5 Tricks to Outwit Your Weight

Dieting isn't just about eating. Here, five simple ways to ensure success.

By Molly O'Neill from Reader's Digest | January 2005

Most people know how to lose weight, says Cathy Nonas, director of obesity and diabetes programs at North General Hospital in New York City. “But what they don’t know is how they sabotage their own efforts.”

For 15 years Nonas has studied these subtle habits, and her book, Outwit Your Weight, is a toolbox for anyone who worries about the scale.

Long-term weight maintenance depends on the accumulation of small changes in eating, exercising and mood management, says Nonas. Here, surefire strategies to stay on top of the diet game:

Food Tools

  • Right-handed? Hold your drink in your right hand at parties. Reaching for food with your left hand is more difficult and will make you think before you gobble.
  • Chew gum while you’re making dinner to prevent those calorie-laden bites that can really add up.
  • Close the kitchen After dinner, put masking tape across the kitchen door to remind yourself that post-dinner eating is off-limits.

Mood Tools

  • Take stock We’ve heard it a million times: People who monitor their food intake tend to be more successful than those who do not. But recording every morsel can be overwhelming. If you can’t do it every day, choose one day a week — or the time of day when you eat the most — and record and be conscious about that particular day or meal.
  • Ease up Anytime you slip up — say, by going for a doughnut at the office, or binging on chips or candy — write it down. Then don’t beat yourself up. Look at it mathematically: A 5,000-calorie goof will only add 1.4 pounds. You can deal with one pound. It’s never as bad as it seems if you analyze it head-on.

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