The devil is in the details—and nowhere is the cliche truer than with weight loss. It's the small decisions that add up to change, and that's a good thing, says William Dietz, MD, PhD, at the CDC: "If you can count it, you can change it." The 10 countable steps that follow will add up to victory over unwanted pounds. But don't try them all at once. "It's like renovating a house; most people do better taking one room at a time," says John Jakicic, PhD, director of weight management at the University of Pittsburgh. "Start with the easiest tactic. Once you master it, move on."
Weigh yourself 1 time per day
Why It Works
Weekly weigh-ins are a staple of many popular diet programs, but studies now show that daily weighing is the key to lasting loss. When researchers at the University of Minnesota monitored the scale habits of 1,800 dieting adults, they found that those who stepped on every day lost an average of 12 pounds over 2 years (weekly scale watchers lost only 6) and were less likely to regain lost weight. The reason: "The more often you monitor your results, the quicker you can catch the behavioral slip that causes weight gain," says Jakicic.
Who It Helped
Heidi Hurtz, 29, of Los Angeles. "I was in denial about my size, so I never used a scale. When I started weighing daily, I lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks. I loved the immediate gratification, and eventually lost 77 pounds."
Add It In
Step on the scale first thing every morning, when you weigh the least. Expect small day-to-day fluctuations because of bloating or dehydration, but if your weight creeps up by 2% (that's just 3 pounds if you weigh 150), it's time to pass up the bread.