Wouldn’t it be great to have a handy list to check off of the simple rules to follow to keep a lean physique? Well, Women’s Health has compiled studies done by various institutes to find the over-arching commonalities most lean individuals share. They even break it down nice and easy for us with the Seven Laws of Leanness. These “laws” are commonalities found in lean folks across the world, and no fair counting lucky genetics here.
1. Lean people DON’T diet!
Say what!? If you’d believe it, studies actually prove something contrary to what your instinct would tell you: one of the greatest predictors of future weight gain is being on a diet right now. Huh? The truth is that you’d be much better of learning healthy eating habits and following the “everything in moderation” mentality rather than dieting because restricting calories actually reduces your strength, bone density, and muscle mass. Remember what you always here us saying in class here at the barre: we are BUILDING your muscle mass to spike your metabolism – muscle is our body’s #1 energy (and therefore calorie) burning engine in our body – whittling away our muscle will actually slow our metabolism. Give your body the fuel it needs to stay strong, and rather than restrict calories, it would be better to focus on a healthy, moderate diet and exercise.
2. Lean people DON’T go fat free
It can be so tempting to see “fat free potato chips” in the grocery store and think “SCORE!! I can eat as many as I want and not gain weight!” However, a European study tracked nearly 90,000 people for several years and discovered that participants who tried to eat “low fat” had the same risk of being overweight as those who ate whatever they wanted. Why? Unfortunately most fat-free foods are actually loaded with sugar…meaning they actually contain more calories than their fattened counterparts. What’s worse – we actually need <the healthy> fats in our diet to function, and consuming these fats can make you feel full longer – so a munch on a fat free food will not only not actually do much for your waistline, but it will probably lead to another snack much sooner.
3. Lean people sit down to eat
We’ve all probably heard of the diet of the french woman, chewing slowly and putting down your fork between each bite – but as silly as it may seem, there’s something to this. Greek researchers recently reported that eating more slowly and savoring your meal can boost levels of two hormones that make you feel fuller – so you’ll stop eating sooner.
4. Lean people know what they’re going to eat next
Dutch researchers say that planning your responses to hunger may help you shed pounds faster. They posed their subjects questions like “If you’re hungry at 4 p.m., then . . . what?” Those who had an answer (“I’ll snack on some almonds”) were more successful at losing weight than those who didn’t have an answer.
We are all about a plan – and setting yourself up for success. If you’re leaving for the day, bring those healthy snacks with you for when hunger hits – being prepared with healthy alternatives when you’re on the run (and in your pantry) can prevent food decisions on the fly that may not be your healthiest choice.
5. Lean people eat protein
In a recent European study, people who ate moderately high levels of protein were twice as likely to lose weight and keep it off as those who didn’t eat much protein. This is because protein works on two levels: First, you burn more calories to digest it. Second, since your is working harder to digest the protein than something high in fat or starch, you feel full longer!
6. Lean people move around
Simply put, fit people stay fit by having fun. We always say that we focus on keeping our classes FUN – because if you don’t enjoy it, you’re not going to do it. Your workout, and burning calories, should NOT be a chore! We hope you love it here at the barre and enjoy classes as much as we do, because that’s what keeps us coming – and building our strength at the barre is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself.
However, lean people don’t just move around to exercise, they move around for their leisure activities rather than sitting on the couch! Try to find a few activities that you enjoy, from tossing a stick for your dog, going for a walk or bowling with your best friend or running around with your kids – and just do them more often. The average person makes 200 decisions every day that affect his or her weight. If you can figure out a way to make being active fun, you’re much more likely to make those decisions that will benefit your weight – and stick with it.
7. Lean people watch less TV
This follows with law #6 – a study at the University of Vermont found that overweight participants who cut their daily TV time in half (from an average of 5 hours to 2.5 hours) burned an extra 119 calories a day. It makes sense, if you can’t be sitting there watching TV, you’re more likely to be moving around doing something! What’s more, a recent study of people who successfully lost weight found that 63 percent of them watched less than 10 hours of TV a week.
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