my first two thoughts were “Huh?” and “What?” The story’s introduction didn’t make any sense to me so–I’ll admit it–I skipped it.

Good thing I did.

Once you get into the meat of this novel, “Ada’s Rules” is pretty good. Author Alice Randall gives her main character a sassy vulnerability that makes her feel like a good friend, like someone you’d want to exercise with. Sometimes the story felt preachy to me, but the presence of such a strong, perfectly flawed character made it OK.

If you’re dieting, you’ll find sympathy here. If you’re already a skinny-minnie, you know that novels are fat-free, so bite into a copy of “Ada’s Rules.” It’s a book you’ll lose yourself in.