Is Your Diet Stalled? 13 Ways to Kick-Start It
Calorie-Counting Strategies4. Keep Your Diet Simple
Most successful losers are unadventurous when it comes to eating. "Too much variety actually stimulates your appetite," explains Hollie A. Raynor, PhD, RD, assistant professor of research at Brown Medical School in Providence. "If you're faced with a ton of options, you'll likely eat more just out of curiosity." (Or perhaps because the various choices are right there, tempting you.) Curtail your dietary diversity by preparing dinners at home instead of eating out. Stick to cooking a few tried-and-true recipes with a wide range of nutrients, and rotate them often.5. Overestimate Your Calories
Most dieters under-report the calories they consume by a third and over-report the amount of exercise they do by half, says Foreyt. Keeping an accurate journal allows you to objectively analyze what you're eating and why. "But even more than that, keeping a record helps you to stay committed to your goal," says Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, PhD, director of the Center for Behavioral Medicine & Sport Psychology in Chicago and author of The Healthy Obsession Program. When you do guesstimate, round up by a few hundred calories.6. Target Weekend Calories
A recent study found that on the weekends, Americans tend to eat about 82 calories more per day than on the weekdays, most of them from fat and alcohol. That doesn't sound like much, but after a year it adds up to more than two pounds. Weekends are usually a time to let it all go; but losing weight is a precise numbers game, so you can't really afford to loosen the reins too much. Skip the extra margarita and find other ways to relax.7. Order First
When you're dining out, be the first to place your order. "You can be influenced by other people's food decisions," says Gerard J. Musante, PhD, a clinical psychologist and founder of Structure House, a residential weight-loss center in Durham, North Carolina. If everyone is ordering the burger and fries, for example, you'll be more apt to go with the flow. Set a healthier tone by ordering a salad and the grilled fish.8. Troubleshoot
When you overindulge (and you will, because you're human), don't beat yourself up, but don't slough it off either. Instead, "consider what led you to overeat, and think of ways to ensure it doesn't happen again," says Kirschenbaum. Taking a problem-solving approach reinforces your sense of accountability, a key factor in losing weight. For example, if you scarfed down a tray of appetizers at the office party, was it because you skipped lunch? Were you nervous about an upcoming meeting? Once you think you've nailed the cause, formulate a plan for what you'll do differently the next time you encounter the same situation.
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