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RISMEDIA, February 1, 2011—(MCT)—If you are struggling to stick with your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and get in shape this year, the following tips from registered dietitian Bernadette Latson may give you the encouragement you need to stay on track.

1. Write it down. You can find sites online or apps on your smartphone to help you keep track of every bite you eat.

2. Make specific goals. Instead of saying, “No more margaritas,” you might say, “I’ll only have them one night a week,” says Latson. Or, decide to stop eating after 8 p.m.

3. Be aware of portion sizes. Fill a nine inch plate with half vegetables, one-quarter starch and one-quarter protein. Also, unless you’re an athlete or have extremely good willpower, eat three meals a day. The “five-small-meals” theory can be hazardous.

4. Eat breakfast. Studies have shown that eating breakfast helps keep calorie consumption down the rest of the day. Make it a good mix of protein, carbs and fat. Try peanut butter on a bagel, or cereal with milk, nuts and fruit.

5. Aim for a 10% loss of your body weight if you’re significantly overweight. “It makes a huge difference,” Latson says. It can, for example, significantly reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

“We live in an environment that’s difficult to navigate being lean in. Every occasion is an eating occasion. Losing weight is about breaking habits, and that’s really tough.”

(c) 2011, The Dallas Morning News.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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