How do you naturally thin people eat?
October 10, 2007 9:00 AM   Subscribe

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!

posted by tastybrains to Health & Fitness (84 answers total) 90 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 5 foot 7 inches and weigh 135.
My breakfast is usually an egg mcmuffin, no fried potato.
Sometimes a classic egg+bacon+roasted potato.
For dinner, I usually get a noodle soup or salad + turkey sandwich.
On supper I usually eat fried veggies with noodles, sometimes chicken, etc.
I go to the gym 3 times a week at least, and I rollerblade at least 30 minutes a day. Keeping physical is the most important part of staying thin.
My work involves walking a lot. I take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
I only drink water and sometimes juice. (you should too)
I don't eat differently on holidays. On weekends I sometimes skip breakfast (I get up and it's already noon!)
I never use artificial sweeteners and avoid anything with that stuff in it.
Also I avoid high fructose corn syrup.

Good luck.
posted by PowerCat at 9:15 AM on October 10, 2007

Okay, I'm a fairly skinny guy at 6', 160 lbs or so, and I'll bite.

1) Cheerios.
2) Nothing, a salad (with lemon juice or vinegar, not salad dressing), or soup if I'm at home, typically a sandwich if I'm out.
3) Probably 75% of what I eat is starchy stuff with tomato sauce. Pasta, chicken parm, pizza. Also the occasional stir-fry, fajitas, baked fish, risotto.
4) Not really, except I'm more likely to eat at a restaurant.
5) Never, if I'm at home. If I'm at a function with free food I might graze, but usually lightly.
6) Not really, but if there is pie it will disappear.
7) No.
8) Exercise more diligently.
9) Yes, every couple of days. I do some light lifting and squats with some weights at home, and do some push-ups. Maybe a half-hour's worth.
10) No, except for Splenda in my morning coffee.
11) Mostly iced tea or water. I don't buy soda to have around the house. If I have one while I'm out, it's not diet, but this isn't that often.

I avoid mid-day snacking and excess sugars very consciously. I don't take much notice of how much I eat at meals, although my habits are to cook only for the meal I'm eating that day and not store leftovers, which prevents me from going back for seconds and overeating.
posted by shadow vector at 9:18 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm a 6' 150 lb 26 year old male. Even though I am thin, I need to eat healthier because my blood pressure is high.

1) Nothing. I know this is bad for me and I'm basically digesting my own muscle tissue and liver, but I'm just not hungry.

2) An empanada, soup, or a sandwich brought from home. Occasionally one of those sodium rich instant meals.

3) Last night BLTs. Often a simple pasta dish, such as homemade noodles with bell pepper and caper sauce. I eat a lot of red meat.

4) Yes. Normally I go out for sushi on the weekends and have bigger meals with friends at restraunts or other's homes.

5) I eat 4 - 5 small meals a day. Lunch (noonish), late afternoon snack (3-4 pm), dinner ( 7 pm see #3), second dinner (a raw tomato and a can of tuna, more often than not 11 pm), and sometimes a dessert (vanilla yogurt with maraschino cherries last night 1 am).

6) I'm normally visiting Italian, Mexican, or Southern relatives, so I eat a hell of a lot more of delicious food that will kill me.

7) No, at least not on purpose. If I ate a lot I may not be hungry.

8) I gained 15 lbs in a week when I went on steroids for an insect sting allergic reaction. Have gained an additional 5 lbs because I bought a large amount of meat from a door to door meat salesman. (Used to weigh 130 lbs.) Since I finally look somewhat healthy, I'm just exercising to work on my blood pressure and convert my somewhat soft belly once again into something I'm comfortable with.

9) Just joined a gym. I'm working up to the full workout, but am currently running on an elliptical for 45 min 3 times a week (bad knees and a fear of hilarious treadmill injuries).

10) I hate artificial anything. Cane sugar and whole milk for me thanks.

11) I drink milk, tea, coffee, liquor and a lot of juice. I can drink a half gallon of pure blueberry juice in a night. I don't drink much soda, except for Vernors.

Basically I eat when I'm hungry and, save for a weakness to fruits and honey, don't have much of a sweet tooth. I sleep 4-6 hours a day. I eat a lot of meat, but prefer fresh vegetables to canned/frozen. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Hell, I just eat a lot. I like raw vegetables. I'm neurotic and maybe nerves burn off some of the energy.

High metabolism runs in my family, but, if I follow the trend, it should slow down in the coming years.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 9:19 AM on October 10, 2007

Could you clarify what you mean by naturally thin? I'm thinking that an age guideline might be helpful, or you might at least ask if respondents have ever had a shift in metabolism. I think by "naturally thin" you're referring to people who aren't drawn to compulsively eat, or those with metabolisms that did not drop with age.

That said, I'm in my mid-20s (26), only recently started eating breakfast again in the last year and a half -- it actually bumped my metabolism up a bit. I typically have a bowl of cereal, or a bagel, or on the rare occasion, the bacon/eggs/hash browns combo. Cup of coffee.

2) Sandwich and chips. Burrito. Soup and salad. Whatever the lunch portion is at whatever restaurant I go to with coworkers. I like Pancheros (local burrito chain comparable to Chipotle), Quiznos, local delis, and the work cafeteria.

3) A lot of stir fry. Seared tuna and a salad. I go out to eat overly too often and tend to get a mid-level option. Not the largest item on the menu, but not necessarily a diet-friendly one. I'd say I often get fish and chips, pizza and breadsticks, etc.

4) Meal hours vary and I tend to just eat out all the time. Late nights lead to late night bar food.

5) Not really. I'll eat some chips and salsa when I get home as I'm preparing a meal.

6) Sure, I eat until full, halfway pass out on the couch, and then eat some more in another couple hours.

7) I eat as I'm hungry. If I eat slowly and halfway through the meal I'm not that hungry, I'll put down my fork. If I had a huge late-afternoon lunch, I might skip dinner and just have some popcorn as I watch tv.

8) Remember that I haven't been that physically active, but I don't sweat it. Since I got into a regular eating/exercise routine last year, I've only gone up or down a couple pounds.

9) Probably a couple times per week, during the winter. During the summer I let the whole thing lapse and assumed all the walking, occasional biking, and summer music festivals would be good enough.

10) No, and it might just be a hallucination on my part, but I think Nutrasweet makes me nauseated and gives me headaches.

11) Coffee, iced tea, a lot fewer soft drinks than I used to because the sweetness now seems more cloying than tasty. I go out and drink alcoholic drinks quite often, though. Beer, wine, gin and tonics, whiskey, etc.

Note that one of the main reasons I picked up a semi-regular fitness routine last year was that I was eating out and drinking regularly while sitting on my ass, causing me to feel a little doughy for the first time in my life. My parents claim that they didn't really have a metabolism drop until around the age of 30, so I also figured it'd be a good routine to get into before I hit that point.
posted by mikeh at 9:21 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 5' 5" and dream of breaking 100 pounds one day. I eat whatever the hell I want, more or less. Asking people who are naturally skinny what they eat isn't helpful. You need to sort out what sort of diet is good for you. Anyway:

1) Toast or Rice Crispies if I don't skip it
2) Anything
3) Anything
4) On the weekends i'll usually eat out more often. I usually have brunch on the Saturday or Sunday.
5) Sometimes, but not too often really.
6) Yes.
7) No.
8) Praise the Lord.
9) No, but I should because I'm afraid i'll die of a heart attack.
10) Hell no. Artificial sweeteners are gross and probably bad for you.
11) I usually drink a coke (or some sort of pop) a day. Diet coke is gross -- see above. I also drink a small cup of coffee in the morning. I also drink a fair amount of milk, beer, etc.
posted by chunking express at 9:25 AM on October 10, 2007

- oatmeal, or
- fruit and yogurt, or
- a bagel with a schmeer,
- occasionally scrambled eggs but I leave out half of the yolks

- sandwich
- soup and salad
- cafeteria entree

- chicken a starch and a vegetable
- fish a starch and a vegetable
- pizza
- beef about once every week or two

4) no

5) sometimes, when people bring treats into the office

6) are there enough holidays for this to matter?

7) no

8) eat less (smaller portions)

9) running, but not too much, certainly far less than the folks in the mefi running challenge. eating less is more important to weight control than exercise, which is more important to general overall health, at least in my opinion.

10) Splenda in my oatmeal

11) water, beer, wine, never sugar sodas etc., but an occasional diet coke.

Naturally thin takes no work when you are young. I would just eat until I was full and then stop, and usually that was not much food. As I have aged I have to watch things a little more carefully. Keeping easily digested carbs to a minimum works for me, ymmv.
posted by caddis at 9:25 AM on October 10, 2007

5 ft. 1, 120 lbs. --

1) Toast and coffee. Usually have a bit of butter or cream cheese with the toast.

2) Salad, sometimes with soup, like chicken noodle. Once or twice a week I go for a slice of pizza or a grilled cheese.

3) Some kind of meat - chicken, ground beef, steak; some kind of starch, like pasta, rice or potatoes; and some kind of vegetable. I like string beans a lot and am also partial to bell peppers.

4) Yes, I tend to eat less. I graze all day but I don't usually have a sit-down meal except for dinner.

5) Yes. I eat potato chips, popcorn, little bite-sized candy. I also snack on fruit.

6) Hmm, I am not sure. I probably eat more.

7) Not consciously, but if I have a massive lunch, I find I am not that hungry at dinner, so I eat less anyway.

8) Cut back on the sweets and try to exercise more.

9) I walk as much as I can. I walk for about a half hour three times a week and the rest of the time I park far away in parking lots, take the stairs, etc.

10) Never, I think they taste gross. (except for whatever they put in Diet Coke)

11) I drink a can of Diet Coke once to twice a week. I drink about 1-2 cups of coffee a day. I have a glass of red wine 2-3 times a week. the rest of the time I drink water; I usually have about 24-36 oz. a day.

I used to weigh about 40 pounds more than I do now and that was because I never exercised and ate way too much. I don't limit myself to anything now (like I will allow myself to eat whatever I want) but for me, exercise is key, not my diet. If I exercised every day I think I'd be slimmer. And my diet could improve, I definitely am not getting 5 servings of veggies a day, for one.
posted by sutel at 9:27 AM on October 10, 2007

OK, I'm 5'10 and was 140 for most of my life, though more recently with the addition of proton-pump inhibiters (Prevacid, Nexium, etc.) I've "ballooned" to around 155 and seem to be stabilized there.

1. Nothing, occasionally coffee with milk.
2. Sandwich, piece of fruit, soda (not diet), yoghurt
3. Balanced meals with water to drink
4. Not much different
5. Yes, constantly. I eat bad things like fried pork rinds and greasy chips.
6. I eat like it is my last meal from sun-up to sun-down and all night on holidays. Did I mention I love the food holidays?
7. No, but I long for meals past.
8. Think to myself, "gee, I actually weigh more than I did yesterday, that's odd."
9. I walk, regularly to/from the metro. Infrequently around the neighborhood when I'm taking care of my daughter.
10. Oh god no. Never.
11. Coke, leaded, never diet, though occasionally the caffeine free type. I also like Iced tea with sugar. I drink a lot of water too though.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:28 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 6'5" and typically move between 160 and 170. Yesterday, a normal eating day for me, I ate:

Two fried eggs on two pieces of whole wheat toast
1 "Brown Cow" whole milk yogurt
1 package of unflavored instant oatmeal
1 8oz. glass of OJ
Total calories: approximately 900-1000.

Office pizza party!
7 pieces of Patsy's pizza (2 pepperoni, 1 sausage, 4 cheese)
4 rolls
3 cups mixed green salad
Several glasses of water
Total calories: Who knows, something in the neighborhood of 1500, assuming around 150 calories per slice. That could be a little low, though.

1/2 - 3/4 lb. roasted pork loin with vegetables
2 - 3 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup steamed broccoli
Total calories: 1000?

Over the course of the day, I ate several handfuls of raw almonds, a couple more leftover rolls from the pizza party, a banana and a tomato (cut in wedges with a dash of salt and pepper). I also drank a glass of apple juice when I got home from work.

Total caloric intake for the day is in the 3000 - 4000 range. On holidays or at dinner parties, all bets are off.

I exercise every day. I typically swim about 5 miles a week, run maybe 20 miles per week, and also lift weights (primarily upper body) and play basketball. During bouts of shin splints, I'll switch the running to biking. I also live in New York, and probably walk at the very least 10 miles a week.

I don't use artificial sweeteners, or drink soft drinks. Overall, I feel like I consume very little sugar relative to the average American.

If you're asking this question because you're looking to change your "dysfunctional eating habits" to be more in line with someone who's naturally thin in an effort to get thinner yourself, I'm not sure my particular lifestyle is going to be very helpful for you. Nevertheless, good luck, and I hope this helps.
posted by saladin at 9:29 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 6'3", 200lb. I've got a bit of a ab-gut building up but there is nothing to even pinch anywhere else xP I don't really even think at all about weight on any given day.

1-3) I don't have meals, I just eat when the mood strikes, and that happens maybe once or twice a day. By quantity, I'd say I eat about 1.5 meals per day. I usually eat something quick like a frozen personal pizza, and a non-caffeine generic soda. I usually take a daily multivitamin (generic also).

4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays? Not noticeably xP

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what? Oh, on things like pretzel sticks, lowfat generic wafer crackers, popcorn.. but usually just enough to get the "eat" impulse to stop, which happens pretty quick. I haven't done one of those eat-the-whole-bag things in ages.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so? I really seem to be able to pack it away and not really gain much. I usually eat unusually significant amounts since I'm over at grandparents and whatnot and prepared food is plenteous.

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all? Nope. They're tiny anyhow xP

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds? As I said, the gut seems to be amassing some blubber, so I've gotten me one of those Ab Lounge dealies from Wally World (which works really good btw) but it's mainly a discipline thing that I haven't yet mastered. Plus, my Essential Tremors (far from essential, I'll be the first to say) kinda hinders keeping up with it anyhow.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often? Pretty much zero. Where I work is all sitting, all talking on the phone (tech support), and I don't really exercise much. However, if a situation warranted me to walk 6 miles, I could do it.

10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often? I don't really drink anything that would require sweetener, but generally if I do it's just whatever's there. Sugar and Equate tend to receive no discrimination.

11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks? I do drink a lot of "zero" cal type sodas, about half and half with store generic flavored sodas (grape, pineapple, orange, etc). Water is not a pleasant bedfellow.
posted by Quarter Pincher at 9:30 AM on October 10, 2007

1. Bowl of cereal most days, sometimes a quart of smoothie. Usually something different on the weekend, like eggs/toast/sausage, as weekend breakfasts are the ones I can have with my wife.

2. Often only a snack consisting of a handful of nuts and some dried fruit, or equivalent. Sometimes leftovers, sometimes a sandwich or quesadilla.

3. 1/4–1/2 pound of fish/chicken (grilled or pan-fried), salad, some kind of starch. Or pasta with a minimal sauce of oil, garlic, seasonings, and some vegetables and meat. Or a stew with a base of garbanzos and canned tomatoes, and other stuff thrown in. These are some of the "too lazy to cook anything fancy" options in my household.

4. Yes (see above). More likely to eat out, more likely to cook a complicated meal.

5. See above.

6. Yes. More.

7. Not unless I'm still full.

8. I rarely weigh myself, but on those occasions when I have, I've found it can fluctuate 5 lb during a week. I don't sweat it.

9. Yes, but not as much as I feel is enough. Walk a lot, some transportational cycling, some long-distance cycling. Gym once or twice a week. Firedancing one or two nights a week. 15 years ago I was putting in 150 miles/week on my bike. That's still my standard for what I consider "enough," but I haven't done that in a long time (pesky Metafilter saps all my time).

10. Never.

11. Coffee, water, beer, wine. A little juice. I drink sodas maybe 6 times/year, never diet.

My wife (a former chef) does most of the cooking in our home. She's petite and makes a conscious effort not to overeat, though she hardly starves herself. Left to my own devices, I would eat out more, which would probably be less healthful. As I've gotten older I've found I'm naturally inclined to eat somewhat less, but even still, I apparently am blessed with a metabolism that has been very steady over the years.
posted by adamrice at 9:30 AM on October 10, 2007

I suppose I should mention I am 5'9", about 160 lb (sometimes a little over, sometimes a little under), and 41 y.o.
posted by adamrice at 9:31 AM on October 10, 2007

I have a BMI of 19. I've been both thin and pudgy (college after being a high school athlete BMI 24)...eating habits have made all the difference.

