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"I quit keeping track of what I was eating"
That's understandable but it will cost you big time. "You don't realize how much mindless eating you do every day," says Somer. "You taste what you're cooking, or grab a french fry, or eat the rest of your kid's cake at a birthday party. On average, there's probably 25 calories in each of those mouthfuls. If you take just four mindless bites a day, that adds up to an extra pound every month."
Buy a little notebook. By writing down every sip and nibble, you'll avoid surprise weight gains. If carrying a notebook is too yesterday, go the electronic route. Sites such as nutrihand.com offer free subscriptions that allow you to track your meals. Or you can use a pocket-size food diary, such as CalorieSmart ($69, coheso.com).
Measure everything. Most of us have trouble eyeballing a cup or a 4-ounce serving with any accuracy dietitians call this portion distortion. So for a few days, measure and weigh all your food. Heres one shortcut: "Ask the butcher to divide the meat you buy into 4-ounce servings, which will shrink down to about 3 ounces when you cook it," suggests Somer. "Buy individual 4-ounce potatoes instead of a whole bag. And use measuring cups and spoons until you become very accustomed to what a cup or a tablespoon looks like."