2. Find a passion. "I have a dance background and when I
Burner (60 count) -$14.99 ( under weight control)
71 ways to lose
1. Prioritize. The beds might not
get made, but Amy Reed,
36, still makes time for exercise. That's
how she's kept off
more than 80 pounds for 13 years. "I
have to schedule it in
and let go of other things -- like a perfectly
house," she says.
found jazzercise, I said, 'Thank God.' If somebody told me I
had to go out and run five days a week, I'd still weigh 185
pounds," says Anne Geren, 41, who lost 55 pounds and has
kept it off for 13 years.
3. Keep an exercise log. It makes
you more accountable. Norma from
Dallas, TX, who hangs hers on the
refrigerator, checks off six workouts
a week dutifully. "If I miss one day, I
make that my day off for the week."
4. Set a goal. Sign up for some fun runs and try to improve
your times. "I went from a 5-K to a 4-miler, then a 5-miler,
then a 10-K. As I was building miles and speed, I was
getting fitter and losing more weight," says Therese Revitt,
42, who lost 80 pounds and recently ran a marathon.
5. Get pumped. "It wasn't until I put on more muscle
through resistance training that I was able to keep the weight
off -- almost effortlessly," says Verona Mucci-Hurlburt, 37,
who went from a size 18 to an 8. The reason? Muscle burns
more calories around the clock.
6. Make changes for the long
haul. "I learned how to eat and live
with it for the rest of my life," says
Barbara Miltenberger, 42, who lost
more than 40 pounds and hasn't
seen any come back in three years.
7. Stop dieting. "The best thing I did was quit dieting," says
Reed. "I'd always find ways to cheat. So instead, I stopped
forbidding myself certain foods and just started eating less of
8. Get a grip on reality. "When I started keeping a food
diary, I discovered that I was eating somewhere between
3,000 and 4,000 calories a day," says Rebecca, 46, who
found the number shocking.
9. Eat minimeals. Having smaller,
more frequent meals can prevent you
from getting ravenously hungry and
overeating. On average, weight loss
winners eat five times a day.
10. Follow the 90% to 10% rule.
"If you watch what you eat 90% of the time, the other 10%
is not a problem," says Mucci-Hurlburt, who learned this tip
from a fitness professional.
11. Dine at the dinner table only. If you eat in front of the
TV, then every time you nestle in with the remote control,
it's a cue to eat. Instead, designate an eating spot for all
meals and snacks. "Even when I want potato chips, I set the
table just like I was going to sit down for a full course meal,"
says Kathy Wilson, 47, who took off more than 100
pounds. "I put a handful of chips on the plate, put the bag
away, and then sit down to eat. I never just stand at the
counter and eat now."
12. Think before you bite. Creating rituals -- like Wilson
did or the old standby of waiting 10 minutes before giving
into a craving -- can stop you from eating when you really
aren't hungry. "Nine chances out of 10 the chips go back in
the cupboard, and I just walk away," says Wilson.
13. Drink up. "Drinking lots of water keeps me from
snacking when I'm not hungry, and it gives me more energy,"
says Revitt. "It also stopped what I thought were hunger
headaches, which were probably due to dehydration. "
Yourself Up for Success
14. Do it for yourself. "My doctor told
me for years that I had to take the weight
off. But you've got to want it yourself,"
says Wilson. "As long as somebody else
is pushing you, no matter what you do or
what you try, it'll never work," adds
Victoria Bennett, 39, who shed 60
pounds and has kept them off for five
15. Take it slow. We all want to lose it yesterday, but slow
is the way to go if you don't want to see those pounds again.
"It took me a year to lose 100 pounds this time," says
Rebecca, who's kept it off for eight years. "I had lost 100
pounds twice before, in less than six months each time, but I
didn't maintain it."
16. Customize your approach. What worked for your best
friend may not work for you. And what works for you today
may not work six months from now. You need to decide
what you need. Mucci-Hurlburt joined a structured program
for accountability. "I needed to know that I was going to get
weighed each week," she says. But for others that's exactly
what they don't need.