For breakfast I either have a small bowl of oatmeal or an avocado with honey or some unsweetened kefir (sub plain yogurt, kefir is like yogurt except it's more of a drink). On weekends I'll have a small pastry at the farmer's market and eggs on sunday.

For lunch I usually have to eat out. My favorite meals are salmon, salads with blue cheese and walnuts, the burrito bowl at Chipotle with all the veggies and some meat, small entrees at Noodles and Co., thai curries with lots of veggies, or soup at the local vegan restaurant. Once a week I'll have beer and a turkey burger or pizza.

Dinner I try to either cook or eat at home. I love eggs of all kinds, a little meat, lightly cooked veggies, fish, and cheeses when I cook properly (about three times a week). When I'm feeling lazy I'll have miso soup with seaweed, homemade egg drop soup, rice with a dash of coconut milk, or a bowl of vegetables with curry sauce.

On weekends I eat much worse than normal. Baked goods, rich restaurant meals, etc. I eat whatever I want on holidays, but I have been trying to eat more protein and less cookies.

I never really buy snacks because I'm a former binge eater. But when presented with chocolate I do eat it. I guess the only snack I keep around is walnuts.

Occasionally when I've eaten a lot on one day, I'll do a partial fast the next. Fasts have a bad rep, but there are lots of studies showing that occasionally they can be good in the same way calorie restricted diets are.

If I find out I've put on weight I cut eating out and sugar. I love sweets, but ideally I want less than 20 g of sugar a day.

I occasionally lift weights and do yoga, but most of my exercise comes from biking and walking everywhere. However, I also did this when I was heavier, so while it probably is healthy, it didn't make me thin.

I never ever ever use artificial sweeteners. My goal is to eat real food. I drink unsweetened tea a lot and after eating better I stopped liking a lot of things that used to tempt me like Coke, Lays, and Snickers bars. I keep my "bad" food expensive, which is a natural incentive to eat less, E.G., I'll only drink pricey $8 beer, $$$ grassfed steak, and $6 chocolate...which keeps me from eating these things very much. The funny thing is that even though I'm eating all this luxury food, it costs the same as when I was eating badly because I don't eat as much.

I think that overall if you eat real food and cut sugar and refined carbs, you will lose weight. My diet allows me to eat tasty food and not feel hungry, which is wonderful. It is about 40% calories from fat, though I'll lessen it if I ever show any bad cardio markers, but so far so good. I keep track of everything on Chron-O-Meter. I'd still like to cut sugar and tone up, but I'm happy weight-wise.
posted by melissam at 9:31 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Forgot to mention, I'm 24, don't smoke or drink coffee, and come from a very thin family.
posted by saladin at 9:34 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 5'11", and I weigh about 135llbs. I sincerely doubt that my eating behavior should be modeled by anyone, but I'll happily give you a rundown.

1) Almost invariably a homemade Egg McMuffin. I use a Thomas' English Muffin, one grade A large egg, one slice Hormel Canadian bacon, and one or two slices of horseradish cheddar cheese.

2) Usually a sandwich, either turkey or roast beef, with pickles, cheese, and mustard. Sometimes I do fast food, but it usually messes with my stomach. I'll probably have some chips or crackers too.

3) Quesadillas from the taco truck, sushi and fried squid, baked potato and steamed broccoli, breaded and fried porkchops, fried chicken, and microwave lasagna are the meals I eat most often. I usually also eat a salad with spinach, whatever veggies I have on hand, and ginger dressing. If I skipped lunch or breakfast (which I do pretty often), I'm more likely to eat a big dinner. If I ate breakfast and lunch, I'm more likely to just have a baked potato and broccoli or a quesadilla.

4) I'm more likely to go out to eat on the weekend or go to a potluck. I also probably eat bigger meals more consistently on the weekend.

5) Yes, constantly. I eat Goldfish, hard pretzels, nuts (cashews and pistachios mostly) and Cheez-its throughout the day.

6) Most definitely. On holidays I grub the fuck down, usually at a large family or collaborative meal. I'm also prone to snack a lot more if I'm surrounded by lots of friends or family who are doing the same.

7) Yeah, if I eat a big meal, I'm usually just not as hungry at the next mealtime, and I eat something smaller.

8) My weight usually fluctuates 5-7 pounds in either direction, but if it's enough to notice (especially a loss), I try to make sure I'm eating enough. If I put on more than usual, I'm probably pretty stoked about it.

9) I haven't been lately (and the current diet reflects that). A couple months ago I was either playing racquetball or running 3 or 4 miles every day, doing lots of crunches and push-ups, and at that time I ate bigger meals and more protein. I also gain about ten pounds whenever I start exercising regularly.

10) Not usually. Maybe some sugar in coffee every now and again.

11) Whiskey, beer (not light beer), V8/tomato juice, milk, seltzer water, ginger ale, green tea, EmergenC, and red wine are my main beverages. I hate diet sodas and never ever drink them.

Pot seriously affects my diet. Whenever I quit smoking pot, I usually put on a few pounds and am much more likely to eat three square meals a day. I eat a lot of garbage food, and probably have wicked high cholesterol. I don't think twice about missing a meal, and a lot of times I have to consciously decide to eat even when I'm not hungry because I know I need the nutrients. If I had the option, I would get most of my nutrition in pill form and just eat light snacks and one really delicious, complex meal every other day or so. I guess I have kind of a funky metabolism.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:36 AM on October 10, 2007

A similar question was asked here.

And I'm not sure about "naturally thin." I'm medium-thin, but if I eat more and exercise less I become less thin; if I eat less and exercise more I become more thin. Honestly, there isn't much "natural" about it -- I'm just conscious about keeping my weight between two fairly narrow boundaries. Most of my friends and family who are thin do the same -- it is "natural" in that we all eat the food that is in our cupboards and do the activities that we enjoy, but it isn't "natural" in that if we ate different foods or changed our lifestyles we would have different outcomes.

But to answer your specific question:

1) One bowl of non-sugary cereal (e.g. oatmeal, Cheerios); more rarely dinner leftovers or a fried-egg sandwich.

2) Usually leftovers or a sandwich; once or twice a week something like a cheeseburger or slice of pizza with friends.

3) Nine out of ten dinners are cooked at home, more or less "from scratch" (I'm not out there farming my own wheat for bread, but I also don't eat TV dinners). Maybe half or 3/5ths of those dinners have meat in them, usually beef or chicken. Mostly a pretty standard American protein + veg + starch combination. No tofu because I think it tastes like cack.

4) Weekends and weekdays are mostly the same, but on weekends I will often cook a big pot of stew or roast a chicken or something in order to freeze ready-to-eat portions to be eaten on weekdays over the next few months.

5) Snacks are mostly apples, carrots, nuts, small amounts of really expensive dark chocolate. And most days there isn't any snacking.

6) Holidays are only an issue if we go to see family, because then you are eating in someone else's house, and sometimes you have to eat things you wouldn't at home to be polite. I've gotten good at taking small amounts of lots of things, saying lots of nice things about it, and unobtrusively setting it aside unfinished.

7) Yes -- overeating means cutting back a bit for the next day or so. Again, hard if you are staying at your mother's house for a week over the holidays.

8) If my pants are tight, I eat less and go for more walks until they fit right again.

9) Walking, hiking, biking, things that don't make my knees hurt and that I can do all year. More "being active" than "exercising," honestly.

10) Never -- they taste like ass, and I'm not convinced that they are really healthy.

11) Tea, water, hot chocolate, coffee, beer, milk. Softdrinks at restaurants, never at home. Nothing diet (see #10). Sweet drinks (and beer!) are treats, not dietary fundamentals; if my pants are tight, no beer and no coke for me.
posted by Forktine at 9:36 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 5'7" and about 145, give or take two pounds or so. I don't consciously watch what I eat, but I tend to enjoy eating healthier food.

One of the things I think sets my diet apart from most Americans is that I cook almost all of my meals for myself. Very little fast food. When I cook, I never use egg/fat/sugar substitutes. Cooking for myself also has turned me off from eating a lot of fatty foods (seeing two sticks of butter go in a recipe sours my stomach a little).

I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. Usually a glass of OJ with breakfast, two pieces of fruit with lunch, and some sort of veg with dinner. I never drink soda of any type, mostly because I find it too sweet. However, I do drink a lot of beer and coffee.

I ride my bike two or three times a week to do errands. I actually didn't even weigh myself regularly until my coworkers started a weight loss challenge - then I weighed in with them just for kicks. Gaining or losing two pounds in a week just seems statistically insignificant to me, so I don't worry about it. If I gained ten pounds in a month I might think about changing some habits.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:38 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great answers so far!

Could you clarify what you mean by naturally thin? I'm thinking that an age guideline might be helpful, or you might at least ask if respondents have ever had a shift in metabolism. I think by "naturally thin" you're referring to people who aren't drawn to compulsively eat, or those with metabolisms that did not drop with age.

I guess I have a broad definition. I am interested in responses from people who are not overweight and who don't obsess/stress over their daily diets.
posted by tastybrains at 9:38 AM on October 10, 2007

Ht: 5'10" Wt: 150 age:almost 41
I've never been over 155 in my life

1) What's your typical breakfast?
Alternates between skipping, or a sweetened cereal (such as frosted cheerios, or frosted mini-wheats)

2) What's your typical lunch?
Deli fare, Baja Tacos, or fast food

3) What are some typical dinners?
half the time something light and healthy, the other half something heavy and really meaty

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

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
Occasionally, maybe once or twice a week, and it'll be something like a clif bar, or a breakfast bar.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
Thanksgiving of course, otherwise no.

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?
I never have put on a few pounds, although I've lost weight and then worked at eating more, heavier meals to get the weight back on.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
3-4 times a week. An hour or so, with 30 minutes of intense activity. I've always been physically active.

10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often?
I don't search them out, but I also don't shy away from them. I prefer naturally sweetened stuff though.

11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks?
I drink one or two sodas a day. Used to be cola, but I've recently eliminated caffeine from my diet. I only drink diet if nothing else is available.

I really don't watch what I eat to closely, other than making sure I at least eat some vegetables, fruits, and other healthy things to balance out some of the other more heavier/sweeter things. I tend to drink quite a bit of liquids while eating, and I rarely eat until I'm stuffed. I typically eat until I'm just not hungry, and then I stop. Also, if I eat a meal and I'm still hungry I usually just tough it out until the next meal or after an hour or two, maybe grab a snack.
posted by forforf at 9:39 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 5'7" and weigh 122.

1. Bagel with peanut butter and a banana
2. Varies, but usually something substantial
3. Varies
4. I eat breakfast at the same time every day during the week; meal times vary for lunch and dinner, depending on work/classes, etc.
5. I snack a lot, on fruit, nuts, cookies, cake, carrots, dark chocolate
6. I eat a lot more during the holidays, but that's kind of the point of the holidays. I feel no guilt about it.
7. Sometimes; it depends on how hungry I am
8. Nothing. My weight fluctuates 3-4 pounds every month, but no more than that. It's normal to me and I'm fine with it.
9. I exercise a lot: karate 3-4 times a week; yoga 2 times a week; cycling daily (as transportation and for fun)
10. Eww. No diet/light/low-fat anything ever. I don't drink soda .
11. Water, tons of it; hot black tea, unsweetened, coffee, beer, whiskey
posted by smich at 9:40 AM on October 10, 2007

A BMI calculator would tell me I'm underweight, and I'm tall, so I'll assume that I fit your general description of thin. I don't pretend to believe that I have normal (north american at least) eating habits, as I grew up eating a lot of fresh, locally grown vegetables.

1. Breakfast is Cheerios (the original ones, whole grain has a lot of sugar in it), cream of wheat or oatmeat (oats and hot water). And water. If I'm still hungry some trail mix or almonds, as well.

2. Lunch is usually leftovers from yesterday's dinner. If not, it is something simple like cheese and crackers, tuna sandwitch or PB&J. The peanut butter I get is pretty much peanuts only.

3. This is a hard one. Last night I had asparagus quiche. The most common dinner I eat is chicken fried (as in on the stove - teflon means no oil) with garlic, onions, green pepper, carrots, and broccoli. Veggies normally out mass the chicken 4 to 1. I can remember eating stuff like perogies, chicken caccitore, spaghetti, shepherd's pie. Dinner is almost always from scratch. I budget an hour a day to make and eat dinner. I don't eat dessert, but do make the occasional chocolate milkshake.

4. Yes. Most weekends I'll only eat two meals a day because I like to sleep in until noon, if I can get away with it. Breakfast is usually much larger (eggs, bread/toast).

5. Not really. I either make myself wait until the next meal or have trail mix if I can't.

6. If someone else is cooking , I don't really care how healthy the food is. I cook most of the time, so overall not much of a difference is made.

7. My meals are generally proportioned so that more quantity doesn't mean less healthy. I eat until I am full.

8. My weight is very predictable, so

9. I don't exercise regularly except in the spring/summer. Otherwise I spend about 60 minutes walking quickly a day, so this keeps basically fit. If I can walk somewhere, I walk. my prefered gorcery store is about a 2.5K away.

10. If it is artificial I don't use it unless it is absoloutely necessary. The only time I use sugar is when I bake.

11. Beer. No soft drinks, bottled water, juice, or coffee. I like tea, but don't drink it often.
posted by Ctrl_Alt_ep at 9:41 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm like this, and friends despise me for it. I'm a guy, six feet tall and have been at 160#, give or take a bit, since high school -- about 18 years now. I've had a six-pack since I was a kid, without ever trying to.

1) Breakfast varies, but is often a couple of eggs and a couple pieces of toast, or the same ingredients rearranged as french toast. Sometimes oatmeal with fruit, or cold cereal and fruit in the summertime.

2) I don't often eat a consolidated meal during the day, preferring to snack my way along. I might have some leftovers from the previous night's dinner, a piece of fruit, a handful of raisins. My tendency is to keep my appetite at bay rather than satisfy it. I don't deny myself anything, but with as-needed snacking I don't focus on food either.

3) My wife and I cook at home most nights, mostly from random good-sounding recipes found online. She picks 5 recipes on saturday morning, I make the list and we shop together so everything is on hand. Two days ago it was Thai sticky chicken. Yesterday it was a vegetarian pizza (spinach, onion, garlic, olive oil, mushrooms on a whole-wheat crust). Today it will be penne with a vodka cream sauce. We don't have tons of time so we tend not to make side-dishes; just a main and some sort of starch, usually potatoes or rice. Leftovers get recycled as lunches or frozen for days we don't want to cook.

4) No difference other than a higher likelihood of eating out.

5) I do snack, on either fruit or leftover ingredients from the evening meal preparations. The latter could be almost anything. Again, I tend to be focussed on something other than food, so I snack to keep the appetite from distracting me. I dislike chips and most typical "snack foods."

6) Both my and my wife's families make big holiday meals. I don't worry about it; I can't eat like a teenager anymore, anyhow.

7) Any adjustment I do after a big meal would only happen based on appetite.

8) The only time I ever noticed any weight gain was after my first wife moved out and I started entertaining myself by cooking my way through James Beard's T&P of Good Cooking, which involved enormous amounts of butter. I busted a couple of pants buttons, so I backed off from Beard a bit. No formal diet, though.

9) I have a hard time sitting still; I just feel better and think more clearly when I'm moving around. I sometimes ride my bike on local errands, I walk the dog. Occasionally I swim with my wife. No regular workout program, though. I did take a fencing class a couple of years ago but that was an exceptional situation.

10) Can't stand 'em.

11) Coffee, water, tea, juice. Milk once in a while. Soda rarely, and never the diet versions (yuck).

I hope something in there is helpful.
posted by jon1270 at 9:43 AM on October 10, 2007

Response by poster: Also, to clarify, I think maybe I phrased my question wrong.

I'm really just curious to see how people who don't categorize themselves as having a "weight problem" eat. I asked maybe with the thought of getting a few ideas, but it's more or less to satisfy curiosity and to see if there are any overall common themes.

I'm not going to say "oh, he's skinny, she's skinny" and follow your habits to the letter. I am well aware that everyone's metabolism and needs are different, and that skinny (or even average) does not equal healthy.

