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Narrator: American Thoracic Society International Conference, San Diego, May 19-24, 2006. WebMD Medical News: "Sleep Your Way to Weight Loss?" News release, American Thoracic Society; Fowler, S.P. 65th Annual Scientific Sessions, American Diabetes Association, San Diego, June 10-14, 2005; Kathleen Zelman, RD, MPH, WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Dietitian.

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It's that time of year and you're motivated to make a fresh start.

Whistle blowing. 

Hitting tennis ball.

You're already exercising...

Eating smart...

And making sure you get plenty of sleep to avoid weight gain.

Coffee machine

But have you considered the weight of what you drink?

The average American gets approximately 21 percent of their calories from beverages.

Thirst and hunger are two completely different mechanisms. And what happens in weight gain is that people often confuse the two.

And if you would just listen to your thirst and say, hmm, I'm really just thirsty,

and you choose plenty of non-caloric beverages like water, sparking water, coffees,and teas without add-ins, then you can reduce your total caloric intake and it will help you lose weight.

If coffee, tea or H2O don't make your mouth water, you can also get fluids from eating.

Think watermelon, fruits, vegetables, gelatins, soups. That's another way we get fluids.

What happens in water based foods such as soups is that your belly gets full and your signal to your brain is I've had enough and you end up eating less.

So starting your meal with a salad or broth based vegetable soup could be a smart idea.

Another one is to drink low-fat milk and fruit juice, as long as you're careful to choose 100 percent juice, not sugar laden juice mixes. And factor the calories into your diet plan.

In low-fat and skim milk and 100 percent fruit juice you are getting vitamins and minerals,

and especially with milk you're getting minerals and vitamins that are typically lacking in the American diet, such as calcium, potassium and Vitamin D.

And studies have shown there may be an extra weight loss benefit.

Adults who include 3 servings of dairy, which is exactly what the dietary guidelines recommends, can actually lose weight as long as they control their calories

So drink your way to weight loss! You might find it lifts your spirits.

Fluids can energize if you're dehydrated. When you start feeling tired you might just find that a glass of water or a hot cup of tea is all you need to perk you up.

For WebMD, I'm Sandee LaMotte.

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