The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends.

by grommom on May 3, 2013

in Blogroll, Fitness, health/fitness, Random Posts

FIRST—A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

My camera is back!
I mean, my camera is not back.  My camera was in bad enough shape however, that our Best Buy Protection Plan “Junked” it, and offered to replace the old camera with a new one.  So, like any good Americans, we took that as a sign that it was time to upgrade.  Which means I have a really fun, and slightly more fancy camera to learn to use.  Yeeehaaaw!  I’m STOKED.

And sometime Saturday…I should have a few ‘new camera photos’ ready to share with you here–as well as:
A weekend VLOG!!   Yep—Josiah will be putting his video magic into something special we have planned, so promise me you’ll check back!! :)

Meanwhile, I thought I might as well share this little piece that i started writing WEEKS ago, and have been dabbling at ever since.  I will call it PART THREE in the series thus far titled “Weight Issues and Mind Games.”  You can find the first posts in the series HERE and HERE.  Since I’ve been a personal trainer and an exercise instructor for much of my life, and I’ve got plenty of personal experience to draw from…this topic is near and dear to my heart.

I truly hope what I am sharing both challenges, and encourages you  Or perhaps it’s meant for someone you care about.

WEIGHT ISSUES AND MIND GAMES, PART 3:
Exposing the Secrets of Those Naturally Skinny Friends that we all LOVE TO HATE. :)

Do you have any of those friends that are just naturally skinny?  You know–the ones you love to hate.  WE all seem to have a few of them in our lives.   The people who may have their own issues or struggles, but weight just never seems to be one of them.  They eat anything they want, and they NEVER gain weight.

Can I challenge your assumptions about those friends?

If you could, I’d like to suggest that you follow one of those friends around for a full day, and take careful notes.

Because guess what?
MOST OF THE TIME (Not always, but almost always--) those so-called “Naturally Skinny People” are not any more naturally skinny than you or me.

What?
Like I said–There are exceptions, but here’s what I am convinced of:

Those people we know who seem to eat ANYTHING THEY WANT and stay skinny without even trying–they really aren’t eating that much at all.  In fact, often times, though they may not eat very healthy foods, often these friends are the ones who eat less than those of us who focus so much energy on eating healthy.

And that is actually the key–The part about “focusing our energy.
Those of us who have had, or still live with food and body obsessions simply put more of our focused energy into all of it.  What we eat.  When we eat.  How much we eat.  What we didn’t eat.  When we’ll eat again.  Does this sound familiar?

And these skinny people–Somehow in their growing up and living life years, they simply didn’t develop those issues with food and weight (like I said, they might have other issues, just not this one.) But these naturally skinny people simply never developed a habit of obsessing over diet and exercise.   It’s probably never been an issue,  and so FOOD isn’t an issue, and an EXERCISE PLAN certainly isn’t an issue, and guess what–in their FREEDOM, they aren’t really thinking about food all of the time, and therefore, they end up eating LESS.

Someone tell me you get this.

Here’s two examples from my own observations:
Back in college, when I was still struggling with my own body image issues, I was a serious runner.  I was  competing in cross country and living on frozen yogurt and salads….Well, I remember being particularly bothered by a certain roommate.   She was naturally skinny.  Now granted, she was a Pepperdine volleyball player, and she was tall and thin and probably really did have the genetic makeup to remain skinny her whole life.
But it used to kill me to watch her live with SUCH FREEDOM.  Almost every morning, she would get up and eat a bowl of sugared cereal.

AND that drove me crazy.
Why?
Because I started my day religiously with fresh fruit or fat-free sugar-free yogurt or some other unsatisfying but “low-cal” option.  And by ten AM I was super hungry and already dreaming about what I might “get to” eat next and when and how much and the thought process alone was really consuming.
And every once in a while for breakfast I would indulge in a bowl of very healthy (fiber-filled grainy kind) of cereal.  And when I did I would usually fill the biggest bowl I could find with that cereal and often fill it again after the first bowl was finished.  I LOVED IT.  It was a guilty pleasure to me.

