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Skinny/Slim/Healthy BMI Chowhounds

How do you do it?

I alternate between eating what I want and eating a very restricted diet. I also exercise and almost never drink calories unless it is for a special item or a vacation. I have a tiny frame and an average metabolism but a ravenous appetite and an absolute obsession with food. My genes are not that great either as both of my parents and one of my sibs are all overweight.

Are you just blessed?
Do you limit portions?
Do you workout alot?

Come and share your secret.

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  1. I am blessed and I limit my portion. The truth is that limiting portion can become easier and easier. Once you get used to a smaller portion, then you will feel fill with a smaller portion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/817248#

      I have noticed that. I used to love huge portions. Now I get full more quickly. Also I think that first few bites of food taste the best.

      1. re: t19103

        :) Agree. By the way, why do you put a link to this post here. It is like a circular link. You know... a mirror in a mirror -- infinite.

        http://www.phys.cwru.edu/~covault/inf...

    2. I am a low carber for my day -to- day eating. I eat very little starches and almost no sugar. The high protein and high fats keep me always feeling full and slim. I can't remember the last time I was actually hungry. I cook things from scratch that most people don't. Since my BMI is great and I have amazing health markers- I eat what I want -when I want a "treat"..... it is just that I don't want a treat so much anymore. I have no concern for calories with this eating pattern. I also occasionally do some intermittent fasting, increase walking and sprints, use more coconut oil, if I want to shed a few pounds for some reason or prepare for an adventure.

      I tend to be a bit "paleo" in my exercise and it suits me more now than going to a gym. I was a gym rat in my 20's and 30's. I also like adventurous outdoor sports that are fun- and that keeps me in shape seasonally. I think working out with weights or doing resistance exercises using your own body weight-and adding extra protein- helps those of us that are over 50 to keep muscle fairly easily.

      I also have an obsession with food- but my obsession is now in cooking AMAZINGLY healthy food that meets my discerning taste standards :) It took me a while to adjust to cooking differently, but it has been fun and I love learning new things. when I go out to eat- I usually order whatever I feel like because I know that the "rest of the week" I think is my own healthy cooking -so it's no big deal. I think it is harder to manage health and weight if you go out to eat alot.

      1. Definitely not genetically blessed. But I work out 6 days a week, and try to follow an 80/20 plan: 80% of my meals are very healthy - lean protein, whole grains, tons of furits and vegetables; 20% of the time, or about 4-5 meals per week, I eat whatever I want. I never go hungry, and like Chemicalkinetics said, as my eating habits have changed I find that I'm generally satisfied with smaller portions, particularly when it comes to fatty, rich foods.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cookie monster

          I also follow cookie monster's rule and I am around food 24/7. I'm a small frame (weight/height) and could easily bloom way past a healthy weight if I didn't keep my personal portions (no matter what I'm baking/preparing) and my workouts routine. I use small plates and my desire for sugar has decreased with age while my spice love has increased. It's all a balance; every day.

          1. re: cookie monster

            If most people would do this, it would make a huge difference in the health of this country (or the world, actually). And, it would eliminate the guilty feelings too many people have when they eat something fatty, rich.

            As alternating between all out and extra restrictive, as in the OP, that's worst for your health than just staying at a higher than desired weight. Yoyo dieting is bad for your heart (and mind).

          2. I eat/drink what I like, in moderation, but generally only have two meals per week that include meat.
            I never (if I can help it) eat processed or prepared or fast food.
            I had gallstones four years ago, and learned a lot about an animal fat-free diet while I was waiting for surgery. (lost about 20 pounds in three months, too)
            I ride my bike to work (10-15 minutes each way), and my work is active - I teach yoga.
            I'm carrying five pounds that I'd rather not, but have made my peace with that, rather than always wishing I could have that dessert, or piece of bread.
            I am also blessed that I am tall, and healthy enough to make regular exercise part of my life.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hungryjoanne

              I am cursed that I am short, which means that I can't even think of eating "normal" portions served to average-size people. Sigh.

