September 07, 2001

Sticking to your diet may be easier if you get creative. Researchers think these fresh ideas, like being playful and positive reinforcement, hold a lot of promise.

1. Be playful
Digital puzzles and word games can distract you from craving diet-busting treats, says New York City psychologist Carl Arinoldo, an expert in stress and weight management.

2. Bet on yourself
In a University of Pennsylvania study, dieters who put money into a pool—with the reward of splitting the pot if they reached their diet goals—shed more pounds than those who didnt ante up. Get started on sites like or

3. Do Smileys
Stick a pic of your kids (or any happy image) on your fridge, and youll be more likely to reach for a healthier snack. The good vibes can help you meet big goals, according to a study from the University of Chicago and the University of Georgia.