By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
September 5, 2016
- Why some people never seem to gain weight
- What we can learn from skinny people
- My top tips to become effortlessly slim
I’m sure you know a few people who appear to be naturally slim. They never seem to diet, yet they never gain a pound.
You would be right to believe that this has something to do with their genes… we’ll talk about this in a future article and how you can benefit from the cheek swab testing if you choose to. But, it turns out that effortlessly thin people have a lot of things in common that may contribute to their lack of weight gain over the years.
Dr. Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, has been collecting data on eating behaviors for years. And using data from his Global Healthy Weight Registry, we’re learning more and more about why some people stay slim and trim throughout their lives.
One commonality among these individuals is that nearly all of them eat breakfast on a daily basis.
However, they aren’t loading up on greasy, processed breakfast meats like bacon, ham and sausage. Instead, the most common breakfast items these trim folks eat are fruits and vegetables. They also eat more eggs than you would think.
This is a great way to start your day, and one that I recommend to my patients.
Eating a high quality breakfast helps keep you from getting hungry throughout the day. It also prevents sugar swings that can affect your mood and metabolism and lead to weight gain. In fact, people who eat breakfast daily have lower rates of obesity, less abdominal fat and reduced chances of developing metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.
Enjoying a morning breakfast isn’t the only healthy eating habit slim people have in common.
What We Can Learn from Skinny People
Folks who are effortlessly slim are more inclined to eat vegetables every day, and choose fruit or nuts as a favorite snack.
Additionally, they aren’t inclined to eat because they’re bored or because it’s dinner time. And they don’t always eat everything on their plate. Instead, they use body cues to tell them when they’re hungry and when they’re full. It’s likely a better idea than not to save a portion of some meals for a later snack or even another meal. Really, doesn’t the smaller version of a past great meal taste better too?
You also don’t see effortlessly slim people forcing themselves into food restrictions. They eat what they want, and aren’t afraid to grab a donut out of the box that someone brought in .
The difference is that they think about what they’re putting in their body before making a decision. It’s like a brief hypothalamic pause. Eating a donut doesn’t mean they “slipped up”. It means they’ve decided that it’s okay to have a donut.
This is an important concept. That’s because when you deprive yourself of your favorite food, it tends to make you want to binge. However, if you allow yourself to eat something that’s not entirely healthy every now and then, it can keep those cravings at bay. In fact if it is one of those foods that treats you poorly, say wheat gluten or dairy cheese then avoiding it becomes easier.
Thin people also seem to have some pretty healthy exercise habits. Over two-thirds of them exercise three or more days a week. And the bulk of these folks are actually exercising between five and seven days each week.
Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, getting plenty of physical activity is one of the best things you can do for yourself! If all you can do is walk…then walk. Walk somewhere (with a buddy is better) for 20 minutes in one direction, and then you know, walk back.
Working out regularly helps to melt the weight off of your body. But that’s not all it does.
One of the greatest things about exercise is that it slashes inflammation. And inflammation affects your weight in more ways than you might think.
First, people with the highest levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood are more likely to gain weight over the next six years.
Second, when elevations in these proteins are combined with obesity, it greatly increases your risk of becoming diabetic or insulin resistant.
Third, being obese and insulin resistant is like putting gasoline on a fire. It stimulates the production of even more inflammatory substances, which means more weight gain and further metabolic problems. It’s no wonder that more than 90% of diabetics are overweight or obese! Chronic inflammation begets chronic degenerative disease.
Exercise can halt – and even reverse these processes. (And that’s on top of all the heart- and brain-healthy benefits that come along with a good walkout.)
Top Tips to become Effortlessly Slim
Now, here’s the thing.
You know that eating healthy and getting regular exercise is necessary for weight loss. On the other hand, getting into these healthy habits is often easier said than done.
However, if you establish a routine and add in a few mindful moments, it shouldn’t take long to establish a pattern of healthier – and skinnier – living.
- Start getting up ten minutes earlier so you can enjoy a high quality breakfast in the morning. One of my favorites is an egg and veggie stir-fry. Toss some chopped spinach, onion, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes into a skillet with a scrambled egg. If you chop the veggies the night before, it makes for a quick and filling breakfast. Remember that eggs don’t raise your blood sugar, and they bring with them 4 grams of efficient protein per egg white. If you can get them pastured,(not pasteurized) or at least free range/organic then even the yolk that some still fear unfairly will be rich in needed nutrients
- Eat whatever foods you want… 10% of the time. If they don’t agree with you then they’re history. The other 90% of the time, make fresh, organic vegetables the centerpiece of your meals. Then, fill in the remainder of the plate with a small amount of healthy fats and clean-sourced proteins. The more of these meals you make at home, the better off you will be. You’ll save money too.
- If you have a tendency toward mindless eating (i.e., eating while watching TV or reading a book) try this technique. Set a bowl filled with cashews, almonds, pistachios and other tree nuts near your favorite spot. This way, if you have a habit of munching, you’ll have something healthy right at your fingertips. A bowl of fruit is another option.
- Get that exercise buddy – or two or three. If you haven’t managed to start exercising on your own, it’s time to seek help. When you have other people counting on you, you’re more likely to participate. Plus, working out is a lot more fun when more people are involved. Meet at the same time every day so that it becomes a regular part of your daily activities.
A Slim by Design Breakfast. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. ©2016.
Odegaard AO, et al. Breakfast frequency and development of metabolic risk. Diabetes Care. 2013 Oct;36(10):3100-6.
Our New Findings! The Global Healthy Weight Registry. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. ©2016.
Engström G, et al. Inflammation-Sensitive Plasma Proteins Are Associated With Future Weight Gain. Diabetes 2003 Aug; 52(8): 2097-2101