              If I eat about 1100 calories a day, I stay in the 112-114 lb range--like hungryjoanne, this is still about 5 lbs more than I'd like, but I too have made my peace with that. I run about 16 miles and do a couple of Pilates-esque classes each week. If I want to lose any weight (which happens if I've been over-indulgent for a few weeks), I have to eat less than 700 calories a day. It's infuriating.

              Otherwise, I eat more or less anything except prepared/processed/fast food. Just not that much of it.

            2. Genetics, they can help you or make things more difficult. All those folks who pat themselves on the back for how well they eat and exercise should also be patting their ancestors on the back for giving them the body, mind and emotions that make that possible.

              1 Reply
              1. re: escondido123

                You're absolutely right. I thank my mother for her skinny Chinese genes all the time. I am a tall, skinny, couch potato who loves food. And as I've moved into my 40s, there is no question that my metabolism has slowed down. But I cook a lot and avoid buying or cooking with processed foods. I generally cook healthily and these days I *try* not to have that second plate or bowl that I don't need, but that I want "just because it tastes so good".

                I try to refrain from snacking at night (though a bowl of popcorn with a movie certainly happens occasionally). I haven't cut out carbs from my diet, but we almost never have bread in the house anymore (mostly to keep my bread-loving DH from eating an entire baguette a day), and I only cook pasta once or twice a month. I still cook rice regularly (both white and brown) -- maybe once a week, which lasts across a few meals. Hey, I'm Chinese, I can't imagine not having rice. I make lots of roasted veggies, which I love to eat cold out of the fridge. Chilis and stews are staples in our house. Lots of protein and veggies in those and so satisfying.

                On the other hand. I also eat out a lot, and I don't restrict myself at all when I'm out. And we have friends over for dinner fairly regularly, and I tend to be more decadent when I cook for others. The bottom line is that it's all about balance for me. My worst "empty calories" vice is probably my almost daily glass (sometimes two) of wine. I would probably drop 5 pounds just by cutting wine out. But I like my end-of-day ritual. So instead, I've thrown some squats and light weights into my daily routine. Nothing that any sane person would consider a real workout, but better than being on my ass all day.

                So yeah, for me it's all about balance and really good genes.

              2. Now, I wasn't always slim so I can't thank genetics but for two years I've been in the low carb crowd. Gimme that meat, pour on the sauces, load my plate up with veggies, and perhaps a glass of wine if it's a special occasion (Fridays count!). I don't miss what I call "filler" (rolls, pastas, desserts, etc.) at all. Plus I'm staying slim and feel great!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lixer

                  That's worked for me for over a decade now, and completely controlled my diabetes and reversed it's damage without medication. It was harder at first, but over the years I've gone increasingly starch free down to almost none and loving it. Husband eats this way, too, for weight maintenance and prevention of diabetes/heart disease.

                2. It's curious, really. For the last 10 years (ever since I practically quit smoking -- I say practically because on occasion... at a bar where everyone else smokes, or after a gig, I'll have a cigarette or two), I've been trying to lose the 10-15 lbs. I gained. I did WW while working out 5-6 times a week for 60-90 min., and lost NOTHING. ZIP. ZILCH. NADA. And I was always hungry.

                  Then South Beach came around -- when, 2004-ish? -- everyone else around me hopped on that low-carb wagon and dropped weight like crazy. I did not. Oh yeah, I'd lose a pound or two, and then I'd gain it again the next week. Kind of a déja vu, as this was the same thing I experienced on WW. Frustrating, to say the least.

                  What followed were pathetic attempts at eating less, working out more, etc.

                  For some reason, this year it finally happened. I'm down about 15 lbs., still working on another 5. When friends ask me how I did it, I myself am still rather mystified. I seriously doubt that my metabolism changed all of a sudden.

