How to Be Just Like Your “Naturally Skinny” Friends
You’ve got that one friend who can eat like a pig and still say slim – why are you friends with her again?! Sometimes, weight wellness can seem like one giant lottery, in which your friend was given the “skinny genes” while you got lumped with the dumpy DNA. Such thinking can put you off making any effort to diet or take care of your wellbeing at all; what’s the point? Still, is it all a case of luck-of-the-draw, or can you actually learn from your slim friend’s subconscious weight loss habits?
According to registered dietician Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of the New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches, ‘If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 15+ years of private practice, it’s that weight management is about far more than calories in, calories out. In addition to genetics, there are dozens of patterns that day after day, week after week, influence our shapes and sizes. Many of the habits of seemingly “naturally slim” people aren’t deliberate, but you can consciously adopt them. Over time, they’ll soon become second nature, and work for you too.’
1. Fidgeting: People who are always tapping their toes, talking with their hands and shuffling in their chairs can burn as many as 350 extra calories a day, which is the equivalent of talking a daily 60-minute walk at four miles per hour. Sass advises, ‘Stand up while you talk on the phone or brainstorm, get up from your desk every hour on the hour to sip water, stretch, or just walk around the room…For one of my clients, this change not only resulted in weight loss, but also a surge in creativity, which makes sense, since movement enhances circulation.’
2. Eating without distractions: Sass notes, ‘The other day, I saw a woman strolling through Target, placing items into her card, while simultaneously eating and talking on the phone. While it may be efficient to do several things at once, people who eat mindfully and without distractions tend to eat less and feel more satisfied.’ You can naturally consume 300 fewer calories a day simply by taking a few deep breaths before you eat, and focusing on the aromas, flavours, and textures of your food.
3. Ordering what you want, even if it’s not on the menu: While asking for a customised meal in a restaurant seems like the most un-British thing to do ever, it’s a major habit of naturally slim people. Sass recommends her clients do the following activity: ‘recall a recent meal that left you feeling stuffed and sluggish, then write down how you would modify your order to result in what I call the “Goldilocks effect” – not too little, not too much, just right. One hundred percent of the time, the imagined do-over meals are more balanced, far lower in calories, and much more “sensible.” Apply that logic every time you dine out, and you’ll end restaurant eater’s remorse.’
4. Rethinking waste: Sass recalls, ‘Through keeping food journals, one of my clients recently discovered that she nearly always finished her kids’ leftovers. When we talked about why (e.g. what was she thinking and feeling while doing this?), she realised it was because she couldn’t let the food go to waste. This mindset also resulted in frequently eating until she was uncomfortably full.’ However, the client soon realised that stuffing leftovers was equally wasteful, as it wasn’t going to help anyone in need and she was just wasting calories. Instead of gorging on leftovers, save them for tomorrow’s lunch or make smaller portions in the first place.