They seem to eat more than you, yet you're overweight and they effortlessly fit into size 8 jeans. Just how do slim people do it?
You assume their irritatingly ideal BMI (Body Mass Index) is due to an accelerated metabolic rate, thin genes or some secret diet they haven't told you about. When, in fact, there is no mystery about how the slim keep their weight under control.
Genetics and health certainly play a part, but it's a person's habits that tip the scales in the weight-loss stakes. Look closely and you'll find that most slim people have a simple set of seven lifestyle habits that keep the excess kilos away.
Habit one: slim people don't diet
That's because dieting makes you fat, miserable and obsessive. Dieting sends your body into famine mode. Reduced kilojoule intake sends a message to your brain that starvation could be imminent. Your body responds to the threat by lowering your metabolic rate. That means you're not burning kilojoules as efficiently as before. The result it's easier for you to put on weight and harder to get it off.
Habit two: slim people eat junk
Yes, most slim people indulge in the occasional hamburger with the works, dessert and chocolate. That doesn't mean they eat a whole family block every day, but they know the occasional piece isn't going to cause any damage.
Exerting huge amounts of willpower trying to resist a banned food usually makes you more obsessive eventually craving it. The end result is usually a binge. Instead of banning certain foods try telling yourself, "chocolate once in a while is okay and isn't going to cause any problems". This kind of self-talk says I'm watching what I eat but I'm not depriving myself either.
Habit three: slim people don't binge
As a general rule, most people in their healthy weight range tend to stop eating, even though they love their food as much as you do, once they feel the edge has been taken off their hunger. They realise they can always have more later when they're hungry. Try it. Learn to eat when you're hungry and stop when the edge has been taken off your hunger. If you want to eat everything in one go stop and remind yourself you can eat again when you're hungry. Most people get hunger signals every three or four hours.
Habit four: slim people aren't obsessed
It's not normal to think about food morning, noon and night. Yet this is what most people with a weight problem do and slim people don't. You need to become comfortable with food again. A good place to start is to only think about what you're going to eat when you get hungry.
Work out what you're going to have eat it and then forget about it. Get out of the habit of analysing your food. Don't count fat grams or kilojoules. If you're tempted, just remind yourself that food is just energy and doesn't require analysis. Then when you have finished eating, get back into whatever it was you were doing before.
Habit five: slim people don't abuse food
A lot of people use food to help them deal with emotional problems. If you think you might be an emotional overeater you need to uncover which emotions trigger a splurge. Ask yourself next time you're going to binge what you're really feeling. Are you angry, stressed, down? Once you know why you overeat you can then focus on constructive ways to resolve your problems once and for all.
Habit six: slim people exercise
Research shows that today's increase in obesity is due to our sedentary lifestyles. Cars, lifts, elevators, office work are largely to blame. You need to counteract the negative effects your lifestyle might be having on your body.
Walk instead of driving. Use the stairs instead of the elevator or lift and spend an afternoon walking around the shops. Just think the next time you use the Internet to buy your groceries that shopping burns 84 kilojoules every 10 minutes.
Habit seven: slim people enjoy their life
For a lot of slim people, eating well and getting plenty of exercise is a way of life. If they're putting on weight they don't suddenly claim, "Today I'm starting a new diet" and make it as far as lunchtime before giving up.
Most slim people don't believe the latest fad diet or wonder weight loss pill has the answers to staying in shape. To regulate your body weight a series of lifestyle habits has to be created to support health and weight loss.
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