                  While I'd say that my general diet is lowER carb, I am certainly not religious about it. If I feel like having pasta, I will have pasta. Maybe I won't have pasta for a week afterwards, and have meals mostly consisting of veggies and meat or fish.

                  Also, if I feel like OD'ing on pork fat as I have done on a recent Cleveland trip, I will do that. I just don't continue eating like a pig for a month after that. Ya know.... balance.

                  I will say that cutting out late night snacking (my man and I are cheese lovers, and that late night cheese plate def had something to do with the flab), eating smaller portions, and seriously watching your sugar intake combined had an impact. I don't have much of a sweet tooth anymore, so the latter isn't all that difficult for me.

                  In fact, all of these things come easy to me now. I feel physically ill when I overeat which can happen rather quickly. 9-course tasting meals make me nervous these days, 4 courses is kinda my limit (a bit of a bummer I guess).

                  I love veggies and salads, as well as meats and fish, so I don't feel like I am missing out on a lot.

                  I play squash three times a week which is a killer workout, but to be honest, I think exercise as a means of losing weight is WAY overrated.

                  As for the "heatlthy" BMI.... at 5.7 and currently 160 lbs., my BMI is just barely in the "healthy" range. 24, I think. Ridic.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: linguafood

                    Interesting. I'm 5.6, and have been stuck somewhere between 160 lbs and 165 lbs for the last 5 years. I gained 15 lbs in the 2nd half of 2006, in the months folllowing Chowhound's transformation from a blue & white bulletin board to a site with bells and whistles, which coincided with my change from a pescatarian diet back to an omnivore diet. I've spent way more time online over the last 5 years (not only on CH, but also e-G, FB, TA, Twitter and LinkedIn), way more time spent thinking about where I'll eat next/what I'll cook next, more meet-ups/gettogethers/food-related communication with like-minded friends I've met through CH (although kudos to my CH friends who manage to keep a healthy BMI and manage to indulge in moderation), and way less time on the treadmill.

                    I've learned over the last year that I don't have the willpower to have cookies/dessert/candy/interesting breads available to me in my house because I will not stop at one or two portions. I can expect withdrawal symptoms after a decadent weekend of eating in New York or Montreal, and it might take me a few days to get back into a healthier mode after a couple days of indulgence. I'm less likely to over-indulge in any type of food if I refrain from dessert and sweet baked goods all the time. It's all or nothing when it comes to snack foods and sweet foods for me.

                    I do find tracking what I'm eating and how much I'm exercising through MyFitnessPal, which I found out about thanks to a thread on CH, helps me to stay closer to the 160 lb mark.

                  2. Being a Chowhound has nothing to do with gluttony, or overeating or over-indulging, or over-anything when it comes to food.

                    Being a Chowhound simply means enjoying -- and even demanding -- great food.

                    Eating great food =/= eating alot of great food.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I would even argue that gluttony, overeating/overindulging is the antithesis of being a CH. Adam Rich might be eating great food (I haven't had any of the food from the extreme challenges to know) but he's not enjoying it, relishing it.

                      1. re: chowser

                        "Adam Rich might be eating great food (I haven't had any of the food from the extreme challenges to know) but he's not enjoying it, relishing it."

                        And Adam has actually said so in so many words (of course, still trying to be respectful to the establishments who offer these challenges). He's stated in a few interviews that it's not the challenges he enjoys, because despite what he may say on television during the challenge about how good the food may be, it is the other restaurants in the same city and the other items on the menu in the same restaurant that he actually enjoys tasting.

                        Over eating, even if it's really great food, is for the most part not the ideal way to enjoy food (IMHO).

