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What do skinny people eat?
November 1, 2010 2:24 PM   Subscribe

What do skinny people eat? I really wanted to understand the relationship thin/healthy people have with food.

1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?

4) What is your weight, height, and age?

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?

8) Do you obsess over food?

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?

I wanted to ask this question to help others and myself who want to learn from those who already live a thin lifestyle. Thank you!
posted by happywhite to Food & Drink (81 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
As a former skinny person, I ate whatever I damn well pleased. I was, however, very active, in a way that I never thought about, and only now that I've had a desk job for a couple years am I becoming less skinny. I guess my point is that rather than looking at skinny people and wondering what they're doing right that you're doing wrong, realize that it's possible that they lucked into it and that it is, quite possibly, temporary.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:30 PM on November 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Have you seen this previous question?
I'm trying to find out how naturally thin people eat, so I can see if I can model some of my new habits after them. I'm also very curious (as someone with dysfunctional eating habits) just what is "normal" to some people. So...are you naturally thin/average in terms of weight? What is your typical day like in terms of meals and snacks?

More specifically, I'm interested in:

1) What's your typical breakfast?
2) What's your typical lunch?
3) What are some typical dinners?
4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often?
11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks?

Also please feel free to let me know anything else about your daily diet / exercise that you think might be useful or interesting!

Thanks!
It had 84 responses and most of them get to the heart of what you're asking here.
posted by chrisamiller at 2:32 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Easygoing

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Generally, a bowl of cereal and a banana. A slice of toast if I have the time, generally with jam and butter. On weekends, I might treat myself to two poached eggs on toast/muffin.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
Student. I don't have a huge amount to spend, which means very rarely eat out, and when I do it's more on the budget end (or 2for1 deals at pizza places or chains).

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
11st, 6ft, mid twenties

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
I don't really snack. Probably bananas though. My staples are cous cous and risotto, although there are plenty of pasta based dishes. Also, poached salmon is surprisingly quick and easy.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Exercise. I walk everywhere (I'm lucky enough to live close enough to places where I can do this), but I imagine I walk at least an hour and a half a day.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
I have no idea.

8) Do you obsess over food?
Sometimes I'll notice I'm getting a little bit fatter, so I'll do more exercise or cut down on food for a bit. It's generally around times when I'm more sedentary (exams; revisions) or not in a good routine where I can cook for myself so much (or more importantly, can't plan meals so when I shop I can grab a ton of veg etc., so have to get less healthy foods because I don't know when I'll be eating where).

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
Exercise. Lots. Don't think you have to start hitting the gym etc. - take the stairs rather than the elevator; go for a walk in the afternoon rather than watching TV etc. Also, fruit and veg are your friend. And try and cut out pre-packaged foods, and snacky stuff. Plan your meals, do one shop a week to buy just that. Have healthy snacks (oatcakes, fruit etc.) rather than unhealthy ones.

If it becomes routine, it's easy. Whenever I try and do something new, I'll often not do that - I'll do it like crazy for a few days, then slack off and then that's that - I'm no longer doing that thing. If it becomes part of my routine (e.g. reviewing language vocab 15 mins every morning) it's so much easier, and less of an imposition.
posted by djgh at 2:36 PM on November 1, 2010


My stick-insect-like 6ft 4in, 165lb husband eats like a toddler. Pizza Rolls, frozen burritos, corn dogs, coffee and cigarettes. (Ok, maybe that last part isn't like the average toddler.) I eat a well-rounded, pretty healthy diet and I weigh about what he does at a foot shorter. His cholesterol is terrible. Sooo: thin != healthy.
posted by thebrokedown at 2:36 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Skinny does not equal healthy. Thin does not equal healthy.

People who are thin (naturally or otherwise) don't have some secret relationship with food that is automatically better than a larger person's relationship with food.

So, I'm unclear on your question. Are you asking how to be skinny or how to heal your relationship with food?
posted by hansbrough at 2:36 PM on November 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


I'm a skinny person who is obsessed with food. I binge-eat. I comfort-eat. I count calories. I go on (and fail at) diets. When I go to the grocery store I will pick up a treat and walk around the store with it agonizing over whether to buy it. Often I put it back before I leave. Sometimes I don't though. In other words, many skinny people don't necessarily have a healthy relationship with food. In fact, lots of skinny people are only able to stay skinny by having an unhealthy relationship with food.

I have managed to compensate for my bad habits by trying to keep only healthy food in the house, so that anything I'm craving requires a special trip. I try to refrain from eating anything late at night, and if I do it's usually just plain popcorn and some juice. I have started walking halfway home instead of taking the train the whole way. I drink 1.5 liters of water during my workday, every day.

And these are just the things I do to compensate for the slip-ups I make almost daily, to remain at my current, ideal weight.

The single greatest help for me has been to figure out which foods will thwart my sugar cravings and keep them on hand. A 2% Fage yogurt with a dab of honey will do it. An orange or banana will do it. A cup of green tea will do it. A few Altoids will do it. Anything that will shut up my brain for long enough for the impulse to pass. In a pinch, a bag of dark chocolate Raisinets, which has just 170 calories. A glass of chocolate skim milk. These things keep me out of trouble 80% of the time.

The other 20% is a real mess though, let me tell you.
posted by hermitosis at 2:37 PM on November 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this is kind of an intense survey you're asking, so I'll just summarize: I eat a mix of carbs and fruit and veggies and the occasional serving of total junk food. But I eat everything in small portions and avoid eating when I'm not hungry. I run for 20-30 minutes a day, six days a week. I drink lots of water. I really like food a lot, but because I'm not really depriving myself of things that I like - just controlling the portions - it's not something I find myself thinking about all the time. Best piece of advice I can think of is to keep a food diary. When you know what you're eating and what's *in* what you're eating, it's a heck of a lot easier to control it.
posted by katillathehun at 2:37 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a 60 yr. old woman, 5'5", 120 lbs. I eat all the time. I also usually exercise a lot: walk for an hour every morning and do yoga a couple of times a week. I don't eat much meat, never eat ice cream, avoid gravies and other rich sauces. I eat a lot of vegetables, both raw and cooked, whole grains and some refined white pasta, a lot of fruit. Nut butters, fish, sea food, some cheese. I drink an occasional beer or glass of wine.

I'm an academic reference librarian, I'm at the reference desk right now, and I'm eating a couple of RyKrisp crackers with hummus.

I don't obsess over food. I'm a good cook. I haven't always been this thin but have never weighed more than about 150, and that was only for a couple of brief periods.

Secret of weight loss: get plenty of exercise and sleep; change your eating habits, give up ultra fattening foods like ice cream and pastries.
posted by mareli at 2:38 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Apparently I'm 154lbs or 70kg, and 1.82m, as I realise stones is a very singular system)
posted by djgh at 2:39 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I find myself in a grocery checkout line, I look down at the grapes, lettuce, spinach, wholewheat bread, and skim milk I am buying, and then look at the overweight person in front of me buying potato chips, soda, and M&M's I think to myself, "will power just doesn't matter" because I could eat all the food I am buying that day --demostrating no willpower what-so-ever--, and still not eat the equivalent amount of calories that are contained in a single bag of potato chips that the person in front of me is buying. They don't stand a chance at being skinny with the types of food they are eating.

Food selection is key. I look for micronutrient dense, calorie light foods, that require some level of preparation before they can be eaten (basically any vegetable besides the starchy ones, and any fruit). Because a pound of grapes has about 300 Kcalories, while a pound of potato chips has about 2,500 Kcalories, and I'll be full after eating either one. At least for me, I can eat until I am stuffed at each meal, and still come in under 2000 Kcals a day, if I make the right food choices. I am 6'1" 175 lbs, early 30s.
posted by 517 at 2:40 PM on November 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


For me, being "skinny" meant exercising all the damn time and not eating at all. I would NOT recommend this as a good way to live, no matter how much you want to be thin. Similarly, I've seen lots of thin women who suck down those enormous frappuccinos with whipped cream for breakfast and smoke like a chimney throughout the day. Skinny does NOT mean healthy.

Further, being skinny doesn't mean you're a source of good advice for others to follow. If a thin person told you they eat fast food, smoke daily, and pop diet pills, would you take it as your path to health? What if they admitted they do obsess over food, to the point of not ever enjoying eating? What if their best piece of advice is to hate yourself if you gain 5 lbs?

The secret to losing weight is to expend more calories than you consume. The secret to being healthy is to choose quality over quantity. I also like Michael Pollan's words of wisdom: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
posted by joan_holloway at 2:41 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


There were too many questions, but here are a few answers:

I'm 39, 5'6+, ~125-130.

I eat when I'm hungry, and not when I'm not. I try to eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables, and eat basically healthy stuff about 80% of the time. My weakness is probably dairy: I'm mostly a vegetarian and rely too much on cheese.

I don't have a huge sweet tooth, but I don't deprive myself of things like cake or ice cream when I want them. I just don't eat, like, the whole pint of Ben and Jerry's. Right now, for example, there isn't any ice cream at some, but there's a box of grape Edy's popsicles. There's also a bag of doritos. But that stuff is not my main diet, and I'm not eating very much of it.

I make choices about which fatty things are worth giving up. Low fat cream cheese? Nasty; give me the real stuff. Low fat sour cream? Can't tell the difference.

I don't obsess over food.

Crucial: I have learned to like exercise. Sometimes, I'm really into it and have goals (fitness goals, not weight goals). But a lot of the time, it's just a required part of basic bodily maintenance: like brushing my teeth. Do you really, truly, loooove brushing your teeth? Probably not. But you do it. And exercise doesn't even have to be everyday!
posted by kestrel251 at 2:48 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure there was a question like this before, but I'll bite:
1. wonderful
2. breakfast: 2 cups of lentils& barley +1 egg (actually borrowed from a thread I got on here, I make a big batch on weekends, and freeze the grains, then just defrost and throw an egg on top)
lunch: starch (poatoes/pasta)+ stew or curry+ vegetable. Again, frozen into portions (I use lock-lock boxes) on the weekend, grab one in the morning, and defrosts by lunch. microwave to warm.
dinner: anything goes, but I cook at home, so it's always homemmade. Sometimes it's a box of craft mac and cheese, sometimes it's a salad, sometimes it's soup& toast, sometimes it's a 4 course meal. It's my way to unwind. I generally have a glass of wine or a beer while cooking, then watch TV while eating. and then go to bed... my evenings are kind of boring.
3. I work in finance. I eat at my desk ALL THE TIME, so I bring in my own food so I control the portions. When I eat in the cafeteria/order out I inevitably buy too much food, overeat and then want to fall asleep by 2pm. I snack on fruit (or sometimes the snack machine) on late nights, and I do order out occasionally, but make the entree last 2 meals (so half for dinner, half for lunch the next day)
4. I'm 170, 5'8", and 25. (I'm a size 8-10, and relatively fit)
5. seriously, I like celery or an apple with peanutbutter. or a handful of nuts. I eat them super slowly so it feels like more.
6. portion control and cook at home. use less salt, more spices and pepper.
7. I stop eatting when I'm full most of the time, even when it means putting aside food as leftovers. I don't really have a taste for snackfood/soda- it's too sweet/salty for me.
8. I obsess over delishious wonderful food like full cream soups, steaks fried in butter, glorious pates and cake. I love cooking so the process of making something wonderful and sharing it with people excites me.
9. no secrets. sorry. it's all not eating too much and walking everywhere.

caveats: I actually like to cook, and don't mind doing my shopping in chinatown, at the farmersmarket and the local butcher (so it's multiple stops- more time consuming, but also kind of fun). I don't buy organic, but I only tend to buy stuff that is in season (its cheaper). I make a lot of stews and curries and freeze them so I've got variety.



and on preview what everyone else said.
posted by larthegreat at 2:49 PM on November 1, 2010


1) None. I have relationships with people, not food.

2) breakfast: shredded wheat with whole milk, percolated coffee with cream. lunch: sandwich, raisins, 3 assorted fruits or vegetables, a little pot of custard, a sliver of cheese, some dark chocolate, some strong coffee. dinner: a cold plate of salad and, stuff, depending.

3) I'm a computer scientist, I usually come home too late for a family dinner.

4) I weigh 123.5 pounds, I'm 5ft 6in, and I'm 40 years old.

5) crinkle cut potato chips dipped into inferno chili sauce, chased with Pepsi Raw from a bottle, not a can (my supermarket has discontinued this, and I'm furious about it). Favorite recipe? I think chocolate meringue pie, if you want to MeMail me, I will try to dig it out and send it to you.

