As I mentioned in another post, I read the 3fatchicks.com site daily for tips and inspiration on staying on the plan. Many of these people are in and out of phase I in no time having lost the 20-25 lbs they wanted. Others have 100+ lbs to lose. I’m somewhere in the middle of that group. One of the things I find challenging is the longer I need to be in phase I, the harder it becomes to stay as strict. For the first 10 weeks or so, I was able to avoid or put off social gatherings/obligations. People will put up with excuses for a while. But eventually, I find that I either miss my friends, or something comes up that I just can’t get out of. People often refer to birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, graduations etc as their biggest challenge. While those are indeed challenges, regular life is also becoming more of a challenge the longer I do this. I try to plan lunches and dinners with people instead of meeting for cocktails. But of course, then restaurants become part of the plan. Yes, you can make good choices when going to restaurants, by doing all the right things – planning ahead, bringing your own salad dressing, telling the waiter ‘no’ to the bread basket etc. But… it certainly presents a challenge. And when I have several restaurant meals in a short duration, I am finding that I have to really get mentally prepared or I will get beaten into submission with all the temptation. So – I’m writing this before I head out to lunch, and I’m also checking the 3fatchicks site just trying to get in the right frame of mind!