Rather than attempting to cut out carbs, skip sugar or eat a certain amount of fruits and veggies, you might find that it’s easier to simply count calories and keep your daily intake below a specific number. Of course, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before you begin a low-calorie diet; cutting out too many calories can leave you dangerously undernourished. But once you and your doctor agree on a safe daily calorie limit, staying on track doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge.

Acknowledge Your Cravings

Rather than trying to ignore your cravings, acknowledge and accept them. It’s a bit like lusting after a new car just months after you’ve purchased one or taking a second look at a cute guy, even though you’re happily married. Once you acknowledge that you’ll always get cravings for certain foods, you’ll be better able to overcome those cravings.

Find Low-Calorie Substitutions

If your favorite foods don’t fit into your low-calorie diet plan, find a healthy substitution to fill their spot. Of course, choose realistic substitutions. You’ll never overcome a craving for chocolate chip cookies by munching on carrot sticks — but you can probably satisfy your sweet tooth by drizzling a small amount of melted dark chocolate over a few strawberries. Swap yogurt for ice cream, crunchy cucumber slices for potato chips and ice-cold water infused with lemon and lime slices for soda.

Practice Moderation

The only way to stick to a low-calorie diet is to prevent overeating at snack or meal times. Use small serving dishes and make a point to sit down at the kitchen table and focus on your food when you eat. Avoid watching television, reading a book or playing a computer game. Although these distractions might seem like a welcome part of your day, they can easily lead to an accidental overindulgence. If you’re still feeling hungry after your first helping of food, try drinking a glass of water and resting for a bit. If you’re still hungry after 10 to 15 minutes, take a small second helping.

Stop Drinking Your Calories

Guzzling calorie-filled beverages is an easy way to destroy a low-calorie diet. It’s easy to sip hundreds of calories every day without a second thought. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 ounces of a latte can deliver over 250 calories, while a 20-ounce bottle of cola brings in more than 200 calories. Avoid sugary fruit juices and sodas. Instead, opt for fat-free milk, water, and unsweetened tea and coffee. Use sliced fruit, cucumber or mint leaves to jazz up plain water and iced tea.

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