Why do some people stay slim, and never gain weight?

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Replies

  • DKG28
    DKG28 Posts: 299 Member
    It sounds to me like you are assuming gaining weight is normal, and staying slim is not. My sister is tiny, and so is my mom, and they love food of all kinds, and they are active people. At nearly 70 my mother is in perfect health, on no medication, outwalks her dog everyday, and can put in a 12 hour day working in her yard. They love what they do and how they feel, and it's easy to stay slim when they feel so great, look great, and can do everything they want to do. I was the heavy one - and it's clear to me I comfort ate, when they didn't, and that I was a couch potato, and they couldn't sit still. I don't think their slimness was ever a conscious choice - they have always lived in that eating and activity pattern that results in the bodies they have. My sister doesn't think twice about eating exactly one bite of cake. She does it all the time without any further thought and without wanting more. She's actually satisfied once she's tasted it. I can't imagine doing that without a major decision making process and conscious use of self-control. My sister and I are close in age and grew up in the same environment. So, I can't tell you why she's slim and i'm fat. I can tell you we're not genetically related, and there might be something to that.
  • edlanglais5
    edlanglais5 Posts: 172 Member
    If you're anything like me, you obsess over food in a very unhealthy way, which is exactly how I became overweight. In the past, I was jealous of people who stayed slim but didn't appear to try. I learned, however, that not everyone has the same obsession I have. I've learned this because I started treating food differently, not as an addiction.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,695 Member
    Machka9 wrote: »
    He will also bring a full bag of Oreos to the couch and eat 3. Then leave the open bag next to him for an hour and not touch it, whereas I would eat 12 without blinking and need to hide the bag, brush my teeth, or empty it into the trash. He enjoys food but just doesn't care about it much.

    I've never understood why a person would eat a whole bag of cookies.

    I grew up with 1 cookie for an after school snack and that really stuck with me. Having even 2 is a bit of an indulgence. But my husband will down the entire collection in one sitting ... and that's just baffling to me. Fortunately for him, he has an active job so he remains relatively slender too.

    But more recently it has dawned on me that I'm a food hoarder. I would rather know that there's a bag of cookies in the cupboard that will keep me going at the rate of 1-2 cookies a day until the next grocery day than to eat them all in one sitting.

    What ends up happening to me is that food goes stale in the back of the cupboard because my desire to know that I've got food in there just in case is stronger than my desire to eat it.

    It lights up my brain like...things I won't mention so as not to derail the thread ;)

    I feel a compulsion to eat more and more and more until I feel physically sick.

    I don't have Oreos in the house.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,383 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Machka9 wrote: »
    He will also bring a full bag of Oreos to the couch and eat 3. Then leave the open bag next to him for an hour and not touch it, whereas I would eat 12 without blinking and need to hide the bag, brush my teeth, or empty it into the trash. He enjoys food but just doesn't care about it much.

    I've never understood why a person would eat a whole bag of cookies.

    I grew up with 1 cookie for an after school snack and that really stuck with me. Having even 2 is a bit of an indulgence. But my husband will down the entire collection in one sitting ... and that's just baffling to me. Fortunately for him, he has an active job so he remains relatively slender too.

    But more recently it has dawned on me that I'm a food hoarder. I would rather know that there's a bag of cookies in the cupboard that will keep me going at the rate of 1-2 cookies a day until the next grocery day than to eat them all in one sitting.

    What ends up happening to me is that food goes stale in the back of the cupboard because my desire to know that I've got food in there just in case is stronger than my desire to eat it.

    It lights up my brain like...things I won't mention so as not to derail the thread ;)

    I feel a compulsion to eat more and more and more until I feel physically sick.

    I don't have Oreos in the house.

    I really do think this is one (of many) of the big difference in why people can stay within a normal weight range and some can't.

    I don't have that 'a bag of cookies lights me up in a thread derailing way' reaction.
    Don't get me wrong, I have a sweet tooth that I get teased about.

    I was at a wedding yesterday and the desert table contained all the creamy cakes, trifles, etc I could ever dream of. I was happy taking a bite size portion of 6 of them. That satiated me, I looked at them often, but knew I would just feel uncomfortable, and not enjoy the flavour, if I ate more.
    There was no thought of over or under calories, just mmmm I love this, but that is enough.

    (I always was given 2 biscuits as a child, and that is still how many I will eat at one time.)

