Do you have a friend who never worries about weight but stays slim, seemingly without effort? Those people are definitely in the minority. The National Institutes of Health estimates that more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of Americans are overweight or obese, and many people who are a healthy weight struggle to keep it in check.
Researchers at Cornell Food and Brand Lab refer to those that maintain a healthy weight as the "mindlessly slim" and wondered if they had secrets to keeping unwanted pounds off that might help others lose weight.
They created a registry called the Global Healthy Weight Registry to survey adults who have been slim throughout their lives. Volunteers answered questions about diet, exercise, and daily routines.
Researchers divided the participants into two groups. One group said they didn't diet. The second group dieted regularly, reported they thought about food frequently, and were very conscious of what they ate.
"We wanted to see what health behaviors differed between those struggling to lose or maintain weight and the mindlessly slim," said director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab Brian Wansink, Ph.D. "We wanted to find the small or simple behaviors that might have a big impact."
Researchers compared the responses from both groups and found that the mindlessly slim people often used strategies different from traditional weight loss advice. First, they ate high-quality foods, and they cooked them at home. If they overate, they didn't feel as guilty as the other group. Also, their approach to food and eating was based on enjoyment, and they listened to inner clues their bodies were telling them.
"These results are encouraging because they imply that instead of putting restrictions on one's diet and avoiding favorite foods, weight gain could be prevented early on by learning to listen to inner cues and putting emphasis on the quality instead of the quantity of food," says lead researcher Anna-Leena Vuorinen, of VTT Technical Research Center in Finland and former visiting scholar at the Food and Brand Lab.
© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.