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7 Diet Tips That Really Work

Try these creative weight loss tips to make dieting easier — and more successful

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If you want to be social and in good shape, make a date with a friend for twice-weekly workouts. If exercise includes social time, you're more likely to look forward to lacing up your sneakers. Sports medicine researchers at Indiana University found that working out with a partner is the best predictor of exercise satisfaction, and a partner can help you stick with your routine. For even more motivation, sign up for a team sport like soccer, volleyball, or Ultimate Frisbee. Then you'll have a crowd of people depending on you.

Weight Loss Tip #4: Set realistic goals.

If you've been inactive for months (or even years), don't immediately plan to work out every day. "Appraise your life," Marcus says, "and then make some strategic changes that you can realistically achieve." And don't be afraid to start small, especially with weight loss goals.

Beck recommends setting goals that are so easy they're almost laughable. Take your list of daily goals, she says, such as "Eat 5 servings of veggies a day" or "Snack only once between meals," and cut each one in half. Aim for 2.5 servings of vegetables. Cut down your snacks to 2 per day.

Still seem too hard? Then cut those goals in half again. Make your goals so incredibly easy that you're sure you can't fail to meet them, Beck says. Then you'll be motivated to continue. Next, set dates to increase your goals, adding that extra serving of veggies or 10 more minutes to your workout until you reach your maximum potential.

Weight Loss Tip #5: Police your portions.

If you're like most women, a "serving" is the portion size you're used to seeing on your plate. Clearly, bigger portions have more calories. And calories are what it all comes down to when it comes to losing or maintaining weight, says Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, author of The Portion Teller Plan.

Some foods are more calorie-dense than others: 1 cup of raw broccoli contains 31 calories, so a double serving of 2 cups gives you only 62 calories. But 1 cup of premium ice cream can easily hit you with 300 calories or more. A larger, double serving can mean a whopping 600 calories. If you take in more calories than your body needs, the extra calories are stored as fat, Young tells WebMD. To tally portion size correctly, keep a measuring cup handy for a quick reality-check.

Weight Loss Tip #6: Picture your future self.

Have you thought of where your weight loss plan is taking you? Let your mind explore your future self, says Steven Gurgevich, PhD, director of the Mind-Body Clinic at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and co-author of The Self-Hypnosis Diet.

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