Learning From the Naturally Thin Folk of the World…

The next question on my List journey:  Ask someone you know about the kind of foods that they eat.

There has always been this myth that a naturally thin person can eat whatever the heck crap they want and still not gain a pound… but that ain’t true.  It may be true of the young folks whose metabolism hasn’t quite caught up to them yet… my metabolism went downhill at the age of 6 months… no jokes right there… chubby baby alert… but once they hit their 20s the bad eating usually catches right up to them and then they become adults with weight problems.  But, to remain naturally thin for your whole life is something that requires work… healthy eating and exercise, and just a general healthy way to deal with emotions other than shove food down the ole gullet!

I asked my adorbs cuzzin, Jen-Jen to guest blog on this subject because she is naturally thin and she works at staying that way… even now when she (and her husband Seth… wut up, Seth!?) are expecting their first child after years of trying.  She is truly the most healthy eater I know… and she too believes in an all things in moderation method.  If a naturally thin person stays thin using this method, then it makes sense for we who need to lose weight to also adopt the same method… she doesn’t eat a crazy “die”t.   That’s just preposterous, Humpty!  Below is in Jen-Jen’s words!  Thank you, Jen!  You rock and I’m glad you’re my good pal and cuzzin!  Love you!

********

Health and nutrition has always been a topic of interest to me. Now that I am expecting, I feel even more inclined to make sure I am putting wholesome foods in my body, because more than anything I want a healthy baby. I totally and completely agree with Whitney’s strategy for nutrition which is eating healthy, but still allowing yourself those guilty pleasures in moderation. Eating healthy should be a lifestyle, not an extreme, drastic diet. Maybe I just don’t have the will power, but I don’t find it necessary for myself personally to abstain from sugar, white flour, fat, etc.

My three biggest challenges for eating healthy are:

  1. My taste buds! I have always struggled with being a picky eater, and a heightened gag reflex during pregnancy hasn’t helped. During the first 18-20 weeks of pregnancy, I really struggled with eating green vegetables so I drank a tall glass of V8 every day, and extra fruit servings to make up the difference.
  2. Working Night Shifts. It is tempting to eat candy and drink soda to stay awake while working; but I overcome that by packing my own snacks and avoiding the cafeteria and vending machines at work. I do allow myself one small indulgence or treat while working though. It keeps me going at 3 AM.
  3. I love to cook and bake! Trying new recipes is a hobby and obsession for me. I still make those things that are high in calories; just not every single day. I have had to limit myself to making only 1 dessert a week.

Currently I am 23 weeks pregnant and my total weight gain thus far has been about 10 lbs. I know gaining weight is essential to a healthy pregnancy, as long as those pounds are healthy ones.

I pretty much eat the same things now that I did before I was pregnant with a few modifications. Pregnant women should try to eat about 300 extra calories a day. That doesn’t mean to go McDonald’s every day. These extra calories should be nutrient-rich foods. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I utilized MyFitnessPal.com to track my calories, carbs, and fat to give me an idea of what I should eat and how much. Here is a sample of my typical diet:

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal or Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Banana
  • Glass of low-fat milk

Lunch

Since lunch meat is not an option during pregnancy, I find other ways to get my protein at lunch in one of these sandwich options:

  • PB and Honey Sandwich (I always use 100% whole grain bread)
  • Egg salad sandwich (using a low-fat Mayo)
  • Chicken salad sandwich

My lunch also might include an apple and carrot/celery sticks or cucumber slices with a glass of milk.

Dinner

Because I like to cook and try new recipes, I rarely eat the same thing for dinner repeatedly. I do usually pair a protein with a vegetable and a whole grain. One of my favorite dinners is stir fry because it has all three of those things in one dish.

Snacks

It is important to keep healthy snack options available so you are always prepared when hunger strikes (which is quite often for me lately). When I am hungry at home, it is a no-brainer; I just open the cupboard or refrigerator and choose something. I also like to keep something in my purse or car to prevent me from going through the drive-thru if I suddenly get hungry while out running errands. Little snack-size Ziploc bags are a regular thing on my grocery list, so I can fill them with healthy snacks to pack with me wherever I go.

Healthy Snack Options:

  • Hardboiled egg
  • Applesauce
  • Low-fat cottage cheese with fruit (if you don’t like plain cottage cheese, try mixing it with some raspberry yogurt-Delicious!)
  • String Cheese
  • Whole-wheat toast or English muffin with PB
  • A tall glass of V8
  • Apple or other fresh fruit
  • Homemade Fruit Smoothie with lots of berries
  • Reduced fat Wheat Thins of Triscuits
  • FiberOne Bar
  • Low-fat yogurt with granola and berries
  • Nuts and dried fruit

My occasional indulgences:

  • Lately I love pudding! I either make it homemade or eat the pudding cups they stock in the refrigerator at my work.
  • Hot Cocoa
  • Pie or Cake
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Homemade Cookies
  • Banana Bread or other sweet bread
  • Fruit Loops Cereal
  • Chips covered in melted cheese with salsa
  • Hot Fudge Sundaes from Dairy Queen

Well that about sums it up. Hopefully you have found my eating strategies useful. I greatly admire my cousin Whitney for being so consistent and determined to live a healthier lifestyle. She has got incredible will-power and persistence and I know she will reach all of her goals.

