If you haven’t quite reached your slim-down goal yet, and your go-to weight-loss tips are no longer doing the trick, follow this plan to keep dropping pounds.
It's amazing how much extra food you can eat without realizing it: nibbling while cooking, finishing your kid's leftovers, munching while you watch TV. Even if the bites are small, every bit adds up over time. Give yourself a reality check by keeping a food journal for one week, writing down everything you eat and drink. Are you hitting the vending machines in the afternoon instead of packing a bag of carrots and hummus to get you through the afternoon slump? At the end of the week, you'll be able to spot any unhealthy eating patterns you need to rethink.
The toughest time to resist snacking is the late evening—that's when you have the least resolve. Curb your P.M. munchies by eliminating the option to eat after dinner for a few days. Follow your meal with a soothing mug of decaf tea, and as soon as you're finished, floss and brush your teeth. Then, clean up the kitchen and turn off the lights. Going through these motions helps to close out the day's eating.
Accomplishing mini-challenges helps you stay motivated. The key is settling on concrete and tangible ones. They can focus on weight ("I'm going to lose 2 pounds") or actions ("I'm going jogging on Tuesday and Thursday" or "I'm going to try a new healthy recipe"). Anything goes—just be sure to write it down to make it official. To up the ante, treat yourself to a non-food reward (see box, left) for every three goals met.
JOY BAUER, MS, RD, is the nutrition and health expert for NBC's TODAY show. Visit and follow Joy on Facebook, Twitter (@joybauer) and Pinterest (JoyBauerHealth).