    Cheers, h.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,217 Member
    I was just sat wondering how to condense a really long train of thought regarding my own personal experience into a short story when @CattOfTheGarage did the post above.
    That sums me and my family(mum and 2 sisters) up to a T.

    Up until recently, we are all post menopause, I was always the heaviest at 105 lbs (average), now, after losing 30, I am the lightest at 105 lbs.

    None of us have ever been over normal BMI (my mum at 90 is a tad over, but there again she has shrunk about 4 in), weighed ourselves often, or worried about what we are eating.

    We all love our food and drink, but hate the stuffed feeling, and eat when we are hungry.

    I don't know whether having a happy childhood, and still being happy giggly women has anything to do with it. B
    )

    Cheers, h.

    Well, if we're n=1ing ( ;) ), I'm going to claim counter-example for having a happy childhood. Mine was pretty much idyllic, and I was obese for most of my adult life. At 61, I'm happy, but far from giggly, so I guess giggly is the Magic Strategy. ( ;););) )

    OP, I think it's multivariate and complicated. There are many reasons each individual is the way they are, from genetics to upbringing to social/cultural norms (both broad & narrow) to occupation and more.

    What are you getting at? If it's how to motivate yourself . . . sorry, that's a puzzle only you can solve.
  • AliceDark
    AliceDark Posts: 3,886 Member
    I'm pretty sure that every person will have a slightly different reason and a slightly different method. Looking for one reason why slim people want to stay slim seems really reductive.
  • Lenala13
    Lenala13 Posts: 152 Member
    Those that I know who stay thin usually have active occupations/past times and rarely think about food. I have a coworker who constantly gets so into his work that he forgets to eat on a regular basis, while I think about food at my desk job every 30 min. For me, when I was active (running every day) and younger, I did not have to count calories. Now with a sedentary job and middle age, I do.
  • Christine_72
    Christine_72 Posts: 16,056 Member
    clags301 wrote: »
    I prefer the question "why do some people stay fat?"

    Cos it's easier and requires no effort to stay fat.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 46,320 Member
    Because some don't change their activity or eating habits. I have several relatives that are like that.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
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  • jennifer_417
    jennifer_417 Posts: 12,346 Member
    I don't understand the question.
  • Tabbycat00
    Tabbycat00 Posts: 146 Member
    I choose to maintain a low body weight because I like the way I look and feel at this size. I also don't really like food or eating. I understand that some people love the taste and smell of food. They can tell the difference in specific spices used, they cook, and that's awesome, I just have zero interest. To each his own.
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 21,222 Member
    Machka9 wrote: »
    xfc1 wrote: »
    I'm not talking about biological factors where there is some factor preventing them from gaining. I'm talking about when they have made a decision to keep slim. I have my own theory as to why they want to do that (at least for some people), but I'm curious as to why you think that they do that. Let's exclude people who are in the business of being seen (models, acting) where being slim is part of their job.

    So, @xfc1 ... what's your theory?

    I'm still curious what the OP's theory is.
  • lady_ghost
    lady_ghost Posts: 175 Member
    xfc1 wrote: »
    I'm not talking about biological factors where there is some factor preventing them from gaining. I'm talking about when they have made a decision to keep slim. I have my own theory as to why they want to do that (at least for some people), but I'm curious as to why you think that they do that. Let's exclude people who are in the business of being seen (models, acting) where being slim is part of their job.

    Genetics my friend is that way but her eating habits stay the same. She never struggles with food.
  • CattOfTheGarage
    CattOfTheGarage Posts: 2,750 Member
    clags301 wrote: »
    I prefer the question "why do some people stay fat?"

    Cos it's easier and requires no effort to stay fat.

    Not for everyone. That's the point, I think. For me, it's easier to stay fat. For my 'naturally slim' relatives, they would have to go against their natural tendencies to get fat, and they'd have to put in effort to stay that way. Some people naturally tend to be underweight and have to put in constant effort to gain weight and keep it on. We are all different in this respect, and asking these questions can definitely give insight that can help us reach our goals.
  • HopefulMeD
    HopefulMeD Posts: 24 Member
    If I understand your post correctly, you were asking why some people "choose" to stay slim, implying that it may be a challenge for them.

    Along with a number of reasons cited by others, I think there are additional factors, especially for women in Western society and specifically, the US.

