Unlike most other approaches, I made this one up (to the best of my knowledge, anyway). As I was thinking about the contest and the eating plans, I wanted to try a simple approach that would serve as a proxy for the things I needed to do to lose weight. Three Strikes is a “bend, but don’t break” approach that allows a few deviations from an otherwise disciplined approach.
The premise is simple: you are allowed three “strikes” per day. Everything else is basically “normal”. For Pounds Off Playoff purposes, that means following the Default Plan. Strikes are as follows:
Junk food. This should go without saying. I’m taking a Justice Potter Stewart style approach of “I know it when I see it”. But generally, I’m talking about chips, sweets, and fried food.
Snacks. What I’m talking about here is eating between meals that leads to weight gain. Eating a 330 calorie bag of nuts at 3:30 or a bowl of cereal at 10:00 is a strike. Exception: foods that are healthy and low calorie. Eating a piece of fruit at 4 p.m. is not a strike.
Seconds. Eating three normal sized meals a day is allowed, and Three Strikes is pretty hands off about the main course (although I try to always include fruit or vegetables and avoid sodium when eating out). It’s going back for seconds that is a strike.
Restaurants. Eating out is a strike, no matter what you have. And every junk food is an additional strike.
Exception. No one food item can produce two strikes. (Example: If you went to a restaurant and had dessert with your meal, that’s two strikes, one for eating out and one for dessert. But it you just had dessert, that’s only one strike.)
I can’t help but notice that Three Strikes is like artificial eating intelligence. On my own, I just don’t have the intuition necessary to judge how much food I can handle. I usually alternate between total denial of certain foods and total indulgence. But following Three Strikes is more like what thin people do, having occasional indulgences within the context of a generally healthy overall approach.