Is Your Diet Too Complicated?

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Find a low-calorie go-to dessert

You know you're going to crave sweets, so get prepared with a healthier version. In your cupboard, store dark chocolate squares in individual packets and keep fat-free/sugar-free instant pudding to mix with fat-free milk for a quick, creamy chocolate fix. Store low-fat frozen treats in the freezer (keep them under 150 calories each) and sugar-free gum in your purse or desk drawer for when you need a sweet boost. Being prepared prevents bingeing on work treats or impulse buys on the way home.

Look for ways to fidget

Mayo Clinic researchers discovered that people who tap their feet, fidget, and move around more burn 350 extra calories a day—that's enough to burn off a slice of pizza! If you're not a natural-born fidgeter, try a quickie workout—even 10 minutes dancing around your kitchen after dinner.

"Get up once an hour for 5 minutes," suggests Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC News and author of Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat. "Do something physical every day."

Do one push-up a day

Building a stronger body doesn't mean you have to pump iron at the gym for hours. Start with one push-up a day—this do-anywhere move works your arms and shoulders; strengthens your back, abs, and chest; and tones your butt and legs. Marc Alabanza, program director for the Ranch at Live Oak Malibu, recommends clients do this for a month before they arrive at the health resort. "It seems like a little [activity], but at the end of a week, you're guaranteed to have done five to seven pushups. Do two the next week and you'll increase by 100 percent."

Commit to 8 hours of sleep

Tiredness could be the reason your cravings are out of control. Research shows that lack of sleep raises levels of ghrelin, a hunger-boosting hormone. In one study, appetite—particularly for sweet and salty foods—increased by 23 percent in people who lacked sleep.

Get back in control by going to bed earlier for the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night. If you have trouble settling down, try this nighttime yoga routine to relax and fall asleep faster.

Get rid of "fat clothes"

Don't give yourself an excuse to slip back into bad habits and bigger dress sizes. You could be using too-large clothing as a crutch in case you gain more weight. Go through your closets and drawers and get rid of anything that's too big for you right now that you haven't worn in a while. These items are probably out of style anyway. Donate the clothes to a local Dress for Success organization or try selling them online.

Wear a form-fitting outfit on Friday

"Friday is the day most people fall off their diet," says Ginn. "I tell clients to wear something form-fitting on Friday or when they go out to eat. This will curb the urge to overindulge and help you stay motivated while losing weight."

Wear a favorite hot outfit for your Friday night dinner date to keep your healthy goals in mind. Make sure your pants or skirt fits well but will feel snug once you've eaten enough.

Switch up your cocktail

The next time you're out with friends, choose a type of wine or bottle of beer that isn't your usual standby, suggests White. Take your time sipping it slowly and savoring the flavors. You'll be more likely to make it last longer and drink less instead of gulping down one after another. If cocktails are your thing, try a vodka and club soda combo with a splash of juice, or order a glass of bubbly—both drinks are under 150 calories.

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More from Prevention:

14 snacks that power up weight loss

Mindless Munching Habits That Could Be Making You Fat

Small Changes That Take Off Big Pounds

Burn fat and cut calories in 60 seconds or less

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