6) eat at mealtimes, try not to eat in between meals but of course go ahead and eat something if you're totally starving, and only eat gourmet food.

7) yes, because people who are overweight tend to feel deprived and be on a constant diet, and sometimes they forget that they've eaten and think they haven't eaten since lunch or whatever.

8) no

9) see 6)
posted by tel3path at 2:53 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not skinny, but I know some stuff about have a good relationship with food. I think the concept you're looking for is eating competence.
posted by Ouisch at 2:53 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the gist, anyway, in case that link dies someday:

To become more of a competent eater, take the time to eat and enjoy your food. Stay focused on what you’re eating. That is, don’t mindlessly eat in front of the television or while reading the newspaper. Provide meals and snacks at regular times each day – your body and likewise, your family, will learn to trust that the next opportunity to eat will come in time to prevent worry (stress) about food’s availability. Stress can cause overeating and other non-competent eating tendencies.

If you are a competent eater, you have a positive attitude about eating and food. Food is not punishment or reward. It’s to be enjoyed at meal and snack time. To help develop eating competence, plan for variety in the foods you eat – try some new foods, or serve foods in a different way.

Pay attention to when you are hungry and when you are full. Eat until you are satisfied and then stop eating. If your meals and snacks are at regular times each day, you know you’ll get something else to eat at the next meal or snack time.

posted by Ouisch at 2:54 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am 32, 5' 3" and 100 lbs. I have been this weight since I was 15, despite giving birth twice and periods of little to no exercise. I was denied medical insurance based on my weight earlier this year.

I love food. I cook daily. I cook a predominantly low fat vegetarian diet with seasonal vegetables and always use whole grain when I can. I do this because I've had issues with my digestive system as long as I can remember, and I have never been able to eat fatty food without extreme pain. I snack all the time, mostly vegetables and hummus or yogurt. I was worried that my diet created by elimination of foods that made me sick wasn't healthy, so I sat down with a nutritionist to make sure I was covering everything.

I'd like to point out though, that my partner eats the same food I eat. He lost 60 lbs the first year we were together without effort, but remains overweight- significantly healthier, but beyond a certain threshold, eating like I do made no difference to his weight.
posted by Zophi at 2:56 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am a thin person (5'2", ~100 pounds). I have always been a thin person. Based on my mother's example, I will likely always be a thin person; I'm pretty sure I'm not qualified to give advice (but here I go anyway).
I eat lots of grains, lots of vegetables, lots of mostly-plant-based proteins. I also eat butter like crazy and drink whole milk; that part might not work for everyone. I exercise often. I stop eating when I'm full. I also like eating when I'm bored; At work, I keep baby carrots and trail mix and saltines around the office to keep my hands busy. When I'm not drinking milk, I drink a lot of water and tea and sometimes lately coffee, but not much juice or soda. I don't usually eat much really sugary or greasy stuff, but when I want them I get them and don't feel guilty about it.

Advice via a friend of mine: exercise regularly, to the point that when you skip a day you miss the endorphin rush. don't keep eating after you're satisfied. serve yourself small portions to begin with and only go back for more if you're truly still hungry (maybe get some smaller plates). don't drink soda.
posted by Vibrissa at 2:56 PM on November 1, 2010


I have always been very skinny (right now 6'1" and ~158). I see food simply as something necessary. I enjoy food, but if I could live without it I probably would. I do find that my relationship to food is very different than my heavier friends and family. They are amazed that I can forget to eat and don't really look forward to eating. I think a lot of people use food as an emotional reward and crutch, much the way people used to use cigarettes. I just never got that effect from food. Whiskey, yes. Cupcakes, no. I think that's the big difference for me.

The only major difference in my eating habits than the heavier people I know is that I eat smaller portions and I eat less frequently. They say we should eat three meals a day, but the meals people eat are often somewhere around a meal and a half to two meals in size. I was at a restaurant in the midwest a while back and the side salad before the meal was HUGE. It was practically a meal in itself. So if most people are eating 1.5 meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that ends up being around 4.5 meals a day. When you add on snacks, it's probably around 5 meals. I eat maybe 2.5 meals by everyone else's standards, but I personally think it's closer to 3 meals a day. It's just everyone else is eating huge amounts of food.

Also, for me, I feel much better when I eat a very small breakfast, a large lunch, and a small dinner. This is opposite from most people in the U.S., but I feel so much better when I stick to this. I think the huge breakfast, small lunch, huge dinner approach leads to people eating a lot more for some reason.

Also, skinny people can have terribly unhealthy lifestyles. It's just that their lifestyle doesn't have a social stigma attached to it. So just because someone is skinny, I wouldn't necessarily listen to them.
posted by milarepa at 2:57 PM on November 1, 2010


1) Yum? I don't really have a relationship, per se.

2)
Breakfast:
Weekdays — granola or müsli with yoghurt and a banana; either that or porridge with apple & ginger or pear & walntu
Saturday — bacon, scrambled eggs, & toast
Sunday — thin pancackes & jam
Lunch:
Soup or sandwich, typically, with some fruit
Dinner:
Large variety there; lots of pescatarian fare.

All meals are typically homemade from whole foods; very little is pre-packaged

3) Academic; computer scientist. Can't quantify any affect on my relationship.

4) ~8st (112lbs/51kg), 164cm, early 30s

5) Apples?

6) Burn more calories than you eat. Start cycling to work; I dropped a stone (14lbs) over the course of a year doing that. And I was eating more than I had been before I started cycling.

7) Maybe? I love food, but it's like air: I'm generally not thinking about it.

8) Nope. (Unless I'm cooking.)

9) There are no secrets.
posted by joeycoleman at 2:59 PM on November 1, 2010


I'm 5'6, 118ish & female.
I do think about what I eat quite a lot, leaning almost entirely toward all-natural and whole foods, no meat except fish and organic chicken maybe twice weekly, and if I have a massive meal or super high-cal day o' food, I'll compensate by eating extra healthfully for my next few meals. I work at home and eat at home most meals, but try to eat well even when I'm out.

However. One thing I notice is that, while I do have food cravings, I just don't have that bottomless pit of an appetite many people have. I'm satisfied quickly, and even get disgusted by too much of the same item -- which means I never truly "pig out" on ice cream, chips, whatever. This I attribute to genetics, AKA luck. While I put a lot of thought into heating healthfully, I don't have to fight as hard as other people and I try not to forget that when noting others' eating habits, like my husband's.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?

kale chips
.
posted by changeling at 3:00 PM on November 1, 2010


I'm really jealous of my husband's relationship with food. He's skinny, and he enjoys food, but he only eats when he's hungry. And he stops when he's not (usually, unless we're having something particularly nummy, then he's like the rest of us and can overeat). He'll buy a pint of ice cream because it sounds good to him while he's in the store, but then it'll languish in the freezer because he's either never in the mood for it or he's not hungry for dessert. (And then he gets mad at me when I finally eat it two months later.)

He also is just a naturally very active person -- carpentry is a hobby, and we've also got chickens that need fresh straw regularly, etc. He also has a very physical job. Sometimes he can forget to eat because he gets so wrapped up in what he's doing and then we have a food emergency because he needs calories posthaste.

Let me tell you... I never, ever forget to eat. I probably wouldn't be called fat, but I'm definitely not skinny either. I think a lot of people who are naturally thin, and who don't have food issues, seem to have the kind of relationship with food that my husband does.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:02 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think my answers are going to be useful for what you really want, so I won't give you the whole thing. But, I eat whatever I want, when I want. My favorite snack is cheese (ideally good, possibly very high fat, cheese) on crackers. I obsess over food in the sense that I really like eating and making food that is very tasty (regardless of health attributes), and I like baking. I do run, not very intensely, and that is not for weight, but overall health. The main difference between me and overweight people, I'm convinced, is genetics, because my diet definitely ain't doing it for me, and neither are my exercise habits.

(Actually one thing may be worth noting -- I don't and have pretty much never had a soda habit. I do suspect this has helped me some over the long run, and I'm glad my parents prevented this from happening.)
posted by advil at 3:11 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Appreciative

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Breakfast: non-fat Greek yogurt with honey, or cheerios w/ milk, or a scrambled egg.
Lunch: salads from Pret a Manger, or a sandwich or burger from a good place in NYC.
Dinner: A huge variety of things. Steak once a week at least, fish once a week at least, a lot of Japanese home cooking, pasta.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
I'm a programmer, but my coworkers and I are all foodies, so that means trying new restaurants and foods often.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
42, 5'10", 165-170lbs.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
Watermelon, honeydew or canteloupe - satisfying and low cal. Also - I tend to travel to the fridge a lot when stressed, so I keep some glasses in the freezer, and I drink ice water out of them. I find that really cold water will satisfy the nervous-eating piece of my brain. Also, coffee 3 or 4x a day.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Avoid alcohol, soda, and starchy food (especially late in the day), and exercise with 100% effort 3x a week. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is AMAZING for losing weight, and getting lean/strong.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
Don't know.

8) Do you obsess over food?
Other than the occasional craving, no.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
Exercise, and be aware of what you are eating - don't order things out of habit. Snack a lot on raw fruits and veggies. Eat a lot of protein if you are exercising. Concentrate on the small decisions every day rather than trying to make huge changes.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:11 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
usually okay, occasionally fraught with suspicion and betrayal.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
breakfast - cereal
lunch - granola bar, some kind of salad or mixed veg thing, maybe soup
dinner - boring meat & 2 veg or pasta, sometimes cereal if i am really lazy. grilled veg as often as possible.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
9-5 office work, not really. when I had a more physically active job, it was more difficult to maintain a healthy weight and I ended up underweight a lot.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
110, 5'2", 32

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
potato chips, unfortunately. ooh, and grilled asparagus with olive oil and salt.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
make exercise as regular a part of your day as brushing your teeth (as in, do it once a day no matter what)

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
I guess? I don't count calories, I wouldn't even know how to begin. I just eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full.

8) Do you obsess over food?
I obsess over the wonderousness of red velvet cake almost constantly.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
don't be discouraged when the initial loss tapers off to only a pound or two a week. don't compromise your health long-term for short term results with crash dieting. don't reward yourself with food. most importantly, don't let other people's expectations of you drive you insane/make you unhappy/discourage you. oh, and srsly, exercise, every single day. even if it's just a 20-minute brisk walk around the block.
posted by elizardbits at 3:13 PM on November 1, 2010


I love food. Sitting down to a good meal is the favourite part of my day. I eat whatever I like, whenever I like. This doesn't translate into constant junk food, sometimes I feel like a bowl of veggies other times I feel like tim tams. The main thing I've noticed is that I eat while I'm hungry and I stop as soon as I'm not. If there's food still on the plate, then so be it. On the other hand, I've noticed a lot of other people have to finish everything on their plate no matter what because it was how they were raised.

I also get hungry more often (not the standard three times a day thing) but I also get full more quickly.

I couldn't give any advice per se, I lucked out because of good genetics. It's also led to me being incredibly unfit as I've never felt any kind of societal pressure to exercise. This has led to me being 22 and puffing when I climb up two flights of stairs.
posted by liquorice at 3:14 PM on November 1, 2010


Also, soda is the foul urine of Satan. Banish it from your life forever.
posted by elizardbits at 3:14 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll bet a pattern emerges that the skinny people eat significantly less later in the day.

I'm not skinny (well, maybe I am except for the beergut), but my weight is easiest to control when I eat in anticipation of activity, not as a reward or refueling effort. Fat cells excrete the "insatiable" hormone when they are being depleted.

So the best way to be skinny is to never let the fat cells fill up enough that they multiply.

Easier said than done.
posted by gjc at 3:17 PM on November 1, 2010


I think the "skinny person advantage" I have isn't a faster metabolism, but a great "STOP EATING NOW" signal.

I used to (just because it seemed like the kind, socially appropriate thing to do) claim, "If life were fair, I'd be 100 pounds overweight! I'm just one of those people who can eat whatever they want." Heavier friends or acquaintances would often accuse me of "eating like a pig" on social occasions, also playing into that narrative of The Magic Metabolism Only Some Jerks Have And The Rest Of Us Are Missing.

Much to my surprise though, when I started using a fairly good calorie counter (to keep track of my sugar intake, for health reasons)--I discovered that on most days, give or take, I end up eating around 1800 calories....the exact amount required to maintain a weight of 125 of 5'8". The kicker though: I feel full and satisfied just about all the time, and I know other people who feel genuinely hungry all the time and are still considered to be overeating. So I think it's more about "satiation point" than "metabolic rate."