17. Learn from the past. Everyone
we talked to had tried to lose weight
before. Part of their success this time
was that they learned from past
failures. "Before, the more I focused
on weighing, measuring, and
preparing food, the more I ate," says
Wilson, who finally succeeded with a program that offered
18. Set small goals. "My first goal was to lose only 10
pounds," says Rebecca. "I had very high blood pressure,
and my doctor said if I would just lose 10 pounds, he
believed that I could get off the pills. Every other doctor
before said I had to lose 100 pounds, and I thought 'I can't
do that.' But 10 pounds, I thought 'maybe I can do that.'
Doing it one bite at a time made it more achievable for me."
19. Make changes you can live with. "Before I'd go to
bed I'd ask myself, 'Is what I did today something I could
do for the rest of my life?' If I felt deprived, I'd do it
differently tomorrow. If I thought, 'Yeah, I could do this
tomorrow,' then I was on the right track," says Revitt.
20. Go back to school. Joining a weight loss class or
working with a dietitian can help you learn proper portions,
even without weighing and measuring. "If you get a half cup
of cottage cheese, it should look like a tennis ball, a quarter
cup should look like a Ping-Pong ball," says Wilson. "Now,
I know what appropriate portions look like."
21. Don't toss those measuring
cups, though. "I usually misjudge
portions of salad dressing,
mayonnaise, and ice cream," says
Revitt. "They're really high in fat and
calories and cause the most damage if
overdone. So I still measure them."
22. Cook for your family, not an army. Even for low-fat
foods like grilled chicken, Bennett stopped overfeeding her
family of four. "I stopped making six or seven breasts,
thinking that everybody had to have two or three," she says.
"Now I make just one for each person."
Some Cooking Lessons
23. Plan ahead. An empty fridge
after a stressful day begs for pizza.
The now-slender crew doesn't
leave meals to chance. Many of
them plan their menus a week or
more in advance. Others even
cook ahead, freezing meals for the
week in individual containers.
24. A little dab will do it. If you just can't pass on some
high-fat favorites, stick to the most flavorful ones. "A single
slice of bacon is enough to flavor eggs or a potato," says
Helen Fitzgerald, 61, who lost about 51 pounds. Her
husband's lost more than 150 pounds.
25. Fake fry. Try"frying" with
calorie-free cooking sprays instead of
sliced potatoes and roast
them in the oven for french fries that
taste fried without the fat, suggests
26. Stock frozen veggies. With pasta or stir-fry sauces,
they are diet saviors. "I've been known to eat a whole bag
of vegetables -- and with only a quarter cup of sauce, it's
only about 3 grams of fat," says Mucci-Hurlburt. "It's saved
my butt many times when I was really hungry and had to eat
27. Flavor up. Rice, beans, and other cooked
grains are the
staples of many successful dieters.
For variety, Fitzgerald
cooks them in different liquids --
tomato juice, apple juice,
beef or chicken stock.
"Rice done in pineapple juice is
especially good for
rice puddings and Chinese dishes," she
Go It Alone
28. Find the right support person.
A nag won't do. Neither will a
partner in crime. Look for someone
who can empathize and support you
in a positive way. When Reed finally
succeeded in losing weight, her
fiance was a big help. "We didn't
focus all our socializing around food.
We went bike riding a lot and played
tennis instead of going for pizza."
29. Join a support group. "Hearing
someone say she lost 50 pounds
would be real motivating," says
Revitt. "I'd think, 'She's just a normal
person like me. If she can lose 50
then I can do it too.'"
30. Create your own group. "I started my first women's
group when I first started exercising. It was just a bunch of
women that got together once a week, and we would
compare notes," says Debra Mazda, 44, who's 135 pounds
slimmer than she was 13 years ago.
Boycott Dining Out
31. Be picky. "I'm not afraid to ask for dishes to be
prepared differently," says Bennett. "My philosophy is that
every restaurant has a grill and an oven. They don't have to
32. It's not the Last Supper. This is not your last chance in
life to have a particular food. "Those french fries will be
there in a half hour if I really have to have them," says
Mucci-Hurlburt. Or they'll be there next week.
33. Don't wait to doggy bag. "As
soon as the waitress puts the food
down in front of me I cut the whole
portion in half, put it on my butter
plate, and ask her to wrap it," says
Revitt. If you wait until the end of
your meal, oftentimes you pick at it
until the waitress returns.
