The Skinny on Getting Skinny in 2009

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According to ABC News, almost 5 out of every 10 Americans resolves to lose weight in the New Year. And the reason that half (!) the population is having to revisit this goal annually?  The abysmal success rate of diets: almost 95% of dieters put the all weight back on within 3 years. So why not try a different approach this year?  Celeb nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot of Skinny and the City offers up these road-tested tips on losing weight and keeping it off:

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Be Realistic You didn't gain the weight overnight, so don't expect to lose it that way.  This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon that is best approached - and won! - by creating healthy new habits that will last a lifetime. And the first step to a new trimmer, slimmer you? Setting goals: write down where you would like to be with your weight in 1 month, 3 months, then 6 months, then 1 year.

Fill up on Fiber & Protein
When combined, they are extremely effective at keeping serum glucose levels consistent, which in turn leads to improved energy throughout the day.  Eating small meals frequently throughout the day that contain both fiber and protein helps keep you from feeling ravenous...the gateway to overindulgence. At lunch, have a large salad filled with veggies and lean protein, and try snacking on an apple and some peanut butter or a piece of string cheese.

Don’t Skip Breakfast
The most important meal of the day also jump-starts your metabolism for the day, and recent research has shown that not skipping breakfast can actually help you shed the extra pounds.  While it's tempting to think you're "saving" calories by avoiding breakfast, you'll most likely end up starving later, which leads to overeating.  Breakfasts with both fiber and protein fill you up with the fewest calories, such as high fiber cereal (5 grams or more) with skim milk and berries, or an egg white omelette with veggies and a slice of whole wheat toast.

Drink your 8 Glasses
Water, and lots of it, is key to losing weight. In addition to facilitating various bodily functions, it keeps you hydrated and helps avoid fatigue - which can lead to the munchies. If plain water is just too plain, jazz it up with a slice of lemon or lime.

Eat Fruits & Veggies
Even without making any additional dietary changes, simply eating more fresh produce will add bulk and satiety to your diet without too many additional calories, increasing your chances of shedding the pounds...not to mention the extra health benefits of crucial vitamins and minerals. Fabulous fiber-rich choices include: broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, hearts of palm, apples, berries and pears.

Slow Food
Researchers at Eastern Illinois University recently gave test subjects identical servings of shelled and unshelled pistachios. When people had to open the nuts, they ate almost 50% less.  This small study shows that by slowing down the time it takes to eat something - in this case, having to first shell the pistachios - curbing calorie intake dramatically occurs naturally.  (Pistachios are also a great choice because they contain the highest amount of fiber compared to other nuts, as well as heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats which also have been shown to lower cholesterol.)

Write it Down
According to a new study from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research of nearly 1,700 dieters, over a six month period, those who documented their food, drinks and exercise everyday lost an average of 20 pounds; people who journaled only occasionally or not at all only lost an average of 10 pounds. Journaling makes you accountable and aware of subconscious eating that packs on the pounds, and can double your weight loss. (Try the handy, spiral-bound DietMinder food & exercise diary - available at Amazon.com.)

- Lesley Scott

(images: top - footepath.org; Breakfast at Tiffany's - msn.com)

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