CHANCES are you have a friend, family member or colleague who seems to effortlessly control their weight, while you gain a kilo even thinking about a slice of cake.
What is it that these individuals do differently to the rest of us that sees them keep slim with seemingly very little effort?
There are a number of lifestyle habits these individuals share that the rest of us can learn from, so we too can take control of our weight, for good.
They do not ‘diet’
Forget detoxing, or juice fasts or the latest diet regimen. Evidence suggests that slim people consume a basic healthy diet that eliminates nothing, but seeks balance.
The issue with diets is that they tend to immediately illicit a feeling of restriction and deprivation.
This can lead to an excessive focus on food and eating, fuelling binges and an obsession with food which basically negates any benefits associated with the original diet.
The take home message here is that if a diet feels restrictive, it is unlikely to help you with weight control in the long term.
They exercise, a lot
Evidence suggests that individuals who lose weight and keep it off exercise for at least an hour each day, and those who are naturally slim work out a least five days per week.
Calorie wise, this equates to a 2000-plus calorie burn every single week, or the equivalent of more than a day’s worth of calories for weight control in modern life.
They eat vegetables, a lot of them
No surprises here — with a minimum of 2.5 cups of vegetables the recommended daily intake\.
The dietary regimes which promote long term health, like the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, include 7-10 serves or 3.5-5 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables every single day.
It makes sense. When you eat this much fresh produce, there is far less room for other high calorie foods.
They think quality over quantity
This is a big one. Long term weight control is not about focusing on what you should not eat. It is about enjoying good quality food, high calorie or not.
It means not wasting calories on the mindless extras that slip into our diets without us realising it.
The extra snacks and fillers like hot chips and garlic bread are foods which can add hundreds of calories to our regular intake.
It means enjoying a small serve of good quality cake, rather than eating an entire packet of biscuits.
It’s having a glass or two of great wine rather than a whole bottle of cheap or free grog. It is about asking the question, ‘is this really worth the calories?’
They shop smart
One of the easiest ways to infer diet quality is to inspect your grocery bill. If it is without the processed, packaged snacks and high fat treats, that’s a good sign.
On the other hand, if you regularly purchase foods you know you should not, or do not want to eat, you have lost the battle.
If you buy them, you are eating them. If you know you should not eat them for weight control, you need to get honest and stop buying them.
They cook at home
Meals prepared at home have significantly fewer calories than meals we purchase away from the home.
For example, popular lunch choices at the food court contain almost double the calories of the same meal you prepare for yourself, while restaurant meals can contain an entire day’s worth of calories.
For this reason, simply cooking at home more is an easy step towards weight control.
They keep their diet stable
It does not matter if it is Christmas, a major birthday, or winter time. Individuals who control their weight maintain diet structure.
There is no such thing as taking a day or even a week off their diet, rather there is a one off heavier meal or occasional treat, and the normal diet resumed straight after.
They snack smart
Forget packaged snacks, low fat treats and processed foods. Snacking means something light and nutritious for those in control of their weight.
Fruit, nuts and dairy are all nutrient rich, calorie controlled and natural food options are best. These actually represent a snack in calorie terms, rather than the mini meals many of us turn snacking into.
They don’t do food guilt
Forget diet talk and cycles of deprivation and bingeing depending on what you have eaten.
Food is not used to soothe emotional states and there is an understanding that at times we will overindulge and consume higher fat, higher calorie foods, but it all evens out eventually.
There is no guilt nor compensatory behaviours associated with eating. It is about good habits, the occasional treats and that boring concept of balance.
They keep an eye on their weight
Individuals who control their weight frequently report weighing themselves regularly.
Not only does regular weighing mean that you notice when the scales are creeping up, but you can also respond quickly and take the steps required to reverse weight gain, before it becomes significant.