Tip 4: Count calories.

We know that obsessively counting calories can take the fun out of food, but we also know that writing down everything you eat can help you shed pounds. Using a notebook and pen works great or, if you're more into tech-based methods, weight-loss-tracking websites and smartphone apps make looking up calories easy, eliminate the math and offer bonus features like menu planners, healthy recipes and community support groups. Find a food-tracking method that works for you and stick to it.

  • Some methods to consider:
  • The EatingWell Menu Plannerincludes calorie counts of common foods. You can also purchase thefull 28-day EatingWell Diet Food Diary online.
  • The free Lose It! iPhone app (or its Web-based platform, remembers foods you've entered so it's easy to find what you've enjoyed before and apply it to a new day.
  • lets you share your food diary with others.
  • uses your smartphone's camera to capture what you really eat.

For more diet challenge tips, meal plans and get-started guide, visit the Diet Challenge landing page.