You know those people who can basically eat a whole buffet table and not gain weight–or at the very least, still look slim enough to belong in a modeling catalog? Ever had a friend who could eat thousands of calories in a day while you basically would breathe and feel like you’ve gained a couple pounds? Have you secretly loathed those people with a passion? Join the club. Well that dispels one myth–I received a couple of assumptions that stated that I can eat a ton of food without gaining weight and while staying very lean. That’s very true…but with a caveat. There’s no secret to the formula: it’s hard work, at least for my case.
In order to consume the diet that I do, I exercise intensively, walk often, drink more than plenty of water, and sleep for at least eight hours a night. While this routine may seem basic for most people, others find it quite the feat. However, I am only a single case out of millions. What about that minority of people who don’t have to workout to eat a copious amount of food to maintain their weight? What about the people who can consume anything they want and stay skinny? What’s their deal, right?
In general, most people are skeptics. Either these types of individuals are faking the quantity and/or quality of their food, are hiding the amount of excessive physical activity they do, or are even taking performance enhancing drugs to maintain their body weights. Can I vouch for these factors? Not at all, but they’re nothing to bat a blind eye from.
Having said that, I do not believe the whole “naturally lean” argument is entirely a lie. Some people with such high metabolisms don’t entirely know what they do to remain so thin or fit. Others recognize their luck in this area, own it, but continue to work hard for their health. You generally see the individuals who struggle to put on muscle and naturally have very petite builds, whereas others can gain and maintain muscle very easily and fat less efficiently.
Ultimately, here is my take: you don’t see the whole picture of everyone’s routine. There are several factors that can play into their body composition and lifestyle choices, some of which I have listed below (note that this is purely from anecdotal evidence):
- They weigh more than you think. Strategic attire are the two terms you might be looking for. Unless you’ve seen these people step on a scale (all before eating and drinking and after using the toilet) first thing in the morning and read their weight, then you likely do not know how much they weigh. Some people have more muscle tone and can weigh more, but simply eat larger quantities because their BMR is higher due to less body fat and more muscle mass.
- They’re actually kind of picky. Well, many of them, at least. Not all naturally slim folks have the appetites of a blue whale or an elephant. Quite a lot just consume the same amount of food as anyone else, maybe other lean beans eat less. Certain individuals can be extremely picky, even dogmatic in their food choices, hence they naturally might eat less than believed.
- They are not emotionally attached to food. This one is SUCH a biggie. Most people who have struggled with weight gain have had at least one kind of emotional eating incident or a subconsciously emotive connection to overeating. Naturally thin people recognize that food is fuel and nothing more than this, though some of them are always down to have an extra treat or indulgent coffee beverage. They enjoy burgers, sandwiches, desserts, and milk tea when they want to, but they also understand that health is important and consume vegetables and fruit on the daily.
- Their bodies suffer in other ways that aren’t weight-related. I have some friends who have nearly zero weight problems and eat quite a lot of refined foods, but they undergo negative consequences that do not affect their weight. Excess salt, sugar, and/or fat can result in acne, a weakened immune system, fatigue, and internal body fat. Every person handles hyperglycemic and high fat foods differently, but disease does not discriminate. Moreover, there could be an underlying medical condition they have where their microbiome does not process some foods, such as an extreme food intolerance, a thyroid condition, etc.
- They are physically active in other areas. Unless you accompany one of these people and weigh them before and after witnessing them eat an entire buffet table while lying in bed all day, then their activity level has contributed to the extra calorie burn. A fair amount of naturally lean people love to take walks, make grandiose hand gestures, and fidget often, which increases their NEAT (number of calories burned in a day through extra physical activity not related to exercising). If they do workout, their workouts are incredibly efficient, targeting the areas accordingly and obtaining a tough sweat. Quality over quantity, after all.
- Their gut microbiome is in fantastic (or hyperactive) condition. Scientific evidence showcases that the gut microbiome’s well-being is directly linked to conditions of metabolic detriment such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Even though this study demonstrates that the inflammation of the gut was linked to a high fat and hyperglycemic diet, the ruling summarizes that how you digest food dictates a great deal with weight loss and health. Slim individuals who do not have a fixated health and fitness routine might have a healthy microbiome that digests food efficiently and
- Their hormones are also well-functioning. You can do everything correctly–exercising, eating healthily–but if your hormones are out of whack, then you could still hold onto excess body fat. It is critical to ensure that your hormones, specifically ghrelin, leptin, cortisol, reproductive hormones, and every other hormone in your body are functioning properly. Key ways to control your hormones are sleeping adequately, exercising regularly, eating nourishing foods, partaking in your passions often, and resting when necessary. However, if you do find that there may be a stronger underlying condition where your hormones cannot appropriately operate alone, please see your doctor.
- They simply micro-manage their food intake throughout the week. Then you have those people who can eat a crazy amount of food in one sitting. But in all honesty, do these folks really eat a massive amount in one go every single day? Probably not. In general, these types of individuals will allot most of their weekly calorie intake in one or two meals for the whole week, then simply practice stricter food choices for the other part of their week. You see this the most for mukbangers, cheat day YouTubers, and professionals in the food industry where eating is a crucial part of their career.
- Genetics just might be working in their favor. Face it–trace it back to evolution and you’ll find some people with a fitness gene that, someway and somehow, can burn through calories and convert nearly nothing into fat, just energy. For this reason, you don’t see many people with this fitness gene since fat storage was necessary for survival (it still is, but we now live in societies and conditions that do not call for constant fat storage). Evolution is a completely uneven playing field.
- But also, if they do happen to not eat well and not exercise, these practices might catch up. You know how you got away with eating whatever the hell you wanted without working out in your childhood and tween years? You know how much it sucked when you realized that all the baby weight got stored once you hit puberty? Well, some people are just late bloomers and might not experience this excess weight gain until well in their years of college, after their undergrad years, or even not until they hit their thirties. Still,
In utmost honesty, I do not believe that those who claims to be naturally lean are BSing other people (though you have your dishonest bad apples). With that in mind, there are plenty of habits they practice that the may or may not be entirely aware of that contribute to their slim bodies. Regardless of the subject on having a “fast metabolism” and “genetically blessed” physique, nothing really trumps the mental and emotional gratification from hard work, perseverance, and discipline. Personally, I find there to be a massive upside with those three characteristics that I practice every single day.
In no way am I saying that these naturally lean beans are not hard workers and just slack off with their health and fitness routines (though some of them do not have a regular workout regimen nor do they eat well)–it’s simply a matter of taking action to improve upon yourself and execute self-care through diet and exercise that ultimately matters. We all come in differing shapes, sizes, colors, and physique compositions that we should enhance and not fight against.