Eat this. Don't eat that.
Stop snacking to lose weight.
A calorie is a calorie, and all you need to do to drop the pounds is to eat fewer of them.
Carbs and fruit are making you fat -- cut them out!
Just eat more protein and your metabolism will be. On. Fire.
Want to slim down? Go on a juice detox and you'll drop those dress sizes just like that!
Let's face it: With over 100 million people in the United States on a diet and thanks to the Internet, there has never been more diet information available at our fingertips than there is right now.
But the scary thing is, most diets don't work, at least not for the long term.
So how do you start shrinking that waistline without depriving yourself, messing up your metabolism with crash diets, and ending up regaining all the weight you've lost?
The short answer to this complex question: By setting up your body for weight loss from the inside-out.
Here are three ways to start:
1. Stop relying on willpower alone
If you're relying on just willpower to eat healthily all day, you're setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
Just like a muscle, willpower weakens as you use it, says Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University and the co-author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.
And because we're bombarded with situations that require us to use our self-control all day, such as making decisions, keeping our emotions and behavior in check, and performing at work, our willpower stores become depleted over time, leaving us vulnerable to making wrong food choices towards the end of the day.
2. Rewire your brain for a slim-down
What you should be doing instead is to establish new circuits within your brain that enable you to establish better, healthier habits that in turn, create a powerful momentum for change (and weight loss), say human behavioral experts like Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit.
The best way to do this? Identify your overeating or binge triggers, and use a new activity that diverts you away from your old one (eating or drinking), but delivers the same rewards, such as relief from stress or emotional pain.
Then, repeat this new activity over and over again until it automatically becomes your brain's behavior of choice when your triggers are activated.
3. Let your body tell you what it needs
If you're trapped in a vicious cycle of overeating and food restriction, chances are you're probably out of touch with your body's hunger and fullness cues.
The good news is that you can gradually work your way out of these extremes by practicing mindful habits like eating slowly and eating until you're 80 percent full to tap into your body's appetite-regulating mechanisms. This way, you won't need to resort to external portion control measures such as calorie counting and weighing your food, which tend to become tiresome and tedious eventually.
In addition to allowing you to tune in to these built-in weight-regulation mechanisms, being present and mindful while you're eating (taking the time to savor every bite, as well as the smell, texture and taste of your food) has one other significant benefit: It can turn any meal into a stress-busting, meditative ritual, like the way it has done for me.
Sick of yo-yo and crash dieting to lose weight, only to regain everything you've lost and more? Sign up for Michele's free, Lose 4 Pounds in 4 Weeks Without Going On A Diet email course to learn how to start dropping those jean sizes and keep them off for life.
Photo credit: Ali Inay