If you’re like most people, then by February your New Year’s resolutions are beginning to go by the wayside. To help deal with staying on track, top health experts at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Fla., have compiled no-fail tips:
Exercise is great, as long as you know your limits. Starting out by doing too much too soon can quickly lead to burnout, so its important to follow guidelines. Just don’t go overboard with exercise, however. If you are unaccustomed to exerting yourself, build strength and stamina slowly over time.
When it comes to your diet, concentrate on filling foods. Water-rich, fiber-filled foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grain hot cereals, sweet potatoes, corn, yams, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice contain a lot of water and will fill you up. A pound of vegetables, for example, adds up to a mere 65 to 195 calories, yet it’s one whole pound of food.
It’s better to eat, not drink your calories. Cut back, or avoid altogether, high calorie-containing beverages like soft drinks, alcohol, milkshakes and even fruit and vegetable juices. After a glass of orange juice, you’re far more likely to consume more food (and more calories) than if you’d eaten a whole orange. A glass of orange juice alone is double the calories (100 to 110) of a medium-sized whole orange (50).
Simplify. The experts advise watching out for all-you-can eat buffets and places with enticing varieties of tastes, textures, colors and flavors. Having so many choices stimulates appetite, making it more difficult to turn away, such as giving in to the dessert cart after a big meal. The best way to stay satiated and control calories is to make your own meals; however, when out at a restaurant or a friend’s house, focus on the healthier snacks to curb that dessert craving.
Only eat when hungry. The calories that get us into trouble are those we eat for reasons other than hunger. Eating only when really hungry doesn’t mean waiting till you’re famished, it means getting in tune with your body signals, listening for those little hunger pangs that tell you when its 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 equals 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,” says Dr. Kenney of the Pritikin Longevity Center.