What helped me kick junk food: a variety of healthy foods (and fats) makes you feel less deprived. So if I can eat a plate of sesame-roasted asparagus, a salmon fillet, and a baked sweet potato for the same amount of calories (and fat) as a super-sized snickers bar well--I still feel like I'm rewarding myself for working out and eating as much as I want. Try adding more variety to your (healthy) diet.

But really, what I recommend most to people is Health at Any Size....the idea that, as long as your aerobic fitness and other objective markers are where they need to be, who cares if you're a size 4 or 14. I know some extremely fit overweight folks.
posted by availablelight at 3:18 PM on November 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, soda is the foul urine of Satan. Banish it from your life forever.

Oh god, yes - drink water instead. One of the easiest ways of feeling and being healthier (and my teeth got whiter as well!).
posted by djgh at 3:19 PM on November 1, 2010


I don't know if I'm qualified to answer this question, as I am not naturally thin. I had gastric bypass surgery in January 2009. I've lost 115lbs and I think that the loss has finally stabilized.

1) Easygoing. I mostly got fat because I ate too much, not because I ate "bad" things. I was just hungry, so I ate until I was full. WLS has helped me control portion sizes.

2) I drink a protein shake before I leave the house.
I eat a high fiber meal replacement bar when I get to work.
Lunch is generally leftovers from the night before. About a cup of food total.
Mid-afternoon snack is a snack size Kit Kat or other chocolate bar.
Dinner is about half complex carbs, half protein. Again, about a cup of food total. Last night I had whole wheat pasta with tomatoes, romano cheese, shallots, and pork loin.

I generally do not eat after 7pm.

Beverages are water, herbal teas, and a 4oz glass of some sort of juice once a day that I have to mix medication into. I'll have a beer once or twice a week.

3) I work in public health, nutrition specifically. It doesn't actually affect my relationship with food, although I am continually amused that half of the registered dietitians here are obese.

4) 155lbs, 5'6", 33. Size 8US.

5) Crackers, cheese, and salami. Fresh mozzarella cheese. Cottage cheese. I really like cheese.

6) Portion control is everything. I have no problems with sugar and I can and do eat it, but in modest quantities. There are no "bad" foods. Moderation is what is hardest to grasp. The 1/4 cup of Ben and Jerry's ice cream is a million times more satisfying than a cup of Breyer's CarbSmart dairy dessert.

Also don't be afraid of fat! Fat is good! I eat a pretty high fat diet (cheese, whole milk, butter, meat) but my cholesterol is excellent. If Gary Taubes is to be believed, this is because I limit simple carbohydrates in my diet.

7) This is far too simplistic. People's relationships with food are specific to them, thin or overweight. I know a lot of overweight people who have very healthy relationships with food, and thin people who have more issues than the New Yorker. Also you really need to stop with the thin=healthy and fat=unhealthy thing. There are plenty of overweight/obese people in the world who are perfectly healthy. And even more thin people who are completely unhealthy.

8) Yes, in the sense that I have to make sure that I'm getting enough calories and certain nutrients. I'm always worried that I'm not eating enough protein or iron containing foods. But that's the nature of being post-WLS. Most of the time I have to remind myself to eat because I don't often feel physically hungry like most people do.

But I don't obsess over if I should eat something or not. If I want something then I'm going to have it. I'm just not going to gorge myself.

9) Therapy.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:24 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Healthy. Although it didn't used to be that way. I struggled for most of my life with severe eating disorders, mostly bulimia. I can elaborate more through memail if you want.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
I'm not usually that hungry for breakfast, but I force myself to eat something anything. Usually a plain bagel with hummus and a piece of fruit, usually a banana. Lunch during the week usually consists of a small salad with some veggies on it and a light vinaigrette. I eat a snack when I get home and then dinner consists of some kind of protein (usually tofu) and veggies. The weekends is when I eat whatever I want. I think it helps that I'm vegan so even when I "eat what I want," I'm not eating high fat dairy or meat products.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?

I work in a restaurant and I don't think it really affects my relationship much. It's hard to serve food if you're really hungry and then all the unhealthy fried food is within reach but I don't usually go that route.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
130 lbs., 5'5", 30 years old.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?

I love unsalted, raw almonds or pecans. Or I love some fresh fruit in coconut milk based yogurt, I prefer the plain kind since it already has a taste of coconut in it.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Don't drink your calories.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
In my experience, yes.

8) Do you obsess over food?
Not anymore, but I used to. It used to consume my entire life.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
It's okay to feel hungry. Only keep healthy food in your house. It's okay to eat the unhealthy foods you love, only in moderation.

Also, start to count calories. I don't think most people realize how many they actually consume in a day. Little things add up. Once you do it a while, you become a good judge on how much calories are in all foods and you can monitor your eating in a more healthy manner. It takes time at first to learn, but once you're good at it, you can just eye things and estimate in your head.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:27 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Laziness

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Breakfast: Cereals and milk if I have the time, often nothing
Lunch: Whatever the college cafeteria is offering.
Dinner: Sometimes pasta, sometimes nothing, sometimes I cook with friends, chilli con carne or lasagna or something like that.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
Student. Not much time or money or thought to spend on food.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
180cm, 60kg, 22

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
I usually don't snack. Sometimes soy chocolate pudding, or apples, or chocolate (1 bar / week). Usually tea is perfectly to drink while working, not much need to snack.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Look at your habits and change some of them, food choice is important. Exercise is important.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
Don't know. I don't like the taste of fat and sugar, maybe that helps? Stopped eating butter when I was twelve.

8) Do you obsess over food?
No.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
No secrets. Habits are really important. I couldn't gain weight if I wanted to, it's not about will power.
posted by Triton at 3:28 PM on November 1, 2010


Oh I wanted to add, that I don't really exercise but my job does demand a lot of activity from me. I'm on my feet all day. I think that if I had a sedentary job, I would have to supplement with some exercise. Also if I go out shopping, I always park in spots not close to the door and I always take the stairs (unless I'm carrying something heavy). Since my body is capable, I choose not to be lazy.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:34 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Joyous. It's a love affair. Food and I are best friends.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
I don't do three meals a day because I eat all day long -- in fact, I've been told by numerous healthcare professionals that it's a grazer that seems to maintain a lithe physique, and for me that is definitely true.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
I am an unemployed graphic designer. Right now that means my eating habits are irregular (I eat a lot in the middle of the night now) and this is the first time in years that I've put on some weight.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?

115, 5'8", 22.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?

Oh man, lately it's been a big, big bowl of spring greens with blue cheese dressing, red/yellow/orange bellpepper slices, and LOTS of croutons. OMNOM.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
The only diet that really works is a diet that is based on nutrition, not fads, and on your mental state. How YOU view yourself and your eating habits is as important as what it is you're eating. Lots of veggies, lots of fruit, a good deal of protein, some complex carbs, and good fat. Try not to eat sugar, don't load up on starches, etc.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?

n/a

8) Do you obsess over food?
I used to. I was anorexic for two years and it became a huge point of pride when I was able to fast for days on end. I became very good at it. But I paid a price for it, mentally, physically, emotionally. I was truly unhealthy -- 105lbs at 5'8". I was satisfied watching other people eat, so I became a caterer. Great, right? No.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
Consider why you eat food. Do you eat it to help yourself cope with stress? Is it a time-filler? Are you eating because you don't have anything better to do?

Food should be something wonderful and enjoyable, and it should not rule your life. I'm a foodie and I'm still trying to get that into my head. Become addicted to healthy foods, and you and your body will do the rest.
posted by patronuscharms at 3:35 PM on November 1, 2010


1) Conflicted. I like food a lot, but I inherited some bad body image stuff.

2) Today breakfast was two poached eggs and an english muffin (one on each half). Often oatmeal, a breakfasty salad, or toast and peanut butter--always around 200-300 calories, give or take. Lunch today was chickpea curry; often it's a salad (lately, baby greens, dates, roasted pecans, and goat cheese) and fruit, a slice of pizza or a blt--also around 300-400 calories. Dinner today is a garden salad and steak. Dinner is usually a combination of protein and vegetable--salmon and salad or tofu and broccoli stir-fry, and very occasionally a pasta-based entree with a salad, although I try to avoid carbs at dinner.

Weekends tend to be less predictable: breakfast is the same but much later, lunch skipped, dinner often earlier and eaten out, and there's more alcohol consumed (which often means more snacking too). It evens out sometimes, sometimes not.

3) I work in an office, and I try to stay away from work-supplied snacks entirely. Also my office culture is such that we eat out for lunch often, and I try to limit that to 3 times a week or less and make reasonably healthy choices (by which I mean, a blt instead of a cold cut sub or a slice of pizza instead of a stromboli--only halfway healthy choices, but keeping portion control in mind).

4) 26, 5'1", 115ish.

5) I try not to snack at all. If low blood sugar makes me grumpy, I eat apple slices and peanut butter, raw almonds, or pretzels very very slowly.

6) I don't know about advice, but avoiding work food (the big jar of candy on the receptionist's, the pie my boss brings in) seems to help me a lot. Portion control and avoiding calorie-dense foods makes more of a difference than exercising.

7) I'm not sure.

8) I obsess a bit over slipups, but my slipups are increasingly rare and not so bad--I'm definitely better than I used to be about not eating everything in sight after a bad day. Also I've relaxed my rigidity over good foods/bad foods a bit--there was a time when blts and pizza were on the Bad List, but now I try to remember calories in/calories out is what matters most in terms of weight gain and loss and I eat them happily.

9) Again, the only "trick" I have is to avoid work food entirely. Beyond that, when I'm trying to lose weight, I use an online calorie tracker (FYI I'm consistently well over my daily fat allowance and well under my daily carb allowance, but I find that this helps me avoid sugary temptations), exercise a bit more, and avoid weekday alcohol.
posted by mchorn at 3:37 PM on November 1, 2010


First, I'm not "skinny" - I have a good athletic build and my bf% goes between 10% and 15% while I continue to try to gain lean mass. I used to be really skinny then I used to be skinny fat. Those are all things I want no part of again.

1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Fuel. I sometimes eat things that I actually sort of derive pleasure from but when you eat so much it becomes more of a task I just want to get finished with so I can do things I actually enjoy. Even before I lifted I never really liked eating, sort of a thing I had to force myself to remember to do. Skinny fat was brought on by drinking a lot.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
I typically eat 5or6 meals spaced 3 hours apart deepening on when I wake up.
Breakfast everyday is 4 whole eggs with sea salt, ground pepper, and 0 calorie hot sauce.
When gaining, I'll add in a protein shake with 8oz of milk and 1 whole cup of steel milled oats. When leaning out usually just a protein shake with water and some veggies.
Lunch and dinner will usually be something of similar nature. Some protein + some veggies. So chicken and broccoli, beef and broccoli, homemade chili, etc. I drown stuff in olive oil to add fats.
Right before bed another protein shake.
Every time I go into the kitchen I chug a glass of water.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
I work from home so it allows me to easily eat well throughout the day.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
Don't weigh myself but every two weeks. I should be between 180-185 right now. 6ft, male, 25.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
Favorite snack is unsalted\toasted almonds. Oranges are great desserts.
I just eat basic stuff so no real recipes. I'll prepare some chicken, or ground beef, or ground turkey in some way, then steam some veggies and that's a meal. I like buying those premade roasted chickens from costco. I'll eat a whole one of those for "dinner."

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
The best easiest advice that anyone could start immediately is to not eat processed food and fit in at least 5 hours of activity a week.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
Probably. I think above answers speak to that without having to guess what others are doing though.

