We regularly hear about the latest diet and celebrity tips for weight loss, yet deep down we know the reality is that slow and steady wins the race when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.
As opposed to strict food and exercise regimes, long term weight control comes down to a number of key lifestyle habits that become regular features of our day to day lives.
New research from Bond University published in the International Journal of Obesity has recently confirmed this in a study that encouraged overweight and obese dieters to adopt a series of general but positive lifestyle habits compared to control subjects who continued with their old food and exercise patterns.
Over just a 12-week period, those participants seeking to adopt new habits lost an average of 3.3kg and most importantly continued to lose weight for the next 12 months without any strict diets or exercise routines.
So if you wouldn't mind dropping a few kilos but do not have any interest in dieting, here are the identified top 10 tips for weight control.
1. Keep a meal routine
This simply means that rather than grabbing food on the run and eating whenever you feel like it, sticking to a regular meal routine most days, whether this is three or five meals each day is an important part of calorie and weight control.
2. Watch the fat
This does not mean that you have to eat low fat, rather keeping away from foods notoriously high in bad fats such as fried, fast and processed foods and instead focusing on controlled portions of healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
3. Walk off the weight
Forget spending hours at the gym, the only recommendation in the study was to aim for 10,000 steps a day and include more general movement as part of your day to day diet. This translates into taking the stairs when you can, parking the car further away from your destination or getting off train or bus stops a stop or two earlier to incorporate more movement into your daily life.
4. Choose healthy snacks
This means when hunger strikes it is about making a mindful decision to choose healthy snacks including fruit, nuts, wholegrain crackers and cheese as opposed to the muffins, cakes, chips and snack bars we often resort to when we do not have healthy options on hand.
5. Learn about labels
Food labels can be confusing but getting into the habit of seeking out less processed food products that contain less sugar and fewer calories was identified as a positive habit associated with weight loss.
6. Portion awareness
This habit focused on keeping an eye on portion sizes, especially of proteins and carb rich foods but rather loading meal plates up with vegetables and salad to help reduce overall calorie intake, without even realising it.
7. Keep on your feet
This habit was all about not sitting for hours at a time, instead aiming to keep on your feet for at least 10 minutes every hour.
8. Focus on drinks
We consume a lot of mindless calories from sugary drinks such as juice, coconut water, smoothies and alcohol so this habit suggested consuming liquid calories at most once each day.
9. Eat mindfully
Often we consume our calories when we are doing something else, so this habit encouraged study participants to focus on eating at meal times. This means not eating in front of the TV or computer rather eating slowly and mindfully.
10. Aim for five a day
Forget weighing and measuring your food, this simple habit was to remind participants they are aiming for at least 5 serves each day of fresh fruits and vegetables which means serves of salad or vegetables at most meals along with a piece or two of fruit each day.