                        1. re: majordanby

                          I've wondered that about a lot of those shows, Andrew Zimmern, Guy Fieri, etc. Some of the food does look good but some look terrible and they're still raving about it. First, it's hard to make huge food taste good, as Adam Rich's challenge go--that huge hamburgers look like they're so dry they could tear your throat on the way down. And, even great food isn't good if you have too much. The hardest thing I've ever done, food-wise, is walk away from a bread pudding that was amazing (yeah, bread pudding). I knew if I finished it, I'd be uncomfortably sick, but it was so good that it was hard to stop. But, I did and have good memories of it, rather than remembering how sick I felt after eating it.

                    2. I love the book "French Women Don't Get Fat." I've never been fat but I've fluctuated around 10lbs. Basically I learned to pay attention to when I am feeling almost full, and then I stop eating. I try to eat slower and savor things. Being a chowhound helps this because we tend to eat better quality food. I still don't have much self control so I avoid buying junk.

                      I notice a huge difference in how satisfied I am after eating when I have low vs high quality food. I've also started eating a lot of lentils and they fill me up better than anything else. I make basically a lentil stew type thing with veggies and sometimes meat, and will have that several times per week for a quick meal.

                      So, pay attention to how you feel when you're eating, stop when you feel full, and don't worry about cleaning your plate.

                      1. No eating out. Or only about once a week. It messes with my portion control. I didn't gain weight in college dorms (buffet) because it was prepaid, I just ate what I want and then left the rest.

                        I am genetically blessed, but can easily gain weight if I make eating out a habit. As long as I eat home cooked food at home, I can eat whatever I want, slather on the butter, etc. I just put leftovers into the fridge when I don't want to eat anymore.

                        1. I am genetically blessed, but I've also learned some things over the years.

                          I've been anorexic, bulimic, bulim-orexic, exercise bulimic, as well as a certified personal trainer and nutritionist...go figure. My weight only became relatively simple to keep down when I stopped thinking about it so much - one of the sweet ironies of life - but that came from getting to a healthier mindset. That, for me, came from doing yoga. But that's a different post.

                          What I found in both myself and my clients was that the restricted diet portion is always a major part of the problem. Studies have actually come out lately that show an absolute correlation in the brain to something being denied - it's something like an 80% increase in thought activity about that thing. It becomes an unconscious obsession. But you can't just eat everything you want either...

                          One trick is to make yourself not want it. Don't deny it from yourself, just don't want it all and it's not so hard. I find that imagining foods that are bad for me in their worst possible state is what works - so a fast food hamburger and fries fresh off the grill and sizzling sound great, but cold and sitting out for a few hours? Yick. Deep-fried tempura, etc? Imagine it when it's gone soggy. I haven't eaten fast food in ten years - every time it sounds good I just imagine it cold, and I'm over it.

                          Cutting out processed foods made more of a difference in keeping my weight down than bulimia did. I don't buy a thing without reading the label, and I make most things from scratch. Then I make sure that my calories are being used regardless of what I'm eating - so if I'm having pasta, the dish is at least half vegetables, and the pasta is my carbs, so that means I'm not having bread on the side and cookies for dessert. If I want dessert, I'm leaving the protein out of the main and having cheese and nuts after the meal; or I'm cutting out the potatoes from the meal so I can have a couple of cookies. As soon as I took the "bad" label away from foods, their power (for the most part) disappeared. Dessert is always an option in my house now, and as a result, sometimes (often) I don't want it. And since I don't eat crap at home, when I eat out I feel okay ordering whatever sounds good without worrying about the ingredients since it's a rare splurge.

                          Getting there took time, of course, but the first step for me was to start allowing in to my diet absolutely anything I wanted in very tiny amounts once a day. The novelty of being able to eat with some kind of impunity wore off after a couple of weeks, and I began to be able to really focus on enjoying the flavor of what I was eating, slowing down instead of shoveling it in, and realizing that it was only the first 3 bites that really tasted good for most foods, so why make more than 5 bites worth of the calorie-dense foods? If you eat out a lot, I think it's a lot more difficult to maintain a normal balance in diet or weight since you have far less control over proportions, portion size, ingredients, etc.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: thursday

                            Good to hear you've found a better way to stay healthy besides starving or binging & purging.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Thanks, linguafood - ironically, I'm now known as the healthiest, most balanced eater out of all my friends. Most would never guess the path it took to get there. =)

                            2. re: thursday

                              "What I found in both myself and my clients was that the restricted diet portion is always a major part of the problem."

