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5 Secrets of Naturally Thin People

What You Can Learn From Their Best Habits

-- By Megan Patrick, Staff Writer
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We all know people who lack good nutrition and fitness habits but have remained thin their whole lives. On the flipside, we know others (sometimes even ourselves) who do everything right and can't catch a break when it comes to weight loss.

Scientists don't completely understand why some people seem to never struggle with their weight while others seem to gain weight just by looking at a slice of cake. But we do know that our habits are only one part of the equation along with genetics and environmental factors.

So do these "naturally" thin people really have any secrets to offer the rest of us (outside of their coveted DNA)?

While thin isn't synonymous with healthy, individuals who are both thin and healthy have a few habits in common. Adopting some or all of these behaviors won't guarantee that you'll reach your ideal weight, but they will definitely improve your health and well-being.

5 Secrets of the Naturally Thin (and Healthy)
 
1. They eat only until full.
Naturally thin people tend to listen to their bodies and eat only when they're truly hungry (rather than bored, sad or tired or just because food is around). They also stop eating when they feel satisfied (not after they've cleaned their plates). While this trait may be innate to the naturally thin, it's also something that can be learned over time. In order to know what being really full feels like, you first need to experience what it really means to be hungry. Look at the hunger chart below. Where do you fall on the chart when you usually eat? The best time to eat is actually when you're at a 3 or 4. If you wait to eat until you're so hungry that you become weak or cranky, you're more likely to choose an unhealthy food option. And if you eat when you're at a 5 or above, it's for the wrong reasons.
 
 
2. They get enough sleep.
Of course, there are plenty of naturally thin people who suffer from insomnia or always burn the candle at both ends, but sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight. Lack of sleep actually causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol that makes us feel hungrier than normal. And it effects other hormones that make it harder to metabolize carbohydrates, burn fat and build muscle. If you're struggling with getting enough sleep, take a look at your habits and lifestyle to find places to make changes. There are lots of ways to improve the quality of your sleep, including setting a regular bed time, using your bedroom is used only for sleeping (and sex), and managing the stress in your life. Even better, the number one way to improve sleep is also important to weight loss: exercise.
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About The Author

Megan Patrick Megan Patrick
Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. As a SparkPeople editor, she’s able to combine her love of writing with her passion for health and fitness to help other people achieve their goals. When she’s not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.

Member Comments

  • The eating only when hungry thing works for me in the sense that I'm losing weight that way (and maintained fairly low weights that way in the past). I don't count calories or carbs or anything like that. I DO like to move also and am a natural fidgeter. It bothers my legs to sit still for to long these days too. - 1/17/2014 11:42:57 PM
  • I have two naturally thin people as friends and coworkers. One eats oatmeal, pop tarts and general foods intl coffee chai tea for breakfast. The other will have a sandwich, chips, fruit and a soda for lunch. There is no way I could do the same and be thin. But that being said, I found I COULD address my emotional eating and cravings, so I don't always have a compulsion to eat pasta and other starchy foods all the time to comfort myself. Once I took a look at the emotions that were causing me to eat too much of the wrong foods, I was able to finally lose weight. Over 50 lbs in fact. Plus, once I released all the negative emotions, the rest of my life got better too. I think permanent weight loss starts from the inside out. It's all about the mindset that causes you to care more about yourself and your body than about food. - 10/20/2012 2:51:09 PM
  • I have known several naturally thin people - truly NATURALLY thin - and none of them did most of these things. They ate what they wanted, when they wanted, in the amount they wanted and it wasn't all healthy foods either. all but a couple of them were couch potatoes.

    My hubby stayed thin until his mid 50's and still isn't all that much too heavy and he still doesn't do any of this stuff.

    We have a close friend who couldn't get her weight over 99lbs until her mid 40's and is still not much over what she actually should weigh. She didn't do all this stuff either except the 5 fruits and veggies aspect of it.

    Sorry folks - some people are "naturally thin" only because they do all these things but there are many who simply stay thin most or all of their lives . . .