34. Tackle buffets. "I get only one tablespoon of
everything," says Rebecca. "Usually I don't even fill my
plate, but I at least taste everything so I don't feel deprived."
Yourself from Temptation
35. Stay busy. Do something that's not conducive to eating.
The folks we talked to aren't sitting around thinking of hot
fudge sundaes. They're singing in choirs, taking classes,
running marathons, leading weight loss groups, and more.
36. Keep 'em out of sight. Overwhelmingly, weight loss
vets control foods like chocolate, ice cream, and potato
chips by not having them around. "It's easier to fill the house
with treats for my kids that I don't like such as Oreo
cookies," says 30 year old Tammy Hansen, who trimmed
off 60 pounds.
37. Moderation is key. But they're not depriving
themselves, either. "If I want a piece of cake, I'll have one,"
says Mazda. "Then I just won't have another one for a week
or so. Knowing that I can eat something and no one's going
to say 'you can't' works for me."
38. Indulge and enjoy! Go for the best brand of ice cream
or the best cut of steak. "If I'm going to blow 500 or 600
calories, I want to make sure that I'm enjoying it to the
max," says Mucci-Hurlburt. "Often desserts look much
better than they taste. If it tastes like cardboard, forget it. It's
not worth it."
39. Limit portions. "When I have to
snack, I put my hand in the bag or
box and whatever I can grab, that's
what I eat -- only a handful," says
40. Buy individually packaged
snacks. Cookies, chips, even ice cream come in single
serving sizes. "If I want some cookies or chips, I grab one
little bag instead of a whole box," says Reed.
41. Keep reminders around. A note on the refrigerator
reading "Stop" kept Reed from raiding it. Underneath she
listed other things to do, like "take a drink of water" and
questions such as"Are you really hungry?"
42. Find alternatives. Chocolate is still a favorite even for
successful dieters. But they've found ways to enjoy it and
still keep their waistlines. Bennett makes fat-free chocolate
pudding with skim milk. For Sarah, who lost 40 pounds and
has kept it off for two years, a cup of sugar-free hot cocoa
(about 20 calories), topped with a little fat-free whipped
cream does the trick.
43. Don't give in to peer pressure. If the cookies, chips,
or ice cream you buy for the rest of the family is sabotaging
your efforts, stop buying it. "My daughters carried on for
about a month, but after that they got used to the change,"
44. Know your triggers. You have to
know which moods send you to the
cookie jar before you can do anything
about it. Once you know your triggers,
have a list of alternate things to do when
the mood strikes. "When I get tired or
discouraged, I get an 'I don't care
attitude,'" says Rebecca. For those times,
taking a walk or reading affirmations can
45. Quiz yourself. Determine if you're really hungry or
eating for other reasons. "I'll ask myself 'Do you really want
this, or is it something else, like boredom or depression?'
About 80% of the time it's not hunger," says Geren.
46. Call a friend. Talking about
what's eating you can keep you from
eating. "I had to be willing to call my
support people at 9 o'clock on a
Friday night," says Barbara, 46,
who's kept off 46 pounds for more
than 15 years.
47. Stop worrying. Remind yourself that you only have
control over you -- not your spouse, boss, parents, or
friends. If you can't do anything about it, just let it go,
several people suggested.
48. Take an emotional inventory. Ask yourself: "What do
you feel guilty about? resent? fear? regret? What are you
angry about?" Then deal with it, says Barbara. Confront the
person involved, talk to others, or write a letter -- even if
you don't send it.
49. Get spiritual. If religion isn't for you, try yoga,
meditation, or relaxation exercises. These are especially
helpful if you tend to eat when you're stressed, says
50. Challenge the power of food. Ice cream is a poor
companion if you're lonely. "If I eat the whole bag of
chocolate chip cookies, am I going to be any happier?
Probably not," says Wilson.
Off a Plateau
51. Up the ante "I started out walking,
and eventually tried running, which was the
key to my success," says Revitt. "I
couldn't even make it around one lap
(1/26 of a mile) in the beginning, but it was
just enough to make the weight loss
52. Go back to basics. "I'd go back to more strict
measuring because you can sneak away from reasonable
portions and start fooling yourself," says Mucci-Hurlburt.
