I’m definitely not a math person of any kind. Numbers confuse the daylights out of me.

So, it shouldn’t be any surprise to me that all these diet plans with counting just do not work for me.

See, I’m not the kind of person who says “I ate a cookie. I got off track. I might as well just eat the world now.” Rather, I tend to throw in the towel when I go out of my ranges. Suppose I’m on Weight Watchers (I quit, by the way). If, for some reason, I ended up pigging out and eating all of my points before dinner (or worse- all of my daily and weekly points), I’d be at a loss. The same thing goes with going over calories before dinner. I know that you’re not supposed to skip meals, but I never figured out how to decide how many calories or points to spend on dinner when I have none left.

Then, there’s the whole “take two or three bites of a dessert” rule. How do I know how many calories to count a bite or two of cake?

That whole “get back on track now” lecture that I’ve seen on Weight Watchers and Sparkpeople and everywhere else just never worked for me. How do I get back on track at 7pm when I don’t know how many points or calories to spend out of the zero I have remaining?

At the same time, restrictive diets where you only eat certain foods don’t work for me either. I spent a weekend researching South Beach- even though my last attempt was an utter failure. There are too many rules, and too many forbidden foods. If I want yogurt, it has to be unsweetened, or sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Yuck!

So, I’m looking at trying to focus on my diet in a different way for a while. Now, I know that calorie counting works, but it overwhelms me.

I’m looking at trying out my version of the Sparkpeople “Bikini Diet.” It’s probably a familiar diet plan: your plate consists of 1/2 veggies, 1/4 startch, and 1/4 protein. What I like about the Sparkpeople version of this “diet” is that they go beyond the plate. You’re supposed to imagine a tennis ball inside a large seashell to represent a serving of fruit (or the occasional dessert). An 8 ounce bottle of sunscreen is supposed to represent an 8 ounce glass of milk, and a tube of sunscreen lip balm works as a representation of fat.

Of course, I know that I might not be able to get every food group in every meal. Suppose I feel I’m a little low on vegetables in a meal. Then, the next meals and snacks, I’ll just up the veggie content a bit. If I end up getting dessert somewhere, I’ll enjoy it and move on.

Of course, not everything will fit nicely in the perfect bubble that is a “good day” on plan, but I’m sure I’ll be okay with adjusting my food for the rest of the day to help balance things out. I figure, I’ll stick with the general rules of: “when in doubt, add more veggies” and “have carb and protein with every snack.” This means my old childhood favorite of celery with peanut butter is back in!

Eventually, I do hope to transition to counting calories in order to tweak what I’m eating, but I think just focusing on what I’m eating rather than the small tweaks of calorie ranges or numbers that drive me insane.