The Secrets of People Who Don’t Gain Weight

The other day, I was on the elevator, making my way out of the Philly Mag offices to head to lunch. On the way down, two girls hopped on the elevator, and one of them was saying — very loudly — “It’s so stupid. SO STUPID!” to the other. I was looking forward to hearing (er, eavesdropping on) a juicy a story on my way out, but it turned out she was just talking about her Weight Watchers points and how she gets three points for this but seven points for that and it’s SO stupid. Because, a lot of the time, that’s what diets do: They become your sole focus and the sole thing you talk about and eventually you’re screaming about Weight Watchers points on an elevator in front of seven strangers all so you can wear your skinny jeans and actually feel skinny.

But what if steering clear of diets is actually one of the secrets to never not being able to button your skinny jeans in the first place? 

As The Atlantic reports, the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab has a registry of 147 people, mostly women, who have stayed at a healthy weight their entire lives, never gaining or losing more than 10 pounds, with the exception of pregnancy weight. It’s called the Global Healthy Weight Registry, and the point of it? To zero on on the registrants’ skinny-people secrets, obviously.

The Food and Brand Lab recently released some new data from the registry, including this gem: When asked, most of the registrants, who weigh 136 pounds on average, said they rarely diet — and 48 percent of them said they never diet. Ever.

As the director of the Food and Brand Lab, Brian Wansink, explained in a statement, “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.” It helps that 92 percent of the registrants said they were “conscious of what they ate”: Over 30 percent of them said they eat salad for lunch every day and 65 percent said veggies are always involved in their dinners.

So food for thought: Maybe the key to avoiding weight gain isn’t hopping on whatever restrictive diet is trending when you notice the number going up on the scale, but instead employing non-restrictive strategies — described by Wansink as things like listening to hunger cues and eating quality, non-processed foods — on the daily, not as a diet but as your lifestyle. Never having to talk about Weight Watchers points again is a bonus.

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