This picture was a pre-pregnancy menu for Jen… but it gives you a good idea of what her food day, as far as quantities, would look like.  Say hi to Jen in the comment section!

Question of the Day:  What have you learned about eating from a naturally thin person?   If you’re a “naturally thin” person what’s your secret?  Any tips? 

PS – Have a superb weekend my sweet friends and relations.  I appreciate each and everyone of you… more than you know!  Do something crazy this weekend… report back on Mondee! 

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18 Comments

Filed under Food, The List

18 responses to “Learning From the Naturally Thin Folk of the World…

  1. cl2

    Well, I was one of those very naturally thin people up until my later 30s–even after a twin pregnancy, which is when I started dieting because my body never went back to the TOO THIN body I had before I got pregnant. My boyfriend (from then and now) said I looked anorexic (and I definitely wasn’t) when he dated me when I was 20. Life got the best of me–those bad years, I turned to food. Like you said about dieting–DIE’T–the more I deny myself, the more I eat. I did gain a lot in my pregancy, but I lost 44 pounds the first week after they were born–I was retaining A LOT of water (I had toxemia and preeclampsia).

    I do have a sister-in-law who eats anything she wants and still looks like she survived a concentration camp. It isn’t what I’d call “pretty”–she carries bags of candy in her purse and eats constantly.

    Weight, health doesn’t treat any of us equally. Wish it were so.

    • Jen

      44 lbs in one week! Carrying twins must have been difficult. But it sounds like you have a good understanding of what it takes to eat healthy and lose weight.

  2. Natalie

    I’ve been naturally thin most of the time. Except when I was trying my best to eat everything in sight. Like Jen, when I was it was because I thought about it and did portion control. I ate when I was hungry, and tried not to eat when I wasn’t. I tried to eat nutritionally. Watch skinny people, and you might notice them eating half a banana, something I’d laugh at hysterically when I was pushing food at my mouth like a train wreck. Or a handfull of chips instead of sitting on the couch with a whole bag.

    It’s also true that up until my 30’s I could eat like a horse. But that’s because I ran around like crazy and used all those calories. It’s hard to learn how to eat for less activity after that sort of habit! Then “older” age hit and suddenly I needed less food than ever. What the heck? I was overeating plus I needed to eat even less than I had before, or put in more effort with exercise. That sucked. But getting “there” is worth the sucky effort. Staying there is also worth it. So portions and eating only as much as I need most of the time it is! “Eat like a skinny person” is a good motto! It’s not so natural to do when we are a overeating food culture. But that statement helps.

    Hats off to a healthy Mom-to-be! I love it when pregnant women eat healthy! You only get to make that baby once!

    • Jen

      Thanks Natalie. I do have my days where I overeat, but I pay for it with a stomach ache. So for the most part I try to eat healthy, and healthy portions just so I feel better, not necessarily to maintain a certain weight.

  3. Avster

    Congratulations, Jen! 🙂

    I don’t know if I could label myself as naturally thin as it is very easy for me to gain weight. I ate very foolishly in my mid-teens and learned that I had to eat with my brain and not my heart.
    Now I watch how much junk food I eat as if I keep tabs on the junk food my weight doesn’t sky rocket.
    After I woke up and started eating with my brain I limited myself to one snack in the mid-afternoon and try my best not to eat anything after seven pm. If I do eat something after seven pm it can only be one item.

    A few years ago I started taking larger sized helpings of vegetables as I realized that if I ever took seconds of something it was generally the least healthful item on the table. Now that I take a larger serving of vegetables I’ve found that I’m less inclined to take second helpings as I’m fuller and if I do take a second helping it is a much smaller second helping.

    • Jen

      Taking an extra serving of vegetables is an excellent tip. I am going to try that, because I usually don’t get enough veggies in my diet. Thanks!

  4. Lindsay

    Jen-

    What a surprise! It’s fun to read your post!

  5. Rex Wade

    I knew that you would mention banana’s somewhere in your oration, but you did not put it in the proper place!!!!(in your purse)

    • Jen

      Oh thanks for reminding me. Yes carrying a banana in the purse is a perfect snack option. But be careful that it doesn’t get too bruised or smashed.

  6. I learned from my kids… They would leave a 1/4 of a donut uneaten on their plate because they were full. What?!?! Who in their right mind would leave two bites of a perfectly good donut? Well, anyone in their “right” mind would. It’s me that wasn’t looking at things correctly. Perhaps I’d be throwing away 15 cents worth of a donut, but paying the high price of self-esteem if I ate it. Now, I still can’t throw it away, so I give it to the dogs. They don’t mind a bit if they are a little chunky… and I don’t waste any food, and my kids can relax and stop eating when they are no longer hungry. My dogs think I rock too!

