Do you think it’s the fitness membership, the XYZ diet, or maybe just good genes? How do some people seem to stay thin with nearly no effort? Here are a few surprising factors than can help people stay slim!
Living Near A Gym
A recent study found that people living within a half mile or so of a gym, swimming pool or playing fields weighed less and had smaller waists than people who didn’t.
Living in or near a “walkable neighborhood” was also associated with lower body weight. Distance can also make a difference in food choices. The study also found that people who lived 1.24 miles or farther from a fast food restaurant weighed less than people who lived closer to the restaurant!
Research has found that individuals with high levels of “spontaneous physical activity” (like fidgeting) weighed less than individuals with little to no spontaneous physical activity.
While fidgeting is strongly genetic and biological in nature, if you aren’t a fidgeter, you can still reap the benefits of non-exercise physical activity. Choosing to stand instead of sit, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car farther from the building’s entrance, even cleaning the house, make up a large portion of the calorie-burning your body does on a daily basis. This can play a major role in keeping you slimmer.
Eating Spicy Food
Not only do spicy ingredients add flavor, they can help you conquer your cravings! New research has found that individuals who eat foods with more spice and flavor consume less salt and sugar!
Think about it, if a food is spicy, your taste buds are fully occupied and you tend to eat it more slowly, giving yourself time to cool down in between bites. This allows you to feel full faster. The capsaicin in hot peppers also boosts metabolism and improves insulin sensitivity, helping to keep weight and blood sugar under control.
Living at Higher Elevation
Believe it or not, areas of high elevation have lower obesity rates. In fact, the state of Colorado has the lowest obesity rates in the nation!
Individuals living less than 1,640 feet above sea level had 5 times the likelihood of being obese compared to individuals living at 9,800 feet or greater above sea level.
Researchers believe that when combined with lower oxygen levels, higher metabolic demands due to altitude along with heightened activity of the sympathetic nervous system (which may reduce appetite) could all be possible causes for these findings.
Living in a Big City
The same study that connected lower elevation to obesity also found that people who lived in a big city, (where the population is 1 million or greater), had significantly lower obesity rates than people those living in smaller counties. Researchers name better food security, increased walkability, and better diet as the responsible factors.
They Don’t Stress About Weight
Stress has an incredible impact the body, especially on weight and on blood sugar. Say you are unhappy with your current weight, and decide to go on a “diet.” Dieting triggers an increase in stress hormones like cortisol, which has been linked to weight gain. You become more likely to fall victim to emotional eating. This occurs when you eat out of boredom, stress, or anxiety.
This is part of why it is so hard to lose weight, and keep it off. Traditional “dieting” is actually far more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss! The way to lose weight and keep it off long-term is not through “dieting” but through a commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Drinking Enough Water
Water is critical to each and every body process. From the transportation of nutrients throughout the body, to regulating body temperature, digesting food, and more.
When you are drinking enough water, you will feel the positive effects. Your thought process will be faster, you will be more focused, and be able to concentrate more. You will feel more alert, awake, and refreshed, with more energy than before.
Water is essential for flushing toxins from the body. If the kidneys do not have enough water to function properly, toxins will build up in the blood and make an individual extremely ill.
Drinking water also helps to flush excess glucose from the blood, and helps your body keep blood sugar lower and more stable. This makes drinking water absolutely essential for diabetics.
Breakfast is and will always be the most important meal of the day. It’s especially important for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Research has found time and again that those who skip breakfast experience blood sugar spikes throughout the remainder of their day. Those who eat a healthy breakfast enjoy more stable blood sugar all day long. Not only does breakfast have positive effects on blood sugar, but research has also found that individuals who eat a healthy breakfast weigh less than people who don’t eat breakfast.
Don’t skip meals. While it may be tempting to cut calories by not eating, this strategy will backfire. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar goes haywire. It can drop to unsafe levels; you will notice that you have less energy, and you may develop a headache, or stomachache.
When you finally do eat something, you are likely to over-eat (thereby consuming more calories than you would if you had eaten two regular meals), or make a less-than-ideal food choice because you are so hungry. Not to mention, your blood sugar will skyrocket because it is getting stimulated all at once instead of over the span of an entire day.
Eat regularly to make sure that your body is getting the fuel it needs. For some, this means 3 larger meals and 2 snacks, for others it may mean eating every 2-3 hours. Find what works best for your blood sugar.
Not Being Afraid of Fat
For decades, fat was made out to be the enemy of health. However, science is now changing the way we view fat as a part of a healthy diet. Like protein, fat is an essential nutrient. The body needs fat in order to function properly.
Research has shown that eating a diet rich in good fats lowers risk for heart disease, obesity and type II diabetes complications. According to several studies, it is not the amount of fat you eat that affects health, it is the type of fat. There are several different types of fats, each found in a variety of foods. Some are better choices than others in terms of good health.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are two “good fats.” Monounsaturated fats can be found in a variety of nuts, as well as in avocado, peanut butter, and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fats, also known as omega-3 fatty acids, can be found in walnuts, and in fish like salmon and mackerel.
While the journey to our best health can be challenging and at times even frustrating, the more information we have the better. Sometimes that information is what we expect, and other times it’s surprising. There are many ways to improve health and blood sugar, just keep your mind open!