Americans spend $33 billion each year on diet programs and products, yet we weigh more than ever. Why are we getting bigger when we're trying harder to get skinny? Chances are it's just a small diet mistake that's stopping you from losing those extra pounds. We'll help you pinpoint what's setting you back and get you on track.
By Karen Ansel, RD
Overeating during meals isn't the only way to pack on weight. Did you know that nibbling on just one extra slice of cheese a day translates to 10 extra pounds a year? Add on that one can of regular soda you treat yourself to every afternoon (just for a quick pick-me-up) and you're up another 15 pounds. The reality: Every bite and swallow counts, not just the ones you take when you're sitting down to a meal.
Undo the damage: Get a grip on what you're really eating by keeping a food diary. "Food logs are perfect for people who are all-day snackers," says Sari Greaves, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association in New York City. "When you write down what you eat you become much more aware of what you put in your mouth, helping you identify problem areas in your diet." In fact, a 2008 study found that recording what you eat can double the amount of weight you lose. Does jotting down every morsel sound too tedious? Then simply stop and think about what you ate most recently before you eat something else. In a study by England's University of Birmingham, women who were asked to recall their last meal when offered an afternoon snack ate less than those who weren't prompted to think back.