A really rigid meal plan and schedule makes the early days of a diet much easier to stomach. I'd suggest, before you start, sitting down and working out the first five days' menus in complete detail, based on the meal plan you've developed as described in chapter . That way, when you do feel hungry, you're at least certain when your next meal is coming and what it will consist of--just pull out the plan and look. If you space your meals evenly through the day and balance the calories among them, a glance at the plan assures you that, however hungry you feel at the moment, you don't have that long to go before you can eat something to assuage your hunger.
In addition, a rigid plan protects you against one of the most dangerous temptations in dieting: the tendency, when preparing or ordering a meal whilst really hungry, to add a little more food. The plan helps you overcome this ever-present danger of the first and hardest days. Trust the plan, follow it to the letter, and in a few days you'll find most of the hunger and temptation behind you.
Make a special effort to eat your meals at regular times for the first week. If random delays result in your meals coming at odd times, your calorie balance around the day will be uneven. This will almost certainly cause worse than usual hunger during the longer gaps between meals. It's bad enough waiting for the next meal without the uncertainty of not knowing when it will arrive. When you start your diet, do whatever's necessary to make your meal schedule regular: pack a lunch, eat frozen food, and decline dinner invitations that would skew your mealtime. Once you're firmly on the course of weight loss you can relax these constraints, but a regular schedule at the beginning is well worth it for the peace of mind in knowing when you'll get to eat next.
By John Walker