What diet "tricks" have you found to work well for you?

I do Weight Watchers Online, so I measure out every bite I eat. No food goes in my mouth (except gum) that I have not accounted for. I don’t go over my points either.

But for the less rigid dieters:

Never eat straight from the container. Always put the amount you want to eat in a bowl or plate and sit down to eat.

That was a rather impressive time delay in double posting.

I hate wasting money. Go buy a goal shirt or pants, which is something at least one size too small for you to wear. And then work hard until you can fit into it.

Do the same only buy running shoes or a bike, who wants to blow 200$ on something they don’t use?

Also tell as many people as possible you are going to lose weight, it creates accountibility

suck ice. chew gum. hell- chew on straws. It helps the oral fixation.
When you eat, take a sip of water between each bite.
Cut your food into small bites. You’ll eat slower, so you’ll feel full faster, you’ll get bored with your food sooner, and anyone you’re eating with will be finished before you and you won’t keep munching til they’re done.
When it comes to restricting certin items, it actually works better for me to tell myself that I can never have it again. I’ll find a reason- I’m vegetarian and prefer not to eat dairy and eggs, so it makes it easier to say no to a lot of foods. And if I look at the ingredients and say, “nope. sorry. you can never have that.” I eventually start just skipping over it in my mind. it no longer exists. Other things that can make a food a definite no-no for me are corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, sugar, and white flour.
For real problem foods, or even once you’ve already started to eat- no food is perfect. Focus on the thing you don’t like about it. Is it too dry? too rich? too grainy? too oily? too salty or sweet or oniony? Focus on that. “ew. this chocolate is gross. it’s all creamy. it tastes like pus and mud. bleah, it’s all coating my mouth with pus and mud. gross.” If you can even finish it, you won’t be as keen on it next time around.
A lot of people at restaurants will eat their fill and then have half their meal left on their plate and will sit for a while after they’re full and talk and keep eating bits off their plate just because it’s there. So either start the meal by splitting your dish and putting half in a to go box or, once you’ve eaten what you want, pour salt or ketchup or something awful on the remainder of your food so that you won’t eat it.
Make rules. No food after seven PM or before seven AM, no more than XXX calories, no (insert igredients), no more than a certain amount of certain things like sodium or fat. And then follow them. It makes it easier to say no when it breaks a hard-and-fast rule.
Wear tight pants when you eat. Or a tight belt, under your clothes, right around your belly. If it gets uncomfortable, you’ve eaten too much.
Plan your meals. either the day before or a week before, write out a meal plan. From the meal plan, write out a grocery list. Then follow it. Depending on how much structure you need, either buy nothing at all that’s not on your grocery list and eat nothing that’s not on your meal plan, or leave 200 calories a day unplotted and use those for a small daily indulgence.

Man, I thought it was Deja Vu all over again.

Good advise or angry retort? :wink:


I’m not allowed to ‘diet’ right now (although I am trying to eat healthy), but I’m already looking forward to returning to my WW meetings after my baby is born. I’ve done WW for years and have been very successful on it, so I know I can do it. I’ve also learned a ton from it.

  1. I can’t look at it as a ‘diet’. I’m going to have to keep these behaviors up for the rest of my life to maintain my weight loss, so there’s no sense in looking at it as a ‘diet’. It’s a change in my lifestyle. A diet ends. A lifestyle change doesn’t.

  2. Don’t be afraid to fill up on veggies. I eat grape tomatoes like they’re going out of style - I shake a little garlic salt on them, and I can eat them nonstop. I love macaroni and cheese - but if I decide to have mac and cheese, I bulk it up with fresh tomatoes and onions - so half of a normal serving has the same ‘amount’. I eat a can of green beans for a snack, and if I’m feeling adventurous, I throw a half cup of no-sugar spaghetti sauce on them.

  3. Plan ahead - budget for treats. Cutting out treats altogether is just going to make you feel deprived.

  4. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to say NO to people. There are people out there who seem to feel it’s their duty to get you to eat that rich dessert because you’re obviously depriving yourself. I hated to be around these people until I learned how to say NO. The dessert’s going to MY ass, not theirs.



Surely you mean $30/week. (Until I started taking the trolley, I spent $45/wk and I went NOWHERE except home, school, and the gas station.) How much is gas up there, anyway?

One that works really well for me, but gets me a lot of stick from everybody, is don’t start, because once you start, you won’t stop.