And then one day it occurred to me that this “naturally skinny” friend really didn’t have a very big bowl of sugared cereal at all.  And she filled a normal size bowl ONCE, and ate her cereal and then put the bowl in the sink, and went on with her day.
And I have a funny feeling that she didn’t think about food again until she sat down to eat a very normal lunch.

Do you see the difference?
That skinny friend didn’t work out very much except during volleyball season.
Volleyball was fun for her, so she trained when she needed to.

I, on the other hand, worked out six days a week.  Religiously.
And I would have told you that “I HAVE TO do this or I will put on weight.”

One more example:  One of my dear friends, Christie, entered our life as one of our kids’ baby sitters.  She was a gorgeous, young, twenty-something, living the college life in Hawaii.  I’ll never forget how I would glance in the back of her car when she arrived at our house, and almost without fail I would see TWO THINGS:  Tiny little bikinis, and either Dunken Donuts bags, or fast food wrappers.

I hated her for that.  (In the love-hate way, of course. ;))

Fast forward ten years to today, and Christie has experienced a major life change.  She learned more about nutrition and in a very short time–like overnight–became VEGAN… Now she eats extremely clean, exercises regularly, and feels 100 X better than she did in her donut-dunking, fast food days.  But her weight has remained very similar to what is was then.  Her changes had nothing to do with body image issues because she had none.  And now she enjoys her healthy lifestyle because she was never “IN LOVE” with food to begin with.

Do you have naturally skinny friends?
Have you ever closely observed what they eat in a typical day?

I’m going to make a bold guess that their skinniness has less to do with WHAT they eat, than it does how much they eat and how much they think about it.
They may chose some unhealthy things, and that might make it appear that they eat SO MUCH, but really–they don’t.  They probably leave half of their food on the plate, because it just isn’t that big of a deal to them.

There was a time where I was so obsessed with when and what I ate that I would lie in bed and recall the calorie count of the day and determine how positive or negative of a day I just had by how well I did.

No longer.  (Thank God!)  For over ten years I have been free of that.
Now I eat freely.  I chose healthy food MOST OF THE TIME, because I know it’s good for me and I want to live a really long time feeling as good as I can.  But I don’t count calories.  And I eat what sounds good, which quite honestly changes every single day.

I do not think about food very often at all, unless I am blogging about it, or cooking food for others–which is even very different than it once was.  I’m not tempted to pick at the food I am cooking, because it isn’t “off limits.”  No more “forbidden fruit” to make me want more and more.

I know that I have the FREEDOM to eat anything I want, so suddenly food loses it’s pull on me.
I don’t have the compulsion to overindulge just because I have already eaten more than I need or after I’ve eaten something unhealthy.

I also exercise MUCH less than I used to, but I still do what I can to be fit.  I never stress out if I cannot get a workout in.

These days, I THINK OF MYSELF AS A THIN PERSON.  Skinny?  No, but I don’t want to be.
Healthy, fit, and happy?  Yes.  It’s just who I BELIEVE MYSELF to be, and so I live a lifestyle consistent with a person who IS HEALTHY, FIT, and HAPPY.

What I ask you is:  IF YOU BEGIN TO THINK OF YOURSELF DIFFERENTLY, DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT LIVE UP TO WHAT YOU BELIEVE YOURSELF TO BE?  

One more note:  The little bit of fat on my body–I do have a bit! :)–I have actually begun to associate with the fact that I live a full life which includes occasional indulgences, like a good steak and potatoes, or real ice cream.  (I can no longer stand fat-free anything any more.)

Thanks for listening guys.  I’ve been excited to share this one!
I think I have one (maybe TWO) posts left to share on this subject. That is, if you want me to.  (Let me know–especially if there is a specific area you’d like me to address!)

Now–go spy on all of your naturally skinny friends, and PLEASE tell me if I’m right!!!

:)
ALOHA,
Monica
Grommom

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Tanya May 3, 2013 at 11:21 am

I’ve read your blog for a couple of months now and this post is the first to move me to comment. Thank you for your honesty, transparency, and I agree 100%. Fixating on intake and exercise can have a paralyzingly effect, especially compared to others who are free of those worries! Thanks again for this.

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grommom May 3, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Thank you SO much Tanya for your comment. I am so happy to hear that this resonates with you…These are always slightly scary posts for me because I want so much for it to come across right. :) SO–Big thanks!! aloha.

