January 21, 2019
Spring abundance

The Secrets of Slim People

by Berkeley Wellness  

You may have heard of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Well, there may also be habits that naturally slim people have in common, according to preliminary data gathered by researchers at Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab as part of its Global Healthy Weight Registry.

Unlike the well-established National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), which tracks the behaviors of thousands of people who have lost 30 pounds or more and successfully kept it off for at least a year, this new registry includes people who have maintained a healthy weight all their lives. That is, they never gained weight in the first place. The goal of the Cornell project is to find out what simple rules or principles these people may be using to stay at a healthy weight.

Of course, slim people may be naturally slim for reasons that have little to do with their eating and lifestyle habits. They may, for instance, have genes that give them a “faster metabolism” or better appetite control (lucky them), or, as emerging research suggests, they may have the “right” mix of intestinal microbes that predisposes to slimness. Moreover, it’s too early to make generalizations about “slim habits,” since the registry is still in its infancy. And what works for one person may not work for someone else.

Still, here’s a glimpse of a few specific things that svelte people reportedly do in their everyday lives: For one, they “act differently from heavy people at buffets and beyond,” the researchers say. (One person, for instance, reported scouting out the buffet offerings before picking up a plate.) They also avoid sauces at restaurants, order one dish at a time, have coffee for dessert, and choose just their favorite food (not everything) at dinner parties. In general, they eat soups and stews, hard-boiled eggs, salmon or tuna, and Greek yogurt to feel full. One-third eat salad at lunch every day and most eat vegetables at dinner every night.

How to sign up: If you’re over 18 and have been at a healthy weight all your life, you can join the Global Healthy Weight Registry. You’ll be asked questions about what you have for breakfast and what strategies you use to avoid eating late at night, for instance, as well as about your overall philosophy concerning food and life in general. Registry members (whose names are kept confidential) will receive updates about insights gleaned from other members. And if you are a “successful loser”—that is, you were overweight but have lost weight and kept it off—you may be eligible to become a member of the NWCR.