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1. "It takes two."
Marc and Lisa are first to admit that replacing old habits with new ones, like saying "no" to an extra scoop of ice cream or hitting the gym after a long day, isn't easy. Both noted that having each other to lean on has been key. It provides accountability, plus a healthy dose of motivation to press forward. Of course, there's no rule that the partner has to be a spouse—any reliable relative or friend can help you clear the hurdles. Chances are, someone else in your life is looking to make some positive changes as well.
2. "Portions are a big deal."
From the get-go, the Rebuccis confessed that they tended to supersize their portions. Scaling down just how much goes on their plates has been their most significant change to date. A simple math lesson on the appropriate ratios of a meal—1/4 lean protein, 1/4 complex carbohydrates like brown rice or another whole grain, and 1/2 non-starchy vegetables like broccoli or greens—gave them the know-how they needed to create a more balanced diet. For a foolproof way to dole out perfect portions at home, order Del Monte's 9-inch pre-sectioned plate (rethinkyourplate.com, $9.95).
3. "Eat a good breakfast."
Starting the morning with a balanced meal helps curb the urge to snack throughout the day. Marc prefers an egg-white omelet with vegetables and turkey sausage—he says the protein-packed calories prevent him from scavenging for food before lunch. To mix it up a bit, I suggested oatmeal or a high-fiber cold cereal, topped with fresh fruit and skim milk. A sprinkle of chopped nuts adds an extra hit of hunger-fighting protein and good fat.