5 Dos for Healthy, Long-Term Weight Loss

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5 Dos for Healthy, Long-Term Weight Loss

[Although we may not agree with everything that comes from Pritikin, many helpful suggestions are provided that can promote good nutrition and better health.  RH]

Instead of dieting, focus on living. The following 5 tips will help you shed weight without feeling hungry, improve your health, and help you feel stronger and more vibrant than you have in years. This is living. This is Pritikin!

 

1. Give healthy habits a chance to develop.

Habits are learned behaviors, and science tells us that it takes time (about three weeks) for a behavior, like eating less salt, to turn into a habit. (“I just naturally want less salt in my food; I’m not even thinking about it anymore.”)

So practice patience. Allow yourself, day by day, to get into the rhythm of your healthy new life. The more you do it – the more, for example, you tell your server, “Leave the butter off my toast, please,” or the more mornings you’re up and exercising – the easier it gets.

And here’s the really good news. Before long, you’ll likely find your attitude shifting from “I should” to “I want.” And what a great feeling that is! You look forward to your healthy breakfast every morning, your fresh fruit-and-yogurt snacks, your bean-rich chilies, and much more. You’re getting thinner and thinner. Your blood pressure and other numbers are superb. You’re feeling fabulous, and you’re wondering, “Why did I ever live any other way?”

Of course, there’ll be exceptions to your daily routine, like weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, holidays, and other special events. So maybe you’ll splurge a little. THAT’S FINE. Far more important than what you do at a few special events each year is what you’re doing the other 350 days of the year. Recognize the exceptions, don’t beat yourself up about them, and move on.

Do be careful of old habits that may sneak back, like a teaspoon of olive oil in your salad that morphs after awhile into five tablespoons. It’s these sneaky retreads that can get you into trouble. Every night before falling asleep, assess the day. Ask yourself, “What worked?” “What’s getting slippery?” “What can I do tomorrow to get myself onto a better track?”

2. Steer clear of calorie-dense foods.

Obvious no-nos are high-fat, high-sugar foods like candy bars, cookies, and trail mix, but high-calorie-dense carbs like breads, bagels, and crackers are also problematic if you’re trying to lose weight. A good rule of thumb: Stay away from dry carbohydrates – even healthier options, like breads, pretzels, dried cereals, fat-free chips, and dried fruit. They all pack a whole lot of calories into very small packages. And eliminate refined carbohydrates, such as white flour, fruit juices, sweeteners, and sugars.

Choose instead carbohydrates that are full of fiber and water, which tend to make them low-calorie-dense and weight-loss-promoting. Good choices are fruits, vegetables, hot cereals, potatoes, corn, beans, peas, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, leafy green and veggie salads, and yams. They take up a lot of space in our stomach, which means there’s less room for the pound-producing foods — and less desire for them.

Steer clear of liquid calories, too. They’re packed with calories but do little to curb appetite. One glass of orange juice, for example, is the caloric equivalent of eight oranges.

3. Enjoy unlimited vegetables.

Get in the habit of tossing extra veggies into just about everything you eat, like soups, salads, pastas, and rice dishes.

4. Rev up your creativity.

Keep hunting for new foods and flavors. The produce aisle – season by season – is especially full of surprises. When you find something new and provocative, from passion fruit to persimmons, ask the produce people for food prep tips. At the very least, just about everything in the produce aisle can be cut up and tossed into your salad!

Find new ways to enjoy old favorites. Season-fresh pears, for example, go extraordinarily well in a leafy green salad . . . .

5. Surround yourself with healthy snacks.

And keep your snacks visible. For example, put a big bowl full of fresh fruit on your kitchen table (rather than in a bottom drawer in the fridge). Then keep replenishing that bowl. Great snack choices include:

·       Fresh fruit

·       Fresh veggies and hummus

·       Rice cakes and salsa

·       Nonfat yogurt, including nonfat plain Greek varieties, with fresh or frozen fruit

·       Unsweetened applesauce

·       Baked potatoes (for convenience, try the individually shrink-wrapped and pre-washed varieties)

·       Sweet potatoes (again, the shrink-wrapped varieties are quick and easy options)

·       Corn on the cob

·       Corn tortillas topped with lettuce, diced onions, a little salsa, and bean dip

·       Hearty bean-rich soups

Keep healthy snacks everywhere – at home, at the office, in your car, and in your purse and gym bag. And never leave home without taking a snack or two with you. (It’s one of the best ways to resist pulling into a fast-food drive-thru. )

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