I'm going to say something kind of controversial here that I know my atkins, paleo, or various other dieting friends might freak out about, but hey, I'm going to say it anyway.
Sugar won't ruin your diet.
In fact, neither will fat.
Furthermore, neither will carbs!
(I think we all agree that protein doesn't hurt a diet.)
Here's what I have to say. Just like my 'The Story' page says, you don't have to give up something completely for the rest of your life to be healthy. Now, it's true that *moderation* matters, and it's something I'm not (and I think most people aren't) good at, and that's where the trouble is, but let me share my brief story with you.
On July 6, I had my last supper. Okay, not like *that* kind of last supper, but I ate out at a (gasp!) fast foot restaurant with my sister and had chicken bites and a chocolate milkshake. I didn't feel too good afterward, but I knew I was starting my new lifestyle/diet the next day so I just let it slide. Over the next four and a half weeks (leading up to today, right now, as I write this post), I have eaten only vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and some tofu. Well, most of the time. 95% of the time. About once a week, I get to eat whatever I want for dinner. Those dinners have included 3 large slices of Filippi's pizza (which is loaded with more cheese on thicker bread than most pizza), or Baja Fresh chicken fajitas with the *yummy* flour tortillas, or pasta with alfredo sauce, or barbecue ribs and chicken, or homemade pizza that could feed a small family and a bag of Jelly Bellies sour jelly beans (which just happen to be my favorite candy this year.)
In the last 4.5 weeks, I've lost about 12 pounds.
It wasn't painful at all, really. Of course there are days when I've made my husband enchiladas or another favorite meal, and it wasn't my 'day off' so I couldn't have any. And it's also true that I also only broke my 'no processed sugar' part of the diet once (and if you know me, and you know my nickname is 'sugar bear' you will understand how difficult that was for me, at least at first). But for the most part, it's not at all difficult to switch to a healthier lifestyle of mainly fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. I get enough protein, I get plenty of natural sugar (some people think fruits are evil because of the sugar. I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous.) and lots of fiber.
But those days where I've eaten off my diet? Those days wheen I've perhaps eaten more than I should of my favorite food because I thought, "Hey, the next time I get a meal off is in a week, but unless I eat this every week, I won't see this again for a while"? Well, a surprising thing happened. I usually had lost about a half a pound or more... the morning *after* the meal off.
And while I'm no nutritionist and I'm certainly not a registered dietician, nor have I gone to school for this, I have to say that, at least anecdotally, it's true that the body craves healthy things, but that a few meals here and there of *whatever you want* are not going to kill you, nor even ruin your diet.
The weight loss hasn't been fast necessarily. In fact, some weeks, I feel like losing even .4 pounds is a major victory.
But you know what? I feel healthier, I don't (generally) feel deprived, and I've gotten to eat some of my favorite meals... all while losing about half of what I need to get back to my goal weight.
Moral of the story? It doesn't have to be hard. You don't have to do what I've done before by eating PURE protein for 5 days (which lost me a lot of weight but was arguably the worst five days of my life.) You don't have to buy those expensive slim fast drinks (which are not actually healthy for you, even if you are losing weight.) You don't need to cut out fruit (in fact, please don't.) And most of all, you certainly don't have to freak out if you occasionally want to eat out to celebrate a good week, or to commiserate with a friend, or even just to enjoy your favorite slice of pizza.
Losing weight *is* about cutting calories, and it *is* about making sure you're eating the right things... most of the time. But honestly, even if I would have lost an extra 3 or 4 pounds by now if I *hadn't* taken those off days or off meals, what would life be without being able to enjoy a tasty bowl of pasta, or some chicken fajitas with all the fixin's every now and then?
So go, focus first and foremost on eating the things your body *needs* -- things like fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts (**and also meat for those of you who want it; I personally don't like meat much so I guess as a disclaimer I will point out that you probably would lose weight the same way if you were eating meat, I just choose not to often**) are the best way to feed your body... But also, don't worry about living every now and then. A day off, even eating-wise, is good for the body -- and the soul -- every now and then.
p.s. I did also exercise, though not excessively. But it should be noted.