Instead of being jealous of your effortlessly slim friends, it might be worth asking about their habits. According to a new study from the Cornell Food & Brand Lab, many slim people (who aren’t on strict diets!) use less traditional tactics that could aid in weight maintenance. The findings were presented at Obesity Week in November 2015, and the proceedings were posted online in early 2016.
Using the Slim by Design Registry (now called the Global Healthy Weight Registry), the researchers surveyed adults who have been successful in maintaining a healthy body weight over their lifetime. After answering questions about their diet, exercise, and daily routines, the respondents were divided into two groups.
The first group, which consisted of 112 adults, rarely dieted and were considered “mindlessly slim.” Eighty percent of the group was female, with an average height of 5 feet, 6 inches and an average weight of 136 pounds. The second group dieted much more frequently and thought regularly about what they ate.
After comparing each group’s results, the researchers found that the weight loss tactics used by the first group strayed from traditional weight-related recommendations—but were successful nonetheless. These strategies included eating high-quality foods (65 percent ate vegetables at dinner every day, and 51 percent ate fruits and vegetables with breakfast), cooking at home instead of dining at restaurants, and listening to their inner cues. Additionally, they didn’t feel as guilty about over-eating, and had an enjoyment-based approach to food.
“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,” Anna-Leena Vuorinen, lead researcher of the study, said in a statement.
Hoping to lose weight without going on a diet? Try implementing these small changes into your daily routine.