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Why the healthiest people don’t actually diet (and always eat breakfast)

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Photo: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

Want to maintain a healthy, happy weight for your entire life? (Um, yes.) New research indicates that the best way to do that may be to avoid dieting.

The research, from Cornell University’s Global Healthy Weight Registry, focuses on the habits that are most often found among people whose weight hasn’t fluctuated more than 10 pounds in their lives.

“Most slim people don’t employ restrictive diets or intense health regimes to stay at a healthy weight,” Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab, said in a statement. “Instead, they practice easy habits like not skipping breakfast, and listening to inner cues.”

Of 147 registry participants, 96 percent always eat breakfast, 90 percent exercise, and 92 percent claim to be “conscious of what they ate,” The Atlantic reports. Nearly half of them, however, said they don’t diet. Maybe it’s good genes, but it’s more likely that they have healthy habits and are consistent about them.

So what does this mean for those of us with a short-term, quick-fix, tough-it-out approach? It may be time to check out the anti-diet movement (even Weight Watchers is thinking beyond the scale these days)—or maybe take Lean Cuisine up on its offer to eliminate the word “diet” from your online life. As four-letter words go, it’s fast becoming everyone’s least favorite.

For an approach that’s a bit more self-love than self-deprivation, check out Hilary Duff’s secrets to #loveyourbod positivity.