New study reveals secrets of the effortlessly slim
US researchers have investigated how some people manage to stay slim all their lives without following strict diets and with no apparent effort.
They found that the secrets of success among the “mindlessly slim” include approaching food with pleasure rather than guilt and home cooking with quality produce.
A team from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, studied the behaviour of 112 adults who didn’t follow any kind of restrictive diet and who managed to stay slim without any particular effort, and another group of 35 adults who regularly dieted, thought about food often and were highly conscious of what they ate, particularly in terms of calories.
The participants, who signed up to the study voluntarily, answered a series of 92 questions about eating habits, exercise and daily routines.
“We wanted to see what health behaviours differed between those struggling to lose or maintain weight and the mindlessly slim,” said Brian Wansink, the study’s co-author and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.
After comparing answers from the two groups, the scientists were surprised to find that those who stayed slim naturally chose strategies that differ from traditional advice about how to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
They realised that mindlessly slim individuals tended to choose high-quality foods and cook them at home, and that they listened to their body’s inner cues in order to stay slim.
Another important factor was their attitude to food, as the slim participants didn’t feel as guilty about the idea of overeating, and generally approached food and eating with enjoyment.
The questionnaire found that chicken was the favourite meat of 61% of the mindlessly slim participants and that 35% had salad for lunch every day.
Plus, 65% ate vegetables at dinner time, 33% didn’t drink alcohol and 7% were vegetarian. For breakfast, 31% included eggs in their meal and 51% included fruit and vegetables.
Fresh fruit was a favourite snack for 44% and nuts for 21%. For drinks, 37% never consumed soda, while 33% mentioned a “diet” soft drink and 25% drank regular sodas.
The study showed that exercise played a key part in the lifestyles of the mindlessly slim, with 42% exercising five to seven times a week, 27% exercising three to four times a week and 32% working out zero to two times a week.
The study’s full results can be found here.