It may seem like the road to weight loss is more like a never-ending journey--fraught with temptation, filled with detours, and paved with sacrifice. And while it's true that there's no eating plan that can make you shed excess pounds overnight, discouraged dieters should take note: You can get on the fast track to a slimmer you by incorporating these quick, painless tips into your daily routine.

10 Speedy Ways to Scale Down

These effortless activities can shift your weight loss into overdrive.

1. Go for the gum. According to a 2007 Scottish study presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Obesity Society, chewing gum for 15 minutes after meals can promote weight loss. As the researchers explained, the act of chewing reduces overall calorie consumption and minimizes cravings.

2. Increase your fiber. Among its many virtues, fiber can make you feel full without adding extra calories to your meals. What's more, it helps to reduce fat absorption and stabilize blood glucose levels, boosting your energy throughout the day.

3. Spice it up. Hot chilies, cayenne, red-pepper flakes, and other spices not only add flavor to your meals, they can elevate your metabolism by raising your heart rate.

4. Blot it out. Blotting your pizza with a paper towel can save you several grams of fat and as many as 150 calories per slice. This may not seem like much, but if you did this once a week for a year, you would lose roughly two pounds.

5. Go negative. Some experts believe that negative calorie foods can promote weight loss. These foods--such as celery, cabbage, and cucumbers--have so few calories that chewing them may expend more energy than your body absorbs by eating them.

6. Keep it cold. Because colder temperatures increase your metabolism, keeping your home comfortably chilly may help you to lose weight. Another cool trick: Add ice to your drinks, or suck on ice cubes throughout the day.

7. Go on the wagon.
Alcohol and weight loss don't mix. A one-ounce shot of liquor contains 65 to 80 calories, a four-ounce glass of wine will cost you at least 75, and a 12-ounce beer has roughly 150 calories. Experts recommend switching to water instead.

8. Get lean. A growing body of research suggests that lean protein, such as lean meat, fish, poultry, and soybeans, can encourage weight loss. In a recent Purdue University study, subjects who consumed 30 percent of their calories from lean protein felt more satisfied and maintained muscle mass better than those who ate less protein.

9. Jot it down. According to a Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research study of more than 2,000 dieters, the greatest predictor of weight-loss success was whether the dieter kept a food diary. In fact, it trumped exercise, age, and even starting body mass index.

10. Be Fidgety. In a 2005 Mayo Clinic study, researchers found that overweight people tend to sit, while lean ones tend to be restless. In fact, those who have trouble sitting still can burn an extra 350 calories a day--about three pounds every month.