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For Us Dieters Part 2

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5 Reasons Why You Can't Lose Weight -- And How To Fix Them


You haven't had a bite of pizza or a lick of ice cream in, like, forever, but you still can't lose a pound. Waz up with that? Here's what, plus some expert fixes.

1. Consciously or Not, You're Clueless

"Very few Americans tell the truth about what they eat," says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet. In one USDA study, more than 80 percent of women underestimated their daily food intake by 700 calories! Part of the problem is visual: Most people don't have a clue what a true portion looks like, Somer says.

The Fix

Find your measuring cups and spoons and, if you don't have one, buy an inexpensive kitchen scale.

Then measure out the recommended portions of everything you eat for a week. You'll quickly be able to accurately identify a 1/2-cup serving of pasta, a 2-ounce muffin, 1 teaspoon of butter, a cup of cereal, or a 4-ounce portion of chicken.


2. You Skip Breakfast

Successful dieters share a common habit: They eat breakfast, say University of Colorado researchers who monitor people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a year or more. The benefits are big. As well as preventing 10 AM attacks on the vending machine, eating breakfast boosts mood, memory, and work performance.

The Fix

Adopt the gold standard: Top 1 cup of whole-grain cereal with berries and fat-free or low-fat milk. Add OJ and coffee, and you're good to go for hours.

Try the make-ahead version: The night before, put these into a preheated wide-mouth thermos: 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal, a few chopped dried apricots, brown sugar to taste, a dash of cinnamon, a drop of almond extract, and 1 cup of hot fat-free or low-fat milk. Close tightly. In the morning, just open the thermos, sprinkle with slivered almonds, and spoon out a warm, delicious, ready-to-eat breakfast!

3. You Eat Unthinkingly

Do you nibble off other's plates? Constantly taste test while cooking? Feed small fry in one-for-you, one-for-me bites? Each mindless nibble averages 25 calories, and with only four mindless bites a day, you gain a pound a month.

The Fix

Turn mindless into mindful eating, says Somer, by keeping a food journal and writing down every single thing you eat. You'll be amazed.

Eat food only after it's served on a plate.

Eat sitting at a table, not watching TV, driving, or flipping through magazines, and don't rush meals -- enjoy each bite.

4. You Drink More Calories Than You Know

Sugary sodas, teas, and juice drinks don't fill you up, yet they pack on pounds. So do happy hours. For example, sweetened bottled green tea has 140 calories, the equivalent of an order of hash browns. And a large margarita can have up to 800 calories, more than four cake doughnuts!

The Fix

If you can't give up regular soda, make it an occasional treat.

Nix super-sized cocktails and drinks made with high-calorie mixes or cream.

At parties, alternate a glass of wine with a glass of sparkling water.

Make your own iced green tea and sweeten lightly (1 teaspoon of sugar has only 16 calories). The plus: Home-brewed tea usually has more healthy antioxidants, which often get lost in commercial processing.

Cut juice calories by mixing 1/3 cup of OJ, apricot nectar, or your favorite juice with 2/3 cup sparkling water.


5. It's Not You, It's Your Life

You swear you want to eat well, but in the next breath lament how hard it is to find the time, money, or mental energy to make it happen.

The Fix

Try tough love: Stop blaming others, the weather, your job, your life, the dog, etc. Focus on reaching your goal. "People lose weight every day, often despite overwhelming odds," Somer says.

List your excuses, then brainstorm solutions: Lack of time? Cook large quantities and measure out portions to eat throughout the week. Keep meals simple. Buy prepared foods, including sliced veggies and fruits. Make eating right easy. It will work, and it will make you not just slimmer and healthier but physically younger: Maintaining a desirable weight can take 6 years off your

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