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Is Your Diet Stalled? 13 Ways to Kick-Start It

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Daily Tips

9. Weigh In

Daily weighing is a winning weight-loss strategy, according to research from the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks more than 4,000 people who have lost 30 pounds and kept them off for at least one year. "It's essential to know where you are and where you're going, up or down, pound-wise," says Raynor. Minor weight gain (up to five pounds) is acceptable if you're trying to maintain, because it could be traced to monthly water retention. "If you're actively trying to lose weight, gaining more than that over a week is a red flag that your calorie intake or exercise plan needs some tweaking," says Raynor.

10. Outwit Your Appetite

Eating six small meals a day to help control your appetite doesn't work for everybody. "Eating that often increases your exposure to food and ups the chances that you'll be tempted to overeat," says Musante. To control calories, he advises that you have just three meals a day and skip snacks. Musante also notes that the sight of food can stimulate your appetite, so keep it all out of view. "You should even wrap leftovers in aluminum foil, not plastic, so you won't be tempted when you open the fridge," he says.

11. Make a Connection

A good support system may help you make better diet and exercise decisions by boosting accountability, says Raynor. A recent study found that people who got support through face-to-face meetings with a counselor or through an Internet-based program regained less weight than participants who didn't use either.

12. Take Eight (Hours)

Shortchanging yourself on sleep lowers the level of the hormone leptin -- this can increase your desire to eat and decrease your ability to burn calories. To lose or maintain weight, there's an ideal sleep zone of about eight hours a night, say researchers. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 71 percent of Americans get less than that on weekdays. If you have trouble getting to sleep, develop a ritual that helps you relax.

13. Limit Tempting High-Fat Foods

For a while, conventional wisdom urged the no-diet approach: Don't avoid tempting foods like chocolate ice cream, because avoidance only leads to cravings and results in bingeing. But in some studies, those who actually followed this method ran into trouble. "The reality is that most people trying to lose weight can't give themselves permission to eat problem foods," says Kirschenbaum. Temptation just creates difficulties.

Effective weight controllers limit their exposure to these foods by not bringing them into the house. They also eat other things that are lower in calories and fat but comparable in taste, he says. Choose replacements such as chocolate sorbet instead of saturated-fat-packed chocolate ice cream.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2006.

 

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