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The 200-Calorie Strategy continued...

2. Keep moving. Exercise is even more important for maintaining weight loss than for taking off the pounds in the first place, according to the successful losers on the National Weight Control Registry. And experts agree that exercise is essential in helping you cope with stress. Further, getting regular activity can actually give you more energy to tackle that long holiday "to-do" list. If you just can't get to the gym, keep in mind that something is better than nothing. Do whatever you can to squeeze in 10-minute intervals of activity throughout the day.

3. Weigh in regularly. Checking in with the scale at least once a week is the true test for maintenance. Remember to do it first thing in the morning, in your nightclothes, and after emptying your bladder. When the scale notches upward, that's your signal to cut back on portions or rev up physical activity.

4. Eat plenty of lean protein. Boosting your protein intake with lean meats, skinless poultry, low-fat dairy, seafood, and beans will keep you feeling satisfied longer. When you visit the buffet table, opt for these lean protein choices and complement them with high-fiber grains, fruits, and vegetables, which also help fill you up for relatively few calories.

5. Have a healthy breakfast. Study after study confirms that people who eat breakfast end up eating fewer calories throughout the day. Successful losers never skip breakfast because it powers up the brain, gets the metabolism perking, and helps you perform any task better.

6. Put it on a plate. It's hard to keep track of how much food you're eating when you nibble without using a plate. Serving meals and snacks on a plate will help you avoid the mindless hand-to-mouth munching that can add lots of extra calories.

7. If you don't love it, don't eat it. This is my golden rule. Why waste calories on foods that don't knock your socks off? One bite is usually enough to tell whether you love it. If not, don't worry about waste -- just leave it on your plate. Use those extra calories for something you love.

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