Thanks again for your input!
posted by tastybrains at 9:43 AM on October 10, 2007

1) Low sugar cereal (cheerios, puffins) or oatmeal (not instant - yogurt, cinnamon), or occasionally plain toaster waffles.
2) Lentil soup in winter, turkey sandwich (mustard, no mayo) or burrito (no sour cream) in summer . Homemade quesadilla (salsa, tortilla, cheese) if I'm craving cheese on occasion. Occasionally sushi if I'm feeling run down. If I eat heavier for lunch (pizza, etc), then I eat salad or something light for dinner. Also started adding homemade miso soup as an option.
3) Stir-fried or baked chcken/turkey (1/4 pound in ziplock bags) + fresh or frozen veggies + some brown rice or potatoes about 4 times a week. Pasta + red sauce a about once a week. Lentils/bean or fish instead of meat about once a week. Red meat about once a week.
4) I eat a big breakfast on weekends. Usually very light lunch and then sometimes go out for dinner.
5) Not really. I have trail mix for when I skip lunch. Yogurt + apple sauce or fruit if I have a sweet tooth. Ice cream about once a month.
6) Yes, my family likes to feed people. More seafood, family dishes, etc.
7) I usually adjust within that day. After holidays I watch what I eat for awhile, but never try to go past full to uncomfortable.
8) Walk more. Do more yoga/pilates mat exercises at home. Try not to eat anything with added sugar. Sometimes ironically adding some nuts or full-fat yogurt to my mornings will cut down on cravings and make me eat less overall.
9) I usually walk about 20 min/day - 1 hr on weekends. Exercise about 6 months out of the year (usually in the winter/early spring -- summer/fall I get out enough).
10) Avoid all artificial sweetners. I've developed a taste for not liking overly sweet things though by avoiding them.
11) Coffee with milk, no sugar. Tea (green, black, mate, roobois). Tap water. No diet soda. Occasionally root beer or coke as a treat though I avoid HFCS. Wine, beer, or gin+tonic only when I'm socializing.
ps. 5'4 in the 120's for the last 10 yrs or so (27/f), ranging from low to high depending on the year.
posted by ejaned8 at 9:44 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 33, my metabolism slowed down a lot when I hit 30, so now I am 5'10", 145, instead of 120, which was a little freaky to be honest. I'd like to be closer to 140 but nobody besides me ever notices my minimal flab. Mostly it bothers me because of cellulite, which I had even when I was 110 lbs.

1) What's your typical breakfast?
Depends. I tend to rotate. Now I am on lowfat plain yogurt and grape nuts. For a while it was whole wheat eng muffin and light cc with fake sausage. Before that whole wheat eng muffin with PB and lowfat cottage cheese on the side.

2) What's your typical lunch?
Depends if I remember to bring it from home. Often a wrap with turkey and cheese. Recently I have been eating rice noodle ramen, which is not that good for me. I'll often supplement with a T of PB (all natural, no sugar added) for protein though.

3) What are some typical dinners?
Lots of veggies and salad, always with a meat entree. My husband makes dinner a lot and he tends not to skimp on the yum. Last night we had asian soup with shrimp, pork meatballs, bok choy, and other chopped veg. Earlier in the week my family's ground beef stroganoff, which has lowfat sour cream for the thickener, and salad. We do eat non-hormone meat, if that matters.

4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
Yes, tend to eat out more. Almost always have 1 breakfast out-- eggs, usually.

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
Not much. Sometimes a lara bar or something. Occassionally blue corn chips and salsa.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
More gravy. :)
Actually I don't tend to overeat, but I do have higher fat foods, I guess, and dessert sometimes, which I don't usually.

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
Usually if I get very full I don't get hungry for a while, but I don't adjust calories or anything.

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
Stop drinking beer.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
I walk around. That's pretty much it. I do bikram yoga sometimes. I'm currently a full-time worker and part-time student, and something had to give. It was exercise. I'd like to do more weights but I don't really have time for the gym.

10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often?
I have a diet coke about once a week.

11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks?
Water, coffee, and beer. Sometimes wine. Herb tea. I don't sweeten tea or coffee (but do put 1/2 & 1/2 in coffee.) See above for the soft drinks.
posted by miss tea at 9:51 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm an athletic 6' 160 lb guy.

1. On weekdays: full-fat yogurt and a fibrous cereal. Maybe also a banana and a nubbin of expensive cheese. On weekends: bacon, eggs, toast, cheese, jam, coffee.

2. On weekdays: either leftovers, a bowl of noodles, a salad or deli sandwich, or nothing. On weekends: nothing.

3. I usually cook a meat & 2 sort of meal or maybe a casserole where the meat & 2 are mixed together. Meats: salmon, white fish, chicken, occasionally steak, pork, lamb, goat, or mussels. Sides: (always seasonal and fresh) sweet potatoes, winter squash, heirloom tomatoes, salad, cooked greens, fresh green beans, black beans, hummus, soup, corn, cheese, freshly baked bread, pasta, rice, other grains, more cheese.

4. Oh yeah, I shop at a farmer's market on Saturday mornings, and pick up a lot of produce. I cook and eat the stuff that won't keep right away. I use some of the extra time I have on weekend mornings to splurge and cook some bacon or sausage (Whole Foods has some fantastic bacon at their meat counter) and eggs, or maybe some French toast, along with (freshly ground) coffee with chicory. I'll be too full for lunch, but ravenous come dinner (which I usually eat around 10, regardless of the day of the week). I see the weekends as an opportunity to try new stuff that takes a long time to shop for and cook.

5. A little. Mostly just on apples, bananas, and whatever fresh fruit's in season. I eat a two or three apples a day. I usually don't get too hungry for snacks, though, and take a perverse delight in (occasionally) mastering the craving for a piece of cake that accompanies the random afternoon office party.

6. Holidays? Oh yeah, I gorge on as much as I possibly can, since the food's usually high quality and very tasty, I'm not cooking everything, and since I believe in moderation in all things, including moderation, it's nice to enjoy some few-times-a-year gluttony.

7. Yeah, usually I only eat when I'm hungry, so I may end up skipping breakfast and lunch if I, say, had a bowl of ice cream the night before. Other times, I'll find myself just as hungry as usual.

8. I run more and pay more attention to what I'm eating.

9. A lot. I run 20 to 50 miles a week, depending on how much I like the weather and if my legs are injured. I also walk (fast) a great deal.

10. Definitely not. If I have a coke, though, it'll be diet, just because I don't eat corn syrup (unless I need it for baking) and there's just so much sugar in regular soft drinks. I weaned myself off of sugar in coffee by learning to appreciate the mild sugars and mouth-feel that whole milk adds to it. I take my tea unsweetened.

11. I go through about a half gallon of (green or white loose-leaf) tea a day. I hardly ever drink soft drinks. I usually have a beer and the better part of a bottle of wine a night, and the occasional Scotch or gin and tonic. Lots of water.

12. On food: Portion control. Don't eat much, and don't eat when you're not hungry. Only eat high-quality food that's as fresh as you can get it. If you're going to eat energy-dense stuff like cheese, ice cream, or chocolate, only eat the extremely high quality, extremely expensive stuff (that way, you'll be eating something truly worthwhile, but won't end up eating that much of it). Avoid chemicals, additives, sweeteners, fake whatever. Read food sites (like Chowhound), newspapers (like the Wednesday Dining and Wine insert in the New York Times), and magazines (like Cook's Illustrated) to get ideas for new, interesting things to cook and eat.

On exercise: Make it a regular habit, and push yourself a lot harder (once you're in decent enough shape that you can) (but don't get shin splints) than you think you can (as in, train as though you're an athlete, rather than just someone who puts time in at the gym (I like to think about what Lance Armstrong did after losing a testicle). Try to make it fun (take up soccer, skiing, hiking, whitewater rafting, whatever).
posted by J-Train at 9:54 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm a girl, 5'7', 114 lb.

1) What's your typical breakfast?

2 english muffins with butter and nutella, or 2 bowls of quaker instant oatmeal, or a combination of the above, plus orange juice.

2) What's your typical lunch?

Homemade vegetable soup with cheese and crackers or a salad, depending on the weather.

3) What are some typical dinners?

Some sort of vegetable plus some sort of meat. Sometimes pasta if I just came from the gym and I haven't had a snack in the afternoon.

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

Not really.

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?

I either eat a big snack around 4 (pretty much a 4th meal) and a small, late dinner, or no snack and a larger dinner.
I might snack occasionally on an apple during the day if I'm really hungry.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?

When we're having special meals (Christmas, Thanksgiving, fancy restaurant, etc), I forget all about eating healthy and just enjoy the food. This happens very rarely though.

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?

I'm generally less hungry after a big meal, so I naturally don't eat as much at my next meal.

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?

I cut out junk food a while.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?

I shoot for an average of 3-4 times a week. I take step classes, dance classes, and run.

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?

Water, orange juice, herbal tea, the occasional hot chocolate. No soft drinks, diet or not.
posted by snoogles at 9:56 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm a thin person (5'2, approx. 102lbs.). I always thought it was because of my genes (my mother has had three children, doesn't exercise, eats what she wants and wears a size 6. zoinks!).

I'm beginning to realize that my somewhat unusual eating habits have something to do with it as well.

I'm lactose intolerant, so I avoid most dairy products, which cuts out a huge amount of fat in my diet. Also, I've never liked condiments or most salad dressings, so that takes out a lot of calories as well. I mainly drink water, rarely drink soda/pop, and I don't eat a lot of red meat.

My daily diet has nothing to do with my desire to lose/maintain weight (in fact, I'm actually breaking some of these personal rules now in order to gain some more weight), i'm just a picky eater with a natural inclination towards healthier eating.
posted by chara at 10:01 AM on October 10, 2007

5'3", 120lbs., from a family of petite people. For years, I was stable at 155lbs, around age 25 I figured out that I needed to eat more frequently and quickly found myself at 120 and stable. I have to be careful about my blood sugar (hypoglycemic) so my eating habits are oriented around that.

1) Yogurt or eggs - protein for breakfast is critical for me, otherwise I need two more meals before lunch. Sometimes oatmeal with fruit, if I'm craving sweets (I add yogurt to the oatmeal instead of butter)

2) I work from home, so whatever protein meal is quickest - chickpeas, refried beans, sliced turkey and Triscuits. Lately I have rediscovered the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but it's not as satisfying as it was when I was a kid.

3) Pork or beef or chicken or sausage, with braised greens or green beans or potatoes, almost invariably.

4) I eat the same just about every day, but my schedule doesn't change much for weekends.

5) I absolutely snack - I find I need to eat about every three to four hours, so I make sure I always have apples and baby carrots on hand, Triscuits (I try to avoid a lot of carbs, because even bread fuels my outrageous sweet tooth), dried cranberries, almonds - any one of those items, usually twice a day (frequently, we eat dinner late, so I usually eat lunch and then snack twice before dinner)

6) I eat the same on holidays as when I go out to a meal - I try to eat a decent portion of meat or protein, try to get some greens or veg, and then I sample the goodies that I only see occasionally. By eating the good stuff first, it ensures that I don't end up eating everyone's dessert, because my appetite is satisfied.

7) I do adjust my meals, based entirely on how hungry I am - so if I've eaten a huge lunch, I'll likely not snack and then have smaller portions at dinner - but it's based on my appetite.

8) I cut out sweets. Adding exercise definitely helps, but I weigh every other day, and my weight increases are almost always tied to a baked-good bender. I made a simple rule a few years ago that I can eat any sweet thing I want (usually cookies) as long as I bake it myself - this works really well for me to control cravings (and keep me from standing in the candy aisle, scheming), because often I want the cookies, but I don't want the forty minutes in the kitchen and subsequent cleanup. However, when I DO bake, I tend to eat the whole batch over the course of a day, so I've learned to halve all my recipes.

9) Not frequently enough. I try to go for walks, lately I've fallen off of that habit. I live in the mountains, though, so my "walks" are often "hikes".

10) Never, I hate the taste.

11) Water, tea, coffee, unsweetened. When I stopped drinking soda, I dropped the fastest ten pounds of my life. What I learned is that I have a pretty good metabolism, and what fuels it is small, regular meals - so that's how I plan.
posted by annathea at 10:02 AM on October 10, 2007

1) Breakfast:
Oatmeal. Usually with fruit mixed in. And not instant oatmeal, but the Quaker Oats in the big tub.

2) Lunch:
Cucumber and Hummus Pita, baby carrots, Triscuts

3) Dinner:
It varies, but really never any red meat, and never any white flour (brown rice instead of white, whole wheat pasta, etc)

4) Do i eat differently on the weekends?
Depends what's going on. I'm more likely to go to a restaurant for dinner on the weekends, but otherwise no.

5) Snacking?
Not really. If I get hungry I usually just eat an apple or something. I usually work through lunch, and have found that if I spread out what's in my lunch over an hour or so I don't get a afternoon crash, and I don't get hungry before dinner.

6) Eat different on holidays?
Definitely. I love holiday food. The holidays are really the only time I eat deserts, or red meat.

7) How do I adjust after eating a bigger than usual meal?
I don't. It just usually means I'm not as hungry later on.

8) How do I react to putting on a few pounds?
I don't know that I would notice. I don't have a scale, and don't really ever think about what i weigh. It's more how I feel than anything. If I eat poorly, I usually feel worse.

9) Excercise?
3-5x a week. I love my gym because it is really low key, and regular excercise makes me feel better overall.
My routine is usually:
Mon - nothing
Tues - basketball to warm-up, chest, shoulders, triceps, 20m cardio
Wed - basketball to warm-up, legs, abs, 20m cardio
Thurs - nothing
Fri - basketball to warm up, back, arms
Sat - 30m cardio
Sun - Full body strength training (1 hr)

10) artificial sweeteners?
None. ever. I avoid high fructose and aspartame like the plague

11) Water and green tea. Mostly water. And the tea is brewed tea, most bottled tea is pure sugar. I haven't had a soda in years.

General advice:
No junk food
No sodas
No artificial sweeteners
Avoid pre-packaged stuff as much as possible
Buy ingredients, not snacks, and make your own meals
Find a kind of excercise you enjoy and do it regularly because it is fun
posted by doppleradar at 10:03 AM on October 10, 2007

6'3", 190 lbs. 42 years old.

1) No breakfast. I'm just not hungry till noon.
2) Sandwich or burger and a Coke Zero or an iced latte with Splenda.
3) Varies wildly: Chinese food or Domino's (I'm starting a company and having dinner delivered a lot.) 10 oz. steak and sautéed mushrooms or creamed corn with pancetta. Sushi, or steamed lobster with miso butter.
4) Yes, on weekends I have brunch at 2 pm or so which might be eggs and sausage and toast or might be a waffle and sausage, with lots of coffee with Splenda.
5) I don't really snack.
6) On Thanksgiving and Christmas, massive amounts of turkey and stuffing.
7) If I've had a big or late lunch, I'll delay dinner till very late, like midnight.
8) Cut back on portions at all meals.
9) I ride a bicycle almost daily except in winter but just for transporation, not ; I go to the gym 3-5 times a week to lift, do crunches, and hit the heavy and speed bags.
10) I use Splenda instead of sugar in all situations, even baking.
11) I drink massive amounts of Coke Zero and Sprite Zero.

