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    7 Diet Mistakes and Fast Fixes

    "I ate a supersize fast-food meal" continued...

    Next Time

    Order low-cal. If you must hit the drive-through, choose foods that won't do major diet damage. At Burger King, for example, choose the Whopper Jr. (290 calories with no mayo) instead of the regular Whopper (670 calories). And always skip the fries: A small bag at McDonald's clocks in at 250 calories, about half of which is fat. Instead, order the side salad (20 calories) with a packet of Newman's Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette (40 calories). For more good eats at fast-food joints, check out Dr. Harlan's Website,

    Don't skip supper to compensate. That kind of starvation strategy always backfires, warns Fernstrom. "The day after your severe restriction, you'll be eating everything, including the paint off the walls."

    "I quit keeping track of what I was eating"

    That's understandable — but it will cost you big-time. "You don't realize how much mindless eating you do every day," says Somer. "You taste what you're cooking, or grab a French fry, or eat the rest of your kid's cake at a birthday party. On average, there's probably 25 calories in each of those mouthfuls. If you take just four mindless bites a day, that adds up to an extra pound every month."

    Fast Fix

    Buy a little notebook. By writing down every sip and nibble, you'll avoid surprise weight gains. If carrying a notebook is too yesterday, go the electronic route. Sites such as offer free subscriptions that allow you to track your meals. Or you can use a pocket-size food diary, such as CalorieSmart ($69,

    Next Time

    Measure everything. Most of us have trouble eyeballing a cup or a 4-ounce serving with any accuracy — dietitians call this "portion distortion." So for a few days, measure and weigh all your food. Here's one shortcut: "Ask the butcher to divide the meat you buy into 4-ounce servings, which will shrink down to about 3 ounces when you cook it," suggests Somer. "Buy individual 4-ounce potatoes instead of a whole bag. And use measuring cups and spoons until you become very accustomed to what a cup or a tablespoon looks like."

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