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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 4: The sweet tooth

You've got a sweet tooth, and everyone from your husband, to your daughter, to your aunt who bakes your favorite Mississippi mud pie every Easter knows it. Some days the label gets old, but the truth is, if you're a sweet tooth dieter, you'd never turn down brownies for banana chips, and you've seldom met a piece of chocolate you didn't like. Combine a sweet tooth dieter with a serial snacker, and you've got double trouble on your hands.

Your ideal diet plan. You need to plan your indulgences carefully, says Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, a certified dietitian and nutritionist in private practice in New York and co-author of Feed Your Family Right!. Instead of wasting calories on whatever's lying around your home or office (your kids' Halloween stash or those tasteless holiday cookies), identify the sweet treats you love the most and plan how much of each one you're going to enjoy when, she says. Triple chocolate chunk brownies taste so much better when you buy them - one at a time - from the local bakery and savor them bite by bite. Then, the only way to eat more is to make another trip to the store (the walk could do you good).

Eat a few high-quality sweets, and soon those mounds of imitation goodies you used to call delicious will be a calorie-laden thing of the past. If there's a food you simply must eat if it's around, Zeid says, resist the urge to buy it. And add plenty of fresh fruit into your diet plan. Peaches, strawberries, and bananas can appease your sweet tooth while providing you with fiber and key nutrients, she says. For extra sweetness, try dipping fruit in low-fat pudding or yogurt.

Weight loss type 5: The distracted diner

Multitasking may be a busy woman's best time-saver, but it sure isn't good for your health or your waistline. If you tend to do at least two or three things at once - and one of them is often snacking - you're likely a distracted diner with little clue about how much you're really eating. Whether it's the dashboard or the desktop that keeps you from paying full attention while you eat, you'll find your best weight loss help can come from simply slowing down.

Your ideal diet plan. Prepare your snacks and meals mindfully, Wansink says. Think mini-meals, such as half a sandwich and a handful of baby carrots, and avoid snack foods like chips and cookies. It's too easy to down the entire bag while you're distracted. Choose foods that are easy to eat and difficult to spill on the run, like pre-sliced apples and grapes with the stems already removed. For grains, try whole-wheat pretzel sticks, whole-grain crackers, or dry cereals like Mini-Wheats.

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