There are 1,000s of dietary tricks for losing weight, but most can be distilled down to the three straightforward habits of most successful weight-maintainers. Consider choosing some or all of these when developing the strategies and mini-steps to reach your weight-management goals:

1) Eat mostly vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Study after study shows that low-fat, fiber-rich meals are what produce long-term weight loss. Studies show that adults who eat the most vegetables are also the least likely to gain weight. Other studies show that healthy, normal-weight people spontaneously lose weight and fat mass when they eat all they want, as long as it was low-fat and high in fiber-rich grains and produce. Three-quarters of the plate or snack should be made up of these wholesome, minimally processed foods.

2) Exercise daily. According to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Brown University, nine out of ten successful dieters exercise regularly.

3) Lose weight gradually. You want an eating plan you can live with for life and that ensures you lose fat, not muscle or water, weight. That means losing no more than two pounds a week. No one should drop below 1,600 calories a day without being monitored by a physician or dietitian. Increase exercise, not cut calories further, if you can’t lose weight on this low-calorie plan.