                              Exactly. When someone tells me they're doing a restrictive diet or extreme workouts (for them_, I know it's short lived. I don't know anyone who's managed to keep healthy doing that. I do know too many to count who have tried and then end up overindulging and end up heavier than before. Fast forward a few months and the cycle is repeated.

                              Glad you found a good healthy way to get off the cycle.

                              1. re: thursday

                                "One trick is to make yourself not want it."

                                Yes! Too many years of thinking of greasy, over-sweet Chinese takeaways and oily curries as "treats". After a year or so of trying too cook more at home to save money, I've found that revolting takeaways are just that now - revolting, and I'd far rather cook something tastier and, as a side benefit, more healthy. I finally realised that dumping that much fat, salt, low-quality meat and food colouring into my belly wasn't actually a treat at all, and a far better treat is to spend an extra 20 mins to cook something nice that won't make me feel like absolute crap after eating. Thank goodness for my hummingbird metabolism or I'd have ballooned.

                                Lower-carb has definitely helped, along with remembering not to eat as much as my 15-stone bodybuilder bf.

                                I also think that it's easier for Chowhounds to stick to healthier diets because we tend to be more interesting in spending time on cooking and experimenting with new things, and it's less of a chore than for people who only eat to stay alive.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    Those are some gi-fucking-normous bones...in my thighs, stomach and chin.

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      Well, yeah. Just like that famous song:

                                      The thigh-bone connected to the stomach bone,
                                      the stomach bone connnected to the chin bone,
                                      the chin bone connected to the .... funny bone?

                                      Now you have that song in your head. HA!

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        And it's clashing horrifically with the Uinta 'Labyrinth' I'm drinking, you skinny jerk!

                                        (Nights where auntie and uncle offer to babysit are priceless!)

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      I'm fat. I deal.

                                      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

                                      No, everyone else is too skinny.

                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                          Not "fat" :(
                                          You can go with "I get noticed".

                                    2. I'm not blessed - I've been overweight at most by 40 pounds once or twice during my life. I can't recall any of my family being slim, nor approaching obseity.
                                      I've never been underweight except during a serious illness.

                                      I never limit portions, although I don't take seconds.

                                      I eat as 'healthy' as I can. And I love to eat. And I love to cook. My bmi is 'just right.'

                                      1. Okay, I'll bite. I'lm very thin. Don't know what my BMI is and don't really care. Honestly, I think there's a huge genetic component to this. At 48, I really do eat pretty much what I want. Yes, my metabolism has slowed over the past decade, but I know people who are heavier and seem to be much more disciplined than I am. My parents and all of my brothers are slim as well.

                                        That said, I also work out. I need to run for mental health. Due to an injury that I am unwilling to have surgery to repair, I limit myself to running 3-4 miles a day for 3 days, then take a day off.

                                        I also crave natural flavors, and I think this is genetic as well. I cannot stand the taste of many processed ingredients, so things like Oreos just don't tempt me. I think this may play a role as well, because I know many overweight people who really aren't that discriminating when it comes to food. For example, they'll eat the grocery store bakery cookies, even though they really don't taste good. By contrast, most of the thin people I know would rather wait than eat food that tastes bad, not for reasons of discipline, but of palate.

                                        Unfortunately, in spite of my thinness, my cholesterol is creeping up there, so I may need to go on statins soon. There are no perfect genes....