    Just like there are those who are overweight and can never seem to lose it all because they are "naturally heavy". - 10/19/2012 2:02:51 PM
  • As you can see by reading the content of this article, "naturally thin" people hardly exist, with the exception of those with an unusually fast metabolism. They work at staying trim!!! I have incorporated all of these tips for the last 30 years and remain the same weight I was in high school. Hey! They work, but I had to work at it to get it to come easily! - 10/18/2012 2:12:12 PM
  • MMSAMUEL
    Eating three meals a day (not two meals and not four meals -- exactly three meals per day), counting calories, and having zero snacks (i.e. no snacks -- when you crave a snack, have a drink of water instead) is the naturally thin person's secret. So in between meals, find something else to do. But you and your brain know you are not going to starve. - 10/18/2012 12:46:28 PM
  • BWIDMANN
    I don't think anyone should negate what works for them in maintaining weight. Having fears about anything will ultimately lead to an unhealthy body. Sensibility is the key word. The scale is such a "little guy" but stronger than one thinks...don't be afraid to jump on it after your morning shower. Remembering that it is just a reminder is where "sensibility" factors in. "naturally thin"???? Don't be fooled.... most often it is naturally unhealthy! Unless plagued by disease, we are what we eat. Proper nutrition and caloric intact along with daily moderate exercise (movement) is still the sensible approach that make us successful in maintaing good health, weight, and mental stability. - 10/18/2012 10:08:22 AM
  • It worked for me, this article is the reason I started back on track again. My moods altered with the numbers on the scale, giving power to numbers that should not be there. To get past this for the first time in my life I did just that, I weighed myself every day. I charted my weight and watched the numbers bounce about and yet slowly but surely the downward trend was evident. I am determined to take numbers out of the equation for how my mood is, and I will beat this thing I have about the scale. I feel the loss in clothing and health, and the numbers are now just a part of the picture, not the frame. - 7/20/2012 3:23:12 PM
  • These types of articles anger me. Let's see, I am very overweight. I weighed myself daily, all it does is anger me because I can gain up to 10lbs overnight due to my body health issues. I can (or could prior to the back injury) outwalk most thin people because I worked out daily, lifted weights and power walked. I gained weight when I did that, I did not lose. However, I had shape and muscles. Many folks have commented on how healthy I eat, how I eat tons of fruits, vegetables and they don't - yet they are thin. I have a friend who is naturally thin and I recall in high school how much junk she ate, never gained a pound. I know many thin people who have health issues, who eat junk, who don't work out and drink alcohol on a regular basis. Because of articles like this and society's view that someone who is large is lazy and stupid, (who doesn't know how to work out and eat), I fell into years of eating disorders (starvation and bulemia). I normally don't post on these articles but this one irks me to no end. It doesn't help at all. - 6/22/2012 1:37:06 PM
  • On a personal level I disagree with weighing yourself often. When exercising and eating healthy I tend to add muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat I tend to plateau early so weighing myself is very discouraging. I prefer to measure myself. It is a great motivator! - 6/20/2012 9:25:52 PM
  • MINDAA
    I was pretty upset to see this article in my Sparkpeople e-mail bulletin. The term "naturally thin" is a huge pet peeve of mine. I've never been overweight but I diligently track my calories here on SP and work out every day.

    If I stopped making the effort, I'd pretty quickly be overweight like many of my family members. To my many colleagues, etc. who still think I'm just genetically blessed - I'm sorry, but there is no "mystery of body chemistry" here.

    - 6/20/2012 11:48:14 AM
  • As the mother of 3 girls raised with the same eating habits, and same foods served, I am now the mom of 2 really slim girls and one who struggles with weight as I do.

    Their father (my ex) is tall and thin, and can eat pretty much whatever he wants... also my two thin daughters. In fact, they can eat all of us under the table.

    Only differences that I see, the two thin daughters enjoy being out and active, but they are not lugging around extra weight either. I do not see any special eating habits, they drink regular cokes and honestly not into healthy foods. They do not obsess over food and rarely weigh themselves.

    My mother weighted the most in her life @ 117 pregnant with her children, tiny woman who would eat bags of MnM's and love pepsi and pringles....never exercised a day in her life.

    My dad was short and stocky and struggled with weight.... I look just like him, no doubt who took his genetics, it is life. Now, the important thing is learning to deal with the genetics and understand that for life... I have to learn to modify my lifestyle to be healthy and active. I have to eat differently...and in the long run I believe it is worth it. - 6/20/2012 10:13:32 AM
  • I agree with the other people who have posted here. These are not the "habits of naturally thin people." These are just the same old tips. I know a lot of naturally thin people. They eat more (and worse) than I do, they don't weigh themselves but pay attention to how their clothes fit instead, and many of them are vegetarians who eat little to no protein at all. They do tend to move a lot as they are thin and it is easy and fun for them to move and do things. Some have organized exercise sessions and some just "play" a lot (sports, hiking, biking etc.). This article was less than helpful and boring to boot. - 6/19/2012 3:24:45 PM
  • CASSIEIJ922
    Tip #6: If you're eating salad alone, be sure to laugh for no reason. Everyone knows that thin women laugh alone with salad.

    Maybe this article should have been titled "Five Habits of Healthy Eaters" instead, because the advice is really common sense and pretty good. We have archives packed full of articles telling us how to get thinner, and obesity is still an epidemic. Perhaps a better approach would be to just give advice on how to be healthier as a priority, and one's dress size will take care of itself. Or you won't get that sylphlike figure, but that's okay. If I wanted to be told that thin=healthy and healthy=thin, I'd read Cosmo. - 6/19/2012 8:08:34 AM
  • These are not the habits of any "naturally thin" people that I know. Naturally thin people don't do any of these things in fact, they just naturally eat less. These might be habits for people who maintain weight loss. - 6/19/2012 7:06:49 AM
  • MARLO3456
    I think the best tip to keeping weight off is that while you are losing weight you need to develop new habits and change your behaviours. You need to find something that works for you and that is sustainable for the rest of your life. If you have the mentality that you will "be good" to lose weight but once you get there, you can have it--then you are doomed to fail. Get used to smaller portions--find something in a restaurant that can be your "go to" choices and remember there is no "after"-- There is only "before and now. " And every time you make a choice to eat the new way--ccelebrate "in the moment" of how good that feels. That reinforces new behaviour. Good luck everyone. - 6/19/2012 7:00:18 AM