Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

Secrets to losing weight and staying thin.

HealthHacks recently posted about The Secrets of Thin People. What struck me was that these were not secrets of naturally thin people. These are mostly "secrets" of people who know they are not naturally thin -- like me.

A couple of points from the article that I can relate to: mixed vegetable salad

  • Thin people favor bulky foods: of course you already knew that. Fruits and veggies are great!
  • Thin people watch portion sizes: it helped me a lot to know how many calories were in three ounces of pasta, and how much three ounces of pasta looked like.
  • Thin people limit their options: I recently discovered spicy chickpeas in our asian market. They were delicious, but I will not buy them again because I know I would overeat them.
  • Thin people enjoy their food: I would not be able to do this if I did not enjoy every meal I ate. In fact, I enjoy my meals now much more than I enjoyed the bags of potato chips I used to mindlessly munch away.
  • Thin people practice early intervention: I weigh myself every other day. I do not stress about a pound more or less, but I want to make sure I stay within a five pound window. I also feel this helps in getting to know my body, noticing what is normal.
  • Thin people do what works: see the quote below. I totally agree.

The biggest difference between the permanently thin and everyone else might very well be this: Those who don’t gain (or regain) have come up with effective, specific, and often personal ways to keep their weight in check. Becky Grebosky, age 38, a children’s-clothing and gift manufacturer and a mother of two in Albuquerque, New Mexico, makes a smoothie when she feels like having a treat. "I mix up yogurt, a bit of juice, some water, ice, and whatever fruit is around," she says. "It tastes like a milk shake." Other thin people can’t live without dessert, so they shave calories elsewhere or "pay" for the indulgence with extra time or intensity at the gym. "Thin people get out of the mind-set of being ‘good’ or ‘bad,’" psychologist Stephen Gullo says. "It’s about doing what works." From: The Secrets of Thin People.

The article also mentions the National Weight Control Registry: a registry of people who lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off. When I first found the registry, I found it very encouraging. Too often, experts recommend people only lose 10% of their body weight (that would mean I would have gone from 240 pounds to 216 pounds) because more is not a realistic expectation. If you just hear that often enough, it becomes a reality. If experts like obesity clinic nurses tell you it is impossible to ever become thin, why would you even bother? Sure, I know the research that says that even 10% weight loss reduces diabetes, cancer and heart disease risk, but face it: at 216 pounds I was still at considerable risk, and I did not feel any healthier than I felt at 240 pounds. In fact, I only started to feel healthy after I had lost 100 pounds. I now weigh 135 pounds, and feel that my body starts to fit me. I will never go back to being overweight; it feels so much better to be thin.

If you are currently overweight, don't be put off by people telling you that research shows that most people are unable to permanently lose weight. You are not most people. Many people can do it; the thousands of people in the Weight Loss Registry are proof of that. They are not better than you are, you can do this too.

April 9, 2006