Updated: August 26, 2011

The Best Advice On ... SETTING GOALS

1 Make mini milestones. Break your weight-loss goal into 10-pound blocks.

-- Sherrill S. Lewis, July 1988 (pounds lost: 102)

2 Keep your eye on the prize. Tape a list on your fridge of what you want to accomplish, like fitting into your size-8 jeans or running a mile without stopping.

-- Felicia Kutchel, July 2004 (pounds lost: 75)

The Best Advice On ... SHOPPING TO DROP

3 Create incentives. Give yourself a dollar for each pound lost. Use the money to treat yourself to a new sweater or spa treatment.

-- Margaret McHalsky, Jan. 1983 (pounds lost: 45)

4 Go plate shopping! Downsize your dinner by eating off a smaller dish.

-- Jessica Haber, June 2000 (pounds lost: 40)

5 Buy fitted clothes. Avoid expandable elastic waists that don't let you feel or see those extra inches creeping up on you.

-- Neseebe Ann Denney, Sept. 1987 (pounds lost: 53)

The Best Advice On ... HITTING THE GYM

6 Know you're not alone. Don't be afraid to join a health club because of your size. You'll find a range of body types at the gym.

-- Louise Goldman, March 1982 (pounds lost: 27)

7 Get an affordable personal trainer. Hire one with a group of friends and split the cost-- you'll save money and learn how to burn more calories from a pro.

-- Anna Young, Aug. 2005 (pounds lost: 45)

8 Join a gym near your office. Exercising during your lunch break or after work will be much more convenient.

-- Karin Blitte, July 1995 (pounds lost: 59)

9 Pay for a 10-pack of workout classes upfront. That way, you'll have to go or your money will be wasted.

-- Felicia Kutchel, July 2004 (pounds lost: 75)

The Best Advice On ...GETTING SUPPORT

10 Find an R.D. A nutritionist can guide you and offer encouraging feedback as you revamp your eating habits.

-- Susan Rodzik, Aug. 1982 (pounds lost: 43)

11 Seek motivation on the Internet. Get 24/7 support with an online weight-loss group.

2006 update Exchange messages, recipes, even exercise tips with other readers at Shape.com/community.

-- Kathy Rohr-Ninmer, April 2003 (pounds lost: 60)

12 Power up with a partner. Enlist the help of a friend to cheer you on when dieting gets tough.

-- Karen Schreier Paris, Feb. 1997 (pounds lost: 33)

13 Join a weight-loss support group. If you're struggling with emotional eating, seek a program that offers stress-management techniques like meditating or journaling.

2006 update Many employers now sponsor health events. If yours doesn't, gather 3-4 people and learn about healthy weight loss by visiting a Weight Watchers center (weightwatchers.com)

-- Lorna Bennett, March 1989 (pounds lost: 93)

The Best Advice On ... EATING TO LOSE

14 Don't be deprived. Treat yourself to a small portion of something sweet each day so you won't crave it and binge later.

-- Kristen Taylor, Aug. 2002 (pounds lost: 70)

15 Crunch the numbers. Know the calorie counts of your favorite meals, snacks and drinks. Resolve to make your daily calorie intake a healthy 1,500.

-- Janet Jacobson, July 1987 (pounds lost: 277)

16 Go international. Find a lowfat meal in every type of cuisine -- Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Italian-- so you can still enjoy eating out.

-- Alisa Khaitan, April 1995 (pounds lost: 38)

17 Make smart eating easy. Start your own file of healthy recipes you've created or picked up from books and magazines.

-- Mary Hukaby, April 1983 (pounds lost: 45)

18 Save the best for last. If you taste food while making dinner, you can take in a huge amount of calories without realizing it; wait until you sit down to eat.

-- Marlene Conner, Jan. 1987 (pounds lost: 77)

19 Nuke your next meal. Microwave convenient, healthful "fast food," such as rice bowls or vegetable chili.

-- Marie Kinlein, April 1988 (pounds lost: 66)

The Best Advice On ... TRACKING YOUR PROGRESS

20 Write before you bite. Keep a journal of everything you put in your mouth. You'll think twice before you eat if you know you have to write it down.

-- Anna Marie Molina, Oct. 1988 (pounds lost: 76)

21 Wear a "track" suit. Put on your favorite bikini once a week to check your progress.

-- Amy Duquette, Nov. 2005 (pounds lost: 30)

22 Chart your success. Weigh yourself each morning and create a graph using the results. It'll help you see the big picture over time.

-- Pamela Stolzer, June 1982 (pounds lost: 75)

The Best Advice On ... BURNING CALORIES OUTDOORS

23 Sign up for a run/walk event or bike race. The competition will help you work harder and you'll make fitness-minded friends.

-- Stacey Stimac, Dec. 1993 (pounds lost: 27)

24 Change with the seasons. Snowshoe in the winter, swim in the summer and bike in the spring. Different workouts will keep you challenged.

-- Gretchen Meier, Nov. 2004 (pounds lost: 115)

25 Cultivate your green thumb. Burn 254 calories per hour by doing your own yard work. You can also stock up on veggies by growing them in your garden.

-- Lauretta M. Cox, March 1983 (pounds lost: 122)

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