By Lisa Spodak
Provided by WorldNow

Starting weight:  209
Week 15 weigh in: 216
Overall change:  +7

I'm feeling so much better this week than I did last week!  I managed to lose about five pounds from my highest post-birthday weight and I'm feeling great.

I'm not sure what exactly made everything click for me this week. 

It may be the new, totally attainable goals I set for myself (190 pounds by my birthday in September; 160 pounds by February 22, 2011).  It may be the conversation with my trainer when I finally realized that I had simply stopped going to the gym with any regularity.  It may be the spring weather making its appearance.  Whatever it is, I'm embracing it!

I've also found that once I'd challenged myself to follow a meal plan as closely as possible, it was very easy to stick to the eDiets Mediterranean plan this week.  I do have to rethink my shopping strategy, though. I did a big shopping trip at the beginning of the week only to find that some of the food had gone bad by the time I was supposed to use it.  I'll have to make  more frequent, smaller shopping trips this week.

It's interesting to me how once you work on phasing something particular out of your diet (for me, by focusing deliberately on something else bigger) it really does become relatively easy to keep it out.  For example, I thought I'd be totally miserable skipping my post-every-meal sweet-of-some-sort, but I'd committed to following a specific plan and that plan didn't include sweets.

There have been a few times over the week where I've really wanted chocolate – so, a few times, I did indulge – eating a 50 calorie Peppermint Patty as part of a snack or a low-fat Fudgsicle after dinner isn't going to derail anything.  I also realized that I could swap my beloved Vitalicious Vitatops for the suggested "cereal bar of around 150 calories," so I'll be buying those again. 

I like that I'm at a point in my weight loss journey where I know enough to make good swaps sometimes when I really want to.  I can now follow a plan without feeling like I have to give up all of my choices or resist every temptation. 

I'd rather "give in" and have a minor "cheat" every once in awhile than get so frustrated at feeling deprived that I totally throw in the towel.  Been there, done that.

Another thing that I've given up over the past few weeks is drinking any beverages other than tap water.  This one is actually part of a fundraiser for an organization called Blood:Water Mission.  The idea being that we should take advantage of the fact that we have good, clean tap water to drink in the United States while many around the world, particularly in Africa, do not.  So for the length of the 40-day challenge, you only drink tap water and keep track of the money you've saved on other beverages.  Then you donate that money to the organization.

I've found it much easier to give up random beverages than I expected! I made exceptions on two instances for special parties where I drank alcoholic beverages, and I actually resisted on the one morning when I was really craving a Diet Coke.  But other than that it has been very easy.  And I'm up to a $93 donation so far!  I think it will actually be easy to  stick to this habit once the challenge is over.