To figure out when to eat, take note of physical sensations -- and respond to them. Some dieters know what hunger feels like but use willpower to block it out during the day, only to end up raiding the fridge at night, explains Sophie Pachella, a sports nutritionist and weight-management consultant in New York City. Meanwhile, steady snackers never recognize actual hunger because they graze all day out of boredom.
Slimming Strategy: Think of hunger as a scale, with "starving" on one side and "so stuffed it hurts" on the other. It's best to eat before you dip to the starving level, and stop long before you need to be wheeled away from the dinner table. "Pay attention to the subtle signs of early hunger, such as a rumbling below your breastbone or a feeling of emptiness in your stomach," says Quillian Wolever. "Don't snack unless you're truly hungry, but avoid waiting until you're ravenous or you may inhale your meal and become uncomfortably full before you realize it."