1. Drink water. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel like noshing, reach for water first. Drinking also helps you feel full. Some experts suggest sipping water (or iced tea) just before you sit down to a meal. Continue drinking as you eat to add volume and weight to your meal.
2. Set realistic goals. One or two pounds a week maximum is doable. Top weight-loss programs advocate stopping after the first 10 pounds and maintaining that loss for about six months before trying to lose any more.
3. Build in splurges. If you allow yourself to eat whatever you want for 2 meals out of every 21, you won’t inflict enough damage to subvert your weight loss. And you’ll feel less deprived.
4. Count to 10. Studies suggest that the average craving lasts only about 10 minutes. So before caving in to your urge, set your mental timer for a 10-minute time-out. Use the time to tackle an item on your to-do list; choose one that will give you a sense of accomplishment — and get you out of the kitchen.
5. Eat more often. People who have kept their weight off for more than a few years tend to eat an average of five times a day. Light, frequent meals curb your appetite, boost your energy, improve your mood and even speed your metabolism, since the process of digestion itself burns calories.