By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
Everyone knows the keys to losing weight: Eat less and exercise more. Sounds simple enough, but in the context of real life and its demands, it can be anything but simple. So how do successful losers do it? To find out, WebMD asked experts across the country for their best diet tips.
Here's what they said:
Best Diet Tip No. 1: Drink plenty of water or other calorie-free beverages.
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. So you can end up eating extra calories when an ice-cold glass of water is really what you need.
"If you don’t like plain water, try adding citrus or a splash of juice, or brew infused teas like mango or peach, which have lots of flavor but no calories," says Cynthia Sass, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
Best Diet Tip No. 2: Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you should take away.
Start by focusing on getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
"It sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it, because at the same time you are meeting your fiber goals and feeling more satisfied from the volume of food," says chef Laura Pansiero, RD.
You're also less likely to overeat because fruits and vegetables displace fat in the diet. And that's not to mention the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. More than 200 studies have documented the disease-preventing qualities of phytochemicals found in produce, says Pansiero.
Her suggestion for getting more: Work vegetables into meals instead of just serving them as sides on a plate.
"I love to take seasonal vegetables and make stir-fries, frittatas, risotto, pilafs, soups, or layer on sandwiches," Pansiero says. "It is so easy to buy a variety of vegetables and incorporate them into dishes."
Best Diet Tip No. 3: Consider whether you're really hungry.
Whenever you feel like eating, look for physical signs of hunger, suggests Michelle May, MD, author of Am I Hungry?
"Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you need fuel, so when a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it," she says.
When you're done eating, you should feel better -- not stuffed, bloated, or tired.
"Your stomach is only the size of your fist, so it takes just a handful of food to fill it comfortably," says May.
Keeping your portions reasonable will help you get more in touch with your feelings of hunger and fullness.
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD