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I don't think "naturally thin" people exist

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Old 02-21-2011, 10:00 PM   #16
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Yes, I think there are naturally thin people, just as people come in all different heights & have different shoe sizes & have different "builds."

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Old 02-21-2011, 10:00 PM   #17
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I would define "naturally" as "not making any conscious effort".

Some of those people who make no conscious effort DO have higher metabolisms (I know one. I lived and worked with him for two weeks. He had an office job, no extra exercise, and ate 3000-4000 cals a day).

Some of those people who make no conscious effort probably do things NATURALLY that keep them thin (lots of unconscious movement, like fidgeting, for example, or more intuitive eating).

Still, I'd call both of those people "naturally thin". If you are not consciously taking action to by thinner, isn't that pretty much the definition of natural?
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:27 AM   #18
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I would define "naturally" as "not making any conscious effort".
That's certainly the definition I was using. If "naturally" thin people are using unconscious methods of adjusting activity or calorie burn, what does that mean to me. I can't access that same method. I can't consciously choose to make unconscious adjustments to my activity level.

Research has found that some of the metabolic adjustments aren't just unconscious, they're autonomic. For example, if you reduce food intake in test subjects (animals and humans), some will experience a drop in "normal" body temperature (because it takes fewer calories to support a lower body temperature).

When I read that a few years ago, I was flabergasted.


I've been dieting since I was 5, and my body temperature at one time was normal. But in my teens it started dropping, and is now almost a full two degrees below normal. If my temperature rises to 98 degrees, I'm extremely sick.

My brother (who had the hard time gaining weight) had higher than normal body temperature (although only by a few tenths, like 98.8 or 98.9).


While I could try to mimic the unconscious activity level of "naturally thin folks" it will never become unconscious, and I can't mimic the autonomic changes. I can't make my heart beat faster, or raise my body temperature.



I was watching a great obesity documentary, and I wish I could remember it's name or the obesity researcher who was talking, but he was talking aobut the interaction between genetics/biology and environment.

Essentially he was arguing the cliche "biology (genetics) loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger."

He said that if the environment is scarce enough in food, and daily living requires an active lifestyle, regardless of genetic predisposition, virtually no one will be obese, because there's just not enough food in the environment to support it.

Likewise, he argued in an environment in which daily living requires (or even just offers) a sedentary lifestyle - and the food environment is especially overabundant with high calorie/low volume fatty carbohydrates, you probably could get virtually 100% overweight if not obesity.

I say virtually, because there are people with genetic conditions that prevent them from gaining weight no matter how inactive they are and how many calories they ingest such as

"the woman who can't gain weight"

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/381053...-today_health/


and the "world's strongest boy," Richard Sandrak

http://damncoolpics.blogspot.com/200...ngest-boy.html


I saw a documentary that featured Richard Sandrak, and the doctor interviewed theorized that the boy had a genetic condition similar to ones identified in certain breeds of dogs and cattle (essentially no matter how much they eat, the body converts and stores it as muscle rather than fat).


The implications are interesting. The research could even eventually lead to a "cure" for obesity. If you could turn on the genetic switch that adds muscle, and turn off the genetic switch to add fat, you could prevent or even reverse obesity completely - a cure perhaps.

Likewise if you could flip the genetic switch that turns on the "unconscious" metabolism stimulators, another preventative/cure.

Any marketable obesity treatment from this research is decades if not a century off, but it's quite interesting in the abstract.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:39 AM   #19
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OK, this may be a dumb question... maybe I'm just not getting something here? But if someone who is thin is doing something unconsciously to keep from gaining weight... Doesn't that make them naturally thin?

What is the meaning of "naturally"?

Jay
I have a friend who has always been thin. If anything at all stresses her out she doesn't eat for days. On the days she does eat she repetatively eats the same thing. I've known her for 30 years and don't think she consciously does these things to stay thin but I'm sure they are what keeps her thin.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:00 AM   #20
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I've never met anyone who I first thought of as naturally thin who wasn't doing something, either consciously or unconsciously, to keep from gaining weight.
I would argue that this is circular reasoning. Just the fact that they aren't gaining weight "proves" that they're doing something to maintain their weight.

It's like arguing:

I've never met anyone who wasn't doing something, either consciously or unconsciously to stay alive.

How do I know this?

Because the fact that they are alive proves that they're doing something to stay alive.







What would you consider proof that a person wasn't doing something, either consciously or unconsciously to keep from gaining weight? And how is it different than what many very obese people also do.





Even at my highest weight, I had habits that consciously and unconsciously kept me from gaining weight. In my late 20's, I started reading Fat Acceptance magazines (Big Beautiful Woman, and Radiance) and encountered the radical idea that dieting actually caused weight gain.

