Secrets Of Those Who Live Lean

The high failure rate of fast fitness and diet programs suggests that the path to wellness is less about willpower and more about embracing a lifestyle. Yet how to actually create healthier habits can be somewhat of a mystery. It makes sense that the secrets of getting and staying lean might lie with those who have achieved it. What do long-term healthy eaters and exercisers have in common? Do they feel metabolically blessed or cheated? What are the key habits that help them stay on track? To answer these questions I interviewed several people that have learned to live lean.

Interviewees: 

  1. Yoga teacher – age 73
  2. Colleague – age 59
  3. Friend – age 60
  4. Friend – age 56

Questions and Answers:

Are you metabolically blessed or challenged and why do you think that?

  1. Not sure – I have never been attracted to consuming large quantities of food.
  2. Blessed – I can eat more than most without consequence. But I sometimes forget to eat!
  3. Blessed – yet weight maintenance has required extra activity after age 50!
  4. Challenged – I’ve always had to watch it. 

How did you get fit?

  1. Deciding early on to be a certain weight and then eating accordingly. Doing yoga 3 plus times a week for the past 50 years
  2. Staying active and eating well, but not restrictively. Not being food focused.
  3. Moderately active since childhood.
  4. Playing sports, lifting weights, figuring out limits through a lot trial and error. 

Why do you think people struggle with their weight?

  1. Eat unconsciously and too quickly
  2. Eat too much too often. Focus on food all the time.
  3. Unconscious eating. Use food to cope with life. Focus on what they can’t have. Give up!
  4. Fear of being deprived. Addictions rule. Want the comfort food provides.

 Why don’t you struggle?

  1. Habit of not overeating. Eating slowly and paying attention. Not in a state of want and need.
  2. Active every day. Not food oriented.
  3. Sometimes I do! Stay aware of intake and balance not great choices with healthy ones.
  4. I do but not as much as I used to because I have enough good habits in place.

What exercise plan supports your fitness?

  1. Yoga because it raises consciousness, teaches moderation and strengthens organs.
  2. Weight lifting and lots of walking.
  3. Yoga and boxing. To me being active is my mental health saving grace!
  4. Mix of strength, yoga, and cardio. Workouts relieve stress and reset my mood and thoughts.

How do you handle holidays & celebrations?

  1. Eat whatever I want & naturally balance it the next day or two by eating less.
  2. Same as above!
  3. Eat what I want but rarely til over full. Stay in touch with fullness. Overfull is uncomfortable!
  4. Eat a wider variety of foods in small portions. 

What do you do when you notice you’ve gained weight?

  1. Eat less! Occasional juice fast day.
  2. Eat fewer sweets and breads.
  3. Take action! Work out more and make small changes in food choices & portions.
  4. Reflect on the cause and usually cut down on carbs.

What key foods are most important and why?

  1. Protein- keeps your brain steady
  2. Fruit and vegetables keeps my system happy
  3. Vegetables- I love them!
  4. Healthy fats- keeps you sated and oiled- like the tin man!

What advice do you give to those desiring sustainable weight loss?

  1. Slow down and become aware of hunger and fullness.
  2. Keep moving and have other interests than food.
  3. Positive outlook – what will I gain from healthy choices, not what am I missing out on.
  4. Accept the lifestyle approach! Eat real food!

The secret to living a leaner life is that there isn’t one!  The reality is that It requires a lot of saying “NO” to what’s unhealthy and “YES” to what’s healthy. Sustainable fitness results from a practice that is based on moderation, not deprivation. Shifting from a perspective of lack (what you can’t have) to bounty (what you can have), is a wise first step towards a leaner lifestyle.

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