New Year’s Eve and all the indulgence are gone. The parties, the booze, the sweets and treats are done. The late night eating is done. The “Oh, I’ll just have these broken cookies” (broken cookies don’t count when tallying up calories — yeah, right) are done. But most importantly the excuses are done. There’s no longer any reason to be eating an entire Gingerbread house or gobbling up chocolate as if you were in Paris 1944 and the occupation had just ended. No, folks. This is it. We are now two weeks into 2011 and it’s time to be thinking about shaping up for summer. Especially since we’re in Santa Monica — I mean, two days ago I was breaking out the tanning oil for goodness sake. Summer is going to be here in a heartbeat and you are going to want to look fabulous.

I’ll admit it, I had a stalemate over the break. I didn’t gain any weight but I didn’t lose any either. To add insult to injury, one of the more robust trainers here at Burn Fitness, Thomas Johnson, returned from a 30-day excursion in England having shed 30 pounds. That’s a pound a day! “He ate 1,200 calories a day,” explained Tom Williams, owner of Burn Fitness. That means, a chicken breast and vegetables for breakfast, a piece of fish and vegetables for lunch, water and lots of it, chicken or fish for dinner with … more, delicious vegetables.

There’s no question that this type of diet is strict. But there’s also nothing like seeing this type of progress to motivate the heck out of you and I realized, at that moment, to drop my last 15 pounds I was going to need to seriously step up my diet.

I’ve said it before, but folks, diet is 90 percent of getting you to your weight loss goal. The program is what enabled me to lose those first 30 pounds, so I was going to have to be a stickler about these last 15 and start entering my foods in the database in a more consistent manner.

Now listen, I want to be really clear here on this next point. You don’t have to be so rigid with yourselves in order to drop weight. The beauty of the program is that it allows you to eat whatever you like and still remain within a caloric deficit, which is where you need to be in order to lose weight. For me, as I’m in this final stretch and I want to reach a certain weight by a certain time, I’ve made the decision to bust through by decreasing certain types of carbs currently lacing my diet.

I’m going to tell you what I ate yesterday so you can see that I’m not depriving myself … completely. Breakfast consisted of half a banana and some egg whites. Lunch was a piece of salmon with a side of cucumber salad. Dinner was a skinless chicken breast, a side of brown rice and steamed string beans, and my snacks were a pear and a small bowl of oatmeal. I’ve decided to allow myself brown rice and oatmeal in limited quantities for fear that if I don’t I may turn into a raving lunatic. But bread is … toast. Forgive the pun, but this is what happens when you deprive a woman of too many carbs.

So, aside from seeing trainer Thomas’ progress and feeling as though I looked a little too much like a potato, what is it that is helping me self-motivate? Because that’s the trick isn’t it? Staying on the program. More importantly, how can you self-motivate?

First of all, you have to find something deep inside of you that gives you that “push.” It’s going to be different for everyone. For me, I like to think of it as though I’m in a monogamous relationship. Sometimes I don’t feel like working out but I ignore that feeling, get up and embrace the day, because I’ve made a commitment. Then, when I get to the gym I get into the mindset. I tell myself, “I’m going to crank out the cardio today.” And I just do it. That’s great for the active portion of the diet program, but that only accounts for a tenth of it. Remember, the diet is 90 percent.

So here’s my biggest tip for everyone trying to wriggle back in from the holiday groove. Try not to think of your diet and your workout as being “separate entities.” The diet and the workout form a symbiotic union. Just as you are making a commitment to being at the gym, these two elements work best when they are dealt with together. Treat them as two halves of a puzzle that once put together creates the key to looking summer shape fabulous. You can do it!

Starting Weight: 182

Pounds Lost: 28

Current Weight: 154

Goal Weight: 135

Pounds to Lose to Goal: 19

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