Lisa Henderling

7 easy ways to watch your weight

Lisa McKinnon

• Downsize your plate. Dinner plates once measured 7to 9 inches across. Now they're a super-size 11 to 13 inches. Theproblem? "Studies show that people simply fill their plates withmore food to make up the difference," says American DieteticAssociation spokeswoman Dee Sandquist. She suggests getting smallerdinnerware or switching to salad plates for everyday use. Thenmentally divide the plate into quarters and fill two with fruitsand vegetables, one with whole grains, and the last withprotein.

• Request a doggie bag.When dining out, remove afourth of your order and put it into a take-out container, suggestsDr. Irving Kent Loh, medical director of the Ventura HeartInstitute. You'll avoid unnecessary calories and have a ready-madelunch for later.

• Fuel for the road. For your next drive, pack fingerfoods such as celery sticks and peanut butter, or raisins andunsalted nuts ― "anything to keep you from stopping atfast-food restaurants along the way," Loh says. He likes to nibbleon high-protein soybeans (edamame).

• Foil the snack machine. At the end of the day, putyour loose change and dollar bills into a container. Tomorrow youwon't have cash to feed the vending machine, but you will have thebeginnings of a nice piggy bank at home. Use it to stock up onbetter between-meal foods such as low-fat cheese, fat- andsugar-free yogurt, mini rice cakes, fruit, nuts, or light microwavepopcorn.

• Get some sleep. Researchers are looking at apossible link between chronic lack of sleep and escalating rates ofobesity, citing a study that found subjects who slept fewer thanfour hours each night were 73 percent more likely to be obese thanthose who slept for seven to nine hours a night. Possible culpritsinclude two appetite-regulating hormones that are altered insleep-deprived subjects.

• Consult your wallet. You're feeling pleasantly fullafter dinner out at a new restaurant, but are tempted when theserver asks if you saved room for dessert. Strengthen your resolveby tapping your inner penny-pincher. That heavy dessert not onlypacks on the calories, it also fattens your bill.

• Take 10 minutes. If you're not active already, starttoday by walking for just 10 minutes, suggests the American HeartAssociation in its new book, The No-Fad Diet (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2005; $25). Doit again tomorrow. Work up to 20-minute walks three or four days aweek, and continue to add walking time until you've met youractivity goal. Keep a diary, and reward yourself (buy a book ordownload a song) for sticking with a plan.

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