Even though diet books continue to reign as best sellers in the publishing industry, they really have nothing to do with staying slim. They are quick fix remedies that work if you strictly adhere to them, but doing so means you will be following someone else’s regimen, not your own.

Who knows your body better than you? To stay slim, it’s all a matter of tuning in and following six very basic principles. Give yourself two points for every habit you practice.

Do Not Diet

Dieting creates an artificial environment that is temporary and restrictive in nature. As humans, it’s natural to want what we think we cannot have. Dieting leads you down the path of sneaking food and feeling guilty. Women who are slim know their body, their appetite and how much to eat.

Eat Regular Meals

To have steady energy and stable blood sugar, it’s important to eat at regular intervals. Slim women know this. One petite woman told me she eats a bowl of oatmeal with nuts, two eggs and sautéed vegetables for breakfast most mornings. She’s a therapist and cultivates a large organic garden and keeps goats for milk. That requires real fuel, not a muffin and coffee in the morning.

Hang Out with Like-Minded People

It’s natural that you spend time with people who have habits like yours. It’s true for hobbies, interests and eating. Look around at your circle of friends. What are their habits? If you want to improve yours, it’s easiest when you spend time with people who have similar goals.

Value Your Health

Health doesn’t happen by accident. It’s an ongoing process that is either supported or sabotaged. Slim women live and eat like their habits matter, and they do. They don’t stick to rigid diets, but they do put quality foods with occasional treats on their plates.

Eat Vegetables

It’s a well-established fact that vegetables provide essential nutrients that support health. You will always see these on a slim women’s plate. If you’ve fallen out of the habit of eating vegetables, make it a priority to have two or three servings every day, with a goal of getting up to five.

Cook Your Food

Cooking your own food (or having someone who cooks for you) is the best way to ensure that the food is fresh and not bolstered with additives and preservatives. Slim women tend to avoid takeout and make their own food.

How did you do? If you scored 12 points, congratulations! If your score is under six, draw your attention to the last item. It is where you need to start.

Cooking at home is the only place where you are sure of what you are eating, where it came from and how it is prepared. It’s a habit that was an intrinsic part of past generations, but in today’s hectic life and with the presence of restaurants on nearly every corner, eating at home is a habit that needs to be resurrected if you want to support long term health.

For more tips, check out my five health hacks for women over 50.

Have you maintained a healthy weight up into your 60s and beyond? What do you do to stay slim? What are some of your favorite dishes to cook at home? Please share some of your habits and recipes with us.

Peg DoylePeg Doyle is a healthy eating and lifelong wellness expert, recording artist, motivational speaker and author. She is passionate about the impact of quality food and a balanced lifestyle on women’s health. Her mission is to make healthy eating easy and appealing, using nourishment as a powerful tool for preventing the so-called diseases of aging. You can visit her website here.

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