Load up on yogurt.
When researchers at the University of Tennessee put a group of volunteers on one of two diets—one high in calcium and one not—and cut each group's calorie intake by 500 calories, they found that the people getting calcium lost twice as much weight (an average of 13 pounds) compared with people on the standard diet. Study author Michael Zemel, Ph.D., believes extra calcium helps the body burn more—and store less—fat.
And avoid the bread bowl at all costs. If you're ravenous when you sit down to eat at a restaurant, immediately order a side salad, or a meat- or vegetable-only appetizer, rather than be tempted by these bottomless —and fattening—freebies.
Nuts have a very high satiety power—meaning they make you feel fuller after eating than many other foods. And even though they're high in calories, those calories appear to be processed differently in the body. University of Michigan researchers found that men who added 500 calories' worth of peanuts a day to their diet gained no excess weight at all.
Track your calories.
You could do it in a journal, but we know that's never going to happen. Instead, do it on the Web, at a site like fitday.com. Just create a free account, plug in the amounts of food you're eating throughout the day, and let the software tell you exactly how good—or bad—you're being.
Do sprint intervals.
Interspersing short, all-out sprints with brief periods of rest is the most effective form of cardio for fat loss, says Stankowski. Try a 2-to-1 "work-to-rest" ratio. That is, sprint two times longer than you rest. So if you run a 150-yard sprint—a good distance to start with—in 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, then repeat 3-7 times.
Check your mood.
The desire to snack may not be due to hunger at all, but rather the result of loneliness, depression, or anxiety. "Emotional eating is at the core of bad eating choices," says N.Y.C. psychotherapist Elizabeth Fagan, C.S.W. If you often find yourself eating when you feel down, or if you feel happier after a meal, that may signify a problem.
Shop for one.
If you have to buy cookies, chips, or other processed junk foods, buy the single-serving package—rather than the large, family-style bag. That way, when you eat the whole package—and let's be honest, you know you will—you'll at last have done a lot less damage to your waistline.
Take a digital picture of yourself, shirtless, in all your fat, naked splendor. Then use a photo-editing program on your computer to erase your love handles and create your own digital "after" shot. (You can also take a Polaroid of yourself in front of a black background and use a Magic Marker to thin down your waist.) Post the pictures somewhere you'll see them often, like on the fridge or in your office at work.
Go the distance.
Perform intervals for a designated distance rather than a designated time. Otherwise, you'll be running shorter sprints as you get tired, reducing the number of calories you burn, says McGarr.