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When to weigh

When to weigh



You've been following your diet for a whole week. Weigh to go! Now it's time to start tracking your progress (and make sure pesky pounds don't find their way back on). "It's best to step on the scale in the morning before eating or drinking—and prior to plunging into your daily activities," says Newgent. For the most reliable number, be sure to check your poundage at a consistent time, whether daily or weekly.

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Police your portions

Police your portions



Does your steak take up more than half your plate? Think about cutting your serving of beef in half. That's because it's best to try and fill half your plate with veggies or a mixture of veggies and fresh fruit, says Newgent, so that it's harder to overdo it on the more caloric dishes (like cheesy potatoes or barbecue sauce–slathered ribs—yum!).


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Combat cocktail hour

Combat cocktail hour




Is it ladies' night? If you know you'll be imbibing more than one drink, feel (and sip!) right by always ordering water between cocktails, says Newgent. That way, you won't rack up sneaky liquid calories (and ruin your inhibition to resist those mozzarella sticks!). But your H20 doesn't have to be ho-hum. "Make it festive by ordering the sparkling variety with plenty of fruit, like a lime, lemon, and orange wedge in a martini or highball glass," adds Newgent.

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Eat this, run that

Eat this, run that



When you have a 5- or 10K (you get to eat more with a half or full marathon) on your calendar, it's important to plan out what you're going to eat the morning of the big day—something that will keep you fueled and also go down easy. While everyone is different, "We always have good luck with a high-carbohydrate breakfast such as a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit or a couple of pieces of toast with peanut butter or cream cheese," says Andrew Kastor, who also advises eating around 200 to 250 (primarily carb) calories about 90 minutes before you warm up for your run . And don't worry about nixing your a.m. caffeine fix on race day. "Coffee is great for athletic performances," Kastor adds, because it makes you sharper and may even give you extended energy. Talk about buzz-worthy!

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Turn your cheat day around

Turn your cheat day around



Feeling guilty about that giant ice cream sundae you enjoyed at your niece's birthday party? Don't beat yourself up! It takes a lot of calories—3,500—to gain a pound of body fat. "So really, that one off day doesn't usually result in any significant weight gain," says Newgent. It's about what you do the next day and the day after that's really important—so don't stay off-track. So be sure to whittle away at those extra calories over the next day or two, preferably by boosting exercise rather than eating too little. Starvation is not the healthy answer!



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Run with this

Run with this



Before you hit the road, make sure you're packing these key staples: a watch to log your total time (or a fancy GPS to track your mileage), an iPod with great amp-you-up music, a cell phone if you don't mind holding onto it, and a RoadID (a bracelet that includes all your vital info, $20; roadid.com). And on a sunny day, wear sunglasses. "They reduce glare, which can decrease squinting, ultimately releasing the tension in your shoulders," says Andrew Kastor. And that's a performance bonus, because relaxing them helps conserve energy on your runs. Hey, we'll take a boost where we can get it!

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Be a weekend warrior

Be a weekend warrior


You've been following your diet plan to the letter, but enter: the weekend. To deal with three nights of eating temptations (think: birthdays, weddings, dinner parties), up your activity level for the week. For instance, try taking an extra 15-minute walk around your office each day, suggests Newgent. Then, go on and indulge a bit at the soiree, guilt free. Another party trick? Enjoy a 100-calorie snack before a celebration, which can help you eat fewer munchies at the event.

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Fun up your food

Fun up your food



It's easy to get in a diet rut, even if you're loading up on flavorful fruits and veggies. The solution? Have plenty of spices, fresh herbs, and lemons at your cooking beck and call. "It's amazing what a little dash of spice, sprinkle of herbs, pinch of lemon zest, or squirt of lime juice can do to liven up a dish—and your diet," says Newgent. The best part: They contain almost no calories. Experiment with your dinner, tonight!

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Up your exercise

Up your exercise



How do you know when to increase your exercise? "The general rule of thumb is to up the amount of miles run, for races half-marathon length and longer, by 5 to 10 percent each week," advises Andrew Kastor. See our training schedule at Health.com/yes-you-can, which guides you on how to increase your mileage.

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Have a fruity ice cream sundae

Have a fruity ice cream sundae




Next time your family or friends decide to make an ice-cream run, don't worry about being left out of the fun! Order a fresh (and super-refreshing) ice cream sundae, piled high with diced kiwi, pineapple, and strawberries. You'll get a serving of delish fruit—no hefty calorie-laden toppings required.

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