"Small changes set you up for success," says Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D., director of the Weight Management Center at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "And they're easy to fit into your life."
Here's the deal: Since 1 pound of body fat equals roughly 3,500 calories, all you need to do is shave a few calories from your diet every day. Then watch the excess weight drop off - no massive diet overhaul, no meals-in-a-drink, and certainly no scrapping your favorite foods in favor of fat-and-sugar-free impostors that taste like sawdust.
So where do you start? Jot down what you eat every day (and don't even think about tracking calories or fat grams) in a food diary, then look for spots to make minor adjustments, recommends Nadine Pazder, R.D., spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Chances are, those spots will be obvious," she says.
To get you started, we've rounded up a few small changes you can try right now. Make these swaps just five days a week, and you can give your extra weight the kiss-off for good.
Diet Tips for Breakfast
Skip Bakery bagel with 2 tablespoons cream cheese
Swap Two pieces of whole-wheat toast with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
Savings per day 300 calories
Weight loss per year 23 pounds
Payoff White bread products are a great place to start, says weight-management specialist Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D. "They're far too easy to overeat." For fewer calories, the fiber in whole-wheat bread and protein in the peanut butter will make you fuller faster and keep you satisfied longer.
Diet Tips for Midmorning Snack
Skip Large glass of juice
Swap Piece of fruit
Savings per day 90 calories
Weight loss per year 7 pounds
Payoff Weaning yourself off juice (not to mention sweetened soda) is one of the simplest ways to slash extra calories. Eating a piece of fruit takes longer, and you'll get all the filling fiber that juice lacks, besides.