Calorie counters looking to turn the tables on weight gain have just two days left to phone the free Daily News Diet Hotline.
Our diet and fitness experts are taking a bite out of the Big Apple's obesity epidemic, one call at a time.
"People are suffering from information overload," says dietitian Keri Glassman, founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life. "Weight Watchers says this, Jenny Craig says that, people read one thing one day and another thing the next, so no wonder they are still confused about what they can or cannot eat."
No diet is one-size-fits-all, so New Yorkers need to customize a plan to fit their lifestyle.
"What they should do is take advantage of the fact that there are options, and figure out what works best for them," says dietitian Lisa Moskovitz of the F-Factor Diet. "People want to be told exactly what to eat, but what they need to learn is how to make choices for themselves."
The Diet Hotline is helping confused callers become educated eaters. Dial (212) 210-2044 or email your questions to DietHotline@nydailynews.com.
The first step is forgetting the diet and fitness myths you've always believed. Start with this one: There's no such thing as targeting weight loss to a specific area.
"The only way to spot-reduce is a thing called liposuction," says trainer Jeff Halevy, CEO of Halevy Life. "That's the only way to suck fat out of just one area."
You've got to work the whole body to shed that stubborn belly fat. "You can't target, but when you lose weight overall, it will also leave your belly," says dietitian Anne Ammons from New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. "There are little things you can do to help, however, like focus on building core strength or cutting out carbonated beverages, which can make you bloated and puffy."
Next, say our experts: Don't believe the baked-chip hype. Baked Lays aren't better for you than the original fat trap, says dietitian Melissa Rifkin from Montefiore Medical Center Weiler Division. "They're both bad. And Baked Lays actually have more sodium than the regular kind."
For snackers struggling to kick salty cravings, try a healthy take on fries: Make your own "potato chips" by sprinkling thin sweet-potato slices with a salt substitute, like Mrs. Dash or Nu-Salt, and baking them in the oven.
Whatever you do, eat. Starvation diets are never a quick fix. "Missing meals hurts your metabolism. It slows it down," says June Levine, a dietitian and certified diabetes educator. "Eat small meals throughout the day to boost your metabolism." You'll also be less likely to binge when your appetite kicks in.
Eating right doesn't have to mean giving up your favorite local foodie spot. "One caller who needs to cut his daily bagel and cream cheese habit didn't want to give up going to his regular breakfast place," says Allison Fishman, author of the upcoming "You Can Trust a Skinny Cook."
"We went over the menu together and amped up his breakfast to an egg-white omelet with vegetables on rye toast," she explains, "so he can still say hi to his peeps every day, and he doesn't have to leave
The experts available on the Daily News Diet Hotline cannot give you medical advice or diagnosis. Any information about nutrition and weight control they offer is not intended as, and is not a substitute for, medical advice, counseling or diagnosis. You should consult your doctor before beginning any weight-loss program. The Daily News makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to information given by the hotline experts and under no circumstances will it be liable to any caller or other person for damages of any nature arising in any way from the use of such information.