Life isn’t fair. Or at least that what my mother always said. And in some ways, she was 100 percent correct. If you have a naturally thin friend who seems to eat whatever she wants without gaining an ounce, while you seem to gain a pound just by smelling chocolate, you will agree that life isn’t fair. What is it that sets your friend apart–and if you emulate those traits, will you lose weight?
They Might Be N.E.A.T.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) performed an analysis of naturally thin people and discovered they engage in non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or N.E.A.T. Basically the term means those naturally thin people move more even when at rest.
They are the ones you notice fidgeting, standing up and pacing while talking on the phone, swinging their leg while sitting down, and engaging in more non-exercise activity than other people do.
Now, I was often accused of swinging my leg and hitting my brother’s leg during dinner but that alone didn’t make me thin. However, I can definitely see where little movements will add up to an additional calorie burn that can help you lose weight.
Researchers in the United Kingdom found that thin children and adolescents tended to have thin parents. It makes sense when you think about it. Thin parents pass on traits and genetics that flow into their children. Don’t despair if your folks are overweight. You can fight your genetic tendencies and overcome obesity by following the habits of naturally thin people.
They Pay Attention to Portions
I’ve known a lot of thin people in my life and one of the things they have in common is they do not eat gargantuan portions of food. This is one of the harder things to emulate, because in our society, food portions are huge.
Even though food portions tend to be on the larger side in restaurants and in processed foods, you can copy your thin friends’ strategy by trying one of these techniques:
1) Cut every restaurant portion in half (except steamed veggies and salad without dressing).
2) Take what you want from a larger bag and put it in a smaller baggie. Don’t go back for seconds.
3) Have baby-sized portions of really high-calorie foods. My thin friends “taste” a dessert rather than digging into a huge piece.
They Weigh Regularly
I know some current dieting fads recommend skipping the scale entirely, but years of research show that people who weigh regularly do weigh less than people who skip the scale.
Pick a weighing-in schedule that you can live with and doesn’t make you crazy. I recommend weighing in to check on your progress at least once a week.
Remember, when you don’t really know how much you weigh, it is easy to justify an extra serving of cake, chips, or alcohol.
They Work at It
Although it may seem as though those thin friends of yours don’t have to do anything to stay slim, I was surprised to find that my best thin friend exercised every morning before the sun came up and rarely ate dessert. I didn’t know she did these things because she didn’t talk about it until I started asking her.
Thin people do work at staying that way. They may exercise, deliberately skip tempting treats, drink a lot of water, and avoid fast food. What looks easy from the outside does require work and an awareness of what their body needs to stay trim.