❑ The “good-for-YOU-foods group” consumed significantly more fiber than the control group.

❑ The “good-for-YOU-foods group” consumed higher amounts of good-for-YOU omega-3 and omega-9 fats in the form of olives, fish, and nuts (especially walnuts). Those fats help increase the level of chemicals that make you feel satiated.

❑ The “good-for-YOU-foods group” more than doubled their consumption of fruits and vegetables.

❑ The “good-for-YOU-foods group” ate the foods we recommend here, didn’t obsess about calories, and enabled their bodies to do what they’re supposed to do: regulate the chemicals that are responsible for hunger and for satiety.

Pick and stick. Yeah, sure, variety may be the spice of life, but it can also be the death of healthful eating. When you have lots of choices for a meal, it’s much easier to slip out of good eating habits and into fried-ham-induced bad ones. One way to avoid excess fat intake is to eliminate choices for at least one meal a day. For teens, that’s most often breakfast. So find two or three healthful breakfasts that you like—say, oatmeal, cereal with low-fat milk, yogurt with fruit, or all-natural peanut butter on 100 percent whole wheat bread—and stick to them every day. Every day. Yes, every day. When you make it an automatic choice, you won’t make errors by choosing something unhealthful.

Expand your horizons. Here’s a concept we’re betting you’ve never heard quite this way: obesity is an infectious disease. No, it’s not as if anyone’s going to sneeze cheeseburger bits into your arteries. Nevertheless, there is a major infectious component to obesity; it spreads through social networks. Just consider one study that shows that if one of two friends is obese, the other’s chance of becoming obese increases by 171 percent. That’s why it’s crucial to consider what and whom you surround yourself with. If you socialize with the every-day-is-a-reason-to-eat-lasagna crowd, chances are that you’re going to be knee deep in ricotta without much chance of digging out (except with a fork). But if you’re surrounded by a set of healthy friends, you’ll adopt more healthful habits. Does that mean we suggest that you ditch any overweight friends? Of course not. But maybe it means that you should get out more with friends who have more healthful habits. Let their good habits rub off on you.

Excerpted from YOU(R) Teen: Losing Weight: The Owner’s Manual to Simple and Healthy Weight Management at Any Age. Introduction copyright © 2012 by Michael F. Roizen, MD, and Oz Works, LLC Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.


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