Congratulations for staying on course! Even if you've fallen off a couple of times, it's okay. What matters is getting yourself back on track.

By now, you should be feeling pretty good about yourself, especially if you do as I have learned to do—congratulate yourself for every right move you make, instead of beating yourself up for all the negatives.

I hope you're feeling a solid momentum…stronger, more confident. My best advice: Always live in the now, understand your stumbling blocks, and clear your path so you don't have to fall.

For instance, if eating past a cutoff point is a block for you, find a creative way around it. For some people, that may mean giving yourself an extra half hour to eat, and going to bed half an hour later.

Planning for the challenges—and giving yourself credit for meeting them—are key to getting through the tough times, and getting where you want to be.

If you haven't already gotten into a routine of planning your food, think about this. You'll have the greatest success if you know ahead of time what your meals will be each day. If you're caught off guard and hungry, you end up eating what's available, and that will lead to trouble. Prepare a snack and look forward to snack time each day. What are the healthy snacks you can rely on to satisfy you in the pinch? Have those on hand—in quantity!

I know every day between 3:30 and 4 p.m. I'm going to be ravenous. So that's when I have my almonds, some tea and one half of a sliced apple, with thin slices of Parmesan cheese. My favorite "secret weapon" is a no fat, no sugar Fudgsicle pop. It makes me feel like I'm indulging myself, and it satisfies my chocolate urge...delish!

And sometimes I feel I just need to crunch on something, so I throw a handful of Grapenuts cereal, a handful of spoon-size Shredded Wheat, a handful of blueberries, Splenda® and skim milk into a bowl—I've convinced myself it's as good as a sundae!

Another "specialty" I've made is with unsweetened flavored gelatin. Instead of water, I mix it up with Diet Sprite or Diet 7 Up or Fresca…add strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, a squirt of whipped cream, and that's replaced peach cobbler for me!

At night after 7:30 when no eating is allowed—not a grape...nor a nut—I have herbal tea with mulling spices that people often use for cider, with slices of lemon and orange. The ritual of a soothing cup of tea helps me end the day feeling full, in every way. Always use a pretty cup. You're worth it.

Are you surprised at how quickly you are strengthening and improving? I believe that strength over time equates to power. And that, my friends, is the true goal in life—to become a powerful force for your own goodwill.

Live strong!

As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.


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