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When Plan A Doesn't Work (and It Usually Doesn't)

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Image courtesy of Grant Cochran /

Yesterday The other day, I discussed the challenge I accepted at work. The challenge that I failed learned to celebrate different goals reached. The challenge that was, quite literally, this side of perfect.

Gather around a group of women and their conversation will probably revolve around three main topics: how unhappy they are with their relationships, how unhappy they are with work (or someone at work) and how unhappy they are with some aspect of their body (namely, weight). Even when things are going well, a woman's weight is always (usually), at the forefront of her mind. And as a result, they want to find that "thing" that works.

  • Low Fat
  • Low Calorie
  • Low Carb
  • No Fat
  • No Carb
  • No Sugar
  • Sugar-Free
The list can literally go on and on and on. (I didn't even include more extreme measures like pills, cabbage soup, and juice diets (not to be confused with juicing - with real fruits and veggies - this is different).

The point being, if there's a "way" out there, most women have tried it (or at least contemplated it).

Regardless of what "plan" women do, they generally have built in "cheat days". This is usually one day set aside to eat "off plan". Eating a dessert or some Chinese take out that's been calling your name.

I had cheat days when I was losing weight using Spark People four years ago. It was usually on a Sunday (after I weighed in - after going to bathroom, taking off all rings, hair ties, etc).

There was only one problem. In one day, I'd overdo it and invariably gain between a half a pound and two pounds - in one day! In essence, my one cheat day was undoing my whole week of hard work! But I never  put two-and-two together. Instead, I would look forward to my once-a-week cheat day all week as I was "working" my plan.

This time around, I don't have cheat days. I don't have cheat days because eating the way I do (no white carbs) can wreck havoc - and not necessarily the way you might think.

Sure, I could see some poundage gain on the scale the following day (or following days, as the case sometimes might be). But more than that, I just feel horrid. Now that I've cut out the majority of the sugar in my diet and almost all of my grain, my body takes notice when it gets an influx of these ingredients. Of course, it could be because I have been eating real (read: non-processed food) and the Chinese I indulged in the other day just totally did a number on my system.

The point is: my lesson was learned. I found that before, when I'd gain on the scale Monday morning, it wouldn't be a deterant for the following week. But feeling poorly after eating poorly (legitamately bad - not guilt), has had a huge impact on me.

For the first time - ever - I'm paying attention to my body. What makes it feel good. What makes it feel bad. I'm reading the science behind the diet I'm chosing to follow and have decided that it is sustainable for life.

On a side note, as a people, when we find something that works (or we learn of something that's "bad"), we tend to be a bit militant in shoving it down people's throats (ehem, guilty). I encourage you to find what works for you and work it, girl! Not only should you find what works and work it, you should know the reason behind its success. Do not be content with doing the latest diet craze. Instead, really learn the science behind your chosen way of eating.

One other thing, finding the perfect plan or executing it perfectly is probably not going to happen. But just because you fall once does not mean that you stay on the ground. You get back up, dust yourself off and keep on going. Because ultimately, what you want to be following is something that not only you can stick to while you're losing the weight, but also something you can stick to for life after you reach your scale and non-scale victories.

Because let's face it - regardless of which plan you choose to follow, if you begin eating the same foods you did to gain weight, you'll gain it right back (and probably then some). Sustainable - not quick fix - is your goal.

Go for it!

Until next time...
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