Lose weight 71 ways to lose weight.
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      71 ways to lose weight

            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 clean    
             house," she  says.  

                          2. Find a passion. "I have a dance background and when I 
                          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.  
Eat Smart   

                          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. "  

Set 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 
                          prepackaged foods.  

                          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.  
Control Portions   

                          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."  

Take 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  
                          oil. Spray 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  says.  

Don't 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.  

Don't 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 
                          fry everything."  

                          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." 

Deliver 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," 
                          says Bennett.  

Escape Emotional Eating   

                          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.  

Blast 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.  

Stay Motivated   

                          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 
                          weight loss.  

                          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 

Feel 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."  
Be Realistic  

                          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.  

Get 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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