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Healthy Habits Rather than Strict Dieting Best for Weight Loss

Healthy Habits Rather than Strict Dieting Best for Weight Loss

An innovative research project sheds light on how healthy and slim people are able to maintain their physique with only modest effort. The key, according to Cornell Food and Brand Lab researchers, is to avoid a restrictive diet!

In the study, investigators developed an online Global Healthy Weight Registry (formerly named the Slim by Design Registry) to uncover the health behaviors of those who maintain a healthy weight.

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 percent reported eating breakfast, 42 percent exercised five plus times a week, and 50 percent weighed themselves at least weekly.

Amazing, diet was not a part of the slim solution for most participants. Still being aware of diet is an important consideration.

Specifically, although 74 percent of the participant never or rarely dieted, 92 percent reported being conscious of what they ate.

As part of their habits that lead to weight control, 44 percent 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, Ph.D., 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!”

Source: Cornell Food & Brand Lab
Couple eating at home by shutterstock.

Healthy Habits Rather than Strict Dieting Best for Weight Loss

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Healthy Habits Rather than Strict Dieting Best for Weight Loss. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 19 Feb 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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