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May 9, 2011

Lose the Weight

Trying to slim down but can't bear the thought of giving up your daily dish of dulce de leche fro-yo? No problem. Too much deprivation is bad for dieters — trimming more than 500 calories a day can slow down your metabolism and trigger cravings intense enough to sabotage even the most valiant women's weight loss efforts, according to Cynthia Sass, R.D., coauthor of Your Diet Is Driving Me Crazy. So the only question is: How fast do you want to lose the weight? Whether your goal is to shed a pound a week (the amount you can lose if you cut 500 calories a day) or a pound a month (if you cut 100), we've got the tricks and tips you need to kiss those extra pounds goodbye — without kissing off cake.

To Lose 1 Pound Per Week

Dodge dining-out disasters
Even your seemingly healthy grilled swordfish and vegetables can pack more calories and fat than a stick of butter. "Many restaurant meals contain up to 2 ounces of added oil [500 calories]," says Anita Jones, founder of the Healthy Dining Program, which analyzes the nutritional content of restaurant food. Pasta dishes are notorious: Oil is used throughout the cooking process and added to sauces and cooked noodles. Stick with steamed veggies and grilled, poached, or broiled lean protein (like poultry and fish), and ask the chef to prepare your dishes without oil. Or just cook meals at home instead of eating out.

Careful With That Cappuccino 
Vanilla shots, caramel, sugar packets — they're not harmless just because they're in your cup of joe. A large white-chocolate mocha with whipped cream from Starbucks logs in at 630 calories (the whip alone has 100!). Get your sweet fix with two shots of sugar-free vanilla syrup in a medium cappuccino with soy or fat-free milk and kick 500 empty calories to the curb.

Dress Down 
"Most entrée salads at restaurants are pre-dressed with 6 to 10 tablespoons of dressing," Jones says. "And most dressings have 70 to 100 calories per tablespoon and 7 to 10 grams of fat." That's an average of 680 calories just for the dressing (let's not even get into croutons and bacon bits). Order dressing on the side and dip into it sparingly with your fork between bites — you'll cut back to about 2 tablespoons (roughly 175 calories). See WH's Big Summer Salads Recipes for more tossing tips.

Lighten Up At Happy Hour 
If it tastes sweet or has a salty rim, it's usually bad news — think cosmos, lemon drops, and appletinis. Most cocktails have 2 to 5 ounces of liquor. Add in 5 ounces of sugary syrups or mixers like cola, grenadine, and Midori and you can down more than 700 calories in just one drink. Stay away from Margaritaville (and below 100 calories) by pairing your liquor with diet or club soda. Or go for a bottle of light beer or a 5-ounce glass of chardonnay, which contain around 125 calories each.

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