by Ingredient

Health and nutrition news that’s easy to digest

The Science Behind Being Naturally Thin

If you are struggling to lose weight, or keep it off, you might be wondering how some people make it look so easy. As it turns out, there are a few secrets that are known to the “naturally thin” people, and these might work for you, too, if you follow the same eating habits.

Researchers from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab have put together a group of adults who have been able to successfully maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives, and they call this group the Global Healthy Weight Registry. Learn about their eating habits and how they might be able to help you get on track and reach your goals.

1. They don’t count calories.

It might come as a surprise, but most people who maintain a healthy weight don’t actually count calories. Instead, they are focused on eating high-quality foods (including fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and lean proteins), but don’t worry so much about quantity. They remain focused on their hunger and fullness signals to let them know when to eat and when to stop.

This is a successful strategy for many, and is scientifically backed by recent research published in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine, which found that people are about 35% less likely to become obese if they are mindful while performing their daily activities, which includes eating.

If you are not sure that you can trust yourself and your body to know when to stop, try practicing taking more time to enjoy the smells, flavours, and textures of what you are eating, and recognize how you become less hungry with each bite.

2. They eat the same thing for breakfast every day.

Most of the people who maintain a healthy weight eat the same thing for breakfast—veggie omelettes. The group ranked eggs, vegetables, and fruit as their favourite ways to start their day. This is great, because the protein in eggs will keep you feeling full until lunch, and the fibre rich vegetables are also helping.

3. They are not afraid of fat.

The second most popular snack for the naturally thin crowd is nuts, which are notoriously fatty. But, research is showing that high-fat foods like nuts and nut butter don’t make you fat—in fact, they do the opposite because they keep you feeling full and help to reduce stubborn belly fat. They even help you feel happier, which can reduce your cravings for junk food and sugary snacks.

4. They don’t feel guilty about food.

When the naturally thin do indulge with a treat, they enjoy it thoroughly. They do not experience feelings of guilt for enjoying something decadent and delicious. Those who do feel guilt are also increasing their stress, which can trigger more overeating.

This creates an out-of-control pattern, which leads to weight gain. It’s okay to enjoy a treat every now and then, as long as you enjoy it and don’t do it all the time.

5. They share the same favourite food group.

If you want to stay slim, you have to eat vegetables every day. About 65% of the respondents in the Global group reported that they eat vegetables with dinner every day, 35% eat salad every day for lunch, and more than 50% eat veggies with their breakfast. This is the way to really “colour your plate” all day long.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat meat. Only about 7% of the group reported being vegetarians. But, it is important to remember that if you do enjoy animal proteins, you are choosing lean, grass-fed varieties and really eating plenty of vegetables as well.

Even if you are not naturally thin, following the guidelines of those who are can help you get to and maintain a healthy weight!


anonymous Roanoke, United States

Bingo! I couldn't gain weight if I tried to. My sister had to watch every mouthful. I do not like sweets. She craved them. Our father was thin. Our mother was pleasantly plump. She died at age 99.