My plan now is much more holistic than just dieting. When I started focusing on gaining energy naturally rather than losing weight, I immediately began to feel in control, more energetic, and confident (and, I'm happy to report, I'm losing weight and gaining muscle). I'm also keeping a daily journal. There's something powerful and accountable to writing down your day's actions in specific.
So that's the high level philosophy. Here are the details of what I'm doing and tracking, in three categories.
1. Eating. I'm using the Three Strikes approach from my original P.O.P., with some modifications and improvements. It goes like this: One plate of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is free, as are "naked" fruits and vegetables. On top of that, I get up to three "strikes." Strikes are: seconds, snacks, sweets, salt, spirits, starches (more than 1/3 of plate, even at meals), and stimulants (no caffeine after lunch). This approach is flexible while limiting overall food intake and minimizing foods that trigger my addictions to carbs and salty snacks.
2. Exercise. I don't have a hard and fast plan, but my basic approach is alternating cardio and resistance training. As much as I have a plan, it's to do cardio Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and push-ups Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That's a little less than ideal on cardio, so I'm stretching at least one to a long distance (ex: a four mile walk). The push-ups are four sets of stair push-ups, moving down stairs to increase resistance. It's easy to work into my work schedule. I'll do a set, brush my teeth, do a set, pick out my clothes, etc. Eventually, I'll move beyond push-ups. The alternating schedule of resistance and cardio should allow my body to avoid the aches and breakdowns I've had in the past trying to exercise daily.
3. Sleep. This one's pretty straightforward. If I want to transition from artificial sources of energy (caffeine and junk food) I need this natural source in abundance. I'm now getting seven to eight hours a night, I've cut back on caffeine by eliminating afternoon coffee, and I haven't had diet soda in forever (nor do I miss it).
I don't have a name for this plan yet, so for now I'll call it by a nickname, 368:
3 - strikes per day
6 - days of exercise per week
8 - hours of sleep
My favorite part of all of this is how in control I feel. This may not be enough if you're trying to lose that last ten pounds, but as a 40 something guy who can't keep living like I did when I was 20, it feels great.