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5 Ways to manage your weight

The experts at Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa offer these five tips to managing your weight.

Have your well-intended new year's health resolutions started to lose their appeal? It's a good thing that National Healthy Weight Week (January 20 - 26) occurs three weeks into the new year. We know how challenging it can be to stay on track once the excitement of setting goals begins to wane. To help you stay motivated, the experts at Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa offer the following tips to embrace those diet and fitness goals for life.
Have your well-intended new year's health resolutions started to lose their appeal? It's a good thing that National Healthy Weight Week (January 20 - 26) occurs three weeks into the new year. We know how challenging it can be to stay on track once the excitement of setting goals begins to wane. To help you stay motivated, the experts at Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa offer the following tips to embrace those diet and fitness goals for life.

1. Exercise

Exercise is key to torching calories and boosting your health. The Pritikin Program recommends a comprehensive plan involving 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity at least six days a week, resistance training two to three times weekly, and stretching, optimally every day, explains Scott Danberg, MS, director of exercise at Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa. "And don’t forget interval training – one to two minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise alternated with one to two minutes of low intensity exercise," he adds. "Intervals really can burn extra calories and help you break through plateaus.”

2. Eat water-rich foods

Fill up on water-rich, fiber-filled foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, hot cereals, potatoes, corn, yams, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. Foods with a lot of water usually provide a lot of stomach-filling volume, but not a lot of calories. A pound of vegetables, for example, adds up to a mere 65 to 195 calories. Yet it’s one whole pound of food. A pound of fruit is only about 200 to 400 calories. A pound of beans, hot cereals, potatoes, corn, yams, whole-wheat pasta, or brown rice ranges from just 400 to 750 calories. Water-rich, fiber-rich foods offer one other priceless bonus – they’re the best foods for your health. Scores of studies have found that the populations of the world whose diets are based on whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans have the longest lives and the lowest rates of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and many cancers on earth.

3. Don’t drink your calories

Water-rich foods will help you manage your weight but liquid calories won't. The experts at Pritikin recommend cutting out calorie-containing beverages like soft drinks, alcohol, milk shakes, and even fruit and vegetable juices (eat whole fruits and veggies, instead). Peel an orange. Finish off a big crisp apple. Snack on carrots. For the calories in one kid-size box of apple juice, you can enjoy an apple, an orange, and a slice of watermelon. Now that’s satiating!

4. Keep it simple, silly

Watch out for buffets and other places with increased variety of tastes, textures, colors, and flavors.  Variety stimulates appetite, and sometimes it’s difficult to turn away the smells of the dessert cart after a big meal. When you’re satisfied, the only foods that may tempt you to eat more are those that are low in satiety yet high in calories, like rich desserts.  “Rich desserts are great for packing on the pounds but a disaster if you want to lose weight and keep it off,” warns Dr. James Kenney, nutritional research specialist at Pritikin. “If you’re limiting your variety of choices at each meal, you’ll actually feel full on fewer calories. That’s how you’ll lose weight.”

5. Eat intuitively

Eating only when hungry doesn’t mean you wait until you’re famished and lunging for every cheeseburger in sight – instead, listen for those little hunger pangs that tell you, “Time to eat.” Then go ahead and eat. By waiting to eat, you’re getting more satiety out of that meal than if you’d eaten the same meal when you weren’t hungry. More satiety means less calorie intake overall. Waiting to eat until hungry also makes the food much tastier. “If you’re really hungry, a plain baked potato, a little piece of fish, and some steamed vegetables tastes pretty darn good,” adds Dr. Kenney.

Sticking to a plan to help you reach any goal can seem challenging at times. However, if you keep your eye on the prize as you accomplish steps along the way, you will feel more motivated to keep at it. Celebrate National Healthy Weight Week by re-committing to your new year's health resolutions and putting the above tips to work.

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