Next: The Jumpstart (Weeks 1 and 2)
Don't worry about counting calories just yet. These two weeks are about adding to your diet and being more mindful.
•Take a multivitamin daily and never skip a meal. Eat three meals a day plus two snacks; meals can be about 400 calories and snacks 100–150. If you're craving sweets, have a piece of fruit or drink a cup of herbal fruit tea before you cave in.
•Aim to get 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. That's the equivalent of a cup of instant oats, an apple, a cup of berries, a small green salad, plus a cup of steamed broccoli or spinach. A good guideline: Add 1 to 2 cups of veggies to your lunch and again at dinner. "Fiber fills you up so you're less likely to crave food between meals," says Warner.
•Add one or two eggs to your breakfast each morning. The protein prevents energy spikes and is a smarter option than sugary pancakes or most cereals.
•If you cheat and indulge in something sweet or loaded with fat, don't get disheartened and eat whatever you want the rest of the day. Acknowledge the misstep and keep going with your good habits. Eating right is not an all-or-nothing proposition and nobody's perfect.
•"Listen to your body when it says you're full and don't keep eating," recommends Warner. (Her plan is not the clean plate club!) If you cut out distractions—like TV, the internet, or even reading a newspaper or magazine—during meals, you'll pay more attention to what you're downing and eat less.