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Old 02-25-2014, 10:06 AM   #1
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Default IE - observing normal people

How has your perception of thin people changed since starting IE? I have found that the way I perceive skinnies is dramatically different than before.

Before, I sometimes believed that they were lying about liking foods. I thought surely they like food but never allow themselves to eat it. Now I realize they do eat it but no compulsively.

Before, I thought that they were secret starvers, the opposite of being a secret binger. Sure sure, they eat when they're in front of me but behind closed doors they're avoiding food altogether.

Before, I thought that their metabolism was genetically miraculous.

Before, I thought that they didn't have any problems, but now I realize that they are only different in the way they cope with their problems.

Before, I thought that their appetite was extremely low. Now I'm starting to realize that their appetite is the same as mine, but they are more attuned to their level of hunger and satiety.

**Please excuse my use of the word "skinnies" it's just the way I refer to people who have no debilitating issues with food or weight control. I mean no derogatory assessment of anyone who is thinner than I am
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:19 AM   #2
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It's all about about the complexity of human nature. Within the general group of "skinny" people, there are many subgroups. Skinny people with/ without appetite.
skinny with/without great metabolism etc...
The problem is that you can't put every one in the same category. I have a skinny friend who actually only drinks boiled hot water throughout the day (as food I mean)!! She enjoys it so much and can't have any food. I think it's partially due to the fact that she's always having problems with her throat, bla bla bla and most at times she says she can't feel the smell or taste of food when she's eating so she doesn't see the point in eating. She virtually eats like a bird.
My brother is thin as well and I swear he eats in a meal the equivalent of what the rest of us in the family (fatties for the most) eat all together.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:29 AM   #3
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I'm not sure...most of the people I know are trying to lose weight or eat healthy in one form or another, so I'm not sure which ones are "normal" eaters, and just because someone is thin doesn't mean they have a healthy eating style.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:33 AM   #4
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I'm not sure...most of the people I know are trying to lose weight or eat healthy in one form or another, so I'm not sure which ones are "normal" eaters, and just because someone is thin doesn't mean they have a healthy eating style.
Very true. Although I should clarify that the people I'm observing most are the people that I KNOW, not acquaintances or strangers. For example, my husband, my mother, and one of my best friends in particular. I know these people well, I think of them as skinnies, and I have made some rather absurd assumptions about them based on how they eat that suddenly through my newfound perspective on food seem totally valid to me. They are not lying, or denying themselves, they're eating all foods and not being weird about any food the way we dieters are about food. They don't villainize food and now I realize how absurd I must have seemed to them when I was tooting dieting advice to them "oh you shouldn't eat so many carbs" lol.
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Old 02-25-2014, 03:01 PM   #5
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I think research is starting to catch up and debunk a lot of sacred myths about why some of us weigh more and eat more than is healthy. Appetite and eating behaviors are heavily influenced by genetics, brain chemistry, early childhood/infancy environment. Skinny people are able to "eat one or two" and put away the rest because they aren't bombarded by biochemical signals to keep eating them like many of us. Watch how long someone can avoid drinking water once they feel thirsty--that's what many overweight people experience.

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Old 02-25-2014, 03:15 PM   #6
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I think research is starting to catch up and debunk a lot of sacred myths about why some of us weigh more and eat more than is healthy. Appetite and eating behaviors are heavily influenced by genetics, brain chemistry, early childhood/infancy environment. Skinny people are able to "eat one or two" and put away the rest because they aren't bombarded by biochemical signals to keep eating them like many of us. Watch how long someone can avoid drinking water once they feel thirsty--that's what many overweight people experience.
I totally agree, but I don't think that this is something we have to take lying down. I do think that I'm wired to eat in order to comfort myself. Whenever anxiety hits, or loneliness or boredom, I've trained myself to turn towards food. Because it's there? Because it's comforting? Because every time a baby cries they want food and I'm not past it? I don't know. I just know that whenever an uncomfortable feeling arises I perceive it as a signal to eat. I won't call that hunger anymore but many of us do perceive it as hunger. I'm having real success at meeting my hunger and questioning it. To me, hunger is like the hydra monster Hercules tries to battle. When you chop of one head 3 more grow in its place. We all tiptoe around hunger by trying to trick it, placate it, preemptively eat to avoid it, and are all around petrified of it. I do notice that normal eaters don't fear hunger and I'm pretty sure that if they can do it I can do it to. So I'm hankering down on hunger, learning all about its ugly heads, trying to savor what it feels like so that I recognize it in its many forms, and not shying away from the feelings that it brings with it, whatever those may be... for me those are primarily anger, frustration, anxiety, and loneliness.

Those biochemical signals you're referring to that tell us to eat eat eat - I'm Hercules, I'm taking them on.
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:29 PM   #7
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like you, I think I'm wired to eat out of a need for emotional release. However, I have found that sometimes when I'm stressed/anxious/whatever, I will find myself NOT wanting to eat. So, I'm not sure what the difference is!

