* Do not view food as your enemy. Having a healthy attitude towards it will help change your eating habits.

* Identify which foods represent your weak spots. Eliminate some of them completely and reduce your intake of others.

* Plan to feel some hunger, it's part of it. You can actually stop eating while still feeling hungry. As your body adjusts, it will become satisfied more easily.

* Get used to reading food labels. This is necessary and very educational.

* Try five small meals a day instead of three larger ones. This keeps your metabolism from slowing down and helps satisfy your desire to eat.

* Swap foods. Get the lower calorie and fat version of your favorite foods, but read the labels and compare to make sure the claims are correct.

* Mayonnaise and salad dressing are packed with calories and fat. Get the versions with reduced or no fat before you cut anything else. Same with margarine.

* Don't crash diet and don't go on very low-calorie diets. A life long change means simply reducing your calorie intake modestly.

* There's nothing wrong with prepackaged weight loss meals such as Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers! You can combine this with your regular regimen.

* Add spices to bland meals. Low-fat parmesan cheese is a great add-on to prepackaged meals. I love Mrs. Dash.

* Drink water to keep your body hydrated. Your body NEEDS water to help eliminate fat.

* Add water to your meals for a full feeling.

* Expect a larger grocery bill as you buy healthier foods. It's worth it.

* Fast fad Diets? Nope. You need to implement a life long change in your eating habits and physical activity.

* Use a smaller plate. It will take less food to clean your plate.

* Slowly make your portions smaller and cut your food into small pieces.

* You can still eat meat, just invest in the leaner versions. Trim away visible fat before cooking.

* Get no-stick cooking spray and forget the oil and shortening.

* Dietary fiber makes you feel full and is necessary for a healthy digestive system.

* Always have some fruit on hand for a quick snack.

* Limit your salt intake. Consider a salt substitute for a lifetime change.

* Drain your meat and flush with hot water in a strainer after cooking to eliminate excessive fat.

* Let your homemade soup sit in the fridge and spoon off the fat that collects at the top.

* Steam, broil and bake before frying.

* Chew your food slowly and quit before you're completely full. Studies show it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full. If, after that time period, you're still hungry, eat more. Chances are, you won't.

* Don't eat while you're watching TV or reading.

* Diet sodas? Some claim they only increase your appetite, but everybody is different. They can help in situations where you just have to have a soda. The jury's still out on many artificial sweeteners so it's probably best to take a cautious approach.

* Limit your alcohol intake.

* Take a multi-vitamin daily.

* Avoid Ramen soup. It's cheap, but packed with calories and sodium.

* Don't deprive yourself of that favorite food. Just eat it in moderation.

* Drink a glass of water with your meals but avoid "washing" down your food.

* Surf the Internet for weight-loss support groups.

* If you mess up, don't think you've ruined the entire day. This will lead to more overeating. Accept your mistake and get back on track the same day.

* Create a food diary and log in everything you eat. Your calorie intake might be much higher than you think.

* Make an effort every day to cut unhealthy foods from your diet. It doesn't have to be a lot, but you'll see results by doing this.

* There are two ways you may feel when trying to lose weight. Hunger, or guilt from overeating. If you eat in moderation, you can reduce the hunger and eliminate the guilt -- a much better feeling.
 


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