The key for me is that I just don't take in any avoidable sugar; I avoid starch that my body will turn into sugar.
posted by nicwolff at 10:04 AM on October 10, 2007

24/F, 5'6, never been more than 115-120 lbs

1) PB Puffins, nonfat milk & coffee (no sugar).
2) Usually I just snack on assorted, moderately healthy foods throughout my workday: fruit, V8, sundried tomatoes, TJ's bagel crackers with lowfat Laughing Cow cheese, wheat thins, raw sugarsnap peas, lowfat yogurt, more coffee, more Puffins. I also munch on sugary candy like nerds or wintergreen lifesavers (perhaps to make up for the sugarless coffee).
3) Some kind of meal that involves a soy-based meat product like Boca or Morningstar, fish, or free-range chicken; salad or other raw veggies; always lowfat cheese in some form or another. Otherwise, something heat & eat from TJ's, like eggplant parmigan or a lowfat burrito.
4) Yeah, we typically go out at least once. Meals more often than daylong snacking.
5) All day long (see above).
6) Sure, because there's candy & cookies around. However, I never gorge on anything -- one or two is enough.
7) I do.
8) I adjust my meals for a week or so.
9) I've been terrible about this lately. I used to visit the gym about four times a week, but it's been months now. I visited Central America a month ago, hiked like crazy & ate very little, and afterwards my weight was really low, like 112. Now I'm back to normal.
10) I'm addicted to orange fruity Trident. Otherwise, I stay away.
11) 90% of the time, just coffee, nonfat milk, V8, unsweetened ice tea, and white wine. I'm also a sucker for margaritas.
posted by changeling at 10:07 AM on October 10, 2007

6' 3" and 160 lbs - I used to weigh 130 lbs at the same height, so I think I qualify.
1) English muffin with peanut butter, yogurt, pint of orange juice and a black coffee.
2) Two sandwiches, a yogurt, a banana, a bunch of veggies and a black coffee.
3) Pesto chicken pasta, roast pork chops with a salad, omelettes, Pad Thai, pizza once a week or so.
4) Not really, but portions are often smaller and more irregular. Sometimes I have pancakes.
5) Only if I'm at work late and need some food to keep going, then I'll have a muffin or a banana.
6) I eat more on holidays and also eat more junk food and desserts than I normally do.
7) A bit, I tend to eat my next meal later.
8) Put in more miles running or cut down on simple carbs and fats. Sometimes I will throw in some upper body training.
9) I run about 10-30 km a week. A couple 5km runs and one longer run on the weekend. I also bike to work and walk alot.
10) Never, they taste horrible!
11) Other than two coffees a day max, I mostly drink water or diluted fruit juices with no added sweeteners. I avoid diet drinks if at all possible.
posted by Hutch at 10:18 AM on October 10, 2007

im 6'00 at 135 lbs female
for breakfast i usually eat
eggs with fish oil and white rice with hot sauce with a cup of 1% milk
for lunch its some type of meat usually chicken and either mashed potatoes or mac n cheese
for dinner
its soup or along the same lines of lunch
i dont really snack thaat much i usally would just drink a MT dew or juice throughout the day
posted by unvivid at 10:22 AM on October 10, 2007

My ex is naturally the shape of a very thin twig. He regularly eats:

1) Nothing, or possibly a pastery.
2) Burger, fries, soda.
3) Burger, fries, soda, OR a resturant meal, plus lots of beer.
4) More beer.
5) All kinds of weird snacks while playing WoWcrack--chips, crackers, box pastries, beer...
6) Sometimes he eats real food on holidays! (But only if someone else cooks it.)
7) He complains bitterly about his stomach hurting before he plows into his next meal.
8) He's never put on weight, ever.
9) Once he walked two minutes to work, but he gave it up as requiring too much effort.
10) Not specifically, possibly there are a lot of artificial sweeteners in soda and such.
11) Beer, soda. Small amounts of water, juice, milk. Small amounts of mixed drinks and hard alcohol.

I don't recommend actually following this plan, since I eat a fraction of all that and weigh about 30 pounds more (same height).

P.S. You should just stick with the brains. Mmm. Brains.
posted by anaelith at 10:26 AM on October 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

I am 5'8 1/2", 125 pounds (female)
1) Breakfast: coffee, oj, iron pill for anemia. Generally I skip eating, because I am not yet hungry, but sometimes I eat a homemade egg mcmuffin.
2) Lunch: Sandwich, pizza, pasta, some protein.
3) Typical dinner includes some protein (commonly lean beef or fish), rice and veggies, maybe a salad.
4) If anything changes on the weekend, it's usually one big meal in the middle of the day, surrounded by even more snacking, and the increased likelihood of alcohol consumption.
5) I snack a LOT, I eat yogurt and cereal and bananas and carrot sticks and crackers and cheese the whole day through.
6) Of course I eat differently on holidays, who doesn't? I pig out, then resume normal eating habits once it's over.
7) If I eat a larger than normal meal, I won't have to consciously adjust my next meal, I simply won't be that hungry. I can never eat that much at one time. I probably eat upwards of 8 to 9 times a day.
8) Don't hate me, but this never happens, see number 9.
9) I exercise like a hamster on a frickin' wheel. I exercise every day, I have to. If I don't, I go crazy. I tend to be somewhat hyperactive and an insomniac, and if I don't exercise strenuously every day, I can't sleep.
10) I do use artificial sweetener in my morning coffee. The rest of the time, it's not an issue, because I don't much care for sweets.
11) I drink coffee, orange juice, tea (copious amounts!), lemonade and lots and lots of water. Occasionally I like a glass of wine or two. Rarely if ever do I drink soda.

I have always been skinny and eaten this way, in large part because eating healthy feels good. Whenever I eat crap food, I feel like crap, and I have less energy to get through all the stuff I have to do in a day. As I have grown older, when comparing myself to other people, I have found that I tend to eat much less at one sitting than most, but I am more likely to go back and snack later.
posted by msali at 10:30 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 5'4 and weigh 120. I have never weighed more aside from my pregnancies. My mother's family has serious weight problems, but I take after my dad's side where everyone is naturally fairly slim and muscular. I generally eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm not hungry anymore, that's probably the closest thing to wisdom that I could impart to you.

I cook from scratch: lots of olive oil, lots of whole grains, almost all my vegetables are fresh and in season. Lots of fresh herbs, which I grow. I've cut down on portion size of meat and poultry for our family and increased servings of vegetables to make up the bulk.

1) What's your typical breakfast?
Coffee with lots of half and half. I have "second breakfast" later in the morning, usually a bowl of granola, maybe an egg salad sandwich on flaxseed bread.

2) What's your typical lunch?
A giant salad, consisting of mixed greens, tomatoes, red onion, sunflower seeds, a handful of grated cheese, sometimes a hardboiled egg, and a dollop of Annie's Goddess dressing.

3) What are some typical dinners?
Pretty traditional protein+starch+vegetable affairs for the most part. I have made a commitment to prepare fish at least once a week, and vegetarian dinners at least twice a week. Sometimes bacon ends up being a vegetable though.

4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
I tend to have "brunch" on weekends instead of my "second breakfast" and lunch.

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
I often have some fruit or a smoothie in the afternoon (fruit + yogurt). If I'm on my period, I might get a hankering for chocolate or salt and I'll indulge that without a second thought.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
Not really. I probably eat larger meals and more sweets, but I'm also much busier so it seems to balance out. I don't gain weight during the holidays.

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
Not on purpose, but naturally, yes. If I have "Sunday Dinner" at noon, I'll go for a lighter supper meal in the evening.

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
I take a pregnancy test.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?I do a 30-45 minutes of yoga a few times a week and I ride my bike a lot, but neither of these are activities that I have pursued on a regular basis throughout my adult life. I've been a sporadic exerciser, but am trying to make it more of a routine thing since I'm not going to get any younger.

10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often?
Absolutely not. I can't bear the taste of them.

11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks?
I mostly drink water and wine. I do have a deep affection for cola drinks, but never diet. I try to keep it in check nowadays, because I don't want my kids to see me drinking that crap.

My husband is 6' and around 180, and does have more of a tendency to put on pounds. He does yoga every morning and eats whatever I put in front of him, and is having very little problem maintaining weight. But if there are cookies or salty things, he will devour them if he can find them.

My children eat several snacks, and smaller meal portions. I keep healthy snacks like fruits, whole grain crackers and baked goods, skim-milk cheeses and yogurt, cut vegetables, etc. on hand for them at all times. They drink whole milk and water almost exclusively, and juice a few times a week.
posted by padraigin at 10:31 AM on October 10, 2007

Male, 20 going on 21, 5' 10", fluctuate wildly between 127-135 lbs

1) None, unless I wake up very early, in which case I may eat a granola bar.
2) Typical? Umm...a hamburger? Grilled chicken sandwich? Big combo plate of Chinese food?
3) Varies widely depending on mood, current preferences, cravings, availability, time of night, etc.
4) Not particularly.
5) Only if snacks are readily accessible. Currently, they're not. So I don't snack.
6) I guess the colors of the food sometimes correlate to the colors of the holiday.
7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
8) Shrug and wonder if I might actually gain a few pounds this year.
9) Yes. When the mood strikes. I've had stretches where I haven't don't exercise for weeks or months. Other stretches where I exercise several times a week. I'm at college, so walking to classes, work, and my fraternity house (at least a half mile one-way to each) keeps me moving throughout the day.
10) Generally only when they are already in the beverages that I drink.
11) Mostly water and beer. Sometimes orange juice. Partial to Diet Coke, but concerned about its effects on my teeth. I generally prefer diet versions of sodas solely for taste reasons; I hate sugary high fructose corn syrup drinks.
posted by roomwithaview at 10:36 AM on October 10, 2007

Oops, forgot to answer one.

7) Nope. Not unless I'm still full from that meal.
posted by roomwithaview at 10:37 AM on October 10, 2007


1) Coffe and a cigarette, then a muesli bar at 10ish
2) Salad sandwich, leftovers from dinner, cheese and crackers, popcorn or fruit. Sometimes I'll go out with colleagues and order a meal
3) Vegetarian, so stir-fry, curry, corncakes and veges, whatever I feel like cooking. And we usually have desserts, sometimes very elaborate ones involving lots of ice cream, whipped cream and grated chocolate, sometimes just fruit
4) I usually have a cooked breakfast (eggs and toast with tomato, avocado, onion, spinach and dill; sometimes pancakes with fruit) in the early afternoon and then dinner
5) Occasionally - nuts, muesli bars, chocolate, cake if I've been baking
6) I eat phenomenal amounts on the holidays, and usually drink to match
7) If I've gone out with colleagues for a meal at lunch I'll usually have toast or popcorn or fruit or something for dinner
8) Buy tampons? It usually means I'm about to get my period
9) I walk a lot to get places, and I love to dance, and bushwalk and swim and stuff too but I don't 'exercise', per se
10) Hell, no
11) Coffee, water, juice, beer, Coke or Ribena sometimes. Sometimes I'll mix cordial or juice with soda water. At times I have been known to drink a lot of alcohol also (but my drinks are usually vodka or cointreau and soda with fresh lime, Coke makes me bloated after a few)

I cook and bake a lot, and don't hesitate to use sugar, butter, cream or oil in my cooking, but I've been vegetarian since childhood so I have really low cholesterol and have removed one of the major sources of fat from my diet. I also made a guideline many years ago (that I more-or-less stick to) that 70% of what's on my plate should be fresh .

What does your mum look like? Don't forget the role played by genetics.
posted by goo at 10:39 AM on October 10, 2007

I'm 5'8" and 132lbs. Body fat 15%. Female, if it matters.

1) Typical breakfast: either a two egg omlet with veggies or a bowl of granola with soy milk. Sometimes I add two Morningstar Farms meatless sausages to the omlet.
2) Lunch: Yogurt, banana, one cookie, tofurky wrap with hummus.
3) Typical dinners: quesadilla with veggies, tuna with basmati rice, ramen with an egg and some green onion, once or twice a week I eat out and will have a burger or something else sorta heavy. I tend to skip the fries and get a salad. Usually a cookie and some peppermint tea for dessert.
4) Weekends vs. weekdays: oh heck yeah, I eat very differently. I spend most of the weekend with my boyfriend, who loves to cook, is a vegetarian and thus eats very differntly than I do. When together I tend to eat much richer meals, drink beer/mixed drinks, eat larger and less frequent meals. I often feel like I need to detox after a weekend.
5) Snacking: yup. I'm better suited to grazing and, depending on the level of activity I plan in a day, I'll eat an extra cookie or a Clifbar. There's a lot of candy at work and I tend to graze on a few pieces of that a day, too.
6) Holidays: Oh sure, but only Xmas and Thanksgiving, really.
7) Adjust for large meals: yeah, I feel better if I eat lightly after a large meal until my system feels like it's "reset". Eating large meals tends to upset my stomach and makes me feel loagy.
8) If I put on a few pounds: Depends on the number of pounds. I don't tend to gain more than three or four pounds, but I might eat more deliberately for a couple of days and increase my water intake, which usually takes care of it. I'm active enough that I don't need to add more exercise.
9) Exercise? Yes: I'm a distance runner in addition to being a recreational and full-time commuting cyclist. I run four days a week, 30 - 40 miles per week. I ride every day, from 6 to 15 miles a day.
10) No artificial sweeteners. I can't stand them. They make me feel sick.
11) I drink one or two cups of coffee every morning and a ton of water.

I've always been thin, but about five years ago weighed 166, smoked and was in terrible shape. I started going to a gym, running, stopped smoking and learned to eat in a way that suits my body. The weight came off and thousands of miles running later has never come back.
posted by hollisimo at 10:44 AM on October 10, 2007

Female, 5'4" and fluctuate between 125-135. My BMI is smack in the middle of normal. On another board I frequent I'm sure I'd be considered fat, but I think I meet your definition here. I've never thought of myself as fat, have never dieted (except to drop some babyweight), have no eating disorder and consciously "exercise" only if things are really getting out of control or if I need to feel physical.

1) Breakfast? Winter: steel cut oatmeal with maple syrup or agave syrup and flax. Summers: low-sugar cereal (cheerios) with 2% milk and fruit. Small cup of orange juice, basically enough to take my vitamins with, then water.
2) Lunch? Turkey and cheese on whole wheat bread with vegan/"nayonaisse" or humus, and as many vegetables as I can cram in there (lettuce, sprouts, cukes, tomatoes, shredded carrots); or tuna with same. Sometimes I have sugar free almond butter and sugar free jelly. Water or milk (usually 2%). I add flax seed to all those sandwiches, too.
3) Dinner? Grilled meat with a simple marinade, at least two different colors of vegetables. Infrequently a starch like rice, pilaf, couscous or bread. I don't actively avoid starches, but I'm a lazy cook and they take too long. Water.
4) Weekends? I allow myself one day a week (usually Saturday) for sugary stuff if I want it and if my weight's in line. This can mean banana chocolate chip pancakes with syrup for breakfast and ice cream for dessert after dinner.
5) Snacks? I snack all the time. Usually around 10am with yogurt, and again around 3:30 with vegetables or Pirate Booty. I graze a lot with cukes, carrots and tomatoes (or grapes in the summer) and dark chocolate chips. For the chocolate, I measure out 1-2 servings in a separate container and eat from that rather than eating from the bag (as I used to!).
6) Holidays? Yes, I tend to eat a little of almost everything on the table. But I don't load my plate just so I have the pleasure of looking at an image from a Hallmark card for Thanksgiving. In our family you can go all day not eating because someone's making some huge, elaborate meal and then you sit down and all bets are off because you're so hungry. It's harder for me to tell when I'm full.
7) Adjusting meals? Sometimes, but not always. I give myself leeway to eat cereal for dinner if I'm not that hungry and I ate a big lunch.
8) If I put on a few pounds? This happens more now, as I near 40, so I'm adjusting. At my height a few pounds is noticeable fast to me. Because I can't always get to the gym dependably, my focus is to eat less for a week or two. Not differently, and not less by much, but not just any old amount. In general I don't like a lot of chain restaurants, but if I'm putting on a few pounds I stay away from restaurants where the portions are insultingly huge. I also walk even more.
9) Exercise? I walk a lot everyday, regardless of weather, and hustle after a toddler. I have a rowing machine at home and I do some yoga. It's been months since I was in a gym, but when I was going it was 2-4x a week, for at least 45min of cardio at a high heart rate (I use a heart rate monitor). Usually rowing, cycling, and run-walking on a treadmill. My Dad says the most effective exercise is getting up from the dinner table when you're full. (I think he was paraphrasing Marcus Aurelius, but I can't find that.)
10) Artificial sweeteners? Never. They taste weird to me.
11) Beverages? Water, milk and juice in that order, and water leads by a huge percentage. I have soda about four times a year and don't drink diet. I don't drink coffee, caffeinated tea or alcohol ever.

Anything else?
When I say sugar-free, I don't mean there are no sugars in the item. I mean no added/white/refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. I always choose real butter or cream in moderation over an imitation product. Other than that, one thing that's been consistent for me is an ability to turn off my desire for something by giving it up cold turkey. I have given up, at various times, sugar, butter, salt and chocolate, and after a while I don't want them, so I don't feel like I'm fighting myself by avoiding them.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:51 AM on October 10, 2007

That would be hummus, not humus on my sandwiches. At least most of the time.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:52 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

6'3", 170lbs. Just broke through the not-underweight barrier a couple of years ago.

Whatever, whenever. I eat when I'm hungry, and I stop when I'm not. It's not a recreational activity or a shoulder to cry on; it's fuel.

But of course, I walk instead of driving, climb stairs instead of taking the elevator, work a physically demanding job, etc. I eat a lot because I'd lose 10 pounds a week otherwise.

Oh, and being tall helps.
posted by Reggie Digest at 10:59 AM on October 10, 2007

5' 5", 120 pounds for the past 15 years. I eat whatever I want. I eat when I'm hungry. Sometimes I don't eat even if I'm hungry, because eating is a pain and I often don't feel like it. I can't stand feeling stuffed, so I usually stop eating before I think I'll reach that point. I think that might make a big difference.

