Thin people favor bulky foods.
Simply put, foods with a high water content―fruits, vegetables, water-based soups and stews, and cooked whole grains―are low in calories but satiating. Most also contain lots of fiber (an apple has three grams; one cup of cooked barley has six), which fills you up.
Whether consciously or not, many thin people follow the strategy of starting out with a sizable soup or salad, which leads them to eat less for the rest of the meal. One Rolls-led study found that subjects who began a meal with a low-calorie salad―about 100 calories for three cups―were more likely to eat fewer total calories. It subtracted about 12 percent of the calories from the meals. Foods with a lot of water, can help you perceive that you’ve eaten more. Drinking water with a meal, doesn’t have the same effect.
Thin people don’t skip meals.
Slender people don’t drop everything to eat the minute their stomach starts to rumble, but they don’t let themselves get famished, either.
Skipping meals can be deadly, because I do get really hungry.
Thin people can put themselves first.
Thin women prioritize eating right, exercising regularly, and reducing stress―all of which are conducive to staying slim. Rather, it’s about taking care of yourself.
Thin people watch portion sizes.
No, most thin individuals don’t travel with a food scale and measuring cups or demand fat-gram counts from waiters.
But to keep an eye on what they eat without being obsessive, many focus on filling their plates with mostly fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
They also use strategies such as buying just a single serving’s worth of food, eating portion-controlled frozen meals, passing up gargantuan-portion family-style restaurants, and using smaller-than-normal plates.
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), an ongoing study of how more than 5,000 people keep off the weight they’ve lost long-term, has found that successful weight maintainers tend to eat five small meals a day rather than three squares, which may make it easier to scale down portions.
Thin people limit their options.
While everyone needs a variety of foods for optimal nutrition, professor of nutrition Barbara Rolls’s research shows that the more types of food we have available, the more we tend to eat. It’s related to what’s called “sensory-specific satiety”―meaning our stomachs and appetites will cry “Uncle!” after we eat a lot of pasta, but if dessert is pie à la mode, suddenly we’ll find just enough room to partake.
People should increase the variety of low-calorie-dense foods they eat―such as vegetables, fruit, and soup―to get the nutrients they need.
Thin people live in Colorado.
OK, so there are thin people outside Colorado. But there must be something the Centennial State knows: According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado has the highest percentage of people with a normal weight (meaning neither overweight nor obese) in the nation.
The state has the country’s largest system of city parks, more than 3 million acres of national parks and forests, 10 major ski resorts, and 400 mountain-biking trails. In addition, 20 percent of Coloradans belong to health clubs―the second-highest percentage in the United States. (Delaware has the highest.) Colorado’s weather also helps. 300-plus days each year when it’s nice to be outside.
Thin people don’t skip breakfast.
You’ve heard it ad nauseam: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s also a way to stay svelte.
A 2002 study of nearly 3,000 NWCR participants found that 78 percent ate breakfast every day; just 4 percent said they never ate breakfast. (The registry also found that people who don’t eat breakfast have caloric intakes similar to those who do, meaning the skippers make up the calories later.)
A recent study of breakfast eaters in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association backed up other findings that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight than those who don’t.
Thin people practice early intervention.
They take action when the numbers on the scale creep up or their pants become hard to button.Their response usually involves a combination of exercise and dietary changes.
Carla Matthews, a 38-year-old stay-at-home mother of two in Newport Beach, California, says that when she goes over her upper limit of 130 pounds, she cuts out dessert and wine, drinks more water, and rides her exercise bike three times a week instead of once (in addition to doing Pilates twice a week).
Understanding what causes you to put on pounds can go a long way toward preventing them.
Stress, sadness, anger, loneliness, and grief can send anyone to seek solace in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, the successfully thin person knows mood-driven eating when she sees it and defends against it. Thin people recognize the syndrome and don’t bring trigger foods into the place where it happens.