53. Stop starving yourself. "As
soon as I saw the weight coming off, I
thought, 'If it's working at this rate, I'll
try eating less so I'll lose more,'"
admits Miltenberger. "Then I'd stall or
even put weight on because I was
undereating and my metabolism
slowed. I'd start losing again when I'd eat a little bit more."
54. Look how far you've come. "By keeping a graph of
my weight, I could see that the line would go up and down
and up and down, but overall it was going down, so there
was no reason to throw my progress away," says Rebecca.
55. Don't give up. "There are
plenty of times when I've wanted
to give up, but I didn't," says
Mazda. "I realized a long time
ago that entrepreneurs fall and
rise up every time they lose a
venture, but they just keep getting up." The same is true for
56. "You can do it." Repeat this to yourself. Many people
post affirmations around their homes or offices as constant
reminders. One dieter even programmed her computer
screen to keep her on the right track.
57. Get inspired. "I read a lot about
other people who have come back
from obstacles and really made it,"
says Mazda. Their determination can
make you feel like you can succeed
58. Envision your svelte self. "If you can actually visualize
yourself as the person you want to be, you'll become it,"
says Wilson. "When I felt like I couldn't do this one more
minute, I slipped in a motivational tape. Step by step, it
would walk me through a visualization exercise so I could
see myself as I wanted to be."
59. Find new measures of success. When she lost some
weight, trying on her old, too-big clothes further motivated
Miltenberger. "I also bought myself a size below what I was
wearing," she says. "I'd see if I could get the pants on, then if
I could zip them, and finally when I could wear them
Good About Yourself
60. Learn to like your trouble spots.
Peggy Malecha, who's lost about 75
pounds, dresses in a black leotard and,
standing in front of a mirror, she points
out everything about herself that she
doesn't like. Then she counters that. For
instance, "I hate my legs, but they
work," she says. "I can walk and dance.
I have no control over the way they
look, so it's silly to obsess over them. Don't dwell on it."
61. Pamper yourself. Take baths and get massages, facials,
manicures, and pedicures. "They make me look good and
feel good," says Mazda.
62. Stop negative talk. "If you make
positive speech a long-term goal and
stop using 'I was bad (or good)
today,' you'll begin to feel better
about yourself," says Mazda.
63. Don't compare yourself to
others. Instead, think "I'm better or just as good as anyone
else is. Once you start thinking that about yourself, believe
me, you get real cocky," says Mazda.
64. Look in the mirror and say, "I look good." You may
not believe it now, but you will. "When I first started this, I
avoided mirrors," says Bennett. "I never wanted to go into a
dressing room, so I'd get various sizes, take them home, and
then try them on. If they didn't fit, then I took them back.
But now I'll look in every mirror."
65. Stay flexible. Many people who have
kept the weight off never reached their initial
goal weights. Instead, they've gotten to a
realistic weight that they can maintain. "In 13
years, I've never gotten down to my initial
goal weight, but I'm very happy and feel very
good even though I didn't reach it," says
66. Quit the numbers game.
Mucci-Hurlburt is 5' 5 1/2" tall and
weighs 152 pounds -- by society's
standards she's heavy. However, she
can slip into a size 8 thanks to the fact
that most of her weight is muscle. "It
doesn't matter what the scale says, it
matters how I look," she says.
67. Reject others standards. "Thin is whatever you think
thin is. Next to Roseanne Barr, I'm thin. Next to Twiggy, I'm
fat," says Mazda.
Back on Track
68. Stop being a perfectionist. "Look at
it like walking a tightrope," suggests Revitt.
"The goal is not just to stay on without
falling off. The goal is to get to the other
side, and if you know that you can fall off
as many times as you want as long as you
get back up again, you're gonna be
69. Start fresh, ASAP. If you have a slip, don't wait until
Monday or even tomorrow to get back in line. Revitt uses
water as a cleansing ritual to end a binge. When she realizes
what's happening, she drinks a water to signal that the eating
is over, and she's back on track immediately. "It's made my
lapses shorter and shorter," she says.
70. Practice early detection. "I
weigh myself about once a month,"
says Reed. "If I start inching up, I
increase my exercise a little bit."
71. Enlist professional help. Many
of the people we talked to used
dietitians, personal trainers, and even psychologists to help
them deal with problems that were hindering their efforts. If
you feel like you can't do it on your own, seek help.
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