These simple switches helped readers shed unwanted pounds.
Don't Break for Fast Food
It's still easy to veer off the nutritional track at the drive-through, even though many are offering more healthy choices than ever. A ready-made salad can clock in at around 500 calories—without dressing. "I gave up eating fast food two to three days a week and now have it maybe every six months," says Melissa, 40, a mom of two in Melbourne, Florida, who lost 30 pounds.
"Instead of having chips and sweets always at the ready, I put grapes, bananas and baby carrots in bright-colored bowls in the kitchen," says Melody, 52, a La Plata, Maryland, mom of three who lost 25 pounds. Eliminating the temptation of junk food and placing fruits and veggies front and center is a calorie- saver. "From what to eat and how much of it to have, a person makes upwards of 200 food decisions a day," explains Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, co-author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet.
Get Bowled Over
Research shows eating soup can help you consume fewer calories over the course of the day—no surprise to Juliet, 46, a mom of two in Dallas, who lost 30 pounds. She swears that cooking up healthy soups full of veggies and legumes is key to maintaining her weight.
Skip the Sweets
"I stopped having dessert after dinner or a late-night snack of chocolate chip cookies," says Laura, 44, a mom of two in Chicago who lost 10 pounds. If you're a sugar junkie, start by taking two nights off. "It will change how you automatically think of dessert as a post-meal activity," says Bazilian. Quell cravings with berries, a baked apple sprinkled with sugar or a cup of mint or ginger tea with a teaspoon of honey.
Originally published in the June 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.