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Water is necessary for life, and you should be drinking it throughout the day. You can get your water via unsweetened tea, flavored unsweetened mineral water, regular water with lime or lemon, or cucumber. Even brewed coffee (especially decaf) counts if consumed in moderation.

7. Light Diet Shakes

While diet shakes are not the solution to weight loss or maintenance, research shows that they might help. Women who had lost weight on a reduced-calorie plan that included meal-replacement beverages maintained their losses after a year by drinking at least one diet shake a day in place of a meal, according to a study done by Clinical Research laboratories (and funded by Slim Fast Foods). The study authors concluded that the one-shake-a-day strategy might be helpful for people that have difficulty changing their eating habits.

Of course, it's hard to beat the convenience factor of diet shakes. If you go for a diet shake, choose types that have more fiber and less sugar.

8. High-Fiber, Whole-Grain Cereal

We've all seen those whole-grain cereal commercials ad nauseam. But the keeping-it-off potential value of a good whole-grain breakfast cereal is worth mentioning. Whole grains in general help boost fiber and the nutritional value of your meal, but many studies done on their relationship to weight loss have specifically involved breakfast cereals (many funded by cereal companies).

A Purdue University study suggested that having a portion-controlled serving of ready-to-eat cereal (with 2/3 cup skim milk plus a 100-calorie portion of fruit) as a meal replacement may promote weight loss. Other research that looked at data on over 27,000 men over an eight-year period found that as whole grain consumption went up, weight gain over time went down. Another study followed more than 74,000 women (aged 38-63) for a 12-year period and found that those with the greatest increase in dietary fiber gained an average of 3.3 fewer pounds than those with the smallest increase in fiber.

One of the easiest ways to give your daily diet a whole-grain boost is to have a bowl of higher-fiber whole-grain cereal as breakfast or a snack.

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