10 Habits of Skinny People

Simple strategies for healthy weight lossHas your pattern of weight loss started to resemble the ups and downs of a yo-yo? Shedding pounds and keeping them off comes down to more than jumping on the latest diet bandwagon. In fact, as many as 80% of dieters who reach their goal weight through dieting end up regaining as many or more pounds within two years. Overall lifestyle choices have a greater impact on maintaining a slim figure for the long haul than cutting calories, and science has identified many habits that skinny people have in common.

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1. Daily weigh-in

Many diet plans say only step on the scale once a week, but researchers at the University of Minnesota found that once a day is more effective for preventing long term weight gain.

2. Don't skip breakfast

Your mother was right and the statistics are significant. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, people who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese.

3. Drink water

Researchers at Virginia Tech discovered that people who drank two glasses of water before eating a meal ate less and lost over 30% more body fat over a twelve-week period than those who didn't drink water. Water is crucial for the metabolic process. It's also a calorie-free substitute for the empty calories in soft drinks. Just swapping a serving of water for one large glass of juice or soda can add up more than a thirteen-pound weight loss over the course of a year.

4. Eat whole grains

Break out the brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain bread. According to the America Journal of Clinical Nutrition, middle-aged women who consumed the most whole grains were significantly thinner and healthier in general than those who consumed the least.

5. Focus

Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, coined the term "mindless eating." His research shows that people consume up to 40% more calories when they eat while watching television. They also eat bigger servings when presented with a super-sized container of snacks or bowl of food. Slimmer people tend to eat without distractions and exert portion control.

6. Indulge in chocolate

Chocolate lovers rejoice! A study published in the March 2012 Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who eat chocolate more frequently on a weekly basis have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) that those who eat less. Gorging on chocolate is not advised: a single serving is one ounce.

7. Move

Formal exercise is great, but researchers have found that non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)-or calories burned doing anything but sports, eating, or sleeping-has the potential torch the most fat on a daily basis. Slimmer people tend to spend less time sitting, pace when talking on the phone, take the stairs and even fidget more. Consequently, they burn up to two thousand calories a day more than sedentary types.

8. Stop eating at 8 p.m.

This advice has been around forever, but the journal Obesity has quantified the link between closing the kitchen after an early dinner and staying slim. They found that snacking when your body wants to sleep leads to weight gain.

9. Don't worry

There have been many studies that link stress and obesity. People who suffer from chronic stress have been shown to eat more and gain more belly fat. Exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding stimulants and alcohol can help counteract the effects of stress-related weight gain.

10. Go to bed

Most adults require about 7.5 hours of sleep. Researchers have found that if you are regularly clocking in less than that you will be more prone to gain weight. The good news? Start catching 40 winks and you'll automatically shed pounds.

Lifestyle changes promote healthy weight

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