10 Highly Effective Habits of Thin People

10 Highly Effective Habits of Thin People

By Susan Burke MS, RD, LD/N, CDE
Glee Contributor

Do you think people are naturally thin? Or maybe they’re doing something special that keeps them that way? Well, there’s truth to both of these statements.

Yes… some people are "naturally" thin. Those rare birds who seem to eat whatever they want without gaining weight may have uncommonly quick metabolisms. Some are genetically programmed to be able to eat more calories than the average Joe or Jane without storing the excess as fat.

But the rest of us are more like our hunter and gatherer ancestors, who feasted when they had food because they never knew when the next antelope would jump into their nets.

Genetically, we’re not able to overcome the fact that we eat way more than we need and spend most of our time sitting, instead of chasing after game.

So thin doesn’t come "naturally" to most. And researchers have for years attempted to define what habits normal people adopt to stay thin. A word about "habit"… According to Dictionary.com, a "habit" denotes "patterns of behavior established by continual repetition. Habit applies to a behavior or practice so ingrained that it is often done without conscious thought."

Synonyms for "habit" include "practice, custom, usage." Thin habits need to be permanent to be positive. Thin people’s habits are not something they do just for a little while and then stop. Nope … thin people’s habits are forever. That’s what keeps them thin!

Eat breakfast: The National Weight Control Registry, which is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time, reports that eating breakfast — especially a cereal breakfast — is associated with better weight control. Best choices are unsweetened cereals without added fat calories, dyes and artificial flavorings … avoid cereals labeled "crunchy" or that are coated in sugar.

Everyday Activity: John Sklare, Ph.D., Director of Emotional Support Center at eDiets.com and creator of the eDiets Motivational Program, says that he had an epiphany one day. After spying himself in the mirror and not liking what he saw, he decided it was time to get moving! Dr. Sklare says, "These days I work out on the tennis court about an hour a day and do some strengthening exercise at home. Make exercise your best friend, and your body and your spirit will reap the benefits!"

Monitor Yourself: Take action when necessary. Everyone might overeat occasionally — special occasions when even naturally thin people overeat. But thin people don’t throw up their hands and give up! They get back to their good habits and increase activity. The NWCR reports that successful maintainers weigh themselves at least weekly and take action if they’ve gained.

No Soda! Glenn Mueller is a senior writer for eDiets and over the past two years, he has lost more than 35 pounds and kept it off. He used to quaff at least two to three cans of regular soda daily, adding a whopping 300 calories to a daily diet full of refined carbs and fast food. Now he drinks water or flavored carbonated water sometimes. Just replace a soda habit with no-cal beverages and see the scale tip in your favor.

Stop Watching the Clock: Your stomach tells you when to eat, and if you "listen," it will tell you when you’re full. Thin people eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Even if it’s lunch time, if you’re not hungry, have a small snack and eat the rest later, when you are hungry. No need to finish everything on the plate if you’re satisfied.

Stress Strategies: Thin people find different ways to ease stress and anxiety instead of overeating. Are you one of those people who eat when you’re anxious or stressed out? You’re not alone. Pre-empt stress and take time for yourself daily. Before getting out of bed every day, stretch all your limbs individually: hold the stretch, breathe deeply and relax. Do this when you get into bed at night too and wake rested.

Eat Less Fat: Just choosing lower-calorie versions of regular foods is an important and effective strategy to stay thin. Whole-milk dairy products contain a lot of saturated fat and calories; choose low or nonfat cheeses, yogurt, milk, sour cream and ice cream. Instead of fried, choose grilled, baked or broiled foods. Have a baked potato instead of French fries. Put salsa on that potato and hold the butter.

Calories count, but don’t count calories: Thin people understand portion control and stick to what’s right for them. To learn what’s right for you, sign up for a healthy meal plan like the Mayo Clinic Plan or any of our eDiets.com personalized meal plans and learn your unique portion needs.

Bad Foods, Good Foods: Don’t demonize foods; it’s a sure way to desire them more. Thin people enjoy a sweet treat occasionally and watch their portion size. If you’ve got a sweet tooth (and who doesn’t!), plan for a sweet snack daily. My "sweet strategy" is a cup of cocoa when I have a craving for chocolate. I like the calcium-fortified, fat-free instant. At 50 calories per cup, it’s a satisfying serving.

Be Prepared: Dr. David L. Katz, of the Yale University School of Medicine and author of The Flavor Point Diet, www.flavorpointdiet.com says, "Carry a snack pack. In a world of fast food and vending machines, a handy snack pack containing nutritious items — fresh fruit, fresh veggies, dried fruit, nuts & seeds, whole grain breads or cereals, yogurt, is like the dietary equivalent of an umbrella. I don’t leave home without my snack pack — and neither should you. One more tip: If it IS raining, take an umbrella, too."


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