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For Savvy Weight Loss: Know Thyself

What kind of dieter are you? Knowing your diet personality can help you lose weight.

Weight loss type 2: The serial snacker

You're a stay-at-home mom, an account manager on the road or part of an office team of estrogen-charged women. You're in need of a little weight loss help because of your snacking style. Perhaps you don't like to cook, and with the kids, the husband, and the deadlines, who has time for three squares a day anyway? Your typical snacks consist of toast, peanut butter, chocolate, cookies, cereal, and when you're feeling extra virtuous, yogurt, bananas, or baby carrots. When you do find yourself cooking a true meal, you're usually too full from taste testing to enjoy regular-sized portions and the balance of healthy proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fats that they provide ― until snack time comes around, of course, when it seems easier to unwrap a granola bar than heat up a plate of leftover veggies.

Your ideal diet plan. Serial snackers tend to eat out of habit, not hunger, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating and director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York. And they choose whatever is most accessible. Their weight loss solution? Put healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains in prominent positions, and hide cinnamon rolls and brownies in opaque containers in the deepest dungeons of your cupboards. Try chewing gum or long-lasting mints as a distraction from eating snacks

Keep extra bottles or tumblers of water handy to replace some of those habitual snacks and to stay well-hydrated. And never bring an entire package of food to the couch or desk with you. You'll completely lose track of how much you've eaten, and before you know it, you'll have polished off the whole thing. Wansink tells WebMD it's better to take a portion that's smaller than what you think you'll need and serve it on a pretty plate.

Weight loss type 3: The free spirit

You refuse to eat anything "lite" just because someone tells you it's lower in calories. You have better things to do than count calories, carbs or grams of fat, and you're too rebellious to follow a step-by-step chart outlining what to eat at each meal. You take your work, social life, and family seriously, but have no desire to devote mounds of effort to something as mundane as food. Weight loss for you will have to be simple and natural, with few rules - and always open to change.

Your ideal diet plan.The free spirit doesn't want to work hard on a weight loss plan and isn't interested in a complete overhaul of the way she eats, says Seth Roberts, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. She won't say "no" to so-called sinful foods, and would rather make simple, small changes to her weight loss plan than take away entire food groups.

One risk: This type of dieter can find herself gorging on huge servings of chocolate cake instead of savoring one small piece, Roberts tells WebMD. The free spirit's approach to dieting is essentially a non-diet, agrees Farrell. If this sounds like you, focus on eating slowly and mindfully. Rate your hunger before and during each meal, so you won't allow yourself to become too hungry or too full.

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