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Ok. It's time to buckle down.

My initial plan worked up until this point, but too many things are changing, including the rate at which I am losing weight, so I need to revise my plan for the next phase.

Today marks three full months since I began this journey. For most of those days, I would do an exercise class at the Y for an hour and also walk for an hour with my neighbor. All of that exercise would add between 750 and 950 calories to my food diary each day. Since my plan allows me to add those calories in, I am able to eat more on those days, which is extremely important to my success. (I will not mince words – I love food and I am not talking about vegetables.) But with colder temperatures, the sun going down earlier and my younger daughter’s nightly activities, I do not have the same opportunities. But I have an idea.

You know how the older generation loves to “walk the mall?” Well, I might have to incorporate their strategy. My daughter has dance practice twice a week from 7pm to 8pm, and it’s really close to the area mall. So I could drop her off a little early and then go and walk for at least 45 minutes before I have to leave and pick her up again.

Crap. That will not work. I just looked online for the hours and they close at 7pm. Ok, so the next option would be to go to the Y and walk around the different tracks. I know they will be open. I will do that tomorrow!

Next, I need to adjust my calories. I am still a little shell shocked after learning that I was underestimating the calories in my favorite dessert item – whipped topping. So I should pay closer attention to everything I eat, including the little handfuls of nuts, popcorn or potato chips that I sometimes eat but then don’t track. It’s not doing me any favors.

I found a few ways to save calories at breakfast time. From now on, we will buy regular-sized eggs and not “extra-large” which adds another 10 calories each. Plus, I bought light margarine, which is a savings of about 25 calories on two slices of toast. When I make my coffee in the morning, I plan to use less regular creamer and more sugar-free creamer. I was using a 2:1 ratio, in favor of regular, but I need to get it closer to 1:1. Sugar-free creamer has between 15 and 20 calories per tablespoon while regular is between 30 and 35.

That said, the main way that I plan to lower calorie consumption each day is by keeping my lunch calories lower, unless I know I can minimize them for supper instead, but that is rare. My favorite low-calorie lunch ideas include: yogurt parfaits with 80 calorie Greek yogurt, fruit and granola; ham sandwiches using low-cal bread and light mayo; ready-made salads from grocery stores; and my favorite of them all (but most expensive) – protein shakes with a flavored tea on the side! If I have one of these meal ideas for lunch, I will have plenty of calories leftover for supper and my favorite snack of the day – dessert after supper!

It sounds easy, but sometimes the snacking is what does me in. But like I said earlier – I love food, so another reason I am still on board with this whole diet thing is that I allow myself to have a sweet treat after every meal, except breakfast. So tonight, at the grocery story, I tried to find some more low-calorie options. I bought more granola bars, worth 90 and 100 calories, but I also found some chocolate squares at about 55 calories each, along with some Fiber-One brownies for 70 calories each. As long as I only bring enough for one day, I will not binge them at work. (Which is good too because if I eat more than one fiber bar, I get really stinky and NOBODY should be around me then!)

Since I went to a Zumba class today, I had over 500 extra calories added to my food diary, which were enough to allow me to eat regular people food. Even so, I had a 300 calorie protein shake for lunch and only a few snacks during the day so I had plenty of calories leftover for supper, which was a chicken breast sandwich and kettle cooked bbq chips from Subway. Since I am being extra careful in my tracking, I ended the day at about 54 calories over my goal, but in the grand scheme of things, that is a drop in the bucket. When I finished tracking my food in My Fitness Pal and pushed the magic button – the one that says “COMLETE DIARY” at the bottom – the app told me that I would weigh 203.6 pounds in 5 weeks “if every day were like today.” That is a 10 pound loss in 5 weeks, so right in line with my plan of losing 2 pounds a week!

Even though I recognize the need to make some adjustments in order to see more results, I also know that I am willing and able to be more diligent, especially because I have done all of them at one time or another. Since the weight has been coming off fairly easily and consistently, I suppose I got a little lackadaisical in my efforts. Now that I am getting closer to the half-way point, my body is probably going to hold on tighter to some of these pounds that I have harbored for the better part of 20 years. But I will not be dissuaded. I will keep arguing with my inner demons until they release more and more weight. As the old saying says, “this ain’t over until the fat lady sings” and since I plan to eliminate the fat lady, I guess it will never be over - which means I win because I want this to be life-style change that I follow for the rest of my life.

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