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EatingWell: Change these five bad habits to boost your chances of losing weight

If you find you’re struggling to lose weight, it could be that some bad habits are weighing you down. Try these fixes to keep those bad habits in check and you could save 1,335 calories:

1. You think you need a full portion of a decadent treat to feel satisfied

The fix: Share with a friend

Calories saved: 300

You don’t necessarily need a full restaurant serving of something rich and decadent – like French fries or chocolate cake, for instance – to feel satisfied. If you are tempted by such calorie-rich foods, keep your portion in check by sharing a small serving with your dining companion. A portion of restaurant-style French fries can run around 600 calories. Sharing lets you save half those calories and still get your fix!

2. Sticking to the recipe

The fix: Swap in healthier ingredients

Calories saved: 400

You’ve found a recipe for dinner tonight, but there’s just one problem – it’s got mega amounts of cheese and other high-fat, calorie-laden ingredients. Do your waistline a favor and swap in healthier ingredients like low-fat cheese or dairy (or use less than the recipe calls for), bump up the amount of veggies and pick leaner cuts of meat. If you choose a lighter recipe to start with that incorporates some of these tricks, you can save 400 calories over a traditional version.

3. Finishing everything on your plate

The fix: Eat half, save the rest for later

Calories saved: 415

If you’re eating at a restaurant – whether you’re ordering a sandwich for lunch or a regular-size dinner entree – try eating half of what’s on your plate and taking home the rest for another meal, especially if the eatery serves oversize portions. Round out your meal with fewer calories by ordering a side of steamed vegetables or a salad. For example, if you ate just half of the Sizzling Cajun Steak and Shrimp entrée at Applebee’s, you could save 415 calories – and bulk it up with a side of vegetables for just 35 calories. Or you could pick an item from the chain’s Under 550 Calories menu to keep portions, and calories, in check.

4. Wasting calories on add-ons you won’t miss

The fix: Dip, don’t dress, your salad; ditch the top slice of bread

Calories saved: 70 calories; 100 calories

You’ve probably heard that restaurant salads can often be far from a healthy choice. Often drowned in dressing, cheese, bacon bits and croutons, they pack a calorie wallop. Order a salad without dressing, then use the dressing as a dip. You’ll still enjoy the flavor with each bite.

A full-flavored creamy dressing like blue cheese packs 140 calories into 2 tablespoons. Using the dipping method, you’ll probably need a tablespoon or less, saving 70 calories. Using a similar trick, ditch the top slice of bread and eat your sandwich open-faced--erasing about 100 calories.

5. Eating out of boredom

The fix: Go for a walk

Calories saved: 150 calories

The next time you find yourself reaching for those chips in the kitchen cupboard or some other calorie-laden snack out of boredom rather than hunger, substitute an activity instead. Go for a walk, do some push-ups or stretches – and you’ll end up burning calories instead of consuming them.

Kerri-Ann Jennings is a registered dietitian.