5. Eat Dessert—No, Really!
Life is too short to skimp on dessert, so don't be scared to satisfy that sweet tooth. Just make sure to treat yourself to the right things. Substitute frozen yogurt for ice cream. If you like sorbet, spoon some into a bowl and cover it with fresh berries.
Read labels in the grocery store and find low-fat alternatives to high-fat desserts. These days, nearly everything has a dietary alternative, you just have to find it. If you absolutely crave that bowl of ice cream, treat yourself in moderation and move on; don't try to make up for the dessert by skipping a future meal.
6. Choose Your Carbs Wisely
Carbohydrates come in many different forms: White bread, pasta, candy and sugar cereals are loaded with carbs, but these are simple carbs that offer a quick fix. Eating such foods may satisfy hunger cravings in the short term, but you will consume many calories, digest them quickly and be hungry again very soon.
Try to pick complex carbs—some examples are whole grains, bran cereal and oatmeal—that take longer to break down once you eat them.
You may not always be able to avoid simple carbs, but you can reduce the serving and pair them with something else. Instead of a bagel for your fat-free lunch, eat half a bagel with cheese, milk or yogurt on the side. The protein found in these foods will help fill you up.
7. Say No to Butter
Butter has a bad rap, and rightfully so, as it's all fat. However, many of us feel like we have to have it—on toast, on a bagel, or over vegetables. Butter is easier to avoid than you think, though, even if you love the taste and texture.
For starters, there are butter substitutes on the market that taste great. Apple butter is a favorite of triathletes watching their fat intake. And if you keep an open mind, spreading jam, honey, or peanut butter over your toast or bagel can be just as satisfying as slathering it with butter.
The fat grams you can eliminate from your diet by substituting butter can make a significant difference to your long-term weight goals.
8. Take a Walk
Everyone has experienced the onset of sudden hunger, but we deal with it in different ways. The most common response to hunger is to eat something—anything—within minutes (even if it comes from the office vending machine, which is not always the place to go for nutritional choices).
Instead, take a short walk when you feel hungry. The pulse-quickening and subsequent rise in body temperature of this activity will suppress your appetite slightly and give you more time to identify a healthier choice of food to eat.
9. Snack Healthy
Snacking is the culprit for most people's failure to lose weight. There's nothing inherently wrong with snacking between meals. In fact, it's recommended, and it's important to nibble on the right things.
For salty cravings, resort to pretzels or baked bagel chips instead of potato chips or tortilla chips. For sweet cravings, try fruit. Raisins are a good snack if you plan to work out soon after eating because they're low in fat and high in carbohydrates.
Be cautious when relying on the multitude of energy bars on the market. Many bill themselves as meal substitutes (meaning they pack loads of nutrients but also enough calories to be a standalone meal). Granola, for example, has a reputation as a healthy snack, but it can sometimes be loaded with fat.
10. Find New Ways to Sweat
Assuming you're a somewhat regular exerciser, make sure to change your routine every six to 10 weeks if you don't already cross-train. While we each have our favorite and most-effective way of burning calories, it's easy to slip into a rut and use the elliptical trainer or stationary bike every time you work out.
Doing the same thing every day causes your body to adapt to the challenge (meaning that you exert less energy the longer you do it). While this is an indicator that you're in better shape, you may not continue losing weight.
Additionally, habitually practicing the same form of exercise is far more likely to result in overuse injuries than cross-training, which allows your body to recover from its previous activity. Rotator-cuff injuries in swimmers and IT-band/plantar fascia inflammations in runners are common examples of injuries that occur from athletic overkill.
Stay in shape in a fitness class.