                                        1. I'm not sure if you know (and I'm not going to read every reply), but BMI was originally intended to assess the weight of a population, not an individual. That being said, I have a "healthy BMI" of 21.8. I am the product of two overweight parents and was raised in an unhealthy household, so maintaining a healthy weight is not something that comes naturally to me. I manage my weight in a few ways. Most importantly, I count calories. I keep track of my calories, fat, carbs, protein and other nutrients on SparkPeople.com, and I literally track every bite I eat. For my age, gender, height and activity level, I need to eat about 1700-1800 calories a day to maintain my weight. I'm currently in weight loss mode (preparing for a beach holiday!) and I'm eating between 1200 and 1400 calories each day. I do believe that for someone who struggles to maintain a healthy weight, tracking food is the absolute best thing to do. In order to eat within my recommended calorie range, I need to cook most of my own food. I am single, I live alone, and I'm a vegetarian. For me, batch cooking works best. Usually I spend a few hours one weekend afternoon preparing meals for the upcoming week. This week I've made lunches of "light" creamed spinach, roasted root vegetables, and white bean red pepper dip on whole-wheat crostini. For dinner I've prepared a soup with lots of veggies and two kinds of lentils, that I'll eat with whole-wheat toast. I've also got some pancakes that I made in the freezer (whole wheat pancakes with bananas and peanut butter), and I'm going to make more on Tuesday (whole-wheat with orange juice, bananas and raspberries). No, I don't have recipes for any of this, I just make it up. As I cook, I use the Recipe Calculator on SparkRecipes.com to keep track of the calories and nutrients in each dish. They say that weight loss (and maintenance) is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. My 20% includes two boot-camp classes each week and another hour or two of cardio. I am looking at incorporating more independent strength training (I had my first personal training session this afternoon, actually).

                                          1. I'm thinnish, but I'm also very short, so it's a little dangerous for me to eat in restaurants as the portion sizes are designed for larger folk. I am, however, very interested in trying new foods. It's usually one dish, not an entire menu, that catches my eye, so I often go to a restaurant, sit at the bar, and order that one thing and a drink. That way, I can satisfy my curiosity without over-indulging.

                                            At home, most of what I do is by desire, not design. I like my own cooking (mostly - still trying to master home fries), so I make almost all of my food from scratch. I have little need for desserts or snacks, so I don't keep any dessert-y or snack-y things in the house. If I'm starving between meals, I'll have a spoonful of peanut butter. I eat a lot of pasta and bread and rice and vegetables and fish, because I like them. I have a low tolerance for fatty and salty foods (except for all things cheese and all things pickled). And I have no tolerance whatsoever for meat and poultry, so that's - literally - off the table.

                                            As for exercise, I hate being out of breath, and I hate getting sweated up. So I do yoga. It seems to burn calories quietly, and it calms me. I eat less when I'm calm.

                                            1. I had a friend who loved to cook, socialize and eat. She married a man who had been very overweight and became thin by running a lot and eating based on calories alone. Their marriage was an absolute disaster because she wanted a cozy kitchen to hang out in and he wanted her to go to the gym for long periods of time. Now divorced and I know she's happier if not thinner. I believe stress is the greatest health risk regardless of weight and there are many stats that support that.

                                              1. I work out moderately, due to injuries sustained earlier as a competitive athlete. I don't avoid anything, really, though I'm lucky to not have a sweet tooth.

                                                One of the most surprising things that happened to me about 4-5 years ago was that I easily and slowly (over a year or two) dropped about 20 lbs. I was still in a healthy weight range at my highest weight, but then I lost my job, we moved to an ancient three-story house and because of more time and less money, we never got take-out or went out much anymore. I'd always cooked, but got much better and thriftier at it.

                                                Meat was still on the menu, but in smaller amounts, padded by vegetables (including a lot of beans ) and pasta. We probably even went a little higher carb than before, to pad out the meal and because it was cheaper.

                                                Between cutting out restaurant and take-out food, and adding the constant trips up and down three flights of stairs to my established exercise, I lost weight without really trying. My husband did, too.

