Cravings — especially for sugar — prove to be the pitfall of many dieters. So it’s no surprise that successful dieters come up with a system to effectively combat cravings for sweets without feeling deprived. Sarah Knowles Lugger, who lost almost 150 pounds, designates sugary desserts as a once-a-month treat. The rest of the time, she turns to healthy, homemade substitutes. “When ice cream cravings hit, I create a substitute using bananas,” she says. “All it takes is frozen slices of banana, a bit of peanut butter (or any nut butter), and cocoa powder (to taste) thrown in a food processor and whipped until smooth.” And she never keeps unhealthy treats in the house to tempt her. “If I really need something sweet, I’ll have a friend bring me over one serving size so I won’t eat the entire bag,” she says.
2/7 Eat Real Food
The most effective diet plan is one based on nutritious, whole foods — something Cat Elliot, who successfully dropped 90 pounds, only to gain much of it back, knows all too well. “Eating real food is key,” Elliot says. “Skipping meals, excessive restrictions, and diet pills and products do not help. They wreak havoc on your body, mood, hormones, and metabolism.” It was only when she realized what her body needed — and vowed to ditch the diets and start eating real food — that she was able to shed the weight for good, ultimately dropping 113 pounds. “When I tuned in to what worked for my body and my gut and ate real, healthy food regularly, the weight began to budge, effortlessly and permanently.” she says.
3/7 Make Exercise Your Happy Hour
For many, exercise is a means to an end. But what people who have maintained a healthy weight come to learn is that enjoying exercise makes all the difference. “I used to hate exercise. I saw it as a form of punishment,” says Elliot. “But when I began to exercise as a way to simply nourish my body, improve it, and have fun, I started to enjoy it.” Another bonus to enjoying exercise? Elliot says she was then able to lose weight much faster. Erica Lugo, who lost a whopping 157 pounds, couldn’t agree more, attributing learning to enjoy exercise as one of the biggest factors in her weight-loss success. “Stop making losing weight and being healthy such a chore! Make this fun. It’s your time!” she says.