    Looks matter. Society has prejudice against "fat" people. If you are in the dating market, whatever your age, being perceived as an appropriate size is an advantage, whereas generally speaking, being overweight is a disadvantage.

    So even if you have a tendency to gain, you watch very carefully so that you maintain a reasonable weight. You "make the decision" not to be fat.

    In the workforce, data strongly suggest that sat by us carries into compensation. Check this out if you think I'm kidding - https://dailyplateofcrazy.com/2013/05/29/salary-and-appearance-think-looks-dont-pay/ - Data shows that obese people, statistically, are paid thousands of dollars a year less, which obviously accumulates over the course of one's working years. A very compelling reason to avoid significant weight gain even if it is difficult, and to "make the decision" not to be fat.

    For those who may have seen close relatives die too young from the impacts of obesity - diabetes or heart disease - even if it means a lifetime of watching everything you eat and making sure you exercise, seeing parents or siblings or grandparents pass away too young is strong impetus to "make the decision" not to be fat.

    Last, speaking as one who has been extremely overweight, too thin and everything in between, but able to maintain an extremely healthy "trim" weight for roughly a dozen years, every day involved choices and work to stay that size. For me, a lot of it was about the confidence I felt when I was the size that seemed right for me.

    That confidence had impacts in every aspect of my life. And it was worth it to make the decision not to be fat.
  • Francl27
    Francl27 Posts: 26,373 Member
    Honestly? Childhood. Those eating habits and lifestyle you earned while growing up make a huge difference (and I'm sure there's some genetic factor in there too). Heck there's still that story about how kids who had rice in their bottle as a baby tend to overeat because it messes up their hunger signals. Or babies that you make eat when they are full.

    I mean, I grew up being able to eat all the junk I wanted and had no problem eating a box of cookies, 1/4 of a big pie, you name it.... My kids naturally stop eating when they're full - even dessert! Totally baffles me. I never paid attention to hunger signals when I was a kid - just loved eating too much. I'm still the same way really... I just REALLY love food.

    Others are more active, or don't love food as much as they love other things, or are just naturally satisfied with smaller portions.
  • Klmom123
    Klmom123 Posts: 91 Member
    Jruzer wrote: »
    TorStar80 wrote: »
    What is your theory because I sort of don't understand what you are asking... maybe if I see your logic, I might :) I'm always more curious about people who seem to eat and eat (and not just healthy foods) and never get fat!

    The key word here is "seem". Humans are notorious for selective memory and confirmation bias.

    Often these "naturally thin" people are very active. They are observed eating a large quantity of food, and the casual observer says "See? Look how much they eat and never gain weight!"

    I totally agree with that. My mother appears to eat and eat , and she is actually underweight. But in reality if you talk To her many days she skips a couple meals because of nerves or her "eating all day" was cucumbers and humus.

    I think many times genetics work in our favor or against. But I also think that it's lifestyle. I am like another poster that said they are considered slim most of their life . But I have recently gained 15-20 lbs. it was all due to my lifestyle change, stress eating, depression, lack of motivation. Now that I'm back on board with exercise and it's coming off . I have my own comfortable weight that motivates me. That's where I feel good . That's where I feel like the healthiest version of me.
  • RedSierra
    RedSierra Posts: 253 Member
    xfc1 wrote: »
    I'm not talking about biological factors where there is some factor preventing them from gaining. I'm talking about when they have made a decision to keep slim. I have my own theory as to why they want to do that (at least for some people), but I'm curious as to why you think that they do that. Let's exclude people who are in the business of being seen (models, acting) where being slim is part of their job.

    I'm guessing many people stay slim because food is not a priority the way it is for foodies/people who grow overweight/obese. People who stay slim find their interests and enjoyments and escapes in other things. They've also learned how to say "no" to themselves and other people.
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 21,222 Member
    edited July 2017
    lady_ghost wrote: »
    xfc1 wrote: »
    I'm not talking about biological factors where there is some factor preventing them from gaining. I'm talking about when they have made a decision to keep slim. I have my own theory as to why they want to do that (at least for some people), but I'm curious as to why you think that they do that. Let's exclude people who are in the business of being seen (models, acting) where being slim is part of their job.

    Genetics my friend is that way but her eating habits stay the same. She never struggles with food.

    I'm genetically predisposed to gaining weight ... if you look at the side of the family I take after. And I do gain it quickly and easily if I take my eye off the ball. And yet, I'm slim.