    • Jen

      I have a hard time wasting food too, especially when I am eating out. I feel like I have to finish everything on my plate at a restaurant because I am paying for it. But I am learning to just stop when I am full and either bring home the leftovers (if it was good enough to save) or just let the waiter take it away. What kind of dogs do you have? I love dogs. I bet they love those little treats you share with them.

  7. Dessa Wade

    Good advice Jen! I like your way of thinking/eating. The older you get the more exercise you need in order to keep the weight off. Just not fair since I’d just as soon not have to work harder. Oh well, I’m always glad I worked out hard once it’s over.
    Love you Jen!

    • Jen

      That is good to know that I will someday have to workout harder than before. I am proud of you working so hard at your “big and spacious” gym. That must be motivating to be part of a group workout plan.

  8. You look absolutely darling Jen! I am so happy for you–congrats on the upcoming addition to your family 🙂 Great eating advice.
    P.S. Do you still do a Steve Urkel impression?

  9. Louisa a.k.a. ProudMomOfTwo

    Loved reading this – and congratulations Jen & Seth on the little blessing you will soon welcome into this world.
    I took my pregnancies very seriously also and still do to this day I am blessed with healthy & happy kids. My daughter will turn 14 in Jan. My son is 10.5 yrs old and they are my world. You will be forever glad you made any and all sacrifices to insure a healthy baby/child/youngster/teen/adult. Your commitment to the health of your baby’s development goes on after they are born. I think a lot of adults forget that and just let the fast food & junk that is out there get too convenient.
    I made all my own fresh baby food and nursed ( and pumped ) for them the whole first year. I am still making sure they know about food/nutrients, trying different foods, learn about portions, and aren’t forced to clean their plate.
    Like you, I love to cook and I think that is very important to continue.
    You won’t be exposing your child to fast food / processed food nearly as much if you love to cook at home. Those times do happen but you get to decide just how often b/c you are the parent.

    Question of the Day: What have you learned about eating from a naturally thin person? If you’re a “naturally thin” person what’s your secret? Any tips?

    I used to be very athletic and active and thin and ate whatever I wanted (yrs ago). What is working for me is portion control, eating 6 small meals a day, lots and lots of water, and upping my exercise b/c I wasn’t exercising at all (for several yrs) before March this yr.
    My husband is naturally very thin. Size 31 inch waist and 36 inch long legs ( so he is long and lean ). He is active and can work most people into the ground. He eats everything and anything that looks good to him and lots of it. He radiates heat b/c with his metabolism he burns it off. He is like sitting and sleeping next to a furnace that is cranked up on HIGH all the time. Crazy! He is very critical of the way he looks too so if he sees the slightest change in his body he attacks it or makes a change. He noticed he started to get some of that mid-life spread just last year and so he stopped drinking soda. He had gotten into a bit of a habit with Dr. Pepper ( at least one can a day ). He said his pants were fitting tighter so he knew he had to do something and he didn’t like the way he looked in the mirror. His belly stuck out or pooched out a little bit. This year he has seen how much weight I have been losing and how much water I have been drinking. He changed to only water. He drinks milk at meals ( always has ). He occasionally has a soda ( like once a month now) and his weight/belly area went back to the way it was before which was flat /not pooching out.
    He is an all or nothing kind of person and doesn’t seem to struggle with making changes to better himself. He just does it. He did this with biting his nails when he turned 40 also. LOL. I know it sounds strange but he bit his nails all his life and when he turned 40 he decided it was a nasty habit and he didn’t like it or the way it looked. He was going to stop. He did. It took him about 2months to totally kick it
    (you wouldn’t see him with them in his mouth or picking at them while distracted by the tv or in a stressful situation).

    I think I learned that I tend to give too much of myself and give too much of my time & energy and not save anything for ME.
    I learned I needed to be a bit more selfish and take time for ME to exercise and get in movement every day. Maybe selfish isn’t the right word but you know what I mean.
    I learned that i needed to eat cleaner and put the same thought into my own meals as I do to what I give my kids to eat. I needed to set a better example of portions and eating clean and what we buy at the store.
    I needed to set myself up to succeed and not to fail.
    I needed to change my attitude to one where failure is not an option.
    I needed to challenge myself and set goals.
    I learned I am a work in progress and it is ok to have bumps in the road and set backs but to get right back into the game and not let anything deter me from my goal.
    I have learned to put my faith in God and to thank Him everyday for my many blessings and when I feel weak, to trust in Him.

  10. Jen

    I hope I can feed my children as healthy as you have. That is great that you are also being an example of healthy eating for your family. I think 6 small meals a day is a good idea, to keep the metabolism burning.

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