Diet tricks the pros tell their friends

Variety, color and presentation go a long way toward fooling your stomach.

Story highlights

  • Taste buds learn to love the food they're with -- so make a commitment to wholesome foods
  • Eat small amounts of dark chocolate every day to avoid bingeing on sweets
  • Hide your craving food in a hard-to-get-to place so you have to work to find it
Wish you had your own get-slim dream team? Well, you're in luck: We tapped celebrated weight-loss pros and asked them to share the one strategy they feel makes the biggest difference.
Weave these seven wonders into your daily routine, and you'll be wowed by how the little changes really do add up.
1. Trick your taste buds
"Taste buds are malleable little fellas. When they can't be with the foods they love, they learn to love the foods they're with. Make a short-term commitment to choosing more wholesome closer-to-nature foods with less added salt, sugar, saturated fat, and trans fat. Within weeks, you'll start to prefer these now-familiar foods."
-- David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center
2. Indulge every day
"Eat a small amount of dark chocolate -- I'm talking a 100-calorie piece that's made of at least 70 percent cacao -- every day. I consider it 'the daily dark chocolate escape.' Doing this curbs your cravings for both sweet and salty foods. You're much more likely to be satisfied and not reach for those cookies or chips. My clients say this allows them to pass up samples at the market without feeling deprived."
-- Cynthia Sass, R.D., author of "Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches" and co-author of "The Ultimate Diet Log"
3 . Bury your cravings
"If you're a soda-lover -- or have another favorite calorie-laden indulgence like potato chips -- hide your stash in a really inconvenient place, like your basement. I do this myself. You'll be less likely to go and grab it. And if you do make the trek, you'll have to burn extra calories to get the treat."
-- Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think"
4. Go for omega-3s
"Get into the habit of popping DHA-based omega-3s -- take two 200-milligram capsules about 30 minutes before both lunch and dinner. Or have 4 ounces of non-fried salmon or trout three times per week, along with six walnuts before each meal. This will decrease your desire for food later on, since this type of omega helps release the hormone cholecystokinin, which reduces appetite. Less food equals a smaller waist!"
-- Michael Roizen, M.D., chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and co-author of "You: On a Diet" and "You: Stress Less"
5. Order with ice
"At a restaurant, make sure your water glass is always topped off and that it's ice cold. Drinking water throughout your meal makes you feel fuller faster, and the coldness causes you to burn more calories to bring the water's temperature up."
-- David Kirsch, New York City-based celebrity trainer (clients include Heidi Klum and Liv Tyler) and author of "The Ultimate New York Diet"
6. Plate like a French woman