What’s the best way to lose weight and keep it off? Practice dieting for two months before you start trying to lose weight!

Researchers believe that’s the secret to avoiding yo-yo weight gain – basically spending two months before your diet making small, healthy adjustments to your normal eating habits. Like finding low-cal foods that taste as good as the high-fat, high-calorie versions, so you don’t feel deprived. It’s kind of like a “practice run.” Because it’s hard enough to lose weight without having to try to figure out everything as you go.

The biggest reason people put weight back on is because they go right back to their old, bad eating habits. The same ones that packed on all the pounds to begin with! But if you learn good eating habits before you lose the weight, you’re more likely to stick with those habits afterwards, and keep the weight off for good.

So, here’s what the experts at the Stanford Prevention Research Center recommend for your 2 month diet practice run:

  • Grab a scale. Weigh yourself every day to see how water retention, and binge eating on weekends, affects your weight from day to day.
  • Don't clean your plate. Start leaving small amounts of food uneaten on your plate. Do you really need those last two bites?
  • Get moving! Create a series of 10 minute walking trips throughout your day. Say, walking around the building instead of straight to the lunchroom.
  • Give yourself a break. Teach yourself that you can occasionally eat small amounts of favorite high-fat, high-calorie foods, like chocolate.

Once those good habits have become an everyday part of your life – which experts say usually takes about 8 weeks – you’ll be ready to lose the weight, permanently.

Lesson Expert

Jennifer Boller

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