I can easily skip breakfast and lunch, eating just a single (reasonably hearty) meal at about 6PM. OTOH, if I eat breakfast, I will be ravenously hungry by 11AM and will eat elevenses, lunch, tea, dinner, supper and second supper. If I simply don’t eat, I don’t need to eat.

As I said though, everyone tells me this is a terrible idea and they may be right.

What’s worked for me. I was never really that overweight, but I’ve lost a couple of inches off my belt and look better now.

Let your brain decide what to eat, not your stomach or your eyes.
When you eat, make a note of when you stop feeling hungry. Next time, only buy (or prepare) that much. For a long time, I was buying a sandwich and a candy bar and a yogurt as a late-afternoon snack. When I realized that the yogurt by itself was enough to curb the hunger until dinner, I just bought that. In the store, I felt like that would never be enough, but took a leap of faith. Sure enough, after eating the yogurt, I felt perfectly ok.

If possible, prepare your own foods.
In addition to cutting down on processed foods with lots of preservatives, it lets you control portion sizes and ingredients.

Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Much lower in calories than chips or cookies, and a good source of vitamins.

Bicycle to work.
For me, it’s two hours of moderate-to-intense aerobic exercise, which burns a lot of calories. Plus it gives you good-looking legs.

A little while back I started watching my diet. A friend recommended a juice fast and I replied with the standard line, “there are as many calories in orange juice as in a can of coke…” She pointed out that while this is quite true, it doesn’t apply if you are having the juice instead of food rather than with it. She pointed out that most fruit and vegetables contain between 30 and 50 calories per 100 grams while meat, bread and cheese contain 200 to 300. So to get 2000 calories I can have 4 to 6 kilos of fruit and vegetables a day or 700 to 1000 grams of the others or any combination. She says you lose weight fasting no matter how much you consume because you can’t manage enough calories.

However I wasn’t keen on some of the “side effects” of fasting but got a juicer anyway and use it a little differently. Since most of the ill effects of fasting are due to the reduction in fibre I just consume most of it. This morning I made juice from 2 apples, 2 carrots, some celery and about an inch of ginger. I drank some of the juice, threw some of the pulp in the remainder, ate some of the pulp and then finished the pulpy juice. A couple of hundred calories maybe and unlike when I have cereal no midmorning munchies. Sometimes I mix the fruit pulp into a tub of yoghurt for later. My friend uses it in soups, meatloaves and cakes when not fasting but I have no recipes.

I basically eat one “proper” meal a day, either lunch or dinner depending on what suits and the rest of the time stick to fruits and vegetables, juices and smoothies. Since I live alone and often only cook for myself I have discovered I have to be careful. I used to think of every meal in terms of its protein component, so I would plan on baking some slab of meat and would think…who needs vegetables I’ll just bake a potato too. I would then eat a potato and enough meat for three people. Now I still cook the slab of meat but start thinking about the meal in terms of which vegetables I am going to have so that I end up withg a platefull of food but only enough meat for one.

I have only been eating like this for a few weeks and although I may have lost some weight (going on how my clothes fit, I don’t have scales) what is most pleasing is how energetic I feel and how many little niggling aches and pains seemd to have improved.

I use margarita salt. I can make myself stuffed on those things.

To expand on this, stay away from fakey diet food! Healthy Choice meals and their ilk may seem like an easy way to cut calories, but most are laden with salt and fillers like white flours, which will leave you hungry before too long. If you can cook even a little, you can make something tastier and more filling that has as many or even fewer calories with none of the fake stuff.

Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Letting yourself get to the point of starving before you eat is a great way to trigger a binge.

If you are hungry, eat something. It doesn’t have to be a meal, but an apple or peice of chicken will do, especially if you know it’s going to be awhile before your next meal.

Cook. It may be easier to stop at a fast food place for dinner when you’ve been working all day, but don’t do it! Take a day or even a few hours once a week, and cook a few meals that you can freeze so you don’t have to cook when you really don’t feel like it.

Buy Cooking Light cookbooks. Great recipes, and they have the nutritional information per serving as well. A lot of them are really easy, so they’re good even if you’re nto a great cook.

One more: Don’t totally eliminate fat. Make sure to incorporate some good fats in your diet, like olive oil or avocado. In addition to being important for various bodily functions, it also helps you feel more satisfied, and keeps you full longer.

Nope, $30/month(about half a tank on my old van) plus public transit on workdays and bike on the weekends is more than enough where I live. Of course, YMMV (heh). Being somewhere warm like California helps.

