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updated: 1/4/2012 5:49 PM

Follow Don's tip for successful weight loss

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In January 1990 I began my first 100-plus pound weight loss. Working with a calorie-restricted, hospital-sponsored, doctor-monitored program I lost five pounds a week for 12 weeks.

Thrilling? You betcha!

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Could it have been a big mistake? You betcha!

Studies show that the faster you lose it, the more likely you are to gain it back. Check in with some of TV's "Biggest Losers" after a year and you'll learn the reality of fast weight loss: speedy weight gain.

If you want don't want to fall into weight-loss, weight-gain cycle, follow these seven tips gleaned from my more than 20 years of weight loss and maintenance.

Set a realistic goal. Health authorities agree that if you're overweight, losing 10-percent of your body weight significantly reduces health risk factors. That may not get you into a pair of "skinny" jeans, but achieving that goal can make a difference in losing the next 10 percent.

Plan to lose about a pound a week. If you have 30 or more pounds to lose, consider yourself fortunate. By the time you hit your goal weight your food plan and exercise program will have become second nature, as it did for me; raising your possibility of successful weight maintenance.

Never be hungry. Tilt your food plan to higher protein and less (better yet, no) sugar and refined carbohydrates. A high protein breakfast, not a sugary breakfast cereal, or a refined-carb-loaded bagel gets and keeps me satisfied until the next meal. Studies show, a higher protein food plan keeps hunger at bay.

Exercise for good attitude. Make regular exercise a part of your life and keep exercising after you hit your goal weight. Regular exercise didn't hasten my weight loss, but always changed my attitude for the better, keeping me in a "can do" mood long after I'd left my workout center.

Journal what you eat. Writing down everything you eat throughout every day helps you make good decisions and gives you an historical perspective when needed. I kept from veering off my weight loss path by not eating something because I'd have to write it down.

Who wants to document eating six Oreo's as the cause for a weight loss stall? I sure didn't.

Tip the scales in your favor. No matter what weight-loss program you follow, get on a scale (my reality machine) on the same day of the week, every week and only once a week and record your weight in your journal. Success breeds success; every week you lose weight inspires you to stay the course. If you didn't lose weight or gained, check your journal and you'll probably be able to figure out why.

Burn your britches. From the start, act like your weight loss is permanent. When your clothes get too big, donate them to Goodwill or similar charity. Once you reach your goal, reward your success by buying stylish clothes that fit the new you.

Following my tips can make your weight loss journey an enjoyable one even though, from time to time it may be frustrating. Lean on me for support. Drop me an email and share your struggles and triumphs.

Try this recipe at left: Here's a higher protein, low-carbohydrate, fiber-rich, easy-to-make dinner that will help you stay on your weight-loss path.

• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write him at don@theleanwizard.com.

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