                                                I also remember reading, back when I was working for a health and fitness magazine, that some exercise scientists theorized that metabolism is, in large part, set in childhood. So if you were and active child and adolescent, you're set up to be a leaner adult. I don't know if that's because active kids tend to stay active as adults, but I thought it was interesting. Sure, metabolism obviously changes as you age, and some who were active as kids still put on more weight than they'd like as adults, but it's an interesting theory.

                                                1. I'll first start by saying that I think the whole BMI thing is garbage, I see most folks here agree.
                                                  I'm only 5'2" and small boned. My BMI is at "underweight", but I got a glowing report at my last physical exam. I don't rule out any foods, and thought I don't make a concerted effort to control portions, they tend to be small because I'm small.
                                                  But for me, the key is running. At least 3-4 miles 6 days a week. I've done it now for about 20 years, save for a few months off for a knee surgery that just about drove me batty. To show how important the exercise is, I gained about 15 lbs in 4 months and I was not feeling very pleasant.
                                                  I think for anyone, a fair amount of exercise is just the way to go. And don't pay so much attention to a scale, just how you feel. Keeps you healthy so you can live longer and eat more :)

                                                  1. My BMI has always been toward the low end of healthy, but unfortunately, as i get older, i find it harder to eat what i want and not gain wain. I'm not even 30 yet and i can already tell a difference. To maintain my weight and still enjoy food, i try to watch what i eat during the week but i only eat what i absolutely love. Sometimes during the week i will get stuck on eating my favorite foods over and over again because if i don't love what i'm eating, i immediately want to eat something else no matter how full i feel. During the weekend, i like to eat out more, try new restaurants, and be more lenient on what i'm eating. I exercise almost every day...so no, i'm not one of those lucky people that seem to eat whatever they want with no consequences...i have to make an effort. Sometimes i wish i didn't care about my appearance at all, but i do :(

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: iluvtennis

                                                      "Sometimes i wish i didn't care about my appearance at all, but i do :( "

                                                      Health and good appearance go hand-in-hand. You're doing just fine :-)))

                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                        This may come as a shock, but there are healthy people who have a bad appearance. You can in fact be healthy and ugly.

                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                          Not to mention that a slim body type or low metab. doesn't mean you're necessarily healthy. In this thin obsessed world we find ourselves in the assumption that thin equates with good health is just maddening. My sil is naturally slim, has a had time keeping weight on, rarely excercises and eats however she pleases...and spends more time in the doctor's office than anyone I know.

                                                          1. re: escondido123

                                                            True, one does not negate the other.

                                                      2. i would definitely consider myself a healthy weight, but my BMI is very high due to density of muscle vs fat (competing bodybuilder). For me, its a combination of careful control of calories and intense workouts.

                                                        1. I'm youngish still, so who knows what will happen if my metabolism slows down, but the rest my immediate family (including my younger sister) is all on the larger side. Genetics are absolutely not on my side, which includes the possibility of developing thyroid issues.
                                                          For now, I'm a very healthy weight and have incredibly healthy stats according to my doctor. I attribute it to a few things:
                                                          1. No car. Since we gave up our car, I lost 10-15 pounds and that was from an already healthy weight. Even when we had a car, we tried to take public transportation a lot, and it made a difference. Takes a little more time and effort, but it's better for the environment and my health. Win win.
                                                          2. Very few calories from beverages. It's water and straight tea most days. I will do a glass of wine every once in a while, but beyond that, I don't get any calories from what I drink.
                                                          3. Vegetarian diet. It's a lot more difficult to eat a lot of calories without meat involved. You can absolutely do it (cheese is the main culprit in many cases), but tofu and veggies are just not as nutritionally dense. Our dinners are often at least 75% veggies by volume.
                                                          4. Portion control, especially when eating out. Except for sandwich places and fine dining, I think I pretty much always bring home leftovers.

