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Allow for some settling

Your weight may wander around a bit during the transition period. After all, as you gradually bring your calorie intake up to equal what you burn, you're making the most substantial change since you began the diet. A variation of three pounds above or below your initial goal is normal during the transition period. If the trend line turns up, crosses the goal, and keeps on rising, you're probably adding calories too quickly. Drop the calories back by one week's allotment (140 in the example above), let things stabilise, then try adding the next step in a couple of weeks.

Here's a chart of the transition to stability at the end of my diet in 1988. I began the transition at the end of the first week of November and added calories at a steady rate, week by week, throughout the month. You can see how the trend line, which had been declining 1.7 pounds per week over the entire diet, halted its fall, leveled out, and declined only slightly over the rest of the November. Since I intended to take my weight two or three pounds below my goal of 145 as a safety margin, the gradual decline during the first three weeks of the transition didn't concern me.

By John Walker