Lose 5 pounds by making small changes

December is the heart of the food season, making it tough for dieters to lose weight.

"I am trying to lose ten pounds," said Freda Coppa.

"I can't seem to break to that next level," said Gwendolyn Graham.

So for three weeks they said "no" to traditional dieting and "yes" to common sense methods to cut calories.

Starting with breakfast. Which would use choose, Cocoa Puffs or Vanilla Almond Crunch?

Actually from a calorie standpoint it's okay to go for the Cocoa Puffs. One cup has 120 calories compared to a cup of Captain Crunch at 266. Adding skim milk and fresh fruit helps balance the meal.

Adding Tabasco sauce or anything with chili peppers revs up your metabolism, torching off additional calories if you keep fiery foods in your meal plan.

And something as simple as losing a slice of bread, like in an open face sandwich can save you 80 to 100 calories a day. Do the math, that's nearly 700 calories a week.

"I cut out all the in between snacking and after dinner snacking," said Graham.

Experts often suggest snacking to prevent cravings, but since a true snack is about 150 calories, having three meals -- no snacks can save 300 calories.

Veggie chips sound good but calorie-wise they're just about even with potato chips.

Many of us tend to eat fast. A timer can help you pace your meal.

"I tried to take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes," said Coppa.

The added time signals the brain you are full and can reduce calories by 180 a day.

If you have to have a sweet, choose wisely. Some healthy energy bars have 140 calories. One piece of good dark chocolate, has just 78 calories.

After three weeks all three women lost at least five pounds and can now zip up those favorite jeans.

"I tried them on and I was so excited I was almost in tears," said Coppa.

"The word diet never came into the picture. It was just something here and there, little slight changes here and there that did the trick," said Lila Jean Trivisonno.

All these tips can shave 500 calories from your day -- without making you feel like you're on a diet.

In one week's time, that adds up to 3500 calories, which is the exact amount in one pound of fat.

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