Weight Loss Made Easier: Follow These Simple Tips (cont.)

Controlling portions is the most important factor in weight control, says Diekman: "If you want to lose weight, you need to make healthy food choices and monitor portions."

Take your food out of the package and portion it into a bowl or dish to discourage overeating, she recommends.

Teach yourself what a normal portion looks like by using measuring cups or scales. You can also get an idea of portion size by using your own body: one cup is about the size of your fist, and half a cup is roughly equal to the palm of your hand.

6. Enjoy Variety - But Not Too Much

Food extravaganzas like buffets can trigger overeating. "Too much variety on your plate at one meal can often mean too much food overall," says Diekman.

That's not to say that you should eat the same thing all the time. Eating a variety of foods is great -- as long as the foods are low in calories and rich in nutrients, such as fruits, beans, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and low-fat dairy products.

So concentrate on a variety of nutritious foods that add interesting flavors and textures without excess calories.

7. Have Three Square a Day

Don't skip meals. If you do, chances are you will end up eating more throughout the day.

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that successful losers tend to start their days with a nutritious breakfast.

"Starting the day without breakfast is like starting your car without fuel; you won't get very far," says Diekman.

Ideally, you should sit down and enjoy a quick meal before leaving the house. If that's not possible, whip up a smoothie made from fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, and a splash of juice and take it with you. Or simply throw a packet of instant oatmeal into your briefcase to make when you get to work.

Published June 06, 2006.

SOURCES: Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, LD, FADA, president-elect, American Dietetic Association; director of university nutrition, Washington University, St Louis. Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, LDN, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association; co-author Your Diet is Driving Me Crazy: When Food Conflicts Get in the Way of Your Love Life.

©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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