But, what I have noticed is - strange as it may seem - I will be less motivated to eat from stress/anxiety/emotional release if I've been exercising regularly. Almost like eating is my way to vent anger. If I'm exercising, I'm getting the anger energy out, so no need to eat.

I wish I knew more people who had "normal" eating styles. I have almost no frame of reference. My mother, father, brother, cousin, most of my friends - have all been on diet after diet. The only one I know that hasn't is my husband, and he eats sandwiches and cereal most of the time, won't eat half of the things I like that are considered healthy. He is thin for the most part, with a bit of a belly, but I think that's due to lack of exercise more than anything.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:33 PM   #8
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I find that when I just eat enough to feel satisfied, no emotional attachment, I could probably be at a satisfactory weight for some people - slightly overweight. Sure I can look at thin people who eat as much as they want, but when I see other people who also eat the same, but their idea of "as much as they want" might be the full burger instead of half of one, but I try and look at other people too who are normal eaters - normal eaters can range in size. They might not necessarily eat a whole pizza or cake, but they might grab a bigger slice than a smaller person who is also following appetite cues, not emotional cues. I think that its important to look at everyone who is a normal eater, and not everyone is thin. Perhaps not health-debilitating large, but perhaps bigger than where some of us may want to be.

If I were to lets say eat like 2 cartons of ice cream in 1 sitting, that is one thing and I may have an issue there, but if I were to eat my regular desired amount of food like finishing a sundae, eh id be happy in the food eating dept but not hte clothes-fitting one.

I'm more of a natural Anne Burrell/Sunny anderson than a Melissa Clark (New york times food writer), so I just try to sometimes satisfy my personal food-eating cues, but not always - that way I can look like a melissa clark even though I'm an anne burrell on the inside. For me, that is my intuitive goal, but I don't get there through 100% following my personal intuitive eating.
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:48 PM   #9
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I find that when I just eat enough to feel satisfied, no emotional attachment, I could probably be at a satisfactory weight for some people - slightly overweight. Sure I can look at thin people who eat as much as they want, but when I see other people who also eat the same, but their idea of "as much as they want" might be the full burger instead of half of one, but I try and look at other people too who are normal eaters - normal eaters can range in size. They might not necessarily eat a whole pizza or cake, but they might grab a bigger slice than a smaller person who is also following appetite cues, not emotional cues. I think that its important to look at everyone who is a normal eater, and not everyone is thin. Perhaps not health-debilitating large, but perhaps bigger than where some of us may want to be.
I don't think skinny is the ultimate goal, not for me. Skinny is more a state of mind for me to tell you the truth. Some days I feel skinny, some days I feel fat, both days of those days my weight is the same on the scale. If I had to choose between being a skinny person who fusses about my weight rather than a plump person who no significant food dysfunction I'd choose the latter any day. My ultimate goal is to be free of food as a stressor, a stress release, a stress causer, an emotional outlet etc. And so that's where I'm focusing my energy, and thus observing those that I wish to be like.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:46 PM   #10
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Now I'm starting to realize that their appetite is the same as mine, but they are more attuned to their level of hunger and satiety.
I agree with much of what you say, but not the above. My observations of naturally thin people have led me to believe that they do have a significantly smaller appetite than I do. They feel full sooner and find it physically uncomfortable to keep eating beyond that point (unlike yours truly).

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Old 02-25-2014, 08:50 PM   #11
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I saw a video of an interesting experiment on kindergarten children. Researchers surrounded them with plates of brownies, chips, etc., while the kids were going about their school business. Even at age 5, kids differed markedly in their behaviour under those circumstances: some of them grabbed a brownie or two, then lost interest. If a researcher offered them more food, they would decline or move away. Others kept on grabbing food for the duration of the experiment. For them, the taste and comfort factor of food clearly overrode the sensation of satiety. I agree that genetics, or at least neural wiring, probably has a lot to do with our proclivities to stop or not stop eating after the physiological "enough" point.

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Old 02-25-2014, 10:58 PM   #12
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I've met thin and fat people with all sorts of appetites, hunger levels, and eating and exercise habits, to the point that I believe there is no "normal."

If I tried to eat like a few of my thin family and friends do, I'd weigh 1100 lbs by now. Yet if I ate like my obese grandmother did when she was alive, I'd probably be thin. My grandparents lived with us for most of my childhood, and she wasn't a secret eater, but she did have multiple health problems including endocrine issues.

I can't eat or think like anyone but myself, so copying a thin person not only isn't practical, it's probably not even be possible.

Luckily, I don't have to copy anyone to succeed at weight loss. I only have to eat fewer and burn more calories, than I currently do. That's a lot easier than trying to find the "right" thin person to model my behavior after.

By making changes based on my current behavior, I don't have to worry about mimicing a thin person who has a freakishly high metabolism (like my brother or my dad before middle-age. I've never seen anyone, of any size eat as much as they did).

All of my life, both of them would tell me how "easy" it was to lose weight. Now that they've both experienced and struggled with middle-aged weight gain (even though only 15-30 lbs), they've stopped talking about how "easy" weight control is.

