When you first start trying to lose weight, the pounds seem to come off easily. You're motivated, you're careful to stick with smaller portions and you're good about keeping track of everything you eat. But, eventually, your rate of weight loss slows and then… stops. Is this the beginning of the end? NO! It's the beginning of the second phase of your weight-loss journey.

Why not try some of my 4 secrets for kick-starting your diet:

1. Don't deprive yourself! Denying yourself favorite foods usually ends up backfiring. Budget in satisfying treats that come in discrete units, such as Chocolate-Dipped Gingersnaps (157 calories for two cookies) or snacks that come in handy 100-calorie packages.

2. For just one week, commit to writing down everything you eat. Refresh yourself on what a healthy portion looks like and measure/weigh your servings to see how close you come to these.

3. Stick with recipes that provide built-in portion control. I love making Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffles: so long as I don't start sticking my fork into other people's dinners, I will consume only 254 calories from this easy, filling dish.

4. Steal secrets. Talk with others who've successfully pushed passed a weight-loss plateau. Find out what works for them-and try their tips out for yourself.