Friday, June 12, 2009

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Skinny People

When I was walking with Carrie the other day we were lamenting about how the truly skinny (healthy skinny) people we know all employ the same techniques.

1) They put their forks down between bites unlike me who has a robotic and rhythmic action from plate to mouth with hardly a breath in between bites. I think this gives them time to enjoy the bite and actually chew it all before new food goes in. I've heard chewing things is actually good for you. I wouldn't know. But yeah, anyway.

2) They take small, well planned bites. My friend Andrea is the perfect example. She actually plans out her each one of her bites. If she's eating a salad, she'll make sure she has a bit of tomato, some lettuce, a bit of dressing (very small amount) and some meat or something on the fork. She puts thought into each bite and truly savors it as she eats. I, on the other hand, figure that if I shove it all in fast enough, it will mix in my mouth and therefore be the perfect bite somehow somewhere along the way.

3) They aren't afraid to order "off menu". They are high-maintenance-restaurant-eaters and proud of it. The waitress comes around and the questions are things like "can you make that without oil?" "Can I have that without butter?" "I'd like steamed broccoli instead of a potato." Etc. I get embarrassed when I make such suggestions. I don't want people to think I'm high-maintenance and like spit in my food or something before they bring it to me. Instead, I'd rather get fat. Huh? Yeah. Not a lot of logic in my thinking here.

4) They equate healthy food and exercise with self-care. I don't think I've ever heard my skinny friends say, "Man, it was a hard day. I deserve this cheesecake!" Generally I hear, "Man, it was a tough day! I am looking forward my gym time to recenter my brain and workout my stress." My brain tends to go the cheesecake route. Or Burger King, or McDonalds, Or Burgerville, or Pizza Hut or .....

5) They eat to live and don't live to eat. Don't get me wrong, they enjoy food. But for most of them, it's not about quantity but quality. They generally pick fresh ingredients, complimentary spices, etc. and focus on the prep and care of the food more than the actual meal. For me, it was/is all about the consuming so this is a hard switch for me. When I'm eating to drown a feeling, it's much more about putting as much food as possible down me rather than truly enjoying the food that's getting in there. That's why burgers, fries, pizzas, etc. were so good. They were fast, easy, and satisfied the need quickly. Who had time to make a salad when there was an emotion nearby just waiting to be avoided?

6) They take responsibility for their weight. I personally like to blame my weight problems on my parents, cause, well, it's easier to do that than it is to say that I was the one that made the decision to be fat. I don't remember purposely making that decision but I guess in hindsight I did a million little pizza filled times. Skinny people know this and make decisions at every turn to be responsible and healthy. They recognize that it is a choice. It's not metabolism or body set points or whatever. It's a choice and they're making it each and every moment.

7) They aren't afraid of the scale. I have a friend that weighs herself every morning and then makes decisions about her food for the day based on that number. She doesn't want to be plus or minus 3 pounds of her current weight. I used to look at her in pity. How sad to be tied to tightly to that number! What about water retention? What about life? I soooo didn't want to be her. But sticking my head in the sand wasn't a solution either. Obviously.

I'm working hard to change from the "Seven Habits of Extremely Fat People" to the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Skinny People".

It's an effort every day. For the last 32 years, I’ve been on the fat side. Changing to the healthy side is a struggle.

But it’s doable and it is getting easier.

Losing weight is about more than just losing weight. It's about finding healthy habits and putting them into practice in my life.


  1. Excellent points. You can learn quite a bit just by watching skinny people eat.

  2. I'm getting much better at these ... but I still think about food LOTS. But it's in an effort to plan ahead instead of mindless consumption so hopefully that sort of thinking about food is good. I just love food, and I don't think I will ever not love food. I'm in control though. I couldn't say that a year+ ago.

  3. Great thoughts and spot on! I am going to adopt no.3 especially. It is time I became high maintenance, lol!

  4. Love this! :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Your progress and journey is just amazing. When I read this post, I had to leave a comment. It's all TRUE!! The advice reminds me of the book called "French Women Don't Get Fat." I'm trying to lose weight through blogging, too, and you're an inspiration! Keep it up!
    ~ Debra

  6. Amen to all that!! Love it!!

  7. I too have often thought about this. I've also notice that my "skinny" friends stop eating when they're satisfied, where as I was taught to finish my plate because there are starving people in Africa. Thanks for sharing, I'm glad I'm no the only one who observes this.



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