Health magazine went to the top weight-control experts for their No. 1 tips to get the weight off now. Take a look.
Begin lunch and dinner with a veggie-rich salad or broth-based soup, says Pennsylvania State University satiety expert Barbara Rolls, author of "The Volumetrics Eating Plan." "That lets you fill up first on a big volume of low-calorie food and ends up displacing some of the foods you'll eat next -- the choices that are usually higher in calories."
Here's a good salad recipe: Mix 1½ cups of salad greens with ¾ cup of raw veggies like onions, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, or cucumbers; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of low-cal bottled dressing.
Sneak a snack
"Ten minutes before each meal, eat some healthy fat (around 70 calories or fewer): a handful of nuts, a few slices of avocado, or a spoonful of peanut butter, for example. That helps activate ghrelin, a hormone that lets you know you're full," says Michael Roizin, MD, co-author with Mehmet Oz, MD, of "You on a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management."
Try the 3-hour rule
"The secret to losing weight comes down to keeping your metabolism alive and active," according to fitness guru Jorge Cruise, author of "The 3-Hour Diet." How do you do that? By eating every 3 hours, give or take 10 to 20 minutes, he says, which translates to three moderate meals with three snacks (100 calories each) between meals.
Though other experts say there's nothing magic about 3-hour intervals, eating small, frequent, portion-controlled meals and snacks can keep your blood sugar level steady, your energy up, and keep you from overindulging.
Have liquid assets
"If you're going to drink anything with calories (i.e., fruit juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, or alcohol), you need to consciously adjust your diet to accommodate those extra calories," says Purdue University nutrition researcher Richard Mattes, PhD. His research shows that people typically make adjustments to eat fewer calories over the course of a day after eating a solid food like jelly beans, but not after drinking the same amount of calories in a glass of soda.