"You don't have to feel like you are on a diet or depriving yourself when eating fewer calories to lose weight," says Tallmadge, author of Diet Simple. She has rarely met a woman who cannot lose weight and keep it off on 1,800 calories a day, she says, especially if she eats a good breakfast.
It's All About Planning
Tallmadge's No. 1 weight-loss tip is to plan. You have to grocery shop with a list in hand so you can prepare the tasty breakfast above, or bring your 600-calorie lunch to work. Otherwise, you're going to grab Chinese takeout or a burger and mistakenly plough through a 1,000-calorie dinner and 1,800 calories a day.
Save food preparation time by buying frozen fruits and vegetables. Not only is frozen more convenient, but the food can actually be more nutritious than fresh produce, Tallmadge says. Frozen foods are picked when ripe and frozen immediately, whereas fresh produce is often picked early, so it can sit longer on grocers' shelves.
Storing prepared meals in one-serving-size plastic containers also aids in controlling portion size in the land that prizes super-sized, biggie everything!
Stick With It
A surefire way to stick with fewer calories each day, says New York City dietitian Julie Walsh, is to maintain a written record of what you eat and when you eat it. Nothing piles up the calories faster than "mindless eating," which is when you consume food - not because you are hungry, but because your body is fatigued or your mind is bored. Simply becoming conscious about your eating habits can jolt new eating behavior, says Walsh.
To reinforce new eating habits, Walsh suggests that you weigh yourself about once a week. Since so many women live in mortal fear of stepping on the scale, the knowledge that the dreaded event is approaching can help keep your eating in check.
Finally, stay happily engaged and busy with work, hobbies, friends and family, advise both Walsh and Tallmadge. The truth is, when you have a fairly wonderful life, you're not as interested in overeating.