I usually don't exercise, although my normal life requires about a mile of walking a day. I don't snack, because most snack foods are really unsatisfying and usually leave me feeling gross. I may have a glass of whole milk instead of a snack. I drink whole milk, water, or very diluted lemonade, because I find other drinks too sweet. I don't really use artificial sweeteners. My favorite foods are french fries and anything with a lot of dark chocolate. I don't eat red meat, just poultry and fish.

If I've put on a few pounds, it's usually because I've been traveling or with family and have been eating out a lot, which means I've been eating too much. So I stop eating too much, and that usually works.

I usually have a pint of whole chocolate milk for breakfast. Since I discovered organic milk, which tastes 1000 times better than regular milk, I drink a lot of whole milk in general. Lunch is a wild card but usually the equivalent of a sandwich, sometimes with fries because I love fries. Dinner is usually some chicken or fish and some vegetable and some starch, usually without heavy sauces because I don't really like them. For no particular reason, I eat really, really slowly. I put only whole milk in my coffee and a little bit of real sugar in anything that requires it. I can't stand the taste of diet foods.

I have no idea how much of my weight is genetics or diet. But if I had to pin it on two things, not eating until I'm really stuffed and not drinking a lot of calories in the form of juice or soda are probably the biggest factors.

Interesting question.
posted by walla at 11:02 AM on October 10, 2007


1) Coffee, sometimes a bagel
2) Usually a sandwich (cold cuts w/cheese). Sometimes something stir-fried from the nearby chinese joint, or a falafel.
3) Varies wildly by mood.
4) I'm more likely to have Brunch + Dinner than Lunch + Dinner. And it's probably the only time I eat eggs.
5) I'll graze if I'm hungry, usually on a granola bar, fruit, or cereal (crispix, usually, by the handful from the box)
6) Not really. I probably drink too much if I'm with the extended family.
7) Not intentionally. I eat when I'm hungry, so if I have a huge, late lunch, I might skip dinner or eat less because my body doesn't tell me that it needs it.
8) Nothing.
9) I walk everywhere, and like to hike, and really like climbing up steep hills
10) Absolutely not.
11) Coffee, beer, wine, juice, coke.

But... and I think this is more important... I eat only when I'm hungry, and if I'm no longer hungry but there's food on my plate, I'll leave it there guilt-free. I don't really eat (or enjoy) sweets, and lunch is usually my largest meal.

I grew up in a family that I'm not genetically related to. All of them eat constantly and are 250-300 pounds. I've always been a little disgusted by this, and I'm sure it's helped with my eating/snacking habits.
posted by toxic at 11:02 AM on October 10, 2007

But... and I think this is more important... I eat only when I'm hungry, and if I'm no longer hungry but there's food on my plate, I'll leave it there guilt-free. I don't really eat (or enjoy) sweets, and lunch is usually my largest meal.

I do this too. I rarely overeat, and I find it next to impossible to eat when i'm not hungry.
posted by chunking express at 11:09 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also I want a prize for being the skinniest person on MetaFilter.
posted by chunking express at 11:10 AM on October 10, 2007

Female, 29, 5'9', 145 lbs, vegetarian. Not omg skinny, but thin.
1) Breakfast: a bowl of cereal, or a whole-wheat bagel with cream cheese, or toast with cheese.
2) Lunch: leftovers from last night's dinner.
3) Dinner: If I cook, then some combo of fresh vegetables, tofu or beans, and a starch. Burritos, stirfry, soups, etc. If I go out, probably Asian food - curry or noodles or veggie sushi.
4) I tend to eat more irregularly, graze more, have a bigger breakfast sometimes.
5) I snack because I'm always hungry. Usually a granola bar, or fruit, or yogurt in the morning, crackers with hummus or something in the afternoon.
6) I tend to pig out on holidays. If there's good food, I'm going to enjoy it.
7) Not consciously. I may eat less if I don't feel hungry.
8) Feel crappy about it. Cut back on desserts, treats, etc. Work out more.
9) I'm really inconsistent with exercise. I'll have periods where I work out 5 days a week, and then I'll let it go for a few weeks. Still working on that. I also walk to work, which isn't a workout but does keep me moving.
10) Nope, not in my home. Occasionally I'll drink a diet soda.
11) I drink water all day long. Also herbal tea, hot chocolate, coffee with milk, sometimes juice.

In college I stopped working out (tired of mandated sports), ate too much, and ended up at 175 lbs. Not pretty. I started working out on my own terms, and my appetite naturally dropped. After a few years, I leveled out, and I feel healthy. I generally eat what I want, as long as I stay in good enough shape. And I love to eat.
posted by bassjump at 11:21 AM on October 10, 2007

My husband is 6'3" and about 165. He has always been underweight. He eats utter junk. Subsists mainly on coffee and cigarettes. When he does eat (one large meal a day, usually dinner, and lots of snacks) he eats like a 5 year old with criminally permissive parents. Corn dogs, frozen pizza, frozen burritos, peanut butter and bacon bits sandwiches (!). Will not try anything new. Eats steak when we go for sushi. Is a chocoholic the likes of which I have never before witnessed.

I have tried for 5 years to change this, with absolutely no effect. True story: His mother told a friend of mine that she knows that he sometimes eats "healthy," because although I don't know it, he often stops at McDonald's without telling me. Gah! WTF? Not only do I know this, but in what twisted world is McDonald's healthy?

God, I'm off to eat a salad.
posted by thebrokedown at 11:29 AM on October 10, 2007

Female, 32, 5'0", 95 lbs.

1) What's your typical breakfast? Toaster strudel or nutrigrain bar or toast with jam. And a frappucino or latte.
2) What's your typical lunch? I forget to eat lunch about half the time. When I do eat, it's usually a ham or turkey sandwich with cheese and mayo, and some chips. Or mac and cheese. Or leftover pizza.
3) What are some typical dinners? Pizza, chicken alfredo, spaghetti.
4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays? I go out to eat more on the weekends. I don't think the amount varies too much except for breakfast. I'll usually have an omelet or french toast at a restaurant.
5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what? Maybe once a day. Usually tortilla chips or a granola bar.
6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so? I'll eat more because it's right there, already made, and it's usually good. I'm a lazy-ass cook.
7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all? No.
8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds? I probably wouldn't notice.
9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often? Not really. I take the dogs for a 20 min walk most days. Once in a great while I'll go on a bike ride.
10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often? No. I put real sugar in my coffee.
11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks? Regular coca cola, beer, sprite. No diet stuff.
posted by desjardins at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2007

1) What's your typical breakfast?
Two toaster waffles with peanut butter, plus coffee
2) What's your typical lunch?
A sandwich of some type. I make my own, so they're not the overstuffed kind. Often, it's a couple of slices of salami, some Trader Joe's yogurt cheese, mustard and lettuce on rye.
3) What are some typical dinners?
I often have pasta with some kind of sauce.
4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
I'm more likely to eat out on weekends.
5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
Yes. I eat candy more often than I should. (Usually gummi bears or skittles.) I'll often have an apple or pear. Sometimes I find myself really starving, and then I'll have whatever I can find: a piece of bread, a spoonful of peanut butter.
6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
I'm sure that I eat more on holidays. There's more good stuff to eat!
7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
Not consciously. I stop eating when I'm not hungry, though, so I probably eat less without knowing it.
8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
I probably wouldn't find out if I gained a few pounds. I don't weigh myself.
9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
I go through periods when I exercise regularly and periods when I don't. Right now I'm not going to the gym, but I do walk a lot.
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?
I don't like soft drinks. I drink a whole lot of coffee. I also like cran-raspberry drink, diluted with water. Full-strength is too sweet.
posted by craichead at 11:38 AM on October 10, 2007

Scrawny as I am, I now weigh about 140 at 5'11". I've always been very skinny but a year ago I was "overweight" by about fifteen pounds, mostly round my hips and belly. I couldn't fit into my old pants. Since then I just ate a bit less and exercised a little more, and now I can wear my old suits again (not that I do, thankfully those days are over).

Breakfast: a cup of tea + two slices buttered toast
Mid-morning: another cup of tea (yes, I am from the UK, so it's "real" tea)
Lunch: a half-pint container of leftovers from last night's supper plus couple of tomatoes or similar veg, or a banana (or two)
Supper: home-cooked food from rice+beans through mac+cheese to roast+potatoes ... pretty much anything. But I stop before I'm full, because sleeping is more comfortable that way. Having a full belly at night gives me restless sleep. Living here in the US it's too easy to eat too much - I often have to deliberately leave food uneaten and not clean my plate as I was taught to do.
posted by anadem at 11:43 AM on October 10, 2007

This probably won't count since I'm not naturally thin: both my parents are significantly overweight and I was for a while too. I've maintained roughly my current weight for about a year and a half now. I do light exercise (5BX, walk to work, dumb-bells) and keep a food diary.

Last week:

Saturday 22 September 2007
Breakfast: Pasty, bread, tomato, ham, cheese
Lunch: Pork chop, potatoes with butter, radishes, carrot, peas. Ice cream and meringue nest
Supper: Mackerel sandwiches
Snacks: Hot choc
Booze: 1 beer, 2 whisky

Sunday 23 September 2007
Breakfast: 2 eggs, bread, cheese
Lunch: Beef madras, rice with butter, ice cream with meringue nest
Supper: 2 ham rolls, cheese, 3 plums
Snacks: hot choc
Booze: 1 beer 1 whisky

Monday 24 September 2007
Breakfast: Bread, ham, cheese, tomato
Lunch: Chicken baguette
Supper: Beef stew and dumplings, bread. "count on us" choc muffin dessert
Snacks: Slimfast pretzels, apple, orange
Booze: 1 beer 1 whisky
Exercise:5BX Chart 4 Level A. 1.75 miles walking Dumb-bells 3x10 all

Tuesday 25 September 2007
Breakfast: Toast, ham, cheese, tomato
Lunch: Pastrami sandwich
Supper: Burger, potatoes, radishes, peas. Cornetto
Booze: 1 beer 1 whisky
Snacks: 3 Ryvita, piece of pork pie, gherkins
Exercise:5BX Chart 4 Level A. 3.5 miles walking

Wednesday 26 September 2007
Breakfast: Half pork pie, gherkins, tomato, ryviat
Lunch: Sausage baguette
Supper: WW chicken, bread, ham. Mars Light
Snacks: Banana, tangerine, slimfast pretzels
Booze: Beer,whisky
Exercise:5BX Chart 4 Level A. 1.75 miles walking

Thursday 27 September 2007
Breakfast: Toast, egg, cheese
Lunch: Tuna and cheese baguette
Supper: Spaghetti, meatballs, cheese. Froghurt
Booze: 2 whisky
Snacks: Banana, peach
Exercise:5BX Chart 4 Level A. 4 miles walking

Friday 28 September 2007
Breakfast: Toast, HE noodles, pastrami
Lunch: Chicken baguette
Supper: Fish fingers, potatoes with butter, ratatouille. Froghurt
Snacks: Choc muffin, hot choc, 3 Ryvita, cheese
Booze: 1 beer, 2 whisky
Exercise:5BX Chart 4 Level A. 1.75 miles walking
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:46 AM on October 10, 2007

Male, 29, 133lbs, 5'10"

1. Coffee usually, but if I'm hungry I might grab a bagel or granola bar.

2. PB sammich (low fat peanut butter, light sodium) on whole wheat, baked chips, low-fat string cheese, yogurt, water (maybe a small candy bar). This is usually M-F, at my office.

3. These are heavier, and due to an 8-month-old, based on time allowed. More pasta and protein sources than most. (My wife is a picky eater, so chicken is often on the menu.)

4. YES! Since I train for at least 4 hours each Saturday, I'll start with two packets of oatmeal, a large lunch to recover, and a large supper. Sunday: a breakfast with family after church, which can be a muffin with coffee, or a two-egg, grits, biscuits, etc. etc. affair. This just depends on weekend training.

5. Not as often as they say I should to keep metabolism running. If I do, it's maybe once a week, and depends on what I feel like: small candy bar, string cheese, yogurt, granola.

6. Yes...let me just say I'm Italian, and holidays are an excuse to eat way too much, even for us thin, athletic types. I don't have a sweet tooth, so that helps. Again, it's more protein based (turkey, chicken, maybe some ham) and veggies. I drink rarely, so I don't have to deal with fruity mixed drinks or calorie-bomb beers. I might sneak in a slice of cheesecake or an aunt's pecan pie, but I'll be sure to pedal to burn it off soon.

7. Yes...if I have a large Sunday breakfast, I usually skip lunch. I will still have a nice supper, but will force a snack on Sunday afternoon...especially if I do Sunday miles on the bike.

8. I haven't put on pounds since last year, when weather got cold and I couldn't train...even then, I only put on 2-3 pounds, and they rapidly come off.

9. Yes, I do. Road cyclist...I do about 4 hours each Saturday and probably burn over 1,200 calories in the morning. The rest of Saturday and Sunday I'm either on the bike or in the yard. (I'm in the South, and we still have decent weather this time of year for exercise or yardwork.) With the weather turning to cool (not cold) in a month or two, I'll be on my bike trainer a few extra days during the week, but for 30 minutes to about an hour.

10. For the odd diet cola, I do. I don't have a favorite nor do I go out of my way to hunt one down.

11. Coffee, water, maybe a diet soda for supper...I might treat myself to a sweet tea (Southern boy) or a Coke on the weekend, or if I need the caffeine pick-me-up.

Overall, I'm trying to avoid HFCS, drink more water and eat more fruits as desserts. I have a very fast metabolism, but I'm waiting for that to fail in 5-7 years. My immediate family is quite thin and active; only when you get to a few aunts and a couple in-laws do you see overweight/obese folks.
posted by fijiwriter at 11:46 AM on October 10, 2007

6'1" 180-190 lbs. Enough muscle that others call me "lanky."

1) breakfast: oatmeal with jam or brown sugar to taste.
2) lunch: yogurt (2%, no fake sweeteners) or cottage cheese (1% or 2%; skim cottage cheese is asstacular), and a generous helping of cut up raw veggies (varies with the season, carrots are almost always present).
3) nobeagle kibble (1 cup lentils, 1/2 cup brown rice cooked, once the cooking is done I add in a jar of low-sodium pasta sauce, and as much of a bag of frozen veggies as fits in the rice cooker. I put this into 5 containers, and that's my work week (I eat lunch and dinner at work)).
4) Whoa nelly do I ever. I eat so well throughout the week, that I feel free to eat whatever I want. However, I don't have the stomach capacity to eat as much as I could 10 years ago. What's a weekend without a trip to the all you can eat sushi joint?
5) at work I bring two apples (or bananas, grapes, some kind of fruit), and snack as I want. Sometimes I don't touch them. On the weekends I'll also do fruit, but more likely a slice of (whole wheat) bread with jam, or cottage cheese. 90% of the time I have about 2cups of milk before sleep, and have my first morning coffee with about 1/2 cup of milk and 3 tbs of sugar (yes, that's ~150 cal of sugar). Any later coffee is black.
6) Like weekends, I consider myself to eat well enough normally that holidays are holidays. It's rare to get leftovers from an entire crockpot of stuffing.
8) I brush my teeth without a shirt on (avoiding toothpaste stains). If I jiggle too much, I make a note to tone down the weekends. This will happen maybe 3-4x a year.
9) I walk the dogs on weekends for about 30 minutes each day. Occaisionally I'll get it in my head to hit the treadmill in the basement for 30-50 minutes, but if I'm hitting 3x weekly, I make sure to get 1% or 2% milk instead of skim or else mrs. nobeagle starts telling me I'm getting too pointy and threatens to shove twinkies down my throat while sleeping. I'm currently at about 3 months without intentional exercise, and have a sedentary job.
10) my taste buds rebel at all artificial sweeteners except for xylitol which is expensive and rare enough to be ignored.
11) milk (usually skim, see point 9), coffee (after the first coffee, it's black), unsweetened green tea, occaisional low-sodium V8 or water. Mostly water. Maybe once every 2 weeks or so, I'll have a (non-diet) pop; grape or rootbeer are about all I can stand these days.
posted by nobeagle at 11:53 AM on October 10, 2007

5'8", 125, stable for about 6 years now. I was growing until then.