I’ve had gas guzzlers all my life. My next car will (hopefully, that’s the plan anyway) be a Mercedes Benz 500SL AMG Roadster with a 385hp 6.0l V8, so $30/month will be enough for me to back out of the garage once every six weeks.

I have nice tanned arms and toned thighs from biking though. :slight_smile:

In the last two years, I’ve lost about 50 pounds. I kind of did my own program.

  1. See any changes you make in your eating habits as permanent.
  2. Eat whole foods—fruit and veggies, non-processed meats, whole grains.
  3. Fruits and vegetables should be the main staple in your diet.
  4. Gradual change is good. Challenge yourself. Say this week, I’m only going out for fast food 5 times instead of 6…slow cut down the number.
  5. If you eat in a restaurant, only eat half your meal and save the rest.
  6. Eat when you’re hungry. Not because the clock says it’s time to eat.
  7. Portion control…take one serving…no seconds.
  8. Weigh yourself daily.
  9. Avoid processed and fried foods.
  10. Enjoy life…you can have small portions of foods you like. (I’d wait a while after starting a program to follow this…will power builds after you see some success.)
  11. If you crave something that’s processed, salty, fried, imagine what eating that will do to your body.
    I’m doing a rigorous (Bikram) yoga program…I go 6 days a week now. Yoga helps me become aware of what my body needs. (really) So I’m always thinking about what the best thing for my body is.

Get to know what your lunch options are.

I’ve got a lot of options to choose from for lunch everyday. McDonalds, Wendys, TacoBell, Panera, Subway, Arbys, Panera, etc. etc.
With the use of the internet you can pull up nutrition tables for all of these restaurants and all their items and you can get to know what are low-fat options from their menus. Wendys Chili, McDonalds grilled chicken, tacobell chicken fiesta burrito all have considerably less fat than other menu items.
Add a diet coke and you can keep fast food lunches to 12 grams of fat or less.

A diet takes yummy foods out of your life. A lifestyle change adds more yummy foods into it. Deprivation vs a lifetime of yummy foods? Pass the spinach!

Proportion was the biggest win for me.

Divide your plate into three portions. One should be 3 oz of protein, preferably lean, better yet, omega 3 fatty. The second should be a starch, whole grain if possible, about 3/4 cup (1/2 for women). The third is veggies. It’s OK to flavor them with a little butter, but not too much. If this is not enough food to fill you, add a 4th portion – with more vegetables.

SurrenderDorothy, I must strongly disagree with your suggestion that you (though YMMV) find the yuckiness in every food. Down that path lies Twinkie madness. Instead, I put some real effort into making every dish as yummy as possible. If I can’t play the role of Jaques Pepin, half the joy of food is removed from my life. Then I savor my creations. Combined with the proportion thing above, I get immense pleasure from food, but can still lose weight.

It was 95c/litre a while back when I had the van, now it’s more around $1.20 I think, but I own no car at all right now so I’m not sure. In any case the cost of gas was pidling compared to the cost of my auto insurance, so I never gave it a second thought. I drove as little as possible and that was it.

I quit dieting. Over 20 years, I managed to diet my way from a 140 lb 15 year old to a 200 lb 35 year old. I would restrict calories and lose weight but because I never made any permanent changes, I always gained the weight back and more weight with it. In July 2004, I decided to completely change the way I eat forever with a goal of long term weight loss, I started planning how I would maintain my weight loss before I even lost 1 lb. I lost about 70 lbs which I have kept off since Feb 2005.

Now that I’ve lost weight, I do exactly the same thing to maintain my weight loss, I just allow more calories per day. I didn’t make up the caloric difference with crap - I just allowed myself to eat more healthy things per day. I don’t eat fast food (typical fast food burgers/fries, Subway turkey wrap would be okay, I don’t eat packaged baked goods. I avoid booze, home made baked goods, fried foods and candy. I never buy sweet stuff/salty snack foods for the house - the house is a junk free zone. I plan meals, pack lunches, go to the grocery store 2-3 times a week. I track my calories in Fitday everday. I try to eat at least 100 grams of protein, 5+ servings of vegetables and get at least 25% of my daily calories from healthy fat. I try to work out at least 3 days a week. I say no to a lot of food, we are surrounded daily by temptation.

It’s a lot of work, but after a lifetime of self loathing and struggling with my weight, I am constantly amazed how easy it really was to lose weight and keep it off. I wish I had done this 20 years ago.

I’m just popping in to comment on how well your user name goes with this thread. (But I hope you don’t starve!)