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Best Weight Loss Advice You've Never Heard

9 "Oh, wow!" strategies to help you shed those pounds.
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WebMD Feature

You’re ready to lose some weight. But you're tired of listening to all that stale, tried-and-true weight loss advice, like eating more vegetables, limiting portions, and exercising more.

Maybe what you need is a fresh idea or two. So WebMD asked diet experts to come up with some lesser-known diet tips that could make the most jaded dieter drop that cookie and vow, "Oh wow! I'll try that today."

Here are nine diet tips you may not have not heard yet.  Some involve different ways to eat, or adding certain foods to your diet. Others involve learning new behaviors or strategies to help you stay on track.

Weight Loss Tip No. 1: Variety Is Overrated

Who hasn't heard the advice to "just take a bite of everything" if you're at a buffet?

But as it turns out, variety doesn't deserve its good reputation, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a Chicago dietitian and author of The Flexitarian Diet.

 "We know that variety makes you eat more," she says, citing several published studies and her own experience in counseling weight loss patients.

For example, researchers in France found that study participants ate more french fries when they were offered catsup and mayonnaise along with them. And when they were given the option of having cream or whipped cream with their brownies, they ate more than when the brownies were offered plain.

Other researchers have found that people who have been able to maintain weight loss tend to eat diets with limited variety.

Weight Loss Tip No. 2: Have Barley for Breakfast

"Barley is the new oatmeal," says Jackson Blatner.

Barley got its hunger-fighting reputation after Swedish researchers found that eating barley or rye kernels for breakfast kept blood sugar on an even keel. That's because the carbs in barley and rye kernels are "low glycemic index," meaning they raise blood sugar more slowly than some other carbohydrate foods. This helps you avoid a spike, and then a drop, in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling famished.

One caveat: "Buy hulled barely, not pearl barley," Jackson Blatner says. The Swedish researchers used minimally processed hull barley, and they can't vouch for the same effects for more processed forms, such as pearl barley.

Weight Loss Tip No. 3: Beef Up Your Lunch Salad

One of the most common mistakes dieters make is to eat a vegetable salad with little or no dressing for lunch, says Joan Salge Blake, RD, professor of nutrition at Boston University and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Then they are starving by mid-afternoon," she says.

A salad is a great choice, she says, if you add some protein and a little fat to help keep you feeling full longer.

Top your greens with a 3 oz piece of chicken breast, and you've added about 26 grams of protein but just 140 calories. Add about two tablespoons of light salad dressing, and your salad may be filling enough to get you through the 3 p.m. hunger slump without hitting the vending machine.

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