If there is one thing to avoid when trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, it's a restrictive diet! Instead, simple routine behaviors may be key.
To shed light on the health behaviors of those who maintain a healthy weight, Cornell Food and Brand Lab researchers developed an online Global Healthy Weight Registry (formerly named the Slim by Design Registry). Adults of healthy weight were invited to sign up for the registry and then answer questions about diet, exercise, and daily routines (see the infographic for more details about registry participants).
The researcher's analysis of 147 adult Registry participants unveiled some common routine behaviors of those who stay healthy and slim. Namely, 96% reported eating breakfast, 42% exercised 5+ times a week, and 50% weighed themselves at least weekly. Although 74% never or rarely dieted, 92% reported being conscious of what they ate. As part of their habits that lead to weight control, 44% reported at least one non-restrictive strategy (such as listening to inner cues, cooking at home, and eating high-quality, non-processed foods).
What stood out most in these findings according to the study's co-author, Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Food and Brand Lab and author of the book Slim by Design was that: "Most slim people don't employ restrictive diets or intense health regimes to stay at a healthy weight. Instead, they practice easy habits like not skipping breakfast, and listening to inner cues. If you struggle with weight, try adding these simple practices to your routine, you may be surprised how easy it is to be healthy!"
The findings of this study were presented at Obesity Week 2015, Los Angeles, CA on November 4th and are published in the conference proceedings on page 71. The research was conducted by Anna-Leena Vuorinen, of VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, PhD student at the University of Tempere and a former visiting scholar at the Food and Brand Lab, Megan Zhou, a Cornell University alumna and Brian Wansink. The study was self-funded by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.