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Weight Loss Made Easy

You hear the same old weight loss tips over and over again: "Eat well and exercise." Isn't there more to it? Indeed there is! We reveal proven diet tips and fitness tips to lose weight, keep it off and stay healthy and motivated.

1. Eat nine servings of summer fruits and vegetables daily. Packed with vitamins A, C and E, phytochemicals, minerals, carbs and fiber, produce is healthy, filling, and naturally low in calories and fat. Enjoy it at meals, snacks and before/after exercise to stay full, feel energized and lose weight, says Seattle-based nutritionist Susan Kleiner, R.D., Ph.D.

2. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. This is crucial for staying hydrated, maintaining energy and losing weight. "To build muscle and increase metabolism, you need to burn fat. And you can't build muscle and burn fat if you're not well hydrated," says Kleiner. "Drinking plenty of water will help you feel full and keep you energized for exercise."

3. Use lowfat cooking techniques. Avoid frying and sautéing with butter and use slimmer techniques like steaming, baking, grilling (the barbecue is ideal for this), or stir-frying.

4. Do at least 20 minutes of cardio four times a week. A short duration of high-intensity activity in your cardio workout routines will elevate the heart rate for two to four hours, says Kevin Lewis, a certified personal trainer and owner of State of the Art Fitness in Woodland Hills, Calif. A good cardio workout, such as an hour of moderate hiking or cycling burns about 300 calories and 380 calories respectively. Or try a new sport (in-line skating, surfing) to break out and work muscles you don't normally target.

5. "Weight" it out. Just two 30-minute total-body strength training routines a week will strengthen and build the muscles you're working and increase your metabolism, Lewis says. "The goal [for strength training routines] is to build lean muscle mass, which will result in a bigger calorie burn," he says.

6. Break it up. Only have time for half of your usual hour-long workout? Go anyway, or do two 30-minute cardio workout routines or strength training routines during different times of the day, Lewis says.

7. Train for a marathon, mini-triathlon, or backpacking adventure. This takes the focus off weight loss and puts it on gaining strength, speed and/or endurance. You'll lose weight naturally if you balance your calorie intake and stay committed to your training.

8. Ward off exercise boredom. Mix up your routine by alternating gym workouts, trying new machines and classes (yoga, Spinning, Pilates, kickboxing) or heading outside for hiking, biking, etc.

9. Listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right—you experience muscle cramping, develop chest pains, become overly fatigued or winded, feel thirsty, lightheaded or dizzy —stop and, check it out. If rest doesn't seem to relieve your concern, talk to your doctor. That way you can catch potential health problems early rather than risk injury and lose all momentum, Lewis says.

10. Set a goal. Figure out why you want to shed pounds (and whether you even need to) and make sure it's a healthy and realistic goal, Kleiner says. Being able to say "I lost weight!" can be just as rewarding as fitting into your slimmer jeans.