8) Do you obsess over food?
No. I actually feel full quite often and sometimes dread eating the next meal. Sometimes a cheat day for me on the weekend is just not eating much of anything at all to take a digestive break and then maybe doing an hour of power the next day where I eat continuously for an hour to makeup for the lost calories.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
There aren't any secrets. As long as you stay out of the health mags it's a pretty simple formula.
Eat slightly less than what your body requires and up your activity level. Lifting heavy heavy weights for minimal reps is the best way of doing this.
posted by zephyr_words at 3:38 PM on November 1, 2010


(I haven't read the previous answers, and I'm not really going to answer your numbered questions)

I'm 5'1", ~100 pounds (I don't know exactly -- I don't own a scale and generally only get weighed when I go to the doctor, which was about 8 months ago), late 20s. I don't really enjoy food. I never have. I don't hate it, certainly, and I find hunger unpleasant, but I only eat because if I didn't I would probably pass out and eventually die. I would very, very happily eat magic nutrition cubes if they could be legitimate food replacements. I eat whatever I feel like, when I feel like eating it. I like going out because I don't like cooking, and I do often -- both to fast-foodish type places and to better restaurants, plus several of my friends LOVE to cook for people who want to eat. I eat desserts when I want to. Generally I think my overall diet is pretty good, although overall I eat less than I probably should (I'll sometimes skip a meal if I'm busy or I just don't want to deal with cooking, because I'm not especially looking forward to the food). I make good money and have the time to get myself/make myself good food regularly if I wanted to.

I've never tried to lose or gain weight. I am, as far as I can tell, one of the very few girls who has never had self-esteem issues when it comes to my looks, even though I know I've never been the prettiest, and I was teased for being too skinny when I was younger (which I never really noticed at the time, but in retrospect was probably intended mean-spiritedly). I got pulled out of class several times in middle school to have serious questions about whether I was anorexic - which I wasn't, and I happily ate the cookies they had "subtly" put out in front of me. Doctors always confirmed I was in the healthy range, if on the low side. I've never attempted to diet. I don't care about food. That's why I don't eat too much of it. I eat more when I'm working out regularly, because I get hungrier.
posted by brainmouse at 3:39 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
relaxing

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
I tend to eat 5-6 "snacks" each day rather than meals, but to be helpful:

breakfast — on alternate days I have two slices of raisin bread, then the next day an omelette using Egg Beaters with things like canadian bacon, cheese, jalapeno peppers, salsa.

lunch — on work days a homemade deli sandwich with turkey and/or ham and/or salami and cheese (usually pepper jack or swiss) on whole wheat and a granola bar. On weekends pulled pork BBQ sandwich or romaine salad with carrots and tomatoes and cut up turkey... occasionally pizza or Mexican.

dinner — I don't do a lot of cooking of fresh foods because I live by myself, so I have become very friendly with Lean Cuisine and Steam Fresh vegetables. I know, right? Jamie Oliver would kick me.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
online retailer — it involves a good mix of desk work and physical activity like carrying 40 pound boxes of shoes or apparel up and down stairs. I tend to eat while I am working rather than taking a break from work just to eat.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
138, 5'9", 58

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
I snack a lot. It's probably fair to say I have 5-6 snacks per day rather than meals. My comfort foods are apples (3-4 per day), oatmeal raisin cookies, pretzels, wheat crackers, raw fresh jalapeno peppers. Don't deprive yourself, just use moderation and good judgment.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Exercise. Seriously. I exercise 1½-2 hours every day. I walk approximately 4 miles every day, do 125 reverse crunches, and a 15 minute light weights workout. At least one day per week I hike in the mountains for anywhere from 5-8 hours. Drink lots of water. Water can help you feel full so you aren't inclined to gnosh.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
I eat to live. I suppose some people live to eat.

8) Do you obsess over food?
I don't. I have a healthy relationship with food. I enjoy when I eat, but I don't overdo it. I don't like feeling bloated so I stop when I'm full. I don't eat meals at set times... I eat only when I'm hungry.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
It has to be a combination of healthy, smart eating and exercise. It simply won't work one without the other. You'd be surprised how silly things like diet soda can affect weight. Even though it has zero calories, you will still lose if you drink water instead.

This is what has worked for me. I have gone from 162 lbs. to 138 over the past two years, and have never felt better.
posted by netbros at 4:16 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
It's a chore. I enjoy food, but I don't enjoy trying to figure out what to eat.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
It depends on what is in season. I buy local rice, honey, and olive oil in bulk from the farmer's market. I don't eat nearly enough greens. I love garlic. Sometimes I'll buy ten pounds of something seasonal and go through it in a week, sometimes I won't. Right now I have a ton of apples, and persimmon season is on its way. Sometimes the fruit of choice is icecream. I keep fair-trade dark chocolate bars in a drawer in my bedroom. Dark chocolate so that I don't eat it all at once. I try very hard to never be hungry, because I'm happier when I'm not hungry, and I can't get anything done if I have to think of food. Right now there's rice in the rice cooker. I buy a lot of local/organic dairy. Mostly cheese. I'd like to eat less dairy because I don't think it's that good for me.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
My profession is irrelevant. I place a high priority on allowing myself to eat whatever food I want to eat, because I have such a hard time finding foods that I enjoy eating. I always strive to limit myself to local/organic/fair or direct trade/etc. I place a high value on buying food products that are healthy for my environment and other people. It's sort of a side-benefit that it is also good for me, though now I find I prefer these foods. I went into a Safeway the other day for the first time in a long time, and couldn't find anything I wanted to eat. Cheezits? Cheetos? I'll take cheese made from the milk of a happy cow, please and thank you.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
5'8", 130, 27. Given my family, I probably won't grow rotund as I age.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin? Things that come from CSA boxes lead to creative recipes. Subscribe to one, if you can.


6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Stay out of the middle aisles at the grocery store. Pay attention to what your food is made of. Quit your car; ride a bike to get from A to B. I once met a person who was given six months to live unless he changed some eating and exercise habits. Bicycling literally saved his life. Also, there are different varieties of weight loss. If it's to fit a prescribed social norm, don't worry about it. If it's because you're not eating the right kinds of foods, worry about it, but don't beat yourself up about it.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
I buy flour in bulk and make bread for my housemates. I don't like bread; I just like seeing it get eaten. Sometimes I'll have a slice or two if I'm hungry and can't find anything to eat.
I don't enjoy cooking. I do enjoy feeding people. I've noticed that some overweight people really enjoy cooking. Often, their meals look much healthier to me than my meager apple+spinach+olive oil+flax seed, or popped corn + butter plus salt, or whatever strange thing I throw together (those were just some from yesterday).

8) Do you obsess over food?
Sometimes I wander into the kitchen and look around for food, and can't find anything, and wander back out. I'll repeat this every while until something looks good. Sometimes I'm hungry enough that I find something tasty the first time. I sometimes eat a ton of whatever strikes my fancy. I have had a sprouted almond phase (soak almonds in water overnight. They go from meh to delicious), a persimmon phase, a rice phase, a popcorn phase, a yogurt phase, a tomato phase, etc. I'll eat these things in great quantities. Then I get bored. Sometimes I'll eat 'em in great quantities year after year, when they're in season.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
Moderation in all things, including moderation.
posted by aniola at 4:23 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Healthy and I love, love, love food, love cooking.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Breakfast: small bowl of cereal with soy milk. (I'll have a couple of handfuls of almonds before lunch)
Lunch: Leftovers from dinner
Dinner: Pizza, pasta, risotto, casseroles, lots of vegetables.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
High school teacher. Sort of. I teach a healthy eating unit that has taught me a lot over the years. I also love sharing my food and telling students about delicious healthy things they can eat instead of chips and pop.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
135lbs, 5'7", 36 years.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin? I love almonds or pistachios for a snack. Just start making more things from scratch. There are a lot of really tasty recipes out there that hardly take any time. You can also double and triple batches and freeze stuff to have on hand later.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Don't have the junk food in your house to begin with. I buy chips only for special occasions, which means 2-3 times a year at most. We never have pop, and never go for fast food burgers. Also, don't drink your calories. We try to drink a glass or two of plain water and juice gets 50% water put in it. Don't eat processed food. Over the last few years I have started cooking more and more. I don't buy cookies or granola bars anymore, I make them myself. And although this is still not healthy we do notice that it is far less sugar and processed materials. When we do end up having store bought cookies or desserts now, they are sickly sweet to me and I would rather not have them.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight? Yes, I totally agree with what 517 said. I have a huge sweet tooth and could certainly eat better but I generally make healthy choices.

8) Do you obsess over food? No. If I crave something, I usually will eat it. Unless, I have been eating poorly then I eat something good for me and when I'm full I don't want the thing I craved.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
Don't diet. Make changes that are reasonable lifestyle changes. Anything that seems like a huge sacrifice just won't stick. You want to make changes that are totally doable and you will be able to keep up for the rest of your life. This probably means you will start with something really small and keep adding healthy habits over the years and they become doable to you.
posted by sadtomato at 4:33 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Practical. Food is a necessity, sometimes an annoyance.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Breakfast: 2 frozen waffles
Lunch: nothing (I know this isn't good, but I'm usually not hungry and I don't like to bother packing lunches for work)
Dinner: chicken sandwich or something simple with couscous/rice/pasta and vegetables
Snacks: crackers, oatmeal raisin cookies, bananas, dry Kashi cereal, cheddar slices

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
Design; nothing to do with food

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
108 lbs, 5'4", 30

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
- Steamed vegetables and rice (I have a rice cooker) is my go-to easy meal - it's excellent with just a little olive oil, salt, maybe some nuts for protein
- I love these muffins because they're not too sweet

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?

- Just quit eating chocolate, cookies, snacks, etc. if you're not great with self-discipline - it seems counterintuitive, but it's way easier to just say no to begin with than it is to just have one and then stop

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
- I don't eat emotionally at all. I don't eat if I'm not hungry. I rarely eat sweets. I don't think of food as a reward or something I "deserve" (as in, I've been good today so I've earned this cake). It's just fuel - calories in/calories out, adjust accordingly. I don't know if that's different, but those are the things I've always wondered about re: other people's eating habits.

8) Do you obsess over food?
- I have some food allergies so I spent a lot of time obsessing over NOT eating things, and I was vegan for about ten years. Over time I've developed a short-ish go-to list of things I eat, so I barely have to think about it anymore (it's kind of like simplifying your wardrobe by wearing black every day). Boring and maybe not the most healthy way to eat, but it gets the job done.
posted by ella wren at 4:38 PM on November 1, 2010


I don't eat emotionally at all. I don't eat if I'm not hungry. I rarely eat sweets. I don't think of food as a reward or something I "deserve" (as in, I've been good today so I've earned this cake). It's just fuel - calories in/calories out, adjust accordingly. I don't know if that's different, but those are the things I've always wondered about re: other people's eating habits.

Everything you've said goes for me, except that I prefer interesting (usually spicy or bitter or sour) food to non-interesting food, and I'm "obese" by BMI.

The idea that thin people and fat people eat differently isn't actually supported by science, OP. (Of course, that may not be the reason for you asking the question.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:44 PM on November 1, 2010


Skinny people like me eat whatever we want. We are just blessed with certain metabolic genes.
posted by jasondigitized at 4:45 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Inquisitive! I love cooking and learning about food from all over the world, as well as trawling through farmer's markets looking for perfect vegetables.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Breakfast - 2 pieces of home-made whole wheat bread with peanut butter and jam and a piece of fruit, maybe some kefir or Greek yogurt, and about once a month, an egg.
Lunch - steamed plain vegetables, a small helping of last night's leftovers, brown rice or whole wheat pasta usually with some kind of sauce, some dried fruit or nuts.
Dinner - roasted, sauteed, steamed or braised vegetables, salad, lentils or beans or rice.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
Graduate student. Is that even a profession? Don't think it affects my relationship with food.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
Mid 20s. 5'2". 108-112 depending.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
Apple slices or carrot sticks with peanut butter and raisins. Barring that, home-made popcorn. Barring that, BumbleBars.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Learn to pay enough attention to your body while you eat so you can tell when you have had enough food. Don't eat until you are full, eat until you are satiated and no longer hungry.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
I'm not sure. I think I feel less compelled to eat something delicious just because I have the opportunity. I don't feel guilty about leaving food on my plate (my mom always told me, "it's just as wasted in you as in the trash if it's not food your body needs right now"). I don't tell myself that I have to eat less today if I ate a lot tomorrow. Some days I eat a lot and some days I'm just not hungry; I don't worry about it.

8) Do you obsess over food?
No.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
Here's my opinion, which is just an opinion: Don't keep packaged chips, cookies, crackers, frozen meals, candies, desserts or really any other kind of ready-made food in your house. If you get a craving for ice cream or french fries or whatever, make it an occasion - go out somewhere nice and really enjoy eating a small portion. Savor every bite. Don't get take-out; linger and enjoy it. At home, either cook a meal or grab fruits or vegetables for snack. If you don't have much time to cook, that's ok - it's super easy to make a great pasta dish with microwaved veggies in 10 minutes. Couscous is even faster. Most everything can be frozen in single-serve portions ahead of time. You can make a delicious dinner dish from beans in 5 minutes, salad can be practically instant, etc.
posted by Cygnet at 4:47 PM on November 1, 2010


I am not skinny, but I am not overweight. Skinny is no more a healthy thing to be than fat. That said, I will answer your questions.

