The Pritikin Calorie Counting Solution for Weight Loss
HIDDEN DANGERS IN COUNTING CALORIES
The team at Pritikin Longevity Center, an award-winning weight loss spa and resort in Miami, Florida, tells us “Counting calories is often the wrong way to lose weight. That’s because counting calories leaves many of feeling hungry and deprived most of the time.” “We need to free ourselves from chronic hunger,” counsels Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin. “Long-term success at losing weight means being able to fill up. It means enjoying satisfying amounts of food throughout the day.” In this article, Pritikin describes it calorie counting solution.
There is a basic biological truth: When you eat fewer calories than your body burns, you lose weight.
The problem is, we in America do not know how to spread our calories out. That’s in large part because we live in a hyperprocessed society. Most of our food does not come straight from the soil. It comes from factories, juice bars, and restaurants that churn out products that are jammed, unnaturally so, with sugars, refined flours, fats, oils, and yes, calories.
The upshot? In just a few swallows (long before our stomachs are saying, “we’re full”) we’ve taken in huge amounts of calories. How huge? Check out the 7 calorie whoppers in the slide-show shown below, plus Pritikin-recommended alternatives. What’s sadly ironic about these 7 calorie whoppers is that they’re often touted by the food industry as “health” foods. Keep reading. You’ll discover what’s truly healthy and waist-slimming.
THE CALORIE DENSITY SOLUTION
Success at shedding weight is not about counting calories. Success is paying attention to the calorie density of the foods we eat, point out the doctors and dietitians in their wellness education workshops at the Pritikin Longevity Center.
Calorie density is the concentration of calories in any given weight of food. Certain foods have more calories packed into them – bite for bite or pound for pound – than others. Fresh tomatoes, for example, have about 90 calories per pound. Bagels pack in more than 1,200 calories per pound. It’s obvious that the bagels are higher – a lot higher – in calorie density.
To lose weight, you want low-calorie-dense foods. You want to take in 5 to 20 calories per bite, not 50 to 200-plus. It’s the best way to ensure that you’re eating plenty of satisfying food throughout the day, food that actually fills you up and keeps hunger at bay.
“When you’re keeping hunger at bay, you’re more successful at keeping temptation at bay, which means your weight-loss efforts have a fighting chance,” sums up Dr. Jay Kenney, PhD, RD, Nutrition Research Specialist at Pritikin.
There are several classes at the Pritikin Center on how to use the calorie density solution in everyday life, in which the faculty point out two simple rules of thumb:
RULE #1: STEER CLEAR OF BOTH FATTY AND DRY FOODS
Most of us know what fatty foods are, and what they can do to our waistlines, but we’re often unaware that dry foods like cold cereals, breads, muffins, dried fruit, pretzels, and even so-called “healthy” snacks like veggie chips and dried green beans can lead to bulging waistlines, too. Especially damaging, very often, are foods that are fatty and dry, like nuts, croissants, donuts, chocolate bars, cookies, energy bars, granola cereals, cheesy breads, and potato chips. They all pack a lot of calories into very small amounts of food.
RULE #2: EAT FOODS NATURALLY RICH IN WATER AND FIBER
Foods that tend to be naturally rich in water and fiber are whole foods – that is, foods that you can actually recognize as having coming from the earth, like fruits, vegetables, and potatoes (not dried fruits, dried veggies, and dried potatoes, a.k.a potato chips). Also low or moderately low in calorie density are cooked whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta, and legumes like pinto beans, garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils. When cooked, they’re not only water-rich, they’re fiber-rich. Other low- to moderately-calorie-dense choices include nonfat dairy foods and lean meat like fish, white poultry without the skin, and game meat like bison.
“With food choices like these,” sums up Pritikin dietitian Kimberly Gomer, “there’s no need for counting calories anymore. You’re just naturally keeping your calorie intake under control. You can eat whenever you’re hungry and shed excess weight.” There’s another big bonus: You’ll be enjoying foods that are naturally rich in good nutrition.
SHOW AND TELL
In this slide show, on the left you’ll see high-calorie-dense choices, including so-called health foods. Stay away from these choices. On the right, for the same number of calories, are lower-calorie-dense choices. The right side (the Pritikin Eating Plan) is all about eating more, counting less, and weighing less.
Eugenia Killoran has been the food and fitness journalist for the Pritikin Program since 1992. She has published more than 3,000 articles, lectures, and book chapters on a wide variety of healthy living and weight-loss topics. The Pritikin Eating Plan is proven in more than 100 peer-reviewed studies to have life-saving benefits like lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Plus, you aren’t losing your mind while losing weight. There’s no calorie counting, no hunger. Just plenty of healthy, whole foods deliciously prepared, like the recipes shared with Spa Index. Pritikin was the first comprehensive lifestyle program in America, and after 39 years on the cutting edge of lifestyle science, we are still the longest-running, most successful program for reversing many of modern society’s health concerns, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. More than 100,000 people worldwide have come to Pritikin Longevity Center, in Miami Florida, for one-week programs, two-week programs, or longer. For some, the primary goal is losing weight. Others want to prevent and address health issues. Still others seek the ultimate spa-health vacation. Everyone leaves feeling better and, best of all – living better.