It was a radical concept, but it sounded so true of me that I vowed not to diet, and see what happened. When I ate without restriction, knowing there would be no restriction, I stopped binging. My weight stabilized, and I stopped gaining weight. I stopped trying consciously, but obviously I was doing something to keep from gaining weight.

Now if I had learned the strategy nearly 200 lbs before I did, maybe I wouldn't have been naturally thin, but I may have been able to maintain a much lower weight without having to expend a lot of effort.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:18 AM   #21
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I know an entire family of naturally thin people. The dad and the two sons are all around six feet tall. The dad and the oldest son weigh around 150 pounds, The youngest son weighs around 135 pounds and is constantly struggling to gain weight. The youngest daughter is five nine and weighs 117 pounds. She looks like a model. The mom and oldest daughter are five feet and five two and weigh under 100 pounds.

None of them diet or get much exercise. They eat a lot of fast food and take out and whenever I visit their house they are munching on some kind of unhealthy junk food. Judging by what I've observed the youngest daughter, the one with the figure to die for, seems especially fond of chips and cookies, which she will eat by the bagful. And no, she's not a closet bulimic.

They are all winners in the metabolism lottery.

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Old 02-22-2011, 08:46 AM   #22
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"Naturally" thin to me means = by nature, or born with an ability to metabolize foods more efficiently than average.

I used to be this way...and NO, I didn't eat less or skip meals, etc., etc. I grew up on foods like GRITS w/cheese and country bacon or sausage, and even my veggies were laidened with hamhocks...haha! I ate fast foods almost every day, I ate 5 snicker bars/day several days of the week, cakes, cookies, etc. I probably consumed 5K calories per day. Heck...I worked at WENDY'S!!! Everytime I passed the fry or frosty machine, I was snacking..haha! I stayed a svelt, 135 lbs thoughout High School...with an athletic build.

That's ANOTHER thing, I always had LOTS of visible muscle...without lifting weights or exercise. That said, I was very athletic and generally very physical. I played handball, rollerskated for hours several days out of the week, did all the things young people USED to do (run, play, jump rope, etc.).

My daughter is 5'8 and weighs about 100lbs...rail thin. She eats every couple of hours. If she doesn't eat frequently, she gets tired and woozy. Her metabolism burns off everything she eats faster than she can finish chewing!


Yes, sometimes being thin amounts of having naturally "good eating habits", however, sometimes is just amounts of being blessed with an extremely fast metabolism. Afterall, our weight is determined by our "metabolism"...
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:58 AM   #23
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I think I might be losing this one. I guess maybe my definition of "naturally thin" is a little different. I think I was talking more about the notion that someone could do no form of exercise and eat 2000+ cals a day and still stay thin. Whether or not the effort to exercise or portion control is deliberate or not doesn't matter to me, something is still being done to make those types of "naturally thin" people thin.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:40 AM   #24
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I know what you mean by naturally thin I think. My brother has been rail thin all his life - except for a brief period in college where he exercised while trying to put on weight. He was pretty inactive in his youth, has had a desk job for the last ten years. He ate frozen pizza and ramen noodles, likely ate 3k+ cals per day. Now that he is 35 he has started to gain weight, though nothing has changed with his diet or activity level. He is now having to exercise to maintain his thin. So would he fit your 'naturally thin' definition? Or did he fit it before and now he has to effort it so isn't 'naturally thin' anymore? My uncle, mom's younger brother, is the exact same way with the exact pattern - never had to exercise while young, exercised in his mid thirties, then got cancer in his 40s so that changed his metabolism. He is unhealthy thin now, nothing natural about it. But he was also naturally thin in his youth..

Now, none of the women in the family have that trait. We have to fight all the time.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:45 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ncuneo View Post
I think I might be losing this one. I guess maybe my definition of "naturally thin" is a little different. I think I was talking more about the notion that someone could do no form of exercise and eat 2000+ cals a day and still stay thin.

The family of thin people I mentioned in my post does exactly that.

Naturally thin people are rare but they do exist.

I wish I were one of them.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:27 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by ncuneo View Post
I think I might be losing this one. I guess maybe my definition of "naturally thin" is a little different. I think I was talking more about the notion that someone could do no form of exercise and eat 2000+ cals a day and still stay thin. Whether or not the effort to exercise or portion control is deliberate or not doesn't matter to me, something is still being done to make those types of "naturally thin" people thin.
you think what we all imagine "naturally thin" people are like. People who could eat the way we want to eat and still be thin.

and I'm still not convinced the exist
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:55 AM   #27
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Some people eat and experience much more pleasure than others. Others may experience more pleasure copulating or shopping or something.

I happen to be of the group that derives too much pleasure from eating, unfortunately! My boyfriend would rather starve and have sex instead (he has never had a weight problem).