1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?

Love

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

I don't eat lunch, unless it's a special deal like meeting friends and all we can do is lunch. I firmly believe that unless you have a fairly physical lifestyle, two meals a day is enough. I like to eat a brunchy sort of meal at around 10:00. This tends to alternate between cereal/porridge/grapefruit and coffee or an eggy thing like omelette, bacon and egg, etc Dinner is my main meal of the day and I will typically eat pasta twice a week, curry or some spicy, ricey thing once a week, fish once or twice a weak, red meat once a week or less and after that maybe soup, fish and chips, risotto, or... hell, whatever I've found in a cook book I like the look of.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?

Well, I'm currently unemployed but in the past I was an IT desk jockey so yes, that affected my relationship with food in the sense that I knew very well that I had to not eat like a trawlerman. If your job involves sitting in your arse most of the day you need to ramp down the calories severely.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?

170 pounds, 5' 8.5", 51

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?

I don't snack. I'm old school - I believe snacking is a problem. I think it adds unnecessary calories to your total. I'd rather have a thoroughly satisfying dinner than an inadequate one that makes me want to snack later. But if you want to snack lo-cal? Crisp, fresh veggies like carrots, celery etc... dipped in hummus (lo-cal if you want to be virtuous) or tzatziki made with low fat yoghurt.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?

For God's sake exercise. Yes, it hurts, at first. Yes it's work. DO IT. And then stop eating chips, chocolate and cake so much. And learn about calories. Pay attention to your calorific intake. Really, it's all about energy in v energy out. The human body is an engine. it takes fuel in and it burns fuel. You need to balance that equation.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?

Not sure I understand the question. I love food. Food is one of my greatest pleasures in life. But I understand that eating food has an effect. I understand that if I do not stay aware of what I'm eating and adjust my intake to suit my lifestyle, I will become obese.

8) Do you obsess over food?

No. I love food. I take great pleasure in thinking about what meals I will cook during the week, and in planning my shop. I love cooking meals for other people. I adore visiting great restaurants. But obsess? No. Food is a huge pleasure. Not an obsession.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?

No secrets. Watch your calories, be strong, and EXERCISE.
posted by Decani at 4:47 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not sure that I can go into all of the details, but here's what I find works for me:

- Walk/take stairs/etc. as much as you can. Walk a few miles each day, either for exercise or to get somewhere. Take the stairs. Carry things.

- Don't buy things that are not good for you. No soda, ice cream, etc. in the house.

- Throw food out. Food is cheap. Fat is expensive to get rid of (in terms of time). If you crave ice cream and all you can buy is a pint, eat a few bites and throw it out.

- Assume that you will exercise. Have exercise plans that don't depend on anything: weather, other people, gym hours, etc. In other words, bodyweight exercises at home, jump rope, etc. Let there be no excuses for not exercising.

- Buy healthy food you like. For me, there seems to be a trade-off between controlling food and controlling money. Spend money on high quality food, even if it's a bit expensive. You'll eat healthier and be happy.

- Follow your cravings. If your body wants something, give it some of it. If it's unhealthy, try to stretch it out and eat it very slowly and don't eat a full serving. If it's healthy, go ahead and binge on it. Eat a pound of salad if your body wants it.

I was a skinny kid and now I'm an average (not skinny) adult. This is what I live by.
posted by alternateuniverse at 4:50 PM on November 1, 2010


tl;dr but

1) I never think about my relationship with food so can't come up with one word

2) A small cup of fruit juice, a scrambled egg on slice of buttered white toast, and after working out, an orange or a banana. Lunch, dinner -- varies

3) Teacher. Yes, irreguilar schedule means lots of pizza slices

4) 160 pounds 6 feet 1 inch 57

5) Chocolate cake candy, ice cream with nuts
Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
Mini carrots

6) start exercising regularly

7) I've never been close enough to an obese people to grok their ‘relationship with food’

8) no

9) Start running. Don’t hold on to the treadmill. Get used to being hungry. Read about Barry Sears' Zone.

Bonus:
4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
yes

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
In the evening, often. Chocolate, sweets, etc.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
More eating!

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
Not really

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
Dig my 'fat' clothes out of the closet, and/or get back on the regular exercise schedule

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
Every other day for about an hour -- two mile running, then weightlifting

10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often?
No (but I bet I wouldn't see my dentist so often, if I'd gotten into the artificial habit).

11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks?
Decaf coffee
posted by Rash at 4:57 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Love. I actually love flavour rather than quantity but I can have very intense conversations about cheese for example (I got cupcakes decorated with candy cheese for my birthday)

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Breakfast - oatmeal with splash of milk and brown sugar and coffee; burrito filled with cheese, onions, hot sauce, beans and whatever vegetables I have around; grilled cheese sandwich
Lunch - leftovers
Supper - meat, starch and a vegetable side or a casserole-like thing (chili with lots of beans and vegetables; pasta with tomato sauce; stir-fry)

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
Student so my food has to be cheap. For me that means making a lot of my stuff from scratch. I enjoy cooking a lot and I can have a lot of free time so it works well. It also works as stress-relief so when I get home from a day at school I can relax and cook dinner.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
Early 30s, average height and a little under the 'healthy' weight for my height. And female if that matters.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
Apples. Apple and cheese. Apple, cheese and pickles. Cheese, pickles and wine. I go for really flavourful foods because I seem to eat less of them. I tried to buy light cheese and I'd eat probably 5 times more than if I got a little piece of really good blue cheese. But I suspect my sodium intake is really high.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
I don't know because, honestly, I don't have to think about restricting myself very much/ever. I guess I'd say - make time for meals, eat slowly, use small plates, don't eat until you feel sick, develop a dislike of sweet stuff.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
Again, I don't have a lot of experience with this issue. Most of my friends have very intense relationships with food and/or exercise but they aren't overweight.
I talk about it less or at least differently. I love food and I get really excited about new recipes or trying some new restaurant. I hate talking about weight or diet issues though (I really don't care what you're eating).

8) Do you obsess over food?
I read Cooks Illustrated magazines over and over again to memorize their techniques. I'm reading and loving On Food and Cooking. I read Joy of Cooking and Fanny Farmer's cookbook one boring summer. I get up early on the weekend to watch the good cooking shows on PBS. So kind of.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?

Don't own a car.

But this is such a weird issue for me. Like others have said above, being thin isn't necessarily healthy and I know that my diet is probably too high in sodium and fat. I don't exercise very much besides not owning a car (and walking way more than everyone else where I live). I think I'm ok healthy but compared to my friends I feel like I'm not exercising enough and eating too much. But somehow I weigh less than them. And I weigh way more than what a couple years ago. So who knows.
posted by hydrobatidae at 4:59 PM on November 1, 2010


I've found a useful trick recently.

Don't think about the future. Because that part of your brain isn't the bit that wants the food.

The hungry bit is primal and has no sense of time.

So you need to just grind a message into your head.

Make up a mantra, something like 'I EAT TOO MUCH I WILL EAT LESS I EAT TOO MUCH I WILL EAT LESS' and get used to having it cycling round your head for days on end.

It might not help, but do it anyway - it can't hurt.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:07 PM on November 1, 2010


I'm in my late 20s, 5' 4", and can't remember if I weigh 110 or 115lbs. Regardless its been the same for the last 8 years or so, when I gained 5lbs. There is something freakish about my metabolism that it seems to very precisely keep me at the same weight. I eat whatever I want, in general (I am not so good with the self control). I do try to stop eating once I'm full, and luckily never got into the soda habit.

I don't eat sweet things very often, although that does require not buying cookies or cake, because if I have them in the house I will eat them. I have no qualms eating cake for breakfast. I no longer like the super sweet things I did as a kid.

Similarly I try to avoid the temptation of things like freezer mozzarella sticks, because if i have them available I will eat them for dinner. I have a serious weakness for processed food, so try to not even go to grocery stores and instead only have "real" food in the house like veggies and lunch meat and things. Luckily now that I'm more used to homemade or well-made food a lot of the processed stuff tastes gross to me.

I often get distracted from eating, and if alone often won't bother until I am insane with hunger and then just stuff something in my mouth. Again why I try not to have too much easy-but-unhealthy food around.

When I find myself thinking of eating something I know to be unhealthy, I try to think of other things I like that are better. Want pizza? Oo, but I could have Indian instead, and since I like it all about the same I'll order the spinach instead of the lamb. Some cravings I think are telling you something. If I crave beef, I'm going to have some. See if it goes away, if not just feed it, one bottle of soda/ice cream/deep fried whatever isn't going to kill you.

I have no qualifications to back this up, but I would say eat when and only when hungry, before you are super hungry, and stop when you are no longer hungry (rather than consciously full). Don't make lists of forbidden foods, just try to coax your preferences. Explore international food, most countries are so much vastly better at vegetables than American food. Drink water, not stuff with sugar.
posted by sepviva at 5:15 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


In addition to the previously linked above, there was another previous AskMe before that, too.
posted by Forktine at 5:20 PM on November 1, 2010


As others have dutifully pointed out, skinny doesn't mean healthy.

I wouldn't necessarily hold myself out as someone whose diet should be emulated, since I wish I ate better.

But you didn't ask about health. You asked for responses from skinny people, and I'm skinny.

I lost about 30 pounds in the past 2 or 3 years without trying at all. If anything, I felt like I was indulgently overeating.

So here goes.

1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?

Vegetarian. (That is not a panacea; I know people who've lost weight by going vegetarian, and I know people who've gained weight by going vegetarian. But that's my honest answer to your question.)

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Breakfast: If it's a work day, I bring 1 or 2 peanut butter and banana sandwiches (sprinkled liberally with wheat germ or ground flaxseed) to eat at my desk, and I have coffee that's provided at work. If it's not a work day, I often start the day at a cafe with coffee and an egg sandwich.

Lunch: On work days, I'll have a pretty light lunch. Sometimes it's just several handfuls of almonds! Otherwise, I'll go to a nearby lunch-oriented restaurant/cafe, not so much to enjoy my food but just to have the energy to get through the day. I drink water. I consider this the least essential and least nutritious meal of the day. If breakfast was the egg sandwich at a cafe, I consider that very filling, so I'll eat lightly if at all until dinner (also, I don't need to worry about taking a clearly defined "lunch break").

Dinner: Homemade. I like to do something with vegetables sauteed in olive oil. I'm bored with just vegetables mixed together, so I need something to "organize" them: pasta (whole-wheat or vegetable-based, bought in bulk from a co-op), quinoa, pizza (whole-wheat crust from the store, topped with home-cooked vegetables), salad, or a multigrain sandwich. But pasta can't be the main thing. Vegetables are the main thing. Whenever I'm making dinner I feel I MUST have lots of vegetables. This is one of the main reasons I find restaurants unsatisfying: too often, their idea of vegetarian options is giving you a huge mound of pasta covered in butter and cheese and cream. This is a great way for them to get you to love going to their restaurant; they don't care what it's doing to your body in the long run. I also try to remember to add some kind of nuts: pine nuts or walnuts can go in anything. I usually don't follow recipes; even if I follow a recipe, I start to get bored with it and add the kinds of things I like. Beverage is beer or wine, which I'm not claiming is a good way to lose weight; I'm just describing what I do.

Snacks: I keep enough dips and spreads around that are at least semi-healthy (hummus, guacamole, store-bought tapenades) so that I can easily turn vegetables or multigrain bread into a delicious meal that isn't along the lines of chips.

3) [question skipped]

4) What is your weight, height, and age?

135 lbs., 5'10", 29.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?

Instead of trying to think of weight-loss recipes (since I don't really think in those terms), I'll just say my favorite cookbooks are the vegetarian ones by Deborah Madison and Mark Bittman. Those aren't weight-loss or health-food books. But they could help you lose weight if they encourage you to make lots of vegetable dishes at home instead of going to restaurants.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?

Avoid restaurants. If you do eat at restaurants, don't eat everything they serve you (white bread, pats of butter, etc.). Be a vegetarian but don't expect it to automatically make you lose weight. If you compensate for the lack of meat by eating lots of cheese and bread and potato chips and desserts, obviously, this won't be a good weight-loss program. If you compensate for the lack of meat with a variety of vegetables every day (and not deep-fried or drenched in creamy sauces/dressings), you could lose weight.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?