                                                          No serious exercise though...just a lot of walking. I have yet to find an exercise activity aside from yoga that I actually enjoy.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: tazia

                                                            Sounds like you're doing well, but I would certainly question the idea that a vegetarian diet, per se, will help you lose weight. Vegan, maybe, but when my husband and I went on a vegetarian diet we each gained five pounds--yes it was cheese, and dairy, and eggs--but we were still eating lots of vegetables too.

                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                              And starch. Very calorically dense and increases high levels of fat storage hormone.

                                                          2. I must be a little bit lucky - I eat what I want, when I want and fall in to the healthy BMI category at 21.3. I suspect it's something to do with eating very little in the way of processed food and using the best quality fresh food I can afford to cook with. It sounds odd to some, but I do believe having a keen interest in and a love for food is what helps me maintain a healthy weight.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: TheHuntress

                                                              You are very lucky. ;-)

                                                              Plenty of overweight Chowhounds do what you're doing, but stress, emotional eating, weak portion control, lack of physical activity, a slower metabolism, age, their particular set of genes, or some other x factor result in a BMI that's higher than 21.3.

                                                              The vast majority of my North American friends and relatives over the age of 30 have a BMI between 24 and 27, after having BMIs of 18-23 in their teens and 20s. Stress, age, emotional eating, North American restaurant portion sizes, and genes have a lot to do with the weight gain, regardless of whether they're eating the best quality food they can afford. ;-)

                                                              Most of my friends who have BMIs in the 18-24 "healthy" BMI range fall into one of these groups:

                                                              the ones who are not emotional eaters who might not have grown up in food-focused homes,

                                                              the ones who are occasionally (or even frequently) emotional eaters and are calorie counting, controlling their portions and exercising religiously to stay in the 18-24 range,

                                                              and

                                                              the ones who are lucky to be slim, with or without exercise, who can indulge in treats without worry of setting off binges, who can stop at a handful of chips or one cookie, who rarely overeat and don't clean their plates out of habit.

                                                              1. re: prima

                                                                And, as many have concluded on this thread, the BMI is in no way shape or form an indicator of health, or "healthy" weight.

                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                  Absolutely correct, linguafood. It's a mere tool that is to be used while taking many other factors in to account. I certainly imagine that as I have now hit my 30's I won't be keeping my "healthy" BMI in this manner for much longer :)

                                                                  1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                    The advantage of that is that people often start living more healthfully when they start gaining weight--they start working out, watching what they eat, all part of a healthier lifestyle than being thin because of genetics. Of course, there are the cases of people who start doing more extreme things to lose weight, like taking pills, starving, yoyo dieting, etc. I strongly believe that ignoring BMI/ weight, and aiming to live a healthy lifestyle is a better way to go, for those concerned about health, not appearance.

                                                            2. weight watchers was for me a life saver. i've learned to eat more reasonable portions, watch the balance of my diet and indulge myself less frequently and with better tasting, more reasonable foods. :)

                                                              1. A few years ago I was disgusted with my weight and decided I needed to lose a bunch. To do so required me to learn more about food. I embraced this education, learned to cook and became more adventurous in terms of what I eat. In fact, it was during this time that I discovered CH.

                                                                Anyway, my plan was fairly simple, in retrospect. I watched calories and tried to control my portions. I also attempted to transition to foods high in fiber (to help me feel satiated) and protein (to help the development of muscle mass) while limiting my carbs as much as possible. On top of that, I also started working out regularly.

                                                                With these changes I was able to lose nearly a quarter of my weight and move into the "healthy" BMI range.

                                                                That was a few years ago. After stabilizing I continued with the above lifestyle for a while. But I don't like exercising very much, so I mostly cut that out. I walk a lot, as I live in the city, but I do not follow a exercise regimen any more. I'm no longer as obsessive in terms of what I eat, either, but I do try to make sure that what I eat is what I really want.

                                                                Now, say three or four years later I have been able to keep the weight off and am still in the "healthy" BMI range.