It's week five of my New Year's diet, and I'm learning that you have to have some variety in your life. Otherwise, you will crash and burn, and chalk up another diet failure.

Of course, I'm talking about the variety of the food you eat and that can be a real challenge when you are on a diet.

When you eliminate red meat from your diet and go strictly with turkey, chicken and fish, meal time can get pretty dull and unexciting. So you have to be creative with your meals to maintain your sanity, and lose weight.

Let's start with the turkey; turkey has come a long ways in recent years which means there are plenty of options. Probably our #1 favorite meal on this diet is turkey tacos.

Using lean ground turkey and taco seasoning, we enjoy tacos about every other week. We fry the tortillas but not IN oil. The oil is lightly brushed on so you are able to get the tortilla cooked without drowning it in oil. We use fat-free refried beans, go sparingly on the cheese, and load the taco up with lettuce.

One of my favorite meals with ground turkey is making turkey "steaks" with brown gravy. This is not unlike a hamburger steak that you would make with ground beef. We season the meat with salt, pepper, and onion powder and after cooking, smother it in brown gravy. My mind knows it's not ground beef, but my taste buds think it's just as good.

Turkey breakfast sausage is a good option if you want to have sausage and eggs for dinner.

We eat quite a bit of chicken during our diet and believe me, this can get real old, real quick. Baked chicken tenderloins are good, but not five nights a week.

We have fixed Chicken Parmesan - a baked tenderloin with a light covering of Shake n Bake coating, some Italian sauce and just a bit of Parmesan cheese on top. Yum, yum!

Other chicken options include baked whole chicken, chicken on a sandwich, grilled chicken in a salad, (or use a breaded chicken patty and cut it up for a chef salad. It's a few more calories than plain grilled chicken, but it is delicious - and sometimes I few extra calories isn't the worst thing in the world.

For the rest of your meals, you also need variety. For the first three weeks of the diet, I did a whey protein shake for breakfast and for now, I've switched to high energy breakfast biscuits.

I do a granola bar for my mid-morning snack at 9:00 am, but every week or two I change the variety.

My mid-afternoon snack includes a grapefruit, but next week it might be an apple.

The point is you need to mix it up.

You have to have some variety in your diet and you have to be able to still enjoy at least some of the foods you like -- in moderation -- and sometimes with some modifications. But, mix it up. Don't let your eating become boring. There are other options - you just have to look for them.

I am twelve pounds down so far as I press toward my goal of 20 pounds by mid-April. I am happy with my progress so far. At this point, losing just a pound a week will get me to my goal. But, I know the last 10 pounds will be a whole lot tougher than the first ten.

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