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Dietitians' Stay-Slim Secrets

Registered dietitians share their tips for staying in shape.

Make fitness fun.

Playing tennis, riding your bike, and swimming are just a few examples of physical activities that feel more like fun than exercise. Enjoying a sport or activity, or playing on a team combines competition and camaraderie with stay-healthy exercise and makes it easier to be a part of your daily life. 

Playing tennis is my passion and it has helped keep me fit, along with daily walks in my neighborhood, for over 30 years.

Think of food like a budget and save room for your favorites

If you have a sweet tooth or love a glass of wine with dinner, that's no problem, says author of My Plate for Moms, Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD. 

"If you think of your diet like a bank account budget, you can account for that mid-afternoon piece of dark chocolate or glass of wine at dinner without consuming too many calories," Ward says. She allows herself a 100-150 calorie treat every day, such as a 100-calorie fudge bar or a packet of Skinny Cow candy. 

My daily treat is a half cup of frozen yogurt or light ice cream that I portion into a small dish and eat slowly, with a small spoon, to savor every one of the 120 calories.

Weigh in regularly to keep your weight in check.

Don't rely on how your pants fit. Weigh yourself at least once a week to avoid weight creep, Rosenbloom says. Scaling back your portions, using smaller dishware, and adding protein and fiber at each meal will help stave off hunger and avoid gradual weight gain.

Eat mindfully.

Make every bite count by being mindful of what you eat, says University of Miami assistant professor Sheah Rarback, MS, RD. "Eat slowly, mindfully, [and] try not to multi-task so you can concentrate on your meal and never eat anything that doesn't taste good," Rarback says.

"Being mindful of what I eat helps me be satisfied and enjoy the taste of foods without mindlessly munching away," says Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD, coauthor of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous. If you take up to 30 minutes to relax and enjoy your meal, you are more likely to feel the fullness in your belly.

Include protein at every meal.

Washington University nutrition director Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, says she includes one-two servings of protein at each meal "to help reduce hunger and avoid between-meal snacking." 

Diekman complements lean protein like cottage cheese, beans, and turkey with high-volume vegetables, soup, and salads for filling, low-calorie meals.

Stock your fridge with salad greens and apples.

"Salad greens and apples are great foods that can be the base for a meal or ingredients to add nutrition and low-calorie fullness to any meal," Jackson Blatner says. Rarback always eats a salad before dinner to fill up on water-rich veggies.

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