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Lose more than 10 pounds in six weeks

Forget diet pills or starving yourself. TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer offers five simple food swaps to help you lose weight quickly and safely.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Whether you've let your diet go over the winter, or are just looking for a jump start to fit better into some new spring clothes, you don't have to overhaul your life to drop a few pounds.

Here are five simple food swaps that can help you lose more than 10 pounds in the next six weeks — really!

1. Stick to one serving of cereal
For most people, a typical pour of breakfast cereal is equal to two servings. If you’re trying to lose weight, trim calories by accurately measuring one serving into your bowl (usually that means ¾ - 1 cup, but cereal serving sizes vary so you must regularly check the package labeling on your favorite brands and varieties). 

For those who eat a daily bowl of breakfast cereal, follow my lead and you’ll save about 150 calories by cutting back on cereal and at least 50 calories in extra milk every morning. 

Weight loss: That’s 8,400 calories saved and 2.5 pounds lost at the end of six weeks!

2.  Skip your late-night snack
We all feel the need to munch in the evening, and although a p.m. snack can be perfectly appropriate (diet-friendly p.m. snacks should not exceed 150 calories), for many people the evening tends to be the time of day we blow it on calorie overload — comfort food central. Ice cream, cookies, potato chips, popcorn and more! On average, people gobble down WAY more than 250 calories after 8 p.m. 

Exercise some willpower and skip your nighttime snack altogether. Sip an herbal tea, floss/brush your teeth and close down the kitchen for the evening.

Weight loss: You’ll save at least 250 calories each day and after six weeks, you’ll have cut 10,500 calories and dropped three whole pounds!

3.  Scratch the butter/margarine
Cut out a total of one tablespoon of regular butter or margarine from your toast, veggies, potatoes, dinner rolls, etc. each day.

Weight loss: At 100 calories per tablespoon, you’ll save 4,200 calories and drop more than one pound in six weeks.

What if you can’t give up the butter or margarine? At least switch to a soft tub spread that says “reduced fat” and “trans-fat free” on the label — it’s half the calories of the full-fat versions, so you’ll still drop over ½ pound.

4. Lose the mayo and cheese on your sandwich
Omit the slice of cheese and mayonnaise on your sandwich (use mustard instead — only five calories per teaspoon) and you’ll save about 200 calories per sandwich.

Weight loss: If you eat a sandwich a day, you’ll end up saving 8,400 calories AND find yourself 2.5 pounds lighter after just six weeks.

5. Delete the extras
It’s amazing how much extra food we can munch on without realizing it — a grab of this/that off our kid’s plate, an extra packet of ketchup or salad dressing, a bite of your co-worker’s dessert … before you know it, you’ve consumed an extra 800 calories!

Be super mindful and delete the “extras” and you’ll be able to trim a significant amount of calories off your weekly total. Also, pay attention to your beverages (alcohol included) — as well as what’s going into your coffee and tea.

Weight loss: By trimming 1,000 calories off each week (about 150 per day), you’ll save a total of 6,000 calories and drop 1.75 pounds at the end of six weeks! 

Follow all five tips and you'll potentially lose more than 10 pounds at the end of six short weeks. Here's the math: 2.5 pounds + 3 pounds + 1 pound + 2.5 pounds + 1.75 pound = 10+ pounds lost.

For more information on healthy eating, visit Joy Bauer's Web site at