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Outsmart These 5 Diet Downfalls

Candy, carbs, nighttime noshing -- whatever your guilty pleasure, our no-fail strategies will finally fast-track your weight loss.
Woman with candy Diet Derailer: You're a junk-food junkie.

Your Cookie Monster habits may not be your fault; studies indicate that such foods as chips and candy may be addictive. "They are full of fat, sugar, and salt, all of which stim­ulate your brain to release chemicals that make you want to eat more," Bauer says.

To ditch the habit and shed pounds sooner:

Budget sweets. Reduce the amount of junk food you commonly eat in a week by two portions. Every two weeks, slash a few more from your junk-food allotment. "If you slowly wean your­self off these foods, you won't feel deprived," says Ruth Frechman, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Make smart swaps. Find healthy stand-ins for your fave foods. Replace ice cream with low-fat fro-yo, chips and dip with veggies and hummus, and french fries with baked sweet-potato fries, Bauer says.

Turn on your diet GPS. Modify your daily commute to remove triggers that trip you up. "When I get off the subway at my usual stop, I'm enticed by cupcake stores and pizza places," Bauer says. "But if I get off at the next stop, there are no restaurants, so I don't even think about food." Similarly, take the highway to work instead of the local road with fast-food joints galore.

Quick Tip: Banish junk-food bloat by eating bananas. They're rich in potassium, which allows the body to flush out excess sodium, giving you a flatter belly.