While it may seem like some people maintain their weight effortlessly compared to others, that’s not necessarily true, especially because you never really know what’s going on with someone’s health. Someone who is “skinny” does not mean they are always healthy, and someone not being skinny does not mean they are unhealthy. However, if your own goal is to lose weight and get to a place where you’re personally comfortable, there are a few eating habits that can help you achieve a leaner body.
Weight loss and losing weight looks different for everyone, and each individual needs to find their own plan or way of doing things that are healthy and sustainable for them, but there are some dietitian-approved tips that can help at all levels. Focusing on these tricks that most people can apply to their daily routine will get you to your goals much more sustainably than focusing on quick fixes or fad diets.
That said, there is no fast track to success. A lean body for life takes time, and there are certain habits that take time and energy to practice before they become part of your lifestyle. But taking the time to work on them pays off in the long run! So what are some of the eating habits that can help you achieve a lean body over time? Read on to find out, and for more healthy eating tips to help you maintain your lean physique for the long term, be sure to also check out Do you want a lean body for good? Adopt these 8 eating habits.
You may think you need to eat a lot less to lose weight, which can lead to skipping meals and not getting enough calories. However, those who are thinner tend not to skip meals and they also eat when hungry.
“When we eat regularly, we give our bodies a constant flow of fuel,” explains Bess Berger, RDN. “When we skip meals, we’re more likely to show up to the next meal too hungry. Then it’s that much harder to moderate portions or eat mindfully, which makes it harder to stay slim.” So if you overdo it at night, you may need to increase your nutrition levels earlier in the day!
This tip also applies to skipping dinner, which you might be tempted to do in order to cut calories and avoid weight gain by eating before you hit the hay. But this can unfortunately prevent you from achieving your goals. In fact, a 2021 study published in Nutrients found that skipping dinner was associated with greater weight gain and higher risks of obesity in college students.
Instead of restriction, try to eat your meals mindfully, which means engaging your senses while eating without distractions. When you eat mindfully, you are much more able to focus on not eating beyond your feelings of fullness. This helps to avoid overeating, consuming too many calories and eating out of boredom.
Jana Mowrer, MPH, RDN, CDCES, NBC-HWC, claims that mindful eating can prevent times when you feel hungry and/or full. “With mindfulness, the food experience becomes more neutral and less charged, helping you maintain a healthy weight and a healthy relationship with food,” she says.
A study published in Nutrition Research Reviews found that those who ate mindfully were able to slow down their eating, leading them to feel full sooner. This then contributed to fewer calories consumed.
If you find it hard to stay present while you eat, you can start small by eliminating dinnertime distractions, like having the TV on or staring at your phone throughout the meal, to focus more on what you’re putting in your mouth. . Although it may feel strange or even uncomfortable at first, the more you try to practice mindful eating, the more natural it will start to feel over time and the better you will be at it.
One eating habit to help achieve a leaner body is to eat balanced meals that keep you fuller and satisfied for longer. An example of a balanced meal consists of a combination of the three macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) as well as a variety of food groups.
“Meals with balanced nutrients help promote leanness over time because they keep calories in check,” says Jinan Banna, PhD, RD. “For example, a balanced meal will often contain fruits or vegetables, which are high in fiber and relatively low in calories to help you feel full while maintaining a healthy weight.”
To incorporate balance, you might ask yourself questions such as, “What can I add to this meal to make it more filling, nutritious, or satisfying for me?” Often protein is a nutrient that people lack in their meals. a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging found that this is especially true for the elderly. According to a study by Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome.
Yes, eating healthy is important, but so is eating tasty treats once in a while – here’s why: Often times we think we need to eliminate all of our favorite junk foods completely in order to lose weight, but this rigid approach can leave We feel defeated or even frustrated before our weight loss journey can really take off. But when you want to get a lighter build in a way that’s more likely to last, indulging yourself occasionally (in moderation, of course) may actually be a better setup for long-term success. While you don’t want these treats to propel you too far on your weight loss journey, allowing yourself the occasional less-than-healthy snack can also help you avoid burning out too soon.
Truth be told, indulging in your favorite fun food now might even keep you from craving and overindulging in it later. Indeed, a study published in Behaviour change by Cambridge University Press concluded that strict dietary restriction may be a contributing factor to binge eating. This doesn’t mean that everyone who restricts will start binging, but it does illustrate some potential pitfalls that can result from eating habits based on restrictive practices.
If you notice that your appetite tends to increase when you are feeling particularly stressed, angry, sad or experiencing other intense emotions, and you tend to continue eating even after you are full and not hungrier, you may be an “emotional eater”.
Using food to deal with negative emotions is very common, but it can mean extra pounds. A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity states that emotional eating is associated with both weight gain and abdominal weight gain, and this link is made worse if there is also a lack of quality sleep.
Instead of immediately turning to food for comfort, learning and practicing healthier emotional coping skills to better respond to your body’s response to certain challenges is the first step to overcoming emotional eating. If you need help in this area, you should talk to a dietitian or doctor about helpful ways to work on regulating these complex emotions without using food as a crutch.
A previous version of this story was published on March 18, 2022. It has been updated to include additional copy and proofreading revisions, additional research, and updated contextual links.
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