NEWS2U Health & Wellness
Living Healthy in an Unhealthy World

Friday, November 10, 2006

7 Healthy Habits of Weight Maintainers

Diet Blog - No More Big Fat Lies

There is a mountain of information available telling you how to lose weight. However there is precious little guidance telling you how to maintain your body weight.

So what are some habits that keep people lean? We all know someone who eats like a horse, but resembles a beanpole - however this is the exception rather than the rule. Most people who maintain their weight do so because they have implemented some positive habits.

1. They have pre-planned sessions of exercise.
Incidental exercise is good, but in all honesty - it's not enough. People who maintain their weight have learned to schedule dedicated times of exercise. Those times are not torture sessions, but times when they look forward to the stress-release and the positive feelings of well-being after the session.

2. They take an interest in nutrition.
Most people that look after their bodies know exactly what they are putting into it. They know how to read food labels, and they understand what it means. They know the difference between processed foods and whole foods.

3. They eat mindfully.
Eating mindfully means you are fully aware of how much you are eating. Everyone can get distracted, but the maintainer knows which situations make it difficult for them to eat mindfully (buffets, TVs, stress).

4. They go easy on fast food.
I've seen people who scarf down cheeseburger after cheeseburger and yet maintain their weight... and then they grow out of their teens and into their late twenties and thirties and discover a bulging waistline.

The maintainer knows that fast food consumption has to be carefully managed, and good choices must be made. They know the good choices because of #2.

5. They know how to vary their food intake.
Some days you eat more, some less. Sometimes you have big meals, sometimes small. The maintainer knows that if you overeat, then you must balance that out - and that overindulgence is an occasional thing - not a daily habit.

6. They know when they've had enough.
A common issue today is that people have lost track of when enough is enough. Whether due to hormonal imbalances (such as leptin/ghrelin), poor food choices, or behavioral issues - we don't seem to know when to stop eating. The weight maintainer has learned to follow cues from their stomach, and to stop eating before they are uncomfortably full. And even when they can't trust their belly - the maintainer knows what an appropriate portion size is.

7. They've learned that good things take time.
Someone who maintains their weight knows that a crash diet will never have the long-term affects that they desire. They know that quick-fixes are not the answer, and that many things - including building fitness, losing fat, building muscle, take many months or even years of dedication.

UPDATE: Why stop at seven?

8. They have learned new coping strategies that don't involve food or alcohol.

9. They have learned how to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet as part of a new lifestyle.