1) Something made out of carbohydrates, if anything. Dry cereal or crackers is a good bet.
2) Varies a lot, from hot dogs to a bowl of soup plus bread to a bacon cheeseburger to waffles with ice cream.
3) About 6 ounces of grilled delmonico steak, potatoes roast with olive oil, salt, and rosemary, boiled broccoli. Tacos with fixin's. Pan-fried dumplings with white rice and cucumbers. Roast chicken (a little over a leg's quantity of meat), salad with italian dressing and delicious homemade biscuits.
4) Saturdays are fend-for-yourself days, so generally weekends mean leftovers and whatever I can find.
5) Candy if it is there at work, until I realize that I am eating too much of it and then try to scale back. Raisins or crackers at home, but not as often because I only purchase snack foods (a box of crackers, a box of raisins) about once a month.
6) Holidays I visit my parents, so my eating changes some but not significantly. Family does not go in for huge turkey-laden meals, so it's like my own cooking except a little higher class (better steak, delicious lamb chops)
7) If I've eaten enough to not feel very hungry for my next meal, I'll eat less at that meal. I do not adjust because I think I have had too many calories. I avoid eating too much because it makes me feel bleh.
8) I weigh myself rarely enough to notice weight fluctuations, but they are minimal regardless. I am pretty much stuck in a weight right around where I am, perhaps plus or minus three to five pounds. I don't think I've ever noticed myself looking "fatter"
9) I do not own a car, so I take the bus, and often on weekends "taking the bus" means "walking 2.5 miles to get somewhere" because walking is more convenient. I have recently started yoga. I fidget a lot, and am bad at staying still.
10) I avoid all fake sweeteners and fake oil-type products. Real butter and real sugar are what I use all of the time. I also tend to avoid corn-syrup-laden foods and drinks.
11) I drink Sprite or some other non-carbonated soda in non-diet form perhaps once a week. Maybe three times a year I'll get a carton of orange juice. The rule is water. Lots of water. Perhaps not enough water, actually.

I think the important thing is that I don't generally eat very much at any one meal. A friend and I got a meal for "two" at a restaurant here, and were left with enough leftovers for us to both have a full meal. Most restaurants give me enough leftovers for another meal.

Also avoiding eating snacks by not having them around to eat.
posted by that girl at 12:25 PM on October 10, 2007

31yo male, 5’10” 150lbs

1) Almost never do breakfast. Makes me feel sluggish regardless of what I eat. Vitamins and coffee start my day
2) I mostly work off cravings. If my body is screaming for fat I give it a cheeseburger. But sometimes it wants a salad and some days it’s just a whole wheat bagel.
3) Mostly baked chicken breasts, tons of vegetables. But there is a fair amount of pizza in there as well
4) Not so much
5) chips and salsa, bread and hummus
6) Not so much
7) I really only eat when I’m hungry, so yes if I’m not craving food, I skip meals.
8) I’ve been in the same weight range since 16, never enough fluctuation to notice
9) Not regularly. Used to mountain bike a ton and that slowly became less convenient. Now I’ll ride in the city for fun. Every once in awhile I get into the habit of doing a silly number of push-ups and curls with 35lb dumbbells, but mostly for fun.
10) Never.
11) Water, coffee, wine, beer. Not in that order.

I also smoke a pack a day and walk allot. I attribute my consistent weight over the years to burning off calories by tapping my foot constantly and thinking about nothing in particular to the point of exhaustion.
posted by paxton at 12:34 PM on October 10, 2007

I'm 28, 6'3", 165 pounds and have been for almost 10 years.

1) Typical breakfast is usually a big bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, soymilk, and blueberries, but now that I'm not biking to work anymore, I'm downgrading to a CLIF bar and a cup of green tea.

2) Lunch: 6-inch turkey on wheat at Subway with a pile of veggies. Normally I avoid fast-food type places, but I work in Midtown hell and can't get my act together as far as reliably brining my lunch.

3) Dinners: cheese pierogies on a bed of spinach with walnuts and BBQ sauce. Thai food. Falafel sandwhich. etc.

4) Weekends-- I cook more with fresh ingredients

5) Small snack at 11 a.m. if I need it. Snack at 3 pm if I need it. Snack at 10 pm if I need it. I always need it. Usually nuts, dried fruit, candy, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you name it.

6) I eat what everyone eats on the holidays, though not perhaps quite as much of it.

7) If I've eaten a bigger than usual meal, I may minorly adjust, but usually I just try to be more active that day.

8) When I do put on a few pounds, I try to just move around a little more and not eat quite so much ice cream. But generally I trust that my diet and activity will continue to fluctuate and will eventually restabilize.

9) I take kung fu three times a week and walk several miles a day. Also do my fair share of dancing.

10) I avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs, except for in cases of huge cravings or unforeseen treats. When I want candy I try to pick something that has a sugar quantity I can rationalize, which actually excludes quite a lot of things (but not the bag of black licorice I'm eating right now).

11) Snapple Green Tea has fewer calories and smaller portions than Arizona green Tea, and also doesn't use high fructose corn syrup. I drink a cup of hot green tea a day, usually with something sweet to nibble so I don't sweeten the tea. Lots of water. Soymilk. I love buying Kagome blended fruit and vegetable juices, which are tasty, sweet, and very healthy. I'll often have a sip of someone else's soda but almost never buy one of my own.
posted by hermitosis at 12:35 PM on October 10, 2007

Female, 38, 5'10", usually around 130 lbs. (my top weight is 135, which I would like to maintain regularly; until I hit my mid-30s, I usually weighed more like 125). In general, I don't eat three meals a day; I tend to eat one or two "real" meals (almost always dinner, sometimes lunch) and graze the rest of the time.

1) Typical breakfast: Hot tea with milk, plus a pastry, yogurt, or oatmeal.

2) If I'm really busy at work, I'll just skip it or have a quick snack (see below). Otherwise, it's usually something like a Cobb salad, turkey sandwich, or chili.

3) Dinner: I mostly eat fish, chicken, and pasta (though I do eat beef now and then). Typical dinners might be chicken dijon with sauteed mushrooms and fingerling potatoes, grilled salmon with dill sauce and grilled asparagus, or pasta with brown butter sauce and a tomato/avocado salad. We eat out several times a week, too -- typically sushi, Indian, Italian, or French.

4) The main difference on weekends is that I'll go out for a big breakfast of the bacon & eggs variety.

5) I snack/graze frequently -- usually things like cheese and french bread, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, veggies and dip, chips and salsa or guacamole, chocolate, greek yogurt (with granola and honey, mmm!) and baked goods.

6) I eat whatever I want on holidays. Thanksgiving is glorious.

7) I never eat a smaller meal to follow a larger meal. I will, however, sometimes try to offset a low-fiber meal with a high-fiber one later.

8) I am always pleased when I put a few pounds on -- it's hard for me to keep my weight up.

9) I haven't been exercising as much lately (swamped at work, plus just moved), but I try to do yoga at least once a week and get to the gym (for weights) a few times a week on top of that. I should note that I live in Bizarro World, in which I lose weight when I don't exercise -- I lose muscle tone and my appetite if I don't work out regularly (hence why I noticed the other day that I'd dropped down to 128, much to my chagrin).

10) I never use artificial sweeteners.

11) I drink lots of water and tea. I also drink milk (especially with sweets) and juice. I drink alcohol socially -- usually wine, vodka, or whiskey (I used to drink beer, but hardly ever do anymore). I don't remember the last time I had a soda (and whenever it was, it definitely wasn't diet).

Caveat: I am perpetually slightly hyperthyroid, due to having had my thyroid removed (for cancer treatment) about 10 years ago and having to be on a high dose of thyroid replacement hormone. I was always thin before the thryoid came out, though. I also probably have have mild Marfan syndrome or one of its related disorders; people with Marfan's tend to be naturally skinny.
posted by scody at 12:37 PM on October 10, 2007

Someone really needs to compile this information - it would be interested to see digested. You'd have a statistically valid study with this many responses.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:59 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Male, 165ish, 6'2"

1) Some kind of carbohydrate that is not very sugary - Bagel, Toast, English Muffin, etc. Juice, Apple or Citrus.
2)As a college student, I tend to eat what's in the dining hall. But, always a salad with oil and vinegar and a bit of tofu, then I limit myself to one plate of food. Sometimes a sandwich, or soft tacos, or grilled cheese and tomato soup, etc. Normally some kind of vegetable along for the ride (all on one plate.) To drink, a glass of water, and a glass of juice or gatorade.
3)Same as above. About 2-3 times a week, froyo for dessert.
4)I am rather active on the weekends, so I tend to miss meals.
5)Yes, ususally two to three peices of fruit a day, and sometimes sweets.
6) I don't think that this really matters.
7) Not conciously, but probably.
8) This has never happened to me - the only time that I gain is when I am actively trying to gain muscle.
9) Intense excercise 4 - 5 days a week. Rugby training, running, weightlfiting. If I stop exercising, I tend to lose weight.
10) More or less never.
11) Juice, Water, Sports drinks. Soft drinks maybe once a week, if that. I more or less always keep a filled nalgene clipped to my bag, and drink from it constantly.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:00 PM on October 10, 2007

If you are looking for a way to improve your eating habits without stressing, try the No 'S' Diet. Briefly:
- No sweets
- No seconds
- No snacks
except (sometimes) on days that start with 'S'.

It is simple but effective. Before encountering it I knew that my eating habits could have been healthier (though I was not overweight or anything). Keeping these points in the back of my mind makes me less likely to snack or eat junk. It's not a strict regimen; just a gentle guide. That's what makes it so effective.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:02 PM on October 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

5'8" male, 140 lbs

1) No breakfast
2) Lunch: A burrito, usually with beans and chile meat or bacon and eggs. If not a burrito, then curried chicken over rice, or a sandwich or pizza.
3) Dinner: Almost always rice with a meat dish and a vegetable dish. Sometimes a noodle-based dish. I always have meat with dinner, usually pork or chicken.
4) Weekend eating: Sometimes I have a breakfast - bacon, eggs, potatoes
5) Yes, I snack all the time. Chips, bowls of instant noodles, ice cream, chicken pot pies, other junk food, etc. Usually enough to count as a fourth meal.
6) Holidays: Not really, I eat enough during non-holidays that I don't consider that I eat much more during holidays
7) Adjusting meals: No, though I might eat less if I'm not hungry
8) Gained weight: Rejoice for a short period of time, until the weight magically disappears again
9) Exercise: None, unless you count walking to classes
10) Artificial sweetener: Never
11) Drinks: Soda, juice. Never drink diet sodas. Don't drink alcohol.
posted by pravit at 1:10 PM on October 10, 2007

I'm 6'4" and a buck eighty-five. I'd be carefully about modelling your eating habits after naturally skinny people - sometimes folks with raging metabolisms don't have the best eating habits. Nevertheless,

1) typical breakfast: either oatmeal or a muffin/croissant
2) typical lunch: a large sandwich (foot long from Subway) or a Burrito, usually veggie (Chipotle) or Indian or Japanese food from a local place
3) typical dinners: Pasta/lasagna if I'm cooking, burgers from the grill, or Thai or comfort food if I'm ordering/restauranting
4) Weekend vs weekday: on weekends, I have brunch anywhere from 10 to 1, a light snack around 5, and dinner a little later
5) Snacking: only occaisionally, unless I am going to be playing sports, when I know I'll need the energy
6) Holidays: no restraint. Thanksgiving dinner, Xmas dinner - I eat to discomfort. I also sometimes eat to the point of discomfort at restaurants. Not smart.
7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all: don't know. Perhaps subconsciously.
8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds: I cut back/eliminate desserts. Typically, I'll go out for ice cream or cannoli about twice a week after dinner. I don't buy sweets to have around the house - I always go out for them. These periods mostly coincide with injuries that prevent me from working out.
9) Exercise: yes. 4 times a week. Running and ultimate frisbee. Ultimate (particularly all day tournaments) consumes boatloads of calories.
10) Do you use artificial sweeteners: Never.
11) What beverages do you drink: water, coffee, alcohol. Rarely beer. Never soft drinks.
posted by taliaferro at 1:23 PM on October 10, 2007

5'7" female, 120 lbs

1) What's your typical breakfast?
Cereal on top of (raw) oats with milk

2) What's your typical lunch?
Sandwich, piece of fruit, crackers/fries/chips

3) What are some typical dinners?
Meat (usually chicken, sometimes beef or pork), starch (rice, pasta, couscous) and cooked vegetable (broccoli, spinach, green beans) -- I don't like salad, and a piece of fruit again

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

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
Yes. A couple days a week, on crackers and cheese, or chips (my weakness)

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
Not usually but occasionally I stuff myself enough to feel bloated and uncomfortable

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
Yes, because when I eat a bigger than usual meal I am less hungry at the next meal. I guess if the food was really good at all the meals I would still eat a fair amount, but I usually limit myself because I get bloated so easily.

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
Skip the chips/any other junk food I might have otherwise eaten.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
Probably not enough. All my exercise is walking or biking around during the day between my dorm room, the cafeteria (10 minute walk), library (10 minute walk), classes (varies), friends' rooms/apartments (10+ minute walk), grocery store (20 minute walk), mall (20 minutes), etc..

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?
Water, tea and sometimes milk.

I don't drink soda, juice, coffee or alcohol. I've found that after I stopped super-sweet drinks, diet soda tastes just as gross (overly sweet) to me as regular soda. About the sweetest bottled drink that tastes good to me is Honest Tea.
posted by puffin at 1:24 PM on October 10, 2007

mid 20s woman. 5'6. 130-145 lbs.
my build is very similar to britney spears' in this photo. like britney, i have a small frame and fairly strong, rounded muscles, but also naturally tend to have high body fat, so i always look soft and babyfaced (no part of me is veiny or bony- i have invisible collarbones and soft-looking hands, no matter how skinny i get). like britney, when i'm at my thinnest i have a small waist and flat stomach, when i gain weight i get a bit tanky in the torso. unlike britney, i have a full head of hair and am not drunk right now.

i think i'm this size due to genetics. i don't think my body will let me go over 160 lbs for a few more decades at least. but i also notice that i eat much smaller, more reasonable portions of food than some of my larger friends, and i eat more natural food than many women i know (i avoid artificial sweetneners and anything touted as "low-fat"). here's what i eat:

BREAKFAST (around 11am): 2 envelopes of quaker instant apple-cinnamon low sugar oatmeal with ~1/4 cup of plain wheat bran thrown in for fibre. large mug of tea with milk. or maybe a muffin (raisin bran or cornmeal, never white flour) & a coffee with milk.

LUNCH: often skipped (after a late breakfast it's no big deal). if i eat it, it's around 3pm, and will vary:
-maybe something similar to this tomato salad (2 tomatoes, 1/4 cup of cubed bocconcini cheese cut small so you get a little in each forkful, handful of fresh basil leaves, one sliced belgian endive, 1 chopped clove of garlic, splash of olive oil (1-2 tablespoons), salt & pepper.
-or maybe 2 eggs (beaten with a splash of milk & scrambled in a teaspoon of oil) and a cup of broccoli (dropped in an inch of boiling water and covered for 1 minute- i guess that's called blanching?). i'll grate a tablespoon of cheddar on the broccoli and let it melt.

one of the following, or several if i skipped lunch:
a pint of fresh strawberries (i'm a pig for strawberries, i eat about 5 pints a week),
an eighth of a watermelon, a banana, or a bowl of fresh pineapple chunks,
a handful of baby carrots and radishes,
a green apple with a thumb-sized chunk of medium cheddar,
two pieces of string cheese,
baked corn chips with lots of salsa,
a cup of fruit bottom yogurt (the real stuff, not the low fat aspartame crap)
a cup of unsweetened applesauce (the kind meant for a kid to take in her lunchbox),
a small bag of pretzels,
one of those popsicles made mostly of frozen fruit

UNHEALTHY SNACKS (i try to keep these to one or two a week):
a mcdonald's chicken mcnugget happy meal (i make it better by getting caramel apple slices instead of fries, and only drinking half the coke), or a mcdonald's caramel sundae, or a skor bar, or a scoop of pralines & cream ice cream (i buy it from the ice cream place and never keep it in the house, or i'd eat the whole carton), or a few werther's caramels.

DINNER: i usually eat dinner in restaurants:
-sushi: miso soup, 1 roll (8 little pieces) of whatever i want, shared edamame, and an extra little green salad.
-pan-fried fish with salad or veg (i just get whatever the restaurant's fish special is, unless it's battered & deep-fried)
-restaurant meat special (beef or lamb, i don't really like chicken), on mashed potatoes & veggies (i try to eat only about half the mashed potatoes).
-a slice of quiche with a big-ass salad.
-a hamburger, which i eat like a crazy person, ripping the bun off bit by bit and mostly eating only the meat and toppings, in total eating only about 1/8 of the bun (i don't like bread).
-korean food, like chap chae and bulgogi (potato noodles and sizzled beef, respectively).

