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How planning ahead helps me succeed at my weight-loss goals

September is here and the mad crush of work life is already completely back. Before I get completely swept up I wanted to report how my August #SocialDiet game plan worked… especially since today I received an email from a Cooking Light fan who has been inspired by my earlier blog to start her own journey. She wrote:  “Your story is my story - and every other food lover out there who is fighting to stay healthy and still enjoy real food on their terms...”

The update on August is: IT WORKED!  As of last Friday, I weighed 155.8.  That was down 3.4 pounds from the previous week’s weigh-in, down 11.6 from when I started the #SocialDiet on Memorial Day weekend, and down 21.6 pounds since New Years. In other words, more than half of this year’s success has happened in the last 12 weeks!  My short-term goal for August was to be at 155 by Labor Day.  I am counting it…it’s close enough.  The things that made the biggest difference and to which I attribute the success: 1.      No drinking Mon – Thurs. This cuts out SO many calories.  I did do some negotiating: When I had a drink with a friend on a Monday, I abstained from a cocktail the following Friday. I don’t at all feel deprived. 2.     Meal planning.  For a control freak like me, who would happily plan every minute of the rest of my life, this was easy and had huge benefits.  Planning gives me something to look forward to at the end of each day…a nice, healthy meal that I know I have all the ingredients for. See a few of my recent meals pictured below. 3.     Committing to the calories in, calories out routine.  I’ve started entering my food into MyFitnessPal before I eat it, so I’m sure I can afford the calories. I decided to do this because my previous “eat now/record later” routine was making me miss my calorie goal.

I know this isn’t rocket science and many readers have been doing all these things, with success, for a long time. But sometimes we all need reminders of the very obvious and easy things that we can do to live better, healthier, more delicious, more active lives.  We all gotta just keep trying to do our best.  That’s what I am going to do—that’s my game plan for September. Thanks to everyone out there who can relate to my story…We’re all in this together!

I sautéed up onions, garlic, and beautiful heirloom tomatoes in olive oil and tossed it with cavatappi, torn basil and roasted eggplant (all from my local Farmers' Market!)

I used a Real Simple recipe to create these super easy grilled treats—Fish, Corn, and Chorizo Grill Packets.

This was a Saturday night treat: A burger with avocado, bean sprouts, and chipotle mayo on a bakery-fresh pretzel bun. I served it with fresh corn and roasted purple cauliflower.
We whipped up these delicious steak tacos after a five-hour long painting session. They came together quickly and were so tasty—it saved us from ordering out! The addition of the lime mayo from this recipe gave it a nice kick!