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How to Stay on a Diet

Expert diet tips to keep you from being a diet dropout.

More Tips for Diet Success

Experts offer these additional weight loss tips:

  • Keep track of your progress. Besides exercise, experts say, the second most important behavior is self-monitoring. "Tracking how much you eat and weighing in a minimum of once weekly is critical to weight loss success," says Foster. Experts suggest giving yourself a "safe" weight range. When your weight starts going beyond the range, scale back on calories and/or pump up the exercise. And don't delay. "Get back on track quickly before the lapse in behavior results in going off the diet plan," says Foster.
  • Jump-start your weight loss by following a fairly strict plan for a short time. This can give you quick results to strengthen your motivation. After this short-term period, switch to a more sustainable plan, says Foster.
  • Make small, gradual changes instead of totally revising your eating habits. Try a new change each week, and build upon your success.
  • Reward yourself (but not with food) when you achieve small goals, such as losing 5 pounds or exercising five days a week.
  • Forget about "dieting." Instead, think about strategies to satisfy your hunger for fewer calories. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help manage your appetite.
  • Identify what led to your weight gain and address it. For example, if you overeat because of stress, consider a stress management course. Develop a strategy to address areas in which you're vulnerable so you can set yourself up for success.
  • Don't get discouraged if you regain a little weight after your initial loss. Some studies have shown that about 80% of dieters will have some regain, says Foster. "Nobody advocates yo-yo dieting because it is better to change behaviors, lose weight, and keep it off, but we do know that weight cycling does not lower metabolism or appear to cause adverse psychological effects," Foster says.

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Reviewed on December 26, 2008

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