I don't know. I don't know what's in their minds. I worry about myself. I don't worry about what other people are doing or thinking.

8) Do you obsess over food?

Yes, I think a lot about cooking food. I'm not a nutritional expert or a calorie-counter, but I know the basics about how to eat nutritiously. I think about things like whether I'm eating a good variety of vegetables (lots of green and orange and red ones) and whether I'm getting enough protein (from tempeh, quinoa, etc.), iron (being aware that vegetarian iron has to be paired with the right foods to be properly absorbed), vitamin B12 (from eggs, nutritional yeast, etc.). I'm not generally obsessed with sweets except ice cream. I go ahead and eat ice cream a lot, fully admitting that it's not the most healthy thing.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?

Exercise is probably NOT the answer.

Never drink soda, even if it's offered to you for free. Juice isn't that much better (it doesn't matter how much the label insists that's it's healthy and replenishing). Instead, drink water or seltzer.

If you don't want to find yourself regularly eating a certain food, don't buy it in the store in the first place. If you buy cookies, you WILL be eating cookies on a regular basis. Crackers, same thing. Ice cream, same thing. I'm not saying never to eat these foods. But the main determinant of whether you're eating them a lot doesn't happen when you grab them from the kitchen and put them in your mouth; it's when you grab them from the supermarket aisle and put them in your cart.

Buying junk food at the supermarket is surrender. Eating at restaurants is surrender. If you want, go ahead and do these things as occasional treats, but admit to yourself that they're far from ideal when it comes to weight loss or health.
posted by John Cohen at 5:20 PM on November 1, 2010


1. Pleasurable.

2. I buck the current trend and eat lots of carbohydrates (but go easy on simple sugars). Breakfast: not overly sweet coffee-cake type cake or bun. Lunch: bread, cheese, fruit. Dinner: Pasta or rice with a lot of vegetables and often a little meat. No dessert, no soda, no beer or wine. (This is what works for me; if I don't eat enough starch I don't feel right, no matter how much protein or fat I just ate.)

3. Biochemist, so I tend to think about food, cooking and metabolism in terms of chemistry.

4. I'm about 105 lb (48 kg), 5'2" (158 cm), and 50 years old. I've been about the same weight for the last 30 years.

5 & 6. I don't snack much, which is probably also my suggestion for those who wish to lose weight. Plus, cut out the soda - it's loaded with calories and has no redeeming value.

7. I think so, based on some of the questions/replies on AskMe. I enjoy eating and cooking, and even reading cookbooks, but I don't agonize over food or get stressed about deciding what to buy or make. There are times when I don't want to stop what I'm doing in order to eat, and I generally don't have food at hand when I'm doing other stuff. No cookies stashed in desk drawer, no candy dish in my cubicle, no soda in hand during company meetings.

8. No. I enjoy it when I'm dealing with it (e.g., shopping, cooking, eating), but like other pleasures (e.g., embroidery) I don't think about it when I'm doing other things.

9. Pay attention and eat mindfully. Eat good food and savor it, don't just wolf it down in front of the TV. I really like that description upthread of competent eating - that probably sums up my approach to food. I don't count calories and don't own a scale, but I pay attention to what (and how much) I eat and cut back a little if I've eaten more than usual.

For an interesting look at mindless eating, check out ... well ... Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink. Some of our society's problems with food are more systemic than personal, and Wansink talks about how the deck is stacked by the fast food industry (among other things). A lot of his experiments are fiendishly clever, too, and it's a fun read.
posted by Quietgal at 5:32 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) Healthy

2) Coffee, nothing or a small sandwich, something really good and made from scratch.

3) Retail store owner. If I sit on my ass all day doing accounting, I don't get hungry. If I have to haul 4000 pounds of freight off a truck, I'm pretty hungry.

4) 160, 5'10", 44.

5) We don't snack.

6) If my belly sticks out, it means I stop eating. The sensation of my usually 30 inch waist spilling over my belt is revolting enough to kill my appetite. I can still wear the uniform I wore when I was 18, and I am pretty dedicated to keeping things that way.

7) We don't eat unless we are hungry.

8) Lamb shanks. Duck confit. Duchess potatoes. Pot-au-feu. Waterzooi. Baked asparagus. (Must cook now)

9) Avoid office jobs. Seriously, you have to build enough activity into your day to justify the calories you consume.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:47 PM on November 1, 2010


What do skinny people eat?

Can't speak for others, but I eat pretty much whatever I want. All of that said, I feel that my upbringing gave me a really sane approach to eating. Which means that "anything I want" might be kale, and is definitely unlikely to be a can of frosting or a whole box of oreos. Seriously, I was in the supermarket earlier today and felt like "splurging" on something that wasn't on the list. Said splurge was shiitake mushrooms. So, y'know.

1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?

Open. When I say I eat pretty much whatever, I'm quite serious about that.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Breakfast:
A cup or two of coffee with 2% milk, no sugar; a half cup of full-fat yogurt with an equal amount of granola, topped with a healthy handful of chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.

Lunch:
Whatever I feel like on the takeout menu making the rounds in the office. My company pays for lunch, and my "deal" with myself is that I get whatever I want. I try not to order meat, but sometimes a cheeseburger beckons. Washed down with a diet coke - soda is my one food vice, and my compromise now is that I can have it if I want, but it generally has to be diet.

Dinner:
If I'm going to skip a meal, it's probably going to be dinner. But let's say I'm coming home to a full meal. Chances are it's either a grilled cheese sandwich, beans and rice, or pasta (usually with pesto rather than tomato sauce). I will usually have a beer or glass of wine, as well. Probably more religiously than I actually eat dinner.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?

I work in the film industry. There is food everywhere, constantly. The hours are insane, which leads to skipping dinner as well as the tendency to just not grocery shop for months on end. Which then makes it difficult to eat well even when I don't want to just fall into bed when I get home.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?

125 lbs, 5 foot 3, 29 years old.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?

Plain yogurt or string cheese. I don't know if this helps with "trying to be healthy/thin", but it's better than a donut, I suppose.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?

Burn more calories than you take in? I don't know, I've literally never watched my weight in my entire life. Honestly, my advice is probably "eat whatever you want, stop stressing out about it, be happy, whatever". But I'm not sure people would actually lose any weight that way.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?

Having never been overweight, I really couldn't say. I'll say that my parents did not keep junk food in the house on a regular basis when I was growing up, and I don't view foods like chips, candy, pizza, soda, etc. to be the default "good", "tasty" food I have to work hard to avoid eating (or the converse, all vegetables, tofu, salads, and the like as "rabbit food" or "gross health food"). Which isn't to say I don't ever eat that stuff, but it's not usually in the house. I also grew up with foodies for parents, who taught me the value of cooking my own food and not relying on takeout and processed crap. All of that said, I have no idea whether that is any different from your average overweight person.

8) Do you obsess over food?

I feel a strong connection to the seasons and to place through what I eat. So, yeah, I can get a little obsessed with, say, eating ceviche in South America, or making sure to pick up some heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn at greenmarkets during the summer. It's November now, and I find myself craving heavier hearty/starchy foods in a way I haven't been all summer long. I'm not sure if that's what you meant by "obsessed", per se.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?

How is this any different from Question 6? Again, never really had to lose weight. The times I have quickly dropped a ton of pounds, it's been either stress or severe illness. So, ummm, pick up dysentery next time you're traveling abroad? Get a really crap job that gives you no time to eat? Have panic attacks?
posted by Sara C. at 5:55 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most Americans would consider me "skinny," though I'm not really. I'm within the bounds of what should be "normal."

1) Delight.

2) Breakfast: Healthy cereal (oatmeal, usually) with some fruit. Lunch & dinner: I don't differentiate between the two. I eat tons of fruit and vegetables and lean meats. I don't eat any supermarket-style bread, and I eat rice more often than not. I also snack on almonds, fruit, and fibre-dense granola bars throughout the day.

3) Was a teacher; now a student.

4) 170 lbs, 6'1", 25.

5) I eat nutrient-dense and colour-rich food. I don't eat calorie-dense garbage. I love blueberries with spinach and no-fat yogurt, avocados with good, dense bread, celery with peanut butter, and toasted almonds. I don't eat prepackaged garbage. No soda.

6) See above. Drink water or green tea. Cut out booze (this isn't something I'm willing to do, but it makes losing weight much easier). Alton Brown has some good advice on this.

7) Yeah, it's pretty obvious in the supermarket. I didn't notice this until moving back to Canada after living in Asia for several years. I buy fresh/healthy food. I never buy soda, chips, sugar-dense cereals, or any of the other crap I see people buy.

8) Yes. I love food. Healthy food. It's a big part of my life.

9) Regular exercise is very important. Eating properly everyday is even more important.
posted by smorange at 6:31 PM on November 1, 2010


I'm a 42 year old female with a BMI of about 24. As an adult, It's been as low as 21.75 and as high as 25.25 - but not for long. I'm most comfortable when it is around 23. I'm not skinny, but as a person who has been fairly consistent, I will chime in to a few of your question. My parents were both obese, and my four brothers and sisters have had weight problems at certain times in their lives, although not nearly as severe as my parents - so, I've done a bit better than that. Genetics are a factor - positive and negative. We're a big family, but also fairly tall and well proportioned. I've never given birth, which seems to be a non-universal factor.

I don't obsess over food, but I do obsess over my weight. I weigh myself every morning, record the weight, and average on a weekly basis. If the morning weight is above a certain number, it gets a red highlight, likewise, the weekly average. I've done this for a few years, and have maintained my weight, but not lost.

I don't eat fast food unless I'm traveling, and I know the nutritional content of what I do eat. Likewise, if I eat at a chain restaurant, I look up nutritional info before I go. Often, I don't go. I can't eat at the restaurant of choice for office lunches. I don't eat sweets at work. Today there was a birthday cake for some of us, and so thoughtfully, there was mixed fruit as well as cake, because my co-workers knew I wouldn't eat cake.

I lost weight on Atkins, but can't do that anymore due to hereditary heart concerns. My cholesterol is high, genetically, my brother had a heart attack at sixty, my doctor has done extensive blood work to allow me to stay off statins for the time being, so sheer fear is a factor.

I eat vegetables every day, and I don't eat breakfast foods, I usually have a home made bean burrito or a sandwich or something around ten or eleven every day. I drink too much, and also eat too much cheese, but no red meat or eggs, and I *try* to avoid empty carbs. Lots of beans and fish.

I also do not plan meals in advance, because how can I know what I will want to eat? Although I do bring in food to the office job (which has made me put on weight - the ass sitting, not the bringing in food). When I am working a second job, in an appearance conscious environment, I do tend a few pounds lighter.

I am not an athlete, but I am and have always been active. I jog as much as my arthritis allows, walk, and take one hour of structured exercise a week, plus some weights. Stairs. Park away from the building. All that.

I do actually notice a difference between my mind set about food and *some* obese co-workers and acquaintances. While I am mindful of what the caloric impact of what I put in my body at all practical times, some people seem to willfully ignore the nutritional information that is readily available, and make choices along the lines of - "I know it's bad for me, but I needed the extra boost today." "Well I got the burger and fries, but I didn't get the milkshake." I sort of refuse to congratulate that line of thinking, which perhaps makes me a bit of an asshole, I don't know.

Again, skinny does not equal healthy, but habits can really add up.
posted by rainbaby at 6:32 PM on November 1, 2010


My relationship to food is 'pleasantly neutral.' I get pleasure from it sometimes, but that's a side effect or a treat rather than a goal. For ethical reasons, I eat a vegetarian diet with a lot of dairy and soy products. I am a committed snack-er and grazer and I sip green tea and munch fresh fruit and vegetables all day at my desk-- baby carrots, sections of oranges, quartered apples.

I do think I have a different relationship with food than many of my peers, regardless of their weight because when selecting what to eat, I don't think of a connection between what I will eat and the way I look. I wasn't trained by my family to do this, and I was isolated from media that would have given me the idea, and even as an adult now in the mainstream culture, because of the privilege I experience as a result of my size, I don't have well-meaning people in my life giving me this message either-- unless they're asking a version of the question I'm currently answering, as if I have a secret potion I can offer. A lack of this kind of talk and a continued isolation from popular culture probably helps prevent developing an obsession with food, which I haven't experienced.

