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If you're determined to lose 5 pounds, 10 pounds, or more, we know how to make it happen without much effort. We're not going to weigh you down with lowfat, low-carb, and--let's be honest--low-taste diets. Instead, we're offering some slim-down strategies you can easily fit into your life. Altering your eating habits permanently requires three things: emotional commitment, healthy foods you enjoy, and a conducive home and work environment, says James Hill, Ph.D., co-director of the National Weight Control Registry, a group of 6,000 dieters who have maintained at least a 30-pound loss for a year or more. We asked an expert in each of these three areas for their tips (the kind their clients pay big money for). Basing their findings on years of experience, they identified the most effective steps you can take to drop pounds--no calorie counting required. Follow their advice and you'll be a slimmer, more confident you in no time.

Step 1
Get Your Head In The Game
Our expert: Weight-loss consultant and health psychologist Stephen Gullo, Ph.D., author of The Thin Commandments Diet

On January 1, millions of women will resolve to lose weight and change their eating habits. One study from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania showed that a quarter of them will go back to their old ways within a week. Why? Simply put, it was the wrong time to make such a drastic commitment--they weren't ready, says Gullo. Leftovers from holiday gatherings and food gifts are still in the kitchen. Plus, with all the shopping, wrapping, decorating, and party going in the last few weeks, they haven't had time to think through exactly how they'll put their desire into action. "On New Year's Day your brain is still in holiday mode. Unless you have time to plan for the behavioral changes you need to make, every single pound will be a struggle to lose," he says. Here's his put-your-mind-where-your-mouth-is plan.

Ask why you want to lose weight. Being honest about your reasons helps you get (and stay) motivated. "More people come to me looking to save their wardrobe rather than their life," says Gullo. So, if fitting into a smaller size or keeping the clothes you have from getting too snug is your goal, embrace it. Hang a favorite outfit (like that bikini you hope to fit into) or a picture of what you want to wear somewhere you'll see every day. If your diet was prompted by a health concern, post pictures of family and friends on the fridge. These examples will remind you why you're dieting; otherwise, as time goes on, your dedication could fade.

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