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Heather || Heather's Dish May 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I love this one Monica! I think because I’ve recently figured that same thing out – that when I focus my energy on other things (raising my son, working on my marriage, writing about things other than food, etc) that I don’t even think about the calorie counting and so on. I guess you could say when I start actually living my life then the food doesn’t really own my energy anymore!

Pinned this so I can always remember it :)

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Kamille May 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Hi Monica! I´ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now, and wow; it is just amazing. I used to live and study in Hawaii, so your blog is kind of a gateway back to paradise for me.

I absolutley loved this post. Weight and exercise and food are topics that are hard to talk about with women, but you do this so well! Can´t wait to read what ever comes on your mind next :-)

Thanks for being such an inspiration! Hugs all the way from Norway

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Christie May 5, 2013 at 1:19 am

You called me out with the donut bag!!!!! I was a horrible eater, how embarrassing! Thanks for your kind words friend! Love you to pieces!

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grommom May 5, 2013 at 2:43 am

haha—Funny, I was wondering if you’d stop by and notice that mention…hope you don’t mind. ;)
Love you, whether you’re eating donuts or kale, but so glad you discovered a healthier way to be. XO

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Elaine May 5, 2013 at 4:12 am

Thank you for this wonderful post, Monica, such an amazing encouragement and truth. It’s interesting as well – when we start to focus on God, relationships, loving others (ie. taking the focus off ourselves and what we want/desire), that we start to be healthier, inside and out.

As someone who struggled a long time worrying about the wrong things that would make me ‘valuable’, it’s so good to know that I am a) not alone and b) we are all created beautiful and amazing in His image – for the purpose not of ‘being beautiful’, but to do good works in His name!

Thank you for this!

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grommom May 5, 2013 at 4:40 am

Yes, such great words Elaine! I think you’ll like it if I ever get around to sharing the story of how I did overcome my issues. :) You are SO RIGHT ON. Good for you. I love hearing from you, so thanks for stopping in!! Aloha!

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Shanna@ pineapple and coconut May 5, 2013 at 4:22 am

I love this. I have loved all your your weight and mind games posts – but this one in my favorite. I have had a few naturally thin friends that were total donut eaters too! And volleyball players! Funny. I was a competitive swimmer growing up and I trained SO much and ate SO much that once I had quit my appetite didn’t! ha. I have never been “skinny” but never fat either. Always muscular and on the bigger side. I know I am strong and I focus on that. I have recently been diagnosed with thyroid disease – huge signal for that was my lack of energy. So I have for the past 6 month focused on my energy and how to fix it. Happy, healthy, fit and strong. Those are what’s important to me! Love these posts, girl!!

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grommom May 5, 2013 at 4:41 am

Thank you Shanna! I was hoping you’d see this one as i thought it might resonate with you from your reaction to the last one…I love your focus–so healthy and good. Are you doing better with the energy over the last six months? I assume so, considering all you are taking on right now!! Aloha to you–and thanks again for all of the support!

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{leah} May 5, 2013 at 5:38 am

This was a great post, thank you for it. As a mom of 5 boys I sometimes get caught up with what my body looks like. I work really hard to remember that my body gave me 5 beautiful and healthy boys, and while I do have things to work on, in the end I want to enjoy the life I have with my boys and not the envy that I sometimes feel for all my skinny friends/sisters.

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grommom May 7, 2013 at 9:50 am

SUCH great perspective Leah! thank you. FIVE BOYS–wow, you’ve got just that much more courage than I do! haha. :) Good for you. Being healthy to enjoy life with those boys is key. So glad you stopped in, I can’t wait to check out your little site (what a great name!) aloha!

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Kendall May 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Monica,

This is not normally something I would comment on, but our pastor started a new series this weekend called “Beautiful”. I don’t know if this works here or not, but one of the comments above stated it as well. His tag line is “Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, it is in the hands of the One that holds you”. God made us who we are and you are all beautiful, period.

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grommom May 7, 2013 at 9:49 am

Yes that WORKS here Kendall! I love it, and what a great series that must be! And I will remember that quote too–it’s GOOD. Aloha and thank you!

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