I think it's less some secret "skinny person" potion than genetics, with some behavioral sprinkles, most of which have already been covered above. I was raised by my family to follow an activity/intuitive eating combination similar to that articulated by Health at Every Size (mentioned above) and I come out with a physique that led me to answer your question. If you eat a healthy diet, are active, and don't, then it might be the culture that has the problem, not you.
posted by neko75 at 7:09 PM on November 1, 2010


your survey is too long!:) I'm just going to say that i am skinny enough (5'3", 110lbs, 36yrs) and it is definitely ALL about balance. If i eat something creamy or fatty one meal, i don't have anything like that for the next one (or many...). i eat either cereal or half a bagel with cc in the morning (6:30am), a power bar at 11am, and a full dinner (pasta and salad, sandwich and soups, tamales and rice (yes i am boring and these might be more like lunch foods) at 4:30pm. I eat REALLY early and don't really eat again in the evening (weeknights). I think that helps. Also i try to walk for at least 30min a day, but really 1hr is ideal. I would say i am pretty active. It works, but it is kind of a rigid and lonely (some funny eating hours!) weekday schedule at times!
posted by bquarters at 7:21 PM on November 1, 2010


but there is definitely always thinking before eating. always. and eat slowly, that's important too.
posted by bquarters at 7:22 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Mindful

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Nothing (and haven't for 10+ years; very occasionally cereal or eggs on the weekend); greek yogurt + 300-400 calorie entree like noodles/veggies, beans/rice, small sandwich, apple + granola bar; anything goes - pizza, steak + veggies, pasta + veggies, big salad, protein + noodles/rice; usually at least 1 strong drink at least 3 times a week. I also snack, sometimes a lot, sometimes not healthily, throughout the day.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
Teacher + grad student; yes, negatively, I frequently eat on the run/in my car/at a desk/work through lunch/at odd hours

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
106 lbs, 5' 0.5", 25. I've been genetically fortunate: my body has been similarly proportioned for most of my life, while eating whatever fatty carby stuff I wanted and only recently has my metabolism slowed.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
Microwave popcorn (light, or air-popped and add my own butter/salt)

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
Make data-based decisions about your food intake (e.g., journal your food intake, analyze results by determining calorie/fat intake, etc., see where you can make healthier decisions) AND learn healthy eating heuristics for making good decisions on the fly (e.g., choose whole over white grains, choose lean over fatty proteins, choose clear over creamy soups)

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
Really hard to say, but I'd guess somewhat; I definitely binge on certain foods that I classify as "comforting" but I just don't buy them (cheese curls, oreos, Halloween candy). I notice that for some folks who are overweight, there seem to be certain family cooking traditions that my family never did (e.g., eating the skin on roasted chicken, adding lots of "extras" to food - cheese & croutons to salad, sour cream on chili or potatoes) so maybe I have not practiced certain food/cooking habits also.

8) Do you obsess over food?
Yes, but at a much healthier level than I used to (previously at an almost disordered level). Besides calorie, fat, & fiber content, I now find myself evaluating food based on how humane and sustainable its production is.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
Make certain decisions automatic (whole grains, lower fat, healthier fats, don't drink your calories). My favorite, though, is that if you try to lose weight by decreasing calories, you need to mix it up and have a higher-calorie day every once in a while to prevent your body from becoming too efficient at surviving on reduced calories =) It builds in some happy, and takes the pressure of needing to obsess. Having had a bad relationship with food for a few years, really enjoying what I'm eating and caring about the quality of what I put in my body has become really important to me and I find that I do better weightwise when I can like more of what I'm eating.
posted by shortskirtlongjacket at 7:35 PM on November 1, 2010


1) I love food and really enjoy cooking. I eat basically whatever I want, but I think I'm pretty sensible with food and don't really go crazy for sweet foods and I really prefer 'healthy' foods to 'unhealthy' foods. I think being able to cook is a big part of this, as I can choose what I want to eat and can make whatever I feel like.

2) For breakfast I have coffee and either toast with some kind of topping (avocado, eggs, peanut butter or Vegemite), porridge or fruit if I'm not feeling very hungry. For lunch I usually have a sandwich of some kind, with tuna, turkey or chicken and whatever vegetables there are in the fridge, or left overs. For dinner it really varies, but there is mostly some meat and lots of vegetables (I try to get 3-5 serves in dinner). I eat all meat including red meat and fish, but I try to have a few meat free days a week. I try to just drink tea, coffee and water.

3) I am a student, soon to be working in the health-care field.

4) I'm 20, 5'5" and I weigh 57kg (125 lbs).

5) I don't really snack, I just eat enough at mealtimes so that I don't really get hungry in between. I mostly just eat fruit if i do snack. Sometimes I have some kind of cracker with avocado or hummus or cheese if I'm really hungry.

6) Stop drinking fizzy drinks. Don't eat prepackaged meals or other prepackaged things. Learn to cook and make as much as you can from scratch (I think this is the biggest one). Be more active (I walk everywhere I can).

7) I have no idea. I assume so, because I am not overweight, so I must be doing something differently.

8) Not at all. I love food but I don't really think about it when I'm not hungry, cooking or eating.

9) I have never tried to lose weight, but I do think it is genetic to some extent: I have been able to maintain the weight I am without really doing much and most of my family is slim. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full and make sensible choice with food seems to simple but its basically what I do.
posted by norwegian wood at 7:40 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Socialize

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
- I do not eat breakfast, unless I know I will not eat lunch (usually the case on weekends) in which case I will have cereal and kippers.
- Lunch: At work we eat out. I *never* get burgers or pizza except on extremely special occasions. Often this will be deli sandwiches (not Subway), Greek, Indian, or Arabic food.
- Dinner: I cook at home, and will make pretty much anything, but I will always eat a large quantity of vegetables with my meals (broccoli is the best)

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
My profession is Engineering, hence I have to be extremely careful with eating as it is a profession that is excessively sedentary.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
130 lb, 6' 1"

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
I usually *never* snack, but I will eat raw mini carrots and strong cheese if I come home late at night and am still hungry.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
- Don't snack
- Don't eat until you are hungry
- Exercise
- Do not drink beer especially with a meal
- Dark chocolate
- Have high acid drinks with meals to aid with digestion (but only for the big meal)
- No milk or sugar in coffee
- Whole grains for everything
- Don't eat out

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
Yes. I eat less. I will eat a big meal once a day, and then smaller ones. Some of my overweight friends will have a massive breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then complain they're still hungry. I cannot eat half the meals these people eat.

8) Do you obsess over food?
No, I obsess over other things, like women

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
See 6. I'd say cut out a meal a day. Don't make your life revolve around eating.
posted by niccolo at 7:51 PM on November 1, 2010


1. I love food.
2. Breakfast - cereal, a piece of fruit, coffee. Lunch - dinner leftovers and/or hummus, veggies, salad. Dinner - pasta with sauce; tufo and broccoli over rice or quinoa. Beans and spinach burrito. Squash. Variations on "vegetable, protein, and carbohydrate" theme.
3. I write from home, which means I wind up snacking a bunch. Sometimes I crave salty foods; I try to keep it healthy with nuts and dried fruit, since a bag of chips makes me feel crappy.
4. 124-135, 5'5", 28 years old.
5. Hummus and a bell pepper.
6. You have to burn more calories than you eat, which means you need to build in some sort of fun activity that burns calories. I ride my bike a lot. In the summer I have to struggle to keep my weight reasonable.
7. Maybe. Maybe not. I try not to overeat, which I can easily do to the point of discomfort. Difference is, my metabolism and energy consumption can handle it.
8. I think about food all the damn time. I love to handle it, buy it, think about it, cook it, eat it, store it, reheat it, and eat it agin.
9. Get excited. I used to just shrug over food, but then got to really appreciate fresh food, the taste of fresh veggies, the sense behind buying locally, the thrift of buying in bulk, the simple pleasure of a small block of tasty cheese and an olive (being satisfied delicious things in small quantities rather than large), the challenge of making new things. Also I'm a cyclist, so I tend to see riding and eating as codependent habits.
posted by entropone at 8:14 PM on November 1, 2010


If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?

Disinterested. I like food when I eat it. But I don't ever think about it when it's not there.

What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

I usually skip breakfast if I'm not actively trying to gain weight. Not a great habit, I know. Lunch is typically whatever I want. Perhaps a turkey pastrami sandwich, or a slice of pizza. Dinner depends. If I eat out, perhaps a steak or fish. If we eat in, it's usually a vegetarian dish using fresh Mediterranean ingredients.

What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?

I design software. The only way it might impact eating is that I'll often get very intellectually wrapped up in a problem - sort of in a zone. When I look at the clock for the first time since I got to work, it can be 3pm and I haven't had anything to eat that day. At all. This is not uncommon for me, and it's something I need to police to remain healthy.

What is your weight, height, and age?

5'10", 170lbs, 40 years old. I was 140 a couple years ago. I made a deliberate effort to eat healthy and lift immense amounts of free weights (Starting Strength really works, by the way). At 170, I am still actually look pretty skinny, believe it or not. I'm in good shape these days, and a little muscle weighs quite a bit.

For the record, I have a very fine-boned build. Slender fingers, thin wrists. Other than my melon head, I'm not at all massive.

What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?

I don't snack. Well, that's a bit untrue. Now that I'm working hard to maintain my weight, I eat spiced almonds as much as I can. But I consider it a chore. I'm always full, and dislike the feeling. When I am not on a health kick, I have absolutely no urge to snack. This has always been the case for me. When I was a small kid, my Halloween candy haul would go stale and eventually get thrown out, half-eaten.

What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?

Trying to gain weight really opened my eyes. It's amazingly hard to change the habits built up for years. Here were a few things that I think might be just as true for losing weight as gaining it: Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?

Yes. I enjoy food much less than people that are overweight. I also tend to dislike the sensation of being very full. As a consequence, I have to force myself to finish a full portion of food.

Do you obsess over food?

Now that I am trying to maintain weight, I find I must. I count calories, and set alarms at certain intervals every day to remind myself to snack. Prior to that, food was a functional thing I did to keep my body alive. I didn't really think about it otherwise. Outside of a really good meal, it was a bit of an annoyance.

Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?

Water. Lots of it. LaCroix makes a really good substitute for cola. When you're eating dinner, eat half of a normal portion. Then drink a full can of LaCroix before eating another bite. Because of the carbonation, it's difficult to drink quickly. When you're done with it, you're free to finish your meal. But you might find that you're feeling much more sated. Partially due to the water in your stomach. But also due to the fact that the extra time gives your nervous system time to realize it's no longer hungry.
posted by centerweight at 8:42 PM on November 1, 2010


happywhite, what you may miss here, and what some of the skinny people here may not pick up, is that many skinny people do not have a "relationship with food" the way chubbier people do. "Relationship" implies it has emotional power, rather than something delicious you eat until satiety. The skinny people I know are not nearly so given to comfort eating, or feeling guilty about eating "bad" foods, or good about eating "good" foods, or overeat because they've exercised or had a bad day and "deserve" it. '

They view food as something that is good, and they like certain foods more than other foods, and may eat entirely Cheetos and thus are not actually healthy while being skinny, but they do not overeat as much as a fat person does and thus stay on the normal weight side of things. They're also more apt to not think about food regularly, or forget to eat when absorbed in a project, or any of those things.
posted by schroedinger at 9:13 PM on November 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Here's the best way I can describe my relationship to food: it is similar to my relationship with books, except that if I go without reading for too long, my body doesn't force me to go read a book.

That is, I read because I enjoy it, or because I'm bored, or because there's a book there, or because someone offered me a book to read. I don't always read when I feel like it, but usually I do, and when I do bother to read I try to make it something I'll enjoy, but if it's out of boredom I'll just read whatever's laying around. Sometimes I'll read a little of something, realize I'm not enjoying it, and stop, and sometimes I'll stay up for hours reading instead of sleeping, because that's what I feel like doing.

For me at least, then, it's like any other urge to do something -- again, except that my body will force the issue if I put it off for too long.
posted by davejay at 9:28 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, what schroedinger said. I don't have an emotional relationship to food.
posted by davejay at 9:29 PM on November 1, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Slightly obsessive.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
1. glass of water 2. milkshake, whole milk, nuts and 1/3 of banana 3. beans with sauteed vegies. (late supper - sweets, nuts, dried fruits)

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
No effect, except that I don't need to eat out, get takeout; enough time to cook.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
115lb, 5-4, early 30s.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
I don't snack, but if I did, I'd make a trail mix myself.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
I have my own pet theory that it's a natural state for people to be slightly hungry most of the time. If you get used to it it's actually quite pleasant. Think a wolf running through snowy forest, all senses heightened, etc etc. However in that case when you do eat it has to be healthy so that you still have energy and slight hunger at the same time rather than just crashing down.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
I'd say it's a way to calm down for them and it works as a mild anti-depressant. So, something like meditation, yoga, tai-chi or what have you are long-term solutions.