Being normal (if there is such a thing) is beyond my capabilities, but I can do better, and I don't have to mimic anyone to do it. Some of the things I have to do, to make better choices are downright deviant. Weighing twice daily is vital for me, but I wouldn't call it normal by any definition. It's just what I need to do, to keep heading in the right direction. When I give up daily weighing, I inevitably start gaining, mostly because I convince myself that I can eat "like a normal person."
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:50 AM   #13
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I totally agree, but I don't think that this is something we have to take lying down. I do think that I'm wired to eat in order to comfort myself. Whenever anxiety hits, or loneliness or boredom, I've trained myself to turn towards food. Because it's there? Because it's comforting? Because every time a baby cries they want food and I'm not past it? I don't know. I just know that whenever an uncomfortable feeling arises I perceive it as a signal to eat. I won't call that hunger anymore but many of us do perceive it as hunger. I'm having real success at meeting my hunger and questioning it. To me, hunger is like the hydra monster Hercules tries to battle. When you chop of one head 3 more grow in its place. We all tiptoe around hunger by trying to trick it, placate it, preemptively eat to avoid it, and are all around petrified of it. I do notice that normal eaters don't fear hunger and I'm pretty sure that if they can do it I can do it to. So I'm hankering down on hunger, learning all about its ugly heads, trying to savor what it feels like so that I recognize it in its many forms, and not shying away from the feelings that it brings with it, whatever those may be... for me those are primarily anger, frustration, anxiety, and loneliness.

Those biochemical signals you're referring to that tell us to eat eat eat - I'm Hercules, I'm taking them on.
You go girl!!
Btw, my point isn't that anyone should passively accept their 'eating fate'. More like, it's easier if you know precisely what it is you're fighting to change. I often wondered why eating a tiny bit of sweets seemed to turn on a switch that made me want more. Or why I was constantly hungry when I was very overweight, eating a lot more than I do now. Then I read about insulin resistance and how hormones and neurotransmitters affect whether I feel satiated. It's empowering to have another way to to view my relationship to eating, rather than simply a lack of self-control.
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:36 AM   #14
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I saw a video of an interesting experiment on kindergarten children. Researchers surrounded them with plates of brownies, chips, etc., while the kids were going about their school business. Even at age 5, kids differed markedly in their behaviour under those circumstances: some of them grabbed a brownie or two, then lost interest. If a researcher offered them more food, they would decline or move away. Others kept on grabbing food for the duration of the experiment. For them, the taste and comfort factor of food clearly overrode the sensation of satiety. I agree that genetics, or at least neural wiring, probably has a lot to do with our proclivities to stop or not stop eating after the physiological "enough" point.

F.
That is exactly how i am, taste and comfort factor far exceeds satiety, in fact my personal satiety level, IMO, is way higher than the "average" person, i seem to need a lot more food to feel that comfortably full feeling. UGHHH
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:08 AM   #15
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...I believe there is no "normal."

If I tried to eat like a few of my thin family and friends do, I'd weigh 1100 lbs by now. Yet if I ate like my obese grandmother did when she was alive, I'd probably be thin. My grandparents lived with us for most of my childhood, and she wasn't a secret eater, but she did have multiple health problems including endocrine issues.

I can't eat or think like anyone but myself, so copying a thin person not only isn't practical, it's probably not even be possible.

Luckily, I don't have to copy anyone to succeed at weight loss. I only have to eat fewer and burn more calories, than I currently do. That's a lot easier than trying to find the "right" thin person to model my behavior after.

By making changes based on my current behavior, I don't have to worry about mimicing a thin person who has a freakishly high metabolism (like my brother or my dad before middle-age. I've never seen anyone, of any sizw eat as much as they did).


Being normal (if there is such a thing) is beyond my capabilities, but I can do better, and I don't have to mimic anyone to do it. Some of the things I have to do, to make better choices are downright deviant. Weighing twice daily is vital for me, but I wouldn't call it normal by any definition. It's just what I need to do, to keep heading in the right direction. When I give up daily weighing, I inevitably start gaining (mostly because I convince myself that I can eat "like a normal person."
I never said anything about mimicking thin people. My experiences are completely different than yours anyway. I've never met anyone who didn't look proportionate to the amount of food they eat. As far as I have experienced, this is a fantasy to think to someone can be 300lbs and eat like a bird while someone else can eat thousands of calories a day and be thin. There is always a balance somewhere in energy input/output and that's all based on the people I know and see. I can't speak for anyone else of course but there are not too many people in family with serious health issues like that or debilitating endocrine problems that severe. Basically, you are what you eat.

How sad to think of oneself as never being normal. It makes me profoundly sad to hear it. I really don't care about being skinny, thin or anything like that. I long for having a normal relationship with food. Take the word "normal" to mean what you like, but I know exactly what it means to me. It means eating what I want, eating it when I'm hungry for it, and eating it until I'm full. You can call that mimicking another person but when I see people in my life that are happy with who they are (not necessarily skinny or overweight, just fine), and enjoy food without hating themselves then yes, I'm going to focus on being just that. I'm not going to live in a constant state of deprivation. Being happy = being healthy.
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