Your Belly-off Attack Plan

Pack Early

"I would pack my lunch right after dinner, when I was full," says Michael Young (167 pounds, down from 200). "It kind of tricked me into not bringing as much food for lunch."

Expert's take:
"Solid move," says Cassandra Forsythe, M.S., a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut. "Here's another trick: Chew gum while you're preparing food. You'll be less likely to snack."

Cheat (A Little)

Yep. Five steps forward with one step back beats the heck out of five steps back. "Cheat a little if you need to on the weekend," says Young. "Once you start to see results, you'll be more motivated to stay on your program."

Expert's take:
"Having a strategy for small indulgences is a good idea," says Alan Aragon, M.S., Men's Health's weight-loss coach. "Snack on something clearly defined in size and caloric intake, such as two or three squares of rich, dark chocolate."

Call it Something Else

Don Chao (165 pounds, down from 208) says, "Calling it a diet never worked. I called it a lifestyle change."

Expert's take:
"Chao hit the nail right on the head: Don't diet; live it. Another tip: Focus on the foods you can include, not what you need to exclude," says dietitian Chris Mohr, Ph.D.

Leave Food on the Plate

If you eat out, you're receiving at least two servings, and sometimes three or four, says David Anders (189 pounds, down from 250 pounds), who always splits meals into take-home portions.

Expert's take:
"Instead of staring at the huge plate of food," says Mohr, "ask the server to put half in a doggie bag before he brings out the plate."

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