Someone once said that youth is wasted on the young. As a registered dietitian, I hear this statement uttered by many of my over-40 patients who are trying to lose weight. “If only I were 20 again, I could lose five pounds in a weekend,” they all say in our weight-loss sessions.

There’s some truth to this, of course. Our 20-something selves have a naturally higher metabolism, more muscle and are generally more active than our 40-plus versions. We lose muscle with every decade of life, starting at the end of our 20s.

But instant weight loss is not a guarantee. Many of my patients in their 20s still struggle with losing and keeping off the extra pounds. After all, your third decade of life is filled with more changes than most. Leaving home, independence, your first job and perhaps marriage and kids. Change can often lead to disruption and abandonment of healthy behaviors. Here are some weight-loss tactics to adopt (and avoid) for fighting the battle of the bulge in your 20s and beyond:

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