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The last thing you want to do right about now is go on a diet. (Okay, it's pretty much the last thing you want to do ever.) Luckily you can zap the bulge without resorting to rabbit food. The trick: Eat just a little less. Scientists at Harvard and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge found that people who lowered their calorie intake lost an average of 13 pounds in six months no matter what kind of diet they were on. "This is the best weight-loss news in a long time," says Frank Sacks, MD, nutrition professor at Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study. "If you don't like what you're eating, you're not going to stick with it. These findings give you flexibility to trim a bit here and there and still enjoy your favorites."
In fact, by nixing just 100 calories a day, you'll lose more than 10 pounds a year. Up your cuts to 250 and you're down 26 pounds. Want to lose faster? Ditch 500 calories daily and you'll drop those pounds in half the time. We found 50 so-easy ways for you to trim a little but save a lot.Cut 100 Calories at Breakfast
The more active you are, the fewer calories you'll need to cut. Try these food-fitness combos to reach your target number.Goal: 100 calories
Burn 50: Get up from your desk and take a 20-minute walk at lunch.
Cut 50: Skip the oyster crackers in your soup.
Burn 125: Shovel the driveway for 20 minutes.
Cut 125: Hold the cinnamon bun. Eat two slices of cinnamon toast.
Burn 250: Spend two hours making dinner for the entire week.
Cut 250: Mist a pan with cooking spray instead of pouring in oil.
Sources: Sari Greaves, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association; Jayne Hurley, RD, senior nutritionist for the Center for Science in the Public Interest; Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan; Brian Wansink, PhD, FITNESS advisory board member and author of Mindless Eating; and Hope Warshaw, RD, author of Eat Out, Eat Right, third edition, and What to Eat When You're Eating Out
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2010.