WEEKENDS: i eat a big brunch (smoked salmon eggs benedict, half the hashbrowns on my plate, salad or fruit, a strip of bacon stolen from my boyfriend's plate, americano coffee with cream), but then no lunch or snacks (not because i have self-control, just because i'm full). usually after brunch i go for a longish walk.

HOLIDAYS: i eat some of everything but i try to keep the portions fairly small and fill up on the healthier items, like white turkey and beets (i love beets more than any human should). i overeat dessert a bit, but i try to go for "small amounts of everything" instead of "stuff it all in".

GROSSOUT THEORY: sometimes i deliberately overeat a treat until i don't like it anymore, because i think it's better to eat a whole cheesecake once than a slice of cheesecake every night for a month. this weekend was thanksgiving and i ate too many desserts, and there were gonna be a lot of treats lying around for days, so i preemptively ate just the frosting off of a very sweet cupcake, which was too sweet and find of gross. that has turned me off the pumpkin pie for three days now, and the net calories of one cupcake top to five slices of pie are obviously in my favour.

EXERCISE: very inconsistent. sometimes i'm sedentary for weeks, then i run every day for a week. on average, i try to go for at least 2 20min runs a week, and a couple times a week i also do 50 crunches and 10 each of a few arm exercises: deltoid side raises, front raises, triceps extensions, and military press, all with a 10-lb dumbbell, and then 20 biceps curls with same dumbbell. i tend to have chubby arms so i aim for muscle definition but am too lazy to do as many reps as i should.
also, i like to armwrestle my boyfriend. and i ride my bike maybe 4 miles a week, very slowly, when doing errands.

WEIGHT GAIN: when i see myself gaining weight (i don't weigh myself much, but i notice because i get this little pudge spilling over my jeans at the hip): i cut all snacks that did not directly grow on a plant. cut pop & juice- only drink water, tea, & coffee (with milk only, no sugar). and i'll go for a run a couple more times that week.

FOOD WASTING: i was raised never to waste food, which used to make me overeat. recently i realized that eating food and getting fat is still wasting food, and it has worse consequences for my self-esteem. so now i'm much quicker to eat half of something and "wreck" the rest (pour half a coke down the drain as soon as i open it, or smash my napkin into the remainder of my hash browns at brunch). it still makes me feel bad, but so does gaining weight or feeling gross after i overeat.

1. try to only drink water or tea/coffee (with milk, no sugar). if i drink pop or sweetened iced tea, i try to get a kid-sized portion or share it. the number one thing that makes me gain weight is getting on a pop/juice habit.

2. no weird fat-free desserts, ugh. i like ingredients that have existed since before 1960. no aspartame, except in gum (of which i chew about 3 sticks a day, 1/2 stick at a time).

3. eat a lot of veggies and fibre. metamucil is good, too.

4. i don't really like bread or rice, so it's not that hard for me to go easy on the carbs. i eat pasta maybe twice a month. i do like mashed potatoes, but i tend to go easy on those, too. the only grain-type carbs i really like are oatmeal and triscuits.

5. try not to eat for 4 hours before bedtime. this is a really good way to lose weight. if i'm hungry at night i try to trick myself with a green tea or an apple or strawberries.

6. i don't consider plain fresh fruit & veggies to be "food". i think of them as "vitamins in an inconveniently shaped pill", and i eat as much of them as i want at all times. strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, raw cauliflower, baby carrots, and radishes are my favourites. i'm very sparing with dip, if at all.

7. don't stretch out your stomach! drink liquids between meals, not with meals. and at any given meal, if you're eating more than you can hold in your two cupped hands, you ate waay too much. use smaller plates if you have to.

8. often you think you're hungry but you're either thirsty, or have a dirty taste in your mouth. so if you suspect it's too early to be hungry, try drinking a big glass of water, then brushing your teeth thoroughly and using mouthwash.
posted by twistofrhyme at 1:28 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Fascinating thread! And interesting how many "naturally thin" people are quite strict about what they eat, avoiding sweets, allowing themselves treats on specific occasions, etc.

Me - 27, Female, 5'7", 120 lbs (was freakishly thin child who never ate, acquired crappy eating habits in college & put on 10-15 lbs, improved since then.)

1) High-fiber cereal without milk (FiberOne, Crispix, etc.) most days, sometimes bagel with cream cheese. Cup of tea.
2) A lot of sandwiches (subway, potbelly), soup & bread, sometimes salads or pasta or Indian... Something big like take-out pasta tends to last me two lunches.
3) Caesar salad, greek salad, chicken breast w/potato or pasta, some sort of stir-fry... Sometimes I don't have a real meal and just snack on cheese & crackers or bread with some sort of spread all night.
4) Mostly on the weekends I tend to wake up later and have a big brunch (eggs & toast) instead of a small breakfast. Then sometimes I don't eat till dinner, but if I go out dinner will be big.
5) Usually have a few pieces of candy or fruit in the afternoon. In the evening, I snack on fruit or chocolate. Don't keep "junk food" in the house, if I want a cookie, I have to bake it, and I'm way too lazy.
6) Eat much, much more, then get sick. Good times.
7) Well, sometimes I get sick and it all, um, comes out, I don't seem to digest fat very well. Otherwise I tend not to feel hungry after overeating so I go with that and eat lightly for the next day or two.
8) Count calories for a week or so, try to have a deficit.
9) Brisk 2-mile walk with dog most days, cardio & weights at gym 1-2 times a week (if I manage 3 I feel super-smug.)
10) I use Equal or Splenda in my tea, drink diet soda... I pretty much only consume real sugar in solid foods.
11) A couple of diet sodas most days, tea - black and green, water and iced tea. Juice tends to be too sweet for me so I dilute it with seltzer.
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 1:40 PM on October 10, 2007

5'6", 125-130ish. As a vegetarian who exercises a lot, I spend at least a bit of time making sure I'm getting protein every day, as well as a good mix of carbs and produce. So if I know I'm not eating any protein with my lunch, I'll have eggs for breakfast, for example.

I also believe in eating REAL food, for the most part. I like butter, not margarine; sugar, not sweeteners; my peanut butter is made out of nothing but peanuts and salt, and I put it in the fridge to keep the oils from separating after I stir it. I do buy a few convenience foods (primarily salad dressing and other condiments), but mostly I avoid them.

1) What's your typical breakfast?
Most days, one of the following:
* 1 egg (fried or scrambled), lightly buttered toast, cup of kefir (yogurt-like drink).
* Big bowl of thick-cut oatmeal and brown sugar with cinnamon (not instant)
* 1-2 bowls of cereal with soy milk.

2) What's your typical lunch?
I spread out my work "lunch" over the course of several snacks eaten during the work day. If I'm in a hurry, I have a fruit, a spinach salad, some kind of carb-heavy snack and a quick sandwich, or leftovers in place of the sandwich. If I have more time, I make myself something.

* 1/2 acorn squash with about a tablespoon of butter, heaping tablespoon of brown sugar, and sprinkle of cinnamon
* leftover homemade veggie soup w/black beans
* peanut butter & jelly sandwich
* Rice Krispy treat.

* 1/4 acorn squash w/.5 Tbs butter & brown sugar
* spinach salad with dressing.
* Toasted cheddar cheese sandwich
* Rice Krispy treat

3) What are some typical dinners?
On lazy days, I'll have a couple of bowls of cereal.
Another lazy "dinner" is a plate full of corn chips with shredded cheese on top, heated in the microwave to melt the cheese, then with salsa on top.

A more typical dinner would involve cooking from a recipe: stir fry tofu & veggies with brown rice, corn/blackbean/salsa/cheese medley either on rice or on a tortilla, a bell pepper stuffed with couscous and spices and various flavors. Tonight I'm planning to have roasted red potatoes with rosemary and glazed cooked carrots (which I'll also have for lunch tomorrow as leftovers).

I usually have a glass of red wine or a bottle of beer with dinner every night.

Maybe once or twice a week I also have a home made dessert. I've perfected the art of homemade single-serving egg-less cookie dough (divide everything by 32, and use water to simulate the egg). I also like sliced apples either with peanut butter or cooked in butter and sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon.

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

Yes. On Saturdays, I tend to eat very carb heavy - often just I'll buy a loaf of really rich specialty bread (spinach feta bread, corn cheese bread, etc.) and just nibble on it all day long until its gone.

On Sundays I tend to spend several hours cooking meals that I'll be eating during the work week, and I get really full munching on all the stuff I'm preparing.

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
Yes, I snack constantly. See my list of lunch foods. I almost never have a real "lunch" meal during the week.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
I tend to pig out on holidays, but I'm trying to be better about saying no to seconds and exercising some control.

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
Sure. I'll eat later because I won't be hungry as soon. If I don't get hungry, I don't eat. I also think about what I had in the heavy meal and make sure my overall balance of veggies/carbs/fats/proteins is still being met. So if I had a really carb-and-fat heavy meal, maybe my next meal will be a salad with some tofu.

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
I start calorie counting and planning my calorie intake very carefully until I lose the weight again.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
I run at least 30 minutes at least 4 times a week. My goal is to run 3 miles 5 times a week and swim 40 laps once a week, but I rarely achieve that.

10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often?
No, never.

11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks?
Each day I drink one or two 8 oz cups of plain black coffee - no sugar, no milk added. I drink a HUGE amount of water, one or two tall glasses each morning before work, two or three 32 ounce Nalgene bottles during each work day, and three or four tall glasses each evening at home, plus a big plastic bottle's worth during every 3 mile run. I have a glass of wine or a bottle of beer every day after work. Once a week or so I'll feel a need for something sweet and I'll have a Diet Coke. Once every month or two I'll feel really indulgent and have a regular Coke. And when I have a lighter-than-usual breakfast I'll have kefir in the morning to help fill me up.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:08 PM on October 10, 2007

My goodness, no one's going to read this way down here. However, I like talking about myself as much as the next person, so:

28 yr. old female, 5'7", 120 lb. I guess I would be considered "naturally thin" since I've never really made an effort to stay at a certain weight.

1) Food in the morning? Bleh. On the weekends I'll have a cup of hot tea.
2) Usually something with fries from the grill at the deli near where I work: hamburger, grilled cheese, chicken tenders...etc. Also a glass of water and a slice of cake or a cookie or something. I usually get full before I can finish this.
3) Things that are easy and quick to make: chicken salad or tuna salad; bacon and eggs; a microwave meal. At least one piece of fruit. A glass of milk or water.
4) Not really. I probably eat less on the weekends since I have to make my own lunches then, and I don't have a set lunch hour. I usually have to remind myself to eat since I don't get hungry very quickly.
5) I drink Dr. Pepper/ store brand knock-off a couple of times during the day. I don't usually eat food between meals.
6) On Christmas and Thanksgiving day I eat a huge dinner, so that I'm not able to move afterwards. I do actual snacking around the holidays because people have cookies and fudge and things they're giving away.
7) No.
8) If I find that my pants are a little bit tight, I look back over the week and see if I've been eating anything that might account for it, and usually find that I've been doing my bacon-and-eggs for dinner quite a bit, or something like that. So I knock that off for a bit.
9) No, although I'm on my feet for eight hours a day at work.
10) No.
11) Water, milk, Dr. Pepper. No diet anything.
posted by frobozz at 2:50 PM on October 10, 2007

1) Breakfast?
2% milk and cereal (granola or bran flake; ground flaxseed on top)
2) Lunch?
Banana plus cheese/hummus sandwich, cup of coffee.
3) Dinners?
Rice and black beans; pasta with cheese sauce and some veg; omelet with some green veg in it; pizza; curry; Thai noodles and veg.
4) Differently on weekends?
Not much; might have more time to go out.
5) Snacks?
Yes; must eat a little something every 2 hours or so. Cheese sticks; fruit/veg; pretzels and hummus; granola bars; yogurt; (corn chips or other junk sometimes).
6) Differently on holidays?
Usually am at someone else's house; meals have more courses; better variety of snack foods.
7) Bigger than usual meal, do you adjust next meals?
No; I groan a lot. In general I eat when I'm hungry, until I'm not hungry anymore. I'm usually sated quickly.
8) If you've put on a few pounds?
I don't put on pounds (though this might be changing as I get older).
9) Exercise?
Walk 1 mi to work; yoga class sometimes, though not lately.
10) Artificial sweeteners?
11) Beverages? Diet soft drinks?
Water and coffee. No.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:03 PM on October 10, 2007

If I could recommend just one thing, it would be to do all your shopping on the outside of the supermarket: produce, meat, dairy, bakery (avoid the really sweet stuff though). Of course, you need the occasional trip to the center aisles to get condiments and spices, as well as some other essentials, but if you stick to the outside, you're much more likely to start eating a lot better.
posted by snoogles at 3:03 PM on October 10, 2007

And I think taliaferro is right to say: I'd be carefully about modelling your eating habits after naturally skinny people - sometimes folks with raging metabolisms don't have the best eating habits.

I get full quickly, don't drink sugary drinks, and am vegetarian, but otherwise my food and exercise habits are not good. The fact that I don't gain weight is just luck of the genetic draw. My husband is genetically predisposed to gain weight by being near food. He runs 40 miles a week just to maintain his weight, while eating many fewer calories a week than I do.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:22 PM on October 10, 2007

4'11"/94 lbs/f
1) What's your typical breakfast?
sometimes i don't have breakfast; when i do: bread or oatmeal
2) What's your typical lunch?
sometimes i don't have lunch; when i do: umm... some sort of noodle dish, or soup, or rice dish. or a sandwich.
3) What are some typical dinners?
same as lunch...
4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
not really... but perhaps i forget to eat more often on weekends.
5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
sometimes; maybe once or twice a day; usually on bread/biscuits.
6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
not really.
7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
i think so... but not consciously. big meals -> feeling full/bloated for a longer time -> less likely to eat as much during the next meal, more likely to forget to eat later on...
8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
at this point, i'm not very bothered about putting on weight... as long as i don't feel heavy and sluggish (at one point i weighed more and felt a lot more sluggish and lethargic). seems to be more about how i physically feel than numbers-on-a-scale.
9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
right now - no, i don't exercise.
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?
water; occasionally juice. no diet-versions-of-soft-drinks.

i think my eating habits aren't that great. i have a tendency to forget to eat and/or drink (e.g. forgetting to eat for a few days, or forgetting to drink until i get dehydrated with the headaches etc), so sometimes i try to keep a food-log when the forgetfulness seems particularly bad. from time to time, i seem to go on different food phases (e.g. eating mostly pasta, beans, eggs, fish, & no other types of meat). at one point i ate based on how much the food cost or how much money i had (e.g. typically eating very little, and gorging myself impressively at buffets). sometimes i ate a lot of whatever seemed interesting to cook (like, crepes, crepes, and crepes... for a number of days). sometimes i ate certain foods very frequently (uh, like - nothing but that type of food for the entire week) because the packaging was cute or the food looked pretty or something (e.g. animal-shaped cookies, oreos). (sometimes i really like packaging.) uh... obviously this sort of stuff shouldn't be emulated.

hurrah, and now i'm reminded i should eat dinner! :)
posted by aielen at 3:57 PM on October 10, 2007

5'-1", 105 lbs., 30yo female

1) Small glass of juice and 1/2 "power" bar (eg. Clif bar) if I'm walking to work, otherwise just coffee
2) A wrap, sushi box, McDonald's chicken bacon ranch salad, Quizno's 6" sub
3) Steak and salad, seafood pasta, roasted chicken with vegetables and french fries
4) I usually have a hot breakfast/brunch on the weekends - eggs, bacon/sausage, hash browns
5) I don't snack too much, just the occasional nibble on a bit of chocolate or some nuts
6) One big holiday meal at Christmas
7) I probably eat a little less during the day if I've had a huge meal late the night before
8) I will cut down on carbs or have a smoothie instead of lunch a couple of times a week
9) I walk a total of 3 miles each day to and from work, for about half the year. During colder months I do 90 minutes of yoga once a week, plus lots of incidental walking to and from public transport, around the mall at lunchtime, etc.
10) No.
11) I drink Diet Coke about 3-4 times per week. Otherwise, I drink filtered water, coffee with unrefined cane sugar and 2 creams, tea with cane sugar and 1% milk, unsweetened juice. Occasionally I'll have a small latte or mochaccino type drink from somewhere like Starbucks (1-2 times per week).

Although I am naturally thin, two factors in my lifestyle also make a big difference. 1) I don't own a car so I naturally do a lot of walking every day. 2) I eat what I want, but in moderation. American portion sizes are astoundingly huge, it's no wonder people can't judge the size of a normal serving! Seriously, with chains like Olive Garden or Red Lobster, I take at least half home in a doggy bag.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 5:19 PM on October 10, 2007

Excellent question.

