Lose The Diet AND The Weight

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Want to lose weight? It’s simple: adopt a no-diet plan. As many as 70 to 90 percent of those who lose weight, gain back more within a year or two. If you want to count yourself among those who get off this frustrating weight cycling treadmill, ditch that diet now!

Shedding extra pounds is rarely easy. Keeping it off is the bigger challenge. The more primitive regions of your brain have a magnetizing tendency to default back to old habits of consumption. How do you start on the right weight-loss track?

Choose your own lifestyle and include ideas from these healthy eating tips:

Eat at Home

Eat home-cooked meals at least five days a week. A Consumer Reports survey found this was a top habit of “successful losers.” Sound daunting? Cooking may be easier than you think. Shortcut foods can make for quick meals, such as pre-chopped lean beef for fajitas, washed lettuce, pre-cut veggies, canned beans, cooked chicken strips, or grilled deli salmon.

Get Food Portions Right

The top habit of slim people is to stick with modest food portions at every meal, five days a week or more. “Always slim” people do it and successful losers do it, too, according to a Consumer Reports survey. After measuring portions a few times, it can become automatic. Make it easier with small “snack” packs and by keeping serving dishes off the table at meal time.

Go Meatless More Often

Eating vegetarian meals more often is a slimming habit. Vegetarians tend to weigh less than meat eaters. While there are several reasons for this, legumes may play an important role. Bean burgers, lentil soup, and other tasty legume-based foods are simply packed with fiber. Most Americans get only half of this important nutrient, which fills you up with fewer calories.

Sip Smart: Cut Back on Sugar

Replace one sugary drink like regular soda with water or a zero-calorie seltzer and you’ll avoid about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Add lemon, mint or frozen strawberries for flavor and fun.

The liquid sugar in soda appears to bypass the body’s normal fullness cues. One study compared an extra 450 calories per day from jelly beans vs. soda. The candy eaters unconsciously ate fewer calories overall, but not so the soda drinkers. They gained 2.5 pounds in four weeks.

Serve More, Eat More Veggies

Serve three vegetables with dinner tonight, instead of just one, and you’ll eat more without really trying. Greater variety tricks people into eating more food — and eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to lose weight. The high fiber and water content fills you up with fewer calories. Cook them without added fat. And season with lemon juice and herbs rather than drowning their goodness in high-fat sauces or dressings.

When Soup’s On, Weight Comes Off

Add a broth-based soup to your day and you’ll fill up on fewer calories. Think minestrone, tortilla soup, or Chinese wonton. Soup’s especially handy at the beginning of a meal because it slows your eating and curbs your appetite. Start with a low-sodium broth or canned soup, add fresh or frozen vegetables and simmer. Beware of creamy soups, which can be high in fat and calories.

Go for Whole Grains

Whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oats, buckwheat, and whole wheat also belong in your stealthy weight loss strategy. They help fill you up with fewer calories and may improve your cholesterol profile, too. Whole grains are now in many products including waffles, pizza crust, English muffins, pasta, and soft “white” whole-wheat bread.

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