Reporter: Shannon Samson
According to a recent survey, one third of all Americans are currently on a diet.
That's the highest number in the past 15 years. Still, every year, the average person gains up to three pounds. But one nutrition expert says it only takes three small steps to change your evil ways for good.
When the swimsuits are out, the diet plans are on. Just the thought of having to try on one makes many women swear off fat and start exercising like crazy. But few can sustain such radical changes.
Nutrition educator Kathy Belcher with the Southeast Dairy Association says they don't have to. Three small steps is all it takes.
Step one... Kick start your day with breakfast. Belcher says, "The National Weight Control Registry studies the habits of those people who lose at least 30 pounds and then keep it off for at least a year. And guess what? ninety percent consistently eat breakfast."
They're eating at least three of the five food groups. Here's an example: Low fat whole grain granola, fruit and milk.
Step two... Get moving. Exercise is the best guarantee for weight loss success and maintenance. Belcher says the trick is finding something you like doing so you'll stay with it.
Step three... Downsize your food portions. This giant double burger is 990 calories, while this junior size is only 410. Belcher says, "We could add a salad with light dressing, low fat milk and still have far fewer calories than we would if we chose the larger burger."
As a spokesperson for an affiliate of the American Dairy Association, Belcher says studies consistently show milk can help you reach your goal. "Two people, both with reduced calories, one's getting three a day of dairy and the other is not, the one getting the milk will lose more body fat, lose more weight overall then the person who is not."
Remember the dairy should be low fat because calories still count. The American Dairy Association is offering two freebies to get you ready for swimsuit season. One is a brochure with health tips and recipes. The other is a 3-week healthy lifestyle start-up plan you can download from their website. Consumers can call 1-800-651-milk (6455) to request the materials or click here.