How to Live Life Like a Thin Person
Some people maintain a healthy weight naturally. The rest of us can successfully fit into our jeans year after year by learning about and adopting the lifestyle habits of those enviable folks.
“There’s really no mystery to attaining and maintaining a healthy weight,” says Tara Gidus, M.S., R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association based in Orlando, Fla. “The most important things are to eat a low-fat, low-calorie diet and be physically active.”
The National Weight Control Registry tracks people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for five years or more. So far, more than 5,000 people are registered, and according to Ms. Gidus, their approach has become the gold standard for weight loss and maintenance.
If you are an average healthy adult, adopting the following lifestyle habits of people in the registry can help you do the same.
Fill your shopping cart with healthy low-fat foods. Include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein such as chicken and fish, whole-grain breads and cereals and low-fat dairy foods.
Choose good carbs
Eat a moderate amount of good carbohydrates. Everyone needs to eat good carbs -- fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- and eating these foods in reasonable portions can help you lose and maintain weight.
Self-monitor your weight
Self-monitoring involves being aware of subtle weight gain either by weighing yourself regularly or noticing when your clothes are getting too tight, and then making changes to reverse the gain. Some research has shown that daily weighing and immediate adjustment of exercise and food consumption to correct weight gain is an effective way to achieve and maintain weight loss.
Body weight can fluctuate from day to day because of water retention, but if it goes up three to five pounds and stays there over several days, it’s time to cut calories or exercise more, says Ms. Gidus. “Catching extra pounds early makes them easier to shed.”
Get up and go
Physical activity, in the form of structured exercise or lifestyle activity, is one of the crucial strategies for attaining and maintaining a healthy weight. Most people who are overweight tend to have the lowest levels of physical activity compared with healthy-weight people.
“Finding extra opportunities to be active by increasing your energy expenditure throughout the day burns calories and increases muscle mass, which in turn raises your metabolism, helping your body burn more calories even when at rest,” says Ms. Gidus. “Every time you take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk several blocks before catching a bus or subway, you’re burning calories that can help you prevent weight gain.”
Numerous studies have shown people who eat a healthy breakfast -- cereal topped with fruit or a piece of whole-wheat toast -- tend to eat fewer calories the rest of the day than people who skip the morning meal.
Eat slowly and mindfully
“Because it takes your stomach 15 to 20 minutes to register fullness, people who eat fast tend to put away more calories than they need before they feel full,” explains Ms. Gidus.
Mindless eating behaviors that can lead to overeating include eating food out of a bag, eating on the couch while watching TV or snacking while driving.
“People who tend to eat anywhere and everywhere tend to overeat,” says Ms. Gidus. “Limiting your eating to times when you’re sitting at your dining or kitchen table can help you maintain a healthy calorie intake.