I'm 6'2", currently 180 after losing some weight (mostly muscle mass) due to illness. There's a bit of a weight problem in my family that I have so far avoided. So, I respect you for making an effort to change your habits.

A typical eat-in breakfast is some kind of high-fiber cereal with 2% milk, and maybe a 3-egg omelette. (I realize Raisin Bran Crunch has a lot of carbs too, but I tell myself the fiber makes up for it) If I don't make it myself, I'll get 2 eggs on whole wheat bread from the bagel shop, and if I'm really hungry or if I have a long day ahead of me, a bran muffin. Plus coffee (skim but with real sugar). Never ever donuts.

Lunch is typically a sandwich with a side (potato salad or chips) and a diet beverage.

Dinner is pretty much wide open, and will be my biggest meal. I try to be conscious of how full I am while eating and slow down or stop accordingly, so I stop earlier or get a doggie bag more often than you might expect for a guy of my size. (It's very easy to subconsciously think, "it's on my plate/they gave it to me, i have to eat it.")

Snacks: I am not a snacker, in general, though I have a soft spot for fig newtons. Sometimes I make a fig & goat cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread for a late night snack, or manchego on some triscuits.

I should point out that I don't usually all 3 full meals in one day. Sometimes I eat only twice a day, without deliberately trying to. It's just a matter of if/when I get hungry. (I think this has gotten easier over time.)

Exercise: Normally I run, but not nearly as much as others. If I do 3 3-mile runs in a week, that's a lot for me. Plus I do pushups & pullups.

Everything I drink is diet, though I don't hesitate to use real sugar when (I feel) it matters, such as with coffee.
posted by Brian James at 6:12 PM on October 10, 2007

6'3", 160lbs dripping wet with change in my pocket (and that's historically heavy for me, usually 145lbs or so), 38 years old.
Breakfast: 4 croissants.
Lunch: 1/2 a french loaf with ham, cheese, egg, tomatoes, lettuces, onio, a little mayo.
Typical dinners: chinese food, thai food. Now I'm in Argentina, it's much harder to find what I like, so more steaks, pasta, pizza, empanadas.
Eat the same on the weekends.
Snack: a bag of doritos a couple of times a week, or a chocolate bar.
Holidays: Probably eat more, but I don't have the c apacity to eat large amounts at a sitting, and I feel crappy if I try. I hate that full-to-bursting feeling.
Tend to wait longer for my next meal if I've eaten a big one.
If I've put on a few pounds, I do some more exercises, cut back on the food.
Exercise: Usually almost none. For the last month, two hours a day at the gym. Got fat (by my standards) living in Denmark and have to get rid of it.
Artificial sweeteners: Never on purpose. Don't like the taste.
Beverages: Almost exclusively water. No tea, no coffee, nothing with caffeine, no alcohol. If I go out on the weekends, I might have a sprite.
An observation: Diet Coke makes you fat. Did you ever see a skinny person drinking it?
I have noticed that my metabolism has slowed in the last couple of years. Before that I could eat whatever I wanted and have a flat stomach, now it tends to paunch if I don't watch it.
posted by conifer at 6:57 PM on October 10, 2007

39 y.o., 6'2" tall, 165lb.

1) buttered roll, pretzel or maybe half a breakfast plate w/ my wife.
2) A pretzel or a hot dog, coffee or soda. Sometimes skip lunch.
3) Half a dinner plate w/ the wife.
4) It's usually less structured, but similar.
5) Not much outside what I listed. I eat about two packages of peanut-butter crackers a week outside of the above.
6) Not really, but I have a weakness for pumpkin pie.
7) I usually push my next meal back, or skip one.
8) I've been gradually putting on weight since I got married - I was around 150lb before I started dating regularly. If it continues much beyond here, I'm going to have to do something about it.
9) I used to have a very active job - Now that I'm in school, the main exercise is walking places (no car) and a weekly Tai-chi class.
10) No.
11) Some cola, mainly coffee - 24-48oz. or so over the day, with sugar (1pkt per 3oz.)
posted by Orb2069 at 7:06 PM on October 10, 2007

24 year old female, 5'7" @ 129

1) What's your typical breakfast?
I always have a banana, a protein shake (Nutribiotic Vanilla Rice Protein, 2 tablespoons) with ground flaxseed (2 tablespoons) in sugar-free almond milk, a whole mess of supplements, and THEN I usually alternate between something like a couple pieces of toast with jam and an egg, or a bowl of dry cereal and an apple, or a hummus/vegetable sandwich.

My aim is to have a high-protein (eh, roughly 30g) breakfast with a mix of high fiber carbohydrates.

2) What's your typical lunch?
3) What are some typical dinners?

I normally eat 2 meals a day. I eat lunch/dinner 6 hours after breakfast (only because I never, ever have to wake up early. But if I did, I would eat 3 meals a day or else I'd be super tired).

I typically make a hummus/vegetable sandwich (if I didn't have one for breakfast) with another protein shake (except with only 1T each of protein and flax), some fruit with a small helping of walnuts or crackers.

Or I'll have a few Wasa crispbreads with hummus, a big salad with a vinaigrette on the side, fruit, plus the protein shake.

4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
Nope. The only time I eat differently is when I don't get enough sleep. It causes me to stuff myself silly with junkfood. This happens a few times a month.

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
Nope, never. Snacking makes me tired and more hungry. I have no idea how people can eat a million mini meals a day either.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
Well, I don't eat hummus sandwiches during Thanksgiving if that's what you're asking. I try to make sure to have a good serving of protein and try to stay away from too many sweets.

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
When I do eat more than usual, I try to eat it earlier in the day so I won't be busy trying to digest a massive meal before bed. I go back to eating my normal sized meals the next day.

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
When I gain weight, it's usually from a binge brought on from lack of sleep (see: question #4). I just go back to eating as I usually do and keep up my normal level of activity. The weight seems to balance itself out after a week.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
The only exercise I get is the two days a week I go to school (just from walking to classes and around campus). I spend a lot of time in front of the computer but I fidget a lot, which I've heard helps burn calories. Go me. Usually I do some squats and lunges and stomach crunches before I go to bed. I guess that's pretty lazy.

10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often?
Nope. Never. I only use stevia as a sweetener.

11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks?
Water, tea. I don't drink any soft drinks.

I would highly recommend reading the book "Mastering Leptin" by Byron Richards.

Also, I spent a lot of my youth overweight, but managed to "fix" that much of that through the program outlined in that book.
posted by zippity at 11:58 PM on October 10, 2007

male, 34. six four, 185 or so.
A banana, or a granola bar or something, but hungry doesn't really open 'til noon for me.
There isn't really a typical one, but lunch is always a full meal.
Recently I've been eating a lot of rice & beans with avocado, salsa, and yogurt. Delicious, cheap, easy. But in general it varies so much it's hard to say. Again, it's usually a large meal.
We often have breakfast tacos on the weekends. Texas.
I usually have a late dessert/snack thing. Often this consists of cold cereal.
Holidays as in Christmas? Yes, I eat all the rich foods that are put in front of me. Holidays as in vacations? Yes. the best part of anywhere is the food.
7) adjustment?
Not consciously, but if I've eaten so much earlier that I am not hungry later I probably won't eat as much.
8) gaining?
Nothing. Rarely happens enough to notice.
9) exercise?
I tend to walk a lot, but I don't do any conscious exercise. Ugh. I should! I know, I know!
10) artificial sweeteners?
Never ever ever. Ever.
11) beverages?
Coffee (a LOT of coffee), water, tea, beer, booze, Dr.Pepper.

Boy, other than an aversion to artificial sweeteners this exercise has made me feel pretty unhealthy.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:07 AM on October 11, 2007

female. I'm 5'9", about 130. some years ago I weighed about 30 pounds more due to side effect of medication so I'm pretty careful now but it'd be hard for me to gain a lot of weight.

1) What's your typical breakfast?
Either plain oatmeal (1/2 cup dry - not too much) with about a tablespoon of peanut butter and a banana, or plain yogurt (full fat) with walnuts and flaxseed.

2) What's your typical lunch?
often, a whole wheat tortilla with some indian food from trader joe's, or some hummus, plus an apple. if I have bread it's that sprouted grain kind. too many carbs make me dead tired within an hour of lunchtime!

3) What are some typical dinners?
not really anything typical. maybe some stir fried tofu or tempeh with veggies, or a couple of steamed veggie or chicken dumplings with veggies. i also get carry out from the whole foods deli way too often for my budget, but i get salad and either tofu, tempeh, chicken - if i have some heavy pasta it's only a few bites. i love dessert but usually just have either one/two cookies, or a bowl of ice cream but i get the low fat vanilla, or soy delicious, and put some peanut butter on it (I love peanut butter).

4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
on the weekend I probably have a couple guinness. Sometimes I'll go out to a restaurant or bar and eat whatever although I tend to order dishes with more protein + veggies than carbs, I would never get a big bowl of pasta for instance.

5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
Yeah, at least three times a day, sometimes i have some almonds, another piece of fruit, yogurt with flaxseed or fruit spread stirred in (if i didn't have it at breakfast), sometimes a small serving of whatever free food is in the work breakroom (half a bagel, a brownie) but this is rare. Fage greek yogurt (2%) is one of my favorite snacks. Or maybe a couple ryvita crackers with peanut butter.

6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
Yes, I eat a bunch of cookies and pie and rich food my parents cook when there are family dinners, pretty much whatever I want, but this would only be about two dinners per holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas). Christmastime I eat more dessert than usual but I'm trying to cut back on that. again because too much sugar for me ---> massive fatigue

7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
Yes but that's because I'm not as hungry, if I have a large meal at lunch I can't eat a big dinner, I feel gross if I do.

8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
Eat less bread, less sugar, more veggies, be particular about limiting myself to one bread/rice/pasta item a day.

9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
I walk a *lot* around the city. as in maybe about a mile a day but many days it's more like 3 or 4 miles. it's more going here and there than planned exercise. lately started jogging a couple times a week but this is only as of a week ago.

10) Do you use artificial sweeteners? In what situations & how often?
No. I eat sweet stuff just not as much of it, if I want chocolate I have really strong chocolate and only a couple pieces.

11) What beverages do you drink? Do you drink diet versions of soft drinks?
I mostly only drink water, black coffee, tea (mostly herbal). I really love sparkling water with lime so that's a treat. When going out I'll have maybe two beers or a couple glasses of red wine. I never drink soda or diet drinks (I don't like them).
posted by citron at 8:30 AM on October 11, 2007

5'6", usually 110-115 lbs, female, 26 yo

In a bite, I love veggies and grains and am not much of a meat-eater, no sugar (except in recipes), drink mostly three times a day at about the same times, and normally have just enough food to feel full. I do indulge in chocolate, when I feel like it though :)

Here are the details:

1) What's your typical breakfast?
2 cheese sandwiches and a cup of tea
2) What's your typical lunch?
vegetable or bean soup + a meal like baked potatoes and chicken or boiled rice and veggies + fresh salad + a fruit
3) What are some typical dinners?
same as lunch except for the soup
4) Do you eat differently on the weekends than you do on weekdays?
5) Do you snack? If so, how often and on what?
Yes, when I can't last to the next meal - usually half a handful of almonds/walnuts/raisins. Actually, I always have something like that on hand in case I get hungry while working or shopping.
6) Do you eat differently on holidays? How so?
I try a bit of everthing, can't pass on all the delicious food.
7) If you've eaten a bigger than usual meal, do you adjust your next meals at all?
I just eat till I am not hungry anymore. Because I am usually less hungry following a big meal though, the next one does end up adjusted.
8) What do you do if you find that you've put on a few pounds?
I substitute more veggies for meat and bread. Also try to watch the chocolate.
9) Do you exercise? If so, how & how often?
I try for 2 times a week, about 1 hr each - jog, some strength training and a bit of stretching. I do have lengthy periods without exercise, though.
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?
Mostly water or tea. But when I have soft drinks I choose the diet version when I can.

Best of luck.
posted by turtlegg at 2:01 AM on October 13, 2007

I am a 32 year old female, 5'2 and weigh somewhere between 90 and 95 lbs. I just had a health checkup and my BMI is 18. The most I've ever weighed was 125, and that was at 9 months pregnant. I lost all of my babyweight without dieting or exercise really (the lifestyle of a new mom kept me busy enough) so being thin is just who I am. I really don't think about it much. It also helps that I come from a long line of lean and mean individuals.

1) Coffee with half and half
2) Organic yogurt, soup or sandwich. I stay away from refined white flour...I try to eat bread that only has water, salt, organic flour, and yeast. In other words, real bread.
3) Dinner is my biggest meal. I never skimp on ingredients. Real butter, real cream, real cheese. Pastas, salads, steaks, and sushi. Rice, risotto, or potatoes. I rarely finish my plate, and I don't feel pressured to.
4) No, not really. Pretty consistent day to day.
5) I am a grazer. Organic dark chocolate, raw almonds, raisins. Cheese and turkey rollups (no bread) are one of my favorites.
6) I eat what's in front of me. But I don't overeat...when I'm full, I'm full. If I get full on grandma's cookies, then fine, but I'm not gonna make myself sick by eating dinner too. I really do just play it by ear.
7) I try not to think about it.
8) Not sure. I don't weigh myself often enough. If clothes are getting tight, I may course correct by trying to eat more natural and organic foods, and salads.
9) I run after my two year old.
10) Never, ever, ever.
11) Never anything diet. I avoid high-fructose corn syrup altogether. It's in everything though, so it's tough. For drinks, I love 1% organic milk, and my favorite non-natural drink is italian sodas - seltzer water with Torani syrups (you can find lots of flavors at the supermarket, or stores like World Market.) They are made with pure cane sugar, and because you are adding the syrup yourself to your drinks, it's easy to limit how much you put in.

Overall, my goal is to eat things that are as close to coming directly from the good earth then things that are manufactured. I make all my dinners from scratch; I want to know what I'm eating; so nothing out of cans or jars. Food companies are evil; I think they reprogram us to only want their food. But there are additives in everything and so buy the best that you can afford, with as many natural and organic ingredients as possible.
posted by elgalan207 at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2007

I just do what I like and don't do what I hate.

I hate the big supermarket, so I never go in there except like once a month to get toilet paper. I like going to the farmers' market, so I get all my produce from the farmers' market. I get all my other food from a health-foodey kind of local market deal, but it's not all health food, because I would hate that. They have snobby chocolate and they make and sell their own ribs, which are good: I love them.

I hate getting up early plus I hate being told "Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The DAY" when that is so patently a load of crap so I don't eat breakfast. I also don't eat lunch. What I do, I take a bunch of food to work and I eat it all day beginning when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm not anymore or when it's gone, whichever comes first.

I eat mostly vegetables and fruit that's in season, since most of my stuff comes from the farmers' market. My friend keeps chickens and I get my eggs from her.

I quit eating sugar and pasta and all that about five years ago and lost my taste for it so I don't have any of it in the house. I only eat breadstoffe when at restaurants, where a sandwich is like... so amazing... nirvana...

A sandwich is not amazing or nirvana if you eat it all the time, which is hateful, so that's why I don't eat them all the time. Rice and cereal and pasta and crackers and that kind of thing I have no yen for anymore, although it used to be my staff of life. I don't hate that stuff, but I don't like it, anymore; it just seems kinda powdery and sad so I don't eat it.

If I am confronted with such as cake, I eat it with abandon and then for a couple of days I think about cake. I don't go in search of cake and after two days--three at the outset--I no longer think of cake.

Ditto alcohol--if it's around I consume it with great joy, but I don't keep it around the house or drink regularly.

Other than alcohol, I drink no caloric drinks. Black coffee and seltzer water.

I was vegetarian in my important formative years and never learned to cook meat, so I usually only have that when outside the home with the exception of bacon and sausage and when I get ambitious and roast a turkey or decide to Learn How To Do Brisket or something like that.

On the weekends when there is tons of time I like to get up and cook and cook and cook and eat and eat and eat. I love to cook. I love to eat. I hate fake sugar. I like butter. I love beans.

I used to exercise a lot. Those were good times. Every time I pick it up again I realize how great it is.

If I put on pounds I review how many times I've been confronted with cake lately and arrange not to be confronted with cake for a while. If it's a sudden realization of a lot of pounds, or if I need to get them off in short order for some reason, I eliminate beans and nuts and taper off dinner for a few weeks. It's great to skip dinner because you wake up ravenous with a whole glorious day of eating ahead of you.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:48 PM on October 18, 2007

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