I've noticed that, of the 'naturally thin' people I've known, this has been the case.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:11 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ncuneo View Post
I think I might be losing this one. I guess maybe my definition of "naturally thin" is a little different. I think I was talking more about the notion that someone could do no form of exercise and eat 2000+ cals a day and still stay thin. Whether or not the effort to exercise or portion control is deliberate or not doesn't matter to me, something is still being done to make those types of "naturally thin" people thin.
"No form of exercise" is essentially impossible. Even 500 lb folks often get some form of exercise. Also 2,000 calories isn't much. Many, many folks can maintain a normal weight on 2,000 caloies and no above average activity.

Of course "something" is being done, the laws of physics still apply, but you can always argue "something is still being done," but sometimes that "something" literally is autonomic functions such as heart rate and body temperature, blinking rate and other micro-movements, respiration rate, digestion...



The book, Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata sites a lot of the research that supports the existence of naturally thin folks by your definition.

There are others too, but off-hand I can't remember which ones. I think these do, but Rethinking Thin stands out in my memory (now whether it's because it was the most comprehensive or just the one I read most recently, I couldn't say)

The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos

or The Diet Myth by Paul Campus (I think this is actually the same book under a different title )

Big Fat Lies by Glen A Gaesser

Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon

A lot of fat acceptance books (they do have a conflicting agenda, but the research cited is still solid). The conclusions the authors draw aren't always valid, but it's easy enough to go to the original research. Which I did when I first encountered FA rhetoric in graduate school. I literally put as much time into obesity research as I did my graduate work in developmental psychology. Several times, I evne started to write papers on the psychology of weight loss, but I'd chicken out in embarassment, because I was afraid the professor would think I was trying to justify my own obesity (I was actually just trying to understand it).



These books I haven't read yet, but they were on a "to read" list along with Rethinking Thin, so they may also site the research supporting the expstence of "naturally thin" by your definition.

Feeding on Dreams: Why America's Diet Industry Doesn't Work & What Will Work for You by Diane Epstein and Kathleen Thompson

Why Diets Fail US!: ... the Skinny on Weight Loss by Dr. Lynn Edwards
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:58 AM   #29
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"No form of exercise" is essentially impossible. Even 500 lb folks often get some form of exercise. Also 2,000 calories isn't much. Many, many folks can maintain a normal weight on 2,000 caloies and no above average activity.
Come on - you know what she meant! She is just saying someone who does not exercise regularly and intensely - like hitting the gym or going running and someone who eats A LOT without gaining weight. Geesh.

And, yes, my sister was one of these people. She was a complete lazy butt, would eat junk food and fast food constantly, and people thought she was anorexic. But as she aged her metabolism slowed down and she did start to gain. After her baby was born, she did finally have to work at it. I, on the other hand, never had that luxury in the first place.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:41 PM   #30
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Come on - you know what she meant! She is just saying someone who does not exercise regularly and intensely - like hitting the gym or going running and someone who eats A LOT without gaining weight. Geesh.
Yes, and I was I was illustrating a point with an extreme example. What I was pointing out is that when you say "does no exercise" it becomes very difficult to find someone who fits that definition.

My point was that if you're looking for something, you generally find it. If you're looking for activity and portion control (or lack thereof) you will find it.

My friend who ate non-stop (I'd estimate 5,000 calories a day) was no more active than the other normal-weight housemates. In fact, she was a couch potato compared to some, but she did figit a bit more than the average person. You could point to it and say "AHA, see there's the reason, she's doing "something" that other people are not" but it would be misleading (most people would find it very difficult to figit off 5,000 calories).

My dad did indeed have a quite strenuous job, but strenuous enough to regularly burn off 8,000 calories?

My point is that the average person can rarely know enough about another person to declare them "naturally" thin/obese or not. Without 24/7 data, you can't declare that they exist or that they do not. Only empircal science can do that - and it does. There's plenty of research support - scientific evidence that weight and activity/calorie levels vary tremendously - not only among the obese, but among the thin as well.

What you can observe as a non-scientist is very different than the reality, because it's human nature (also verified by observational research) to find what you are looking for, and ignore what you're not.

There are many examples of thin people who eat more and move less than the average, and many examples of obese people who eat less and move more than the average. But if you don't believe in them, you won't see them, even when they're in front of your face.

I would be comfortable saying that most obese people, especially severely obese people like myself, eat more and move less than average, but I can guarantee you that I can find a thin person who eats more and moves less than I do. I bet I can also find someone larger than me who eats less and moves more than I do.

For most of us (at least at this point) it doesn't matter whether naturally thin people exist or not. It's an academic rather than a practical point. You're got the metabolism you've got, and you need to deal with it on those terms, because there's no (currently) reliable method to change it. However, very fast and very slow metabolisms do exist, and there's a large variability in metabolism even when you control for calorie intake and activity level.

Understanding that variability helps, because otherwise it's so easy to feel discouraged and cheated when you encounter slimmer people who eat more and move less than you do.

Unfair? Yes. Anything you can do about it? No.
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