The average American gets 22 percent of her daily calories (roughly 350) from drinks. The trouble: "Liquids travel too quickly through your stomach for your brain to notice the calorie consumption," says Kleiner. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who cut sugary drinks out of their diet lost one pound more after six months than those who slashed the same amount of calories from food.
And sodas aren't the only drinks to be wary of, says Bob Harper, a trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser. "You could burn 200 calories exercising for 30 minutes and then put them right back into your body by sipping a sports drink or a sugar-filled latte."
HEALTHY DRINKS: How to sip your way slim
To Lose Weight: Pair Up To Pare Down
Protein, from meats, beans, and nuts, and fiber, found in whole-wheat bread and produce, are stay-slim staples. Even better: eat them together. "Fiber absorbs water and swells up in your stomach, taking up space," says Kleiner, a SHAPE advisory board member. "And protein sends a hormone signal to your body that makes you feel satiated." A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that people following a diet that combines the two are more inclined to lose or maintain weight, most likely because they don't experience blood sugar spikes that can lead to bingeing.
HEALTHY VEGETARIAN RECIPES: 10 easy meals in 10 minutes
To Lose Weight: Veg Out Once a Week
Nutritionists like to joke that no one ever got fat eating carrots. There's some truth to that: A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports vegetarians are 15 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than their meat-eating friends. That's because vegetarians tend to take in fewer calories and fat, and more fruits and vegetables. But you don't have to go cold-turkey on the, uh, turkey to see a benefit. Try going meatless once a week: Replace ground beef in tacos with beans, or have a hummus sandwich instead of your usual ham and Swiss.
NEW BREAKFAST IDEAS: Shake up your healthy breakfast routine