Last updated: Feb 18, 2009
Outsmarting your natural instincts, like your primal urge to eat anything in sight when youre hungry, is a surefire way to lose weight and keep it off, says Tufts University nutrition and psychiatry professor Susan B. Roberts, PhD, author of The Instinct Diet (Workman, 2008; $24.95). More than 80 percent of dieters in her program lose 10 to 50 pounds in the first six months, and 90 percent of them avoid regaining all that weight for a full year.


Try it:“Sandwich” the fattening stuff. Eat a small portion of a high-calorie food (mac-and-cheese, anyone?) “sandwiched” between two low-calorie items, like a salad to start and fruit for dessert. This approach fills you with the feel-good chemicals released from calorie-dense meals, minus the overload.

Stay satisfied. Fill up on low-cal but filling foods like beans, tofu, figs, high-fiber cereals, berries, pears, and apples. This trick tames your hunger instinct.

Eat by the clock. Try having meals and snacks at the same time each day to teach your body not to expect food at other times. That will stroke your instinct to stick with the familiar—and help you avoid piling on extra calories by nibbling all day long.