8) Do you obsess over food?
If I eat badly I feel like crap but never gain weight. Therefore, if I never ate anything bad, I'd feel really great more often. I just feel stupid if I eat something bad or too much.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
Light hunger! Always! I think light hunger simply means you *could* eat something, while really strong hunger means you should. However, if you eat a lot of unhealthy food, you will go from satiated straight to hungry-as-hell.
posted by rainy at 11:08 PM on November 1, 2010


Without answering each question one by one, I will say that I am considered skinny since I'm 5'10 and 150-155lbs (it varies slightly, but has remained that way for the past 12 years or so). I'm 32 years old, male. I used to be vegetarian and vegan, but since a year ago I eat whatever I want, which includes meat at least 5 days a week. But -- and this is the BIG BUT -- I tend to eat fairly healthy, fresh food. Not consciously, mind you, but because it's what I prefer. I can't stand soda and potato chips and other junk foods, it just tastes like crap to me. So what I tend to eat is fresh, homemade meals or eating out at local restaurants that serve decent food.

That said, I do eat out more often than I'd like since I am busy at work and have a fairly active social life. I'd say probably 75% of my meals come from a restaurant, though the worst (and only chains) that I do are Subway and In-N-Out maybe once a week. Otherwise it is one of the many local restaurants that serve in-season (usually organic) food. I also drink a lot of microbrew beer. I basically am hungry all the time and eat whatever I want. I don't exercise a lot, but I do ride my bike every now and then (maybe average 20 miles a week). I think the only reason I stay skinny is because I eat fresh food, mostly produce and high-quality meat. No frozen TV dinners or tons of fast food or junk food.

Stay away from frozen TV dinners, snacks that are mostly wheat and sugar (cookies, twinkies, little debbie, etc), and any types of liquid that is not water or beer :) (seriously, though, any type of flavored beverage be it Coke, Gatorade, "vitamin" water, Red Bull, even some juices, is seriously bad for you). Basically, make the calories that you eat count for something... eat truly good food, and nutrient dense calories. Stay away from food that is junk and nothing more than non-nutritive fillers. That's my advice.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 11:13 PM on November 1, 2010


I eat a lot of high-fiber foods, mostly because I enjoy pooping, but they probably help keep me thin as well.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:18 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love food. I don't own a scale. I weigh the most I ever have at the moment, but I am almost back down to my normal weight from having a baby in march (partially because of an illness, but whatever.) I was VERY skinny in my 20s-- 5'10, 115 lbs and I think I look better now. My metabolism slowed a bit around 30. i am almost 37.

I'm female, as I said 5 10, and my ideal weight is 140.

1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?

Generally relaxed. I don't eat a ton of sweets but if I feel like ice cream, I'll have a little.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Depends, it goes in stages. Right now cereal for breakfast; sometimes whole wheat toast. Lunch may depend, but I do like to have something salad-based but I NEED protein. Dinner a very much balanced meal. Most everything cooked from scratch. Try to stay away from packaged foods with the exception of cereal and bread, which I don't have time to cook. Make sure to have a salad or a bunch of veggies every day. I am not much of a fruit person. My husband eats a lot of dried fruits.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?

Deskbound. Doesn't make much of a difference I don't think. Since I had the baby I haven't had time to exercise as much (used to do more yoga) which is a bit of a bummer. Now that she's getting older (and hopefully once I recover from my current serious illness) hopefully I can start fitting that back in. But I have NEVER been a crazy huge daily exerciser or anything.

4) What is your weight, height, and age? See above.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?

I don't snack a heck of a lot. Sometimes nuts maybe? A spoonful of PB is good. I don't eat a ton of chips or crackers or anything. Trail mix, stuff with protein works for me. Cottage cheese is good. A piece of wasa with light cream cheese.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?

Stop obsessing.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?

I don't talk about it with people that much. One thing I do is stop eating when I am full. I think some people have trouble with that.

8) Do you obsess over food?

No

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?

Listen to your body and don't beat yourself up if you "slip." It seems like that happens a lot to people who are trying to diet-- they feel like they screw up and then they just throw all their plans out the window. Every day/moment is a new opportunity.

Good luck!
posted by miss tea at 2:14 AM on November 2, 2010


PS definitely shop the perimeter of the grocery store. I do think that makes a big difference. The more you can stay away from packaged foods the better off you will be.
posted by miss tea at 2:16 AM on November 2, 2010


I tried to fill in your questionnaire, but I think my answers didn't really address your overall question.

The thing is, I am reasonably thin (5'2", 110lbs) and basically eat whatever I want whenever I want, but I never seem to want to eat very much. Sure, I'll have a big meal once in a while, but that usually results in me not feeling hungry for the next day or so (and if it doesn't, it's because I skipped the meal before that and was making up for it). I eat cake - sometimes. I'll eat potato chips if you put 'em in front of me. I like Coke Floats. But I don't eat compulsively, I skip meals when I'm feeling too lazy to eat, and I'm liable to forget about meals if I'm doing something interesting. And I like exercise, which is probably a big thing too.

... so pretty much what schroedinger said, too.
posted by Xany at 3:47 AM on November 2, 2010


1. Comfort – I love cooking.

2. breakfast: whole wheat toast with peanut butter, coffee with milk. Homemade pancakes & waffles (made with whole wheat flour) w/maple syrup on the weekend.
Lunch: leftovers from the night before. Today it is chicken breast and cucumber.
Dinner: varies – whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, fish/rice/veg, homemade black bean fajitas, crockpot stews, hamburgers or veggie burgers etc

I eat what I want and stop when I’m full. This includes eating crap food once in a while.

3. No

4. 40ish, 5’4”, 120

5. I keep dried cranberries and pistachios in my desk

6. Make exercise a part of your daily routine & don’t buy junk

7. I don’t know

8. No – but I did as an adolescent

9. Make exercise a part of your daily routine (not necessarily going to the gym, just walking) and don’t buy junk. Avoid soda & juice. And try to stop obsessing.
posted by Cuke at 7:23 AM on November 2, 2010


I'm 30, 5'6", between 145-150 pounds. I wouldn't call myself thin, but four years ago I was ninety pounds heavier.

Getting from there to here was one of the hardest things I've done. It required both gradually changing my lifestyle and confronting some very unhealthy attitudes about food and my body. It's easy right now to hang out at my current weight, but only because I managed to get through the hard parts.

I think the biggest difference between now and then is that I now focus on how food and exercise make me feel physically, not how many calories I'm burning or how much weight I might lose or gain. I avoid carb-heavy meals because they make me feel tired and bloaty, not because carbs are some sort of nutritional monster. I stick to my workout schedule because moving around makes me feel good. (It didn't always.) This is just how I live now, and no matter how much weight I gain or lose I have no intention of changing it.

I've also sort of taken food off its pedestal. It's not good or evil. It's also not something to do when I'm bored or depressed or angry, like it used to be. I used to snack like it was a hobby. I still snack, but not as much. Food is no longer constantly on my mind, and it's a relief.

Learning to cook, especially learning to cook meat/protein and vegetables, also helps a lot.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:30 AM on November 2, 2010


I've somehow become a foodie, and am about 20 pounds overweight. I recently visited New York, where, by law, chain restaurants must show the amount of calories by each food item on their menus. This definitely changed my behavior. For instance, at the airport I stopped by a Five Guys hamburger stand, where I almost ordered fries, until... I notices they were 1500 calories!!! A soda: 400 calories!!! The burger: 700 calories!!! The calories aren't even necessarily in what you think. Who would intuitively think they could eat two burgers and still consume less calories than if they ate one portion of fries? Anyway, avoid fast food chains, and I weighed less when I exercised. If you are cooking for yourself, buy a bunch of frozen veggies and add them to whatever soup, pasta, or meat dish you are making at the last minute. This helps bulk up your meal with vegetables. When in real restaurants, eat half your portion. This is always enough food (for me anyway).
posted by xammerboy at 8:31 AM on November 2, 2010


I doubt you'll like this but here goes:
I am 6'1" tall, about 185 lbs., and 38 years old. I work at a desk all day, and chase my kids around the house all night (i.e., very nearly zero exercise). My weight stays relatively stable.

I eat constantly while at my desk and without regard for any Food Pyramid or Groups. I wish I ate even *more* breakfast (which currently is strong coffee and a bagel or bowl of cereal). At home my wfe makes sure we have a veggie with every meal -- but we also make homemade ice cream all the time.

I love food: I grew up in a house where food was love and my mom & grandma & aunts were great cooks. As a kid I would eat a can of Pringles while reading a scifi novel and the summer day passed by, unnoticed.

But I also have low cholesterol and don't get sick very often -- in other words, i think I was blessed with a body that self-regulates pretty well. As a young man, my grandma would make my dad's breakfast: fry a pound of bacon, cook eggs in the fat, and then blot it up with toast. He's about 6'3" and thin as a rail: again, his metabolism seemed to thrive on what would kill another person.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:07 AM on November 2, 2010


1) If you had one word to describe your relationship with food, what would it be?
Okay.

2) What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Breakfast: Ranges from nothing to an apple and peanut butter to oatmeal to 2 eggs & half an english muffin with melted cheese, etc.
Lunch: Can of sardines + saltines/rice, rice & fish, a sandwich, breakfast food if I skipped breakfast
Dinner: Sometimes just fruit if I had a big lunch. If lunch was small, maybe a small bowl of gnocci and some spinach/broccoli with olive oil/butter and garlic. Or rice and fish. Or a sandwich. Or a small bowl of soup and a piece of bread. Or a nicely dressed up bowl of ramen.

My meals aren't very consistent, but they are consistently fairly small.

3) What is your profession and does that affect your relationship with food?
I'm a medical student. I get free lunches and dinners sometimes? And I'm lucky in that they usually fill me up, unlike others who have to hope they can get seconds.

4) What is your weight, height, and age?
5'3", 110-115, 24. Since I've been this height, I was 104 for a year and a half, a year ago. At my heaviest, I was 123-126 for a year or so when I was 14-15 and had just moved to the US.

5) What is your favorite snack? Favorite recipe to share for the rest of us trying to be healthy/thin?
Apple + peanut butter = omg!
A bit of cheese with something. Like brie and the pickled cherries I recently made.
Hm... I don't snack much really. Snacking is what happens when I'm hungry but too lazy to eat a full meal, or I don't have time, or I know I'm eating with friends later but I'm hungry now.
I'll also nibble on baked goods that are around. Cookies, pumpkin bread, banana bread, homemade ciabbatta + olive oil and salt. I don't buy snack foods though. Maybe a handful of times a year. Like, once or twice a year I'll get oreos and some whole milk lactaid (they're just not the same in soy milk or almond milk...). Or when candy apples are in season, I'll buy a pack once or twice.

6) What is your best piece of advice to help people lose weight?
That's a hard one. I think it's all about learning your way around your body and your hunger. I'm not one of those "I can eat everything and be skinny!" people. I will gain weight if I eat a lot. So I have a fairly minimal general diet that allows me to eat cakes and ribs when I want to, but I don't make cakes and ribs often so they're not an option to eat every day anyway. I have foods that I love, but if they're not a good every day food, then they're just not kept stocked in my kitchen.

7) Do you find that your relationship with food is much different than with people who are overweight?
I have strong satiety signals. My friends who struggle/have struggled with their weight have a harder time stopping. When I'm full, I'm not interested in food. When they're full, food still sounds like a good idea.

8) Do you obsess over food?
Not really. Sometimes there'll be a new recipe I really want to try and I'll think about it for a while. And when I'm really hungry, everything sounds good and I need to eat now so why are you preventing me from eating omg let me eat.

9) Any secrets for us trying to lose weight?
No secrets, sorry. =/ I try to stay moderately active and I rarely eat till I feel like I'm stuffed. I try not to drink calories. I don't buy candy or processed dessert/sweet/salty snack type things.
posted by quirks at 12:13 PM on November 2, 2010


Hi OP, you might be interested in this article from Precision Nutrition addressing this topic.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:07 PM on November 2, 2010


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