Spice up your favorite foods with a few dashes of hot cayenne pepper sauce. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, an appetite suppressant; a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate capsaicin consumed 200 fewer calories at the next meal. Not only will this help you cut back on calories and boost weight loss, but researchers have also found that capsaicin can help you lose belly fat and lose weight fast.

In general, losing weight by following a healthy, nutritious diet — such as the Mayo Clinic Diet — can reduce your risk of weight-related health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. If you already have any of these conditions, they may be improved dramatically if you lose weight, regardless of the diet plan you follow.

Plain and simple: We just don't feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink, for instance, won't make you feel full the way eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry will. So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages. If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you'll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you'll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.) Some other ways to skip sugar? Check 'em out here.

Nicole Morrissey is a registered dietitian who works specifically with diabetes and weight management. What sets her apart from many other dietitians is that she’s struggled with her own weight since a young age. She was 14 when she went to her first Weight Watchers meeting, and the years that followed brought many ups and downs. Today, she accepts that she “may forever be a work in progress,” so she focuses on balance. That means healthy, good-for-her foods, and doing the active things she loves, like running and hockey. Visit the blog.

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