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"It's my metabolism."

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Old 05-19-2010, 07:26 AM   #1
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Default "It's my metabolism."

My grandchildren's father is one of those people who can eat like there is no tomorrow and not gain an ounce. He is so thin that people have accused him of being a meth or crack addict, yet I've seen him eat stacks and stacks of pancakes, dripping with butter and syrup. According to my daughter, this is the way he eats all the time. He says it's his metabolism and that he has always been like that. His older three children are the same way. We don't know yet about my daughter's year-and-a-half old son, or baby upcoming, if they are going to inherit that fast metabolism, or my family's slow one.

What I want to know is this: When people are prone to be so thin, no matter what they do, and they say "it's my metabolism" nobody questions it.

But when someone prone to obesity, who can gain weight reading a cookbook and has a hard time losing it despite excruciating work, says the same thing, they are told they are making excuses. Why?

Now, I'm not going to say we should just lean back and claim "it's my metabolism" while eating badly and failing to exercise, but I want to know why the metabolism plea is so much more believable coming from someone who is thin as a whip, than it is coming from someone who is inclined to be fat?
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:28 AM   #2
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You make a good point. I guess the difference may be that when one has a slow metabolism, that person does have the option of eating less, whereas the thin man who eats like a linebacker can only do so much to put on weight. Both people may have screwy metabolisms, but unfair as it may be, the person with the slow metabolism needs less food. Of course, since being thin is seen as desirable by our society, the overweight individual will receive the criticism. Stinking double standards!
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:56 AM   #3
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That's a good question...never thought about that. I've always just envied those with fast metabolisms and felt ashamed of my own normal speed one, like it was my fault. I do think that society is slowly becoming more aware of the fact that some people DO just have slower metabolisms or a tendency to gain weight more easily.

But that is just another example of how being thin is considered the norm and even unavoidable for some people while being overweight is shameful and all our fault!
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:02 AM   #4
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Ummm, I don't buy it. Sorry. I could never be convinced that someone is eating stacks of pancakes 3 meals a day (or similar foods), and snacks and remains thin.

So for me, I don't buy the metabolism plea - on the thin side or the fat side. So it's not more believable to me in the way that you described.

Maybe it *appears* from outsiders looking in that he eats this way *all the time*. I betcha he perhaps eats one big meal, every now and than, maybe even most days, probably leaves most of it over and eats a couple of crackers and a chicken drumstick the rest of the day. He's not eating like that all day long, every day. No way, no how. He also could be one of those who is CONSTANTLY on the go. Can't sit still, always moving around, even when he sits he fidgets.

As opposed to the opposite, those who gain weight just looking at food (exaggeration of course)- well that's not the greatest is it? But if you know that this is what you are up against, that you are just a person who requires less calories to live, then you've got to adjust your lifestyle to meet that. If one if overweight (whatever that may be), one if overfeeding themselves. They're taking in more calories than their body can burn off and forcing the overage to be stored as fat

It just may be that the next person CAN eat more (somewhat) and not gain weight, but that's just the way it is. All bodies do not function the same way. It's up to us as individuals to find the right *mix* for ourselves. No charts, no government guidelines, no doctors, no dietitian, no nutritionists, no physic readers can tell us for certain what the right caloric intake number is - it's all up to us to find that out through trial and error.


Interesting Conversation with an Always Thin Man

This above link is from a thread I started awhile ago. I think it's fitting to this subject. Here's my original post from it:

I mentioned on another thread recently that I was in the midst of planning an engagement party for my daughter. Well my husband and I went to see the caterer last week, a very friendly, VERY slim man in his upper 30's, and while discussing the menu, my DH mentioned that I was very health conscious, I cook amazing low calorie, healthy foods all the time (how cool is that?), he even asked for my salad recipes and I gave several of them to him. He tells me how health conscious his wife is, in fact she just had a baby and 6 weeks later, 6 WEEKS LATER, she's down to her old slim self, they have a treadmill in the home and she sees a personal trainer 3 times a week, he was even complaining about the cost (though not the results).

It then comes up how slim he is and he mentions how he eats like, his words - "A PIG, A PIG, A PIGG!!", (yes he was shouting this at me). And I tell him, "it's impossible, just impossible." He says he has a great metabolism, although it's slowed down a bit, that he REALLY used to be skinny (I can't imagine him weighing any less ).

Okay. He continues to say eats like a pig. I'm refusing to believe it - me being me - I delve. He says, "Oh yeah, I can sit down in the kitchen (the catering kitchen) and devour 3 chicken bottoms and 2 potato bourrekas (knish-like, mashed potatoes in puff pastry dough) in a matter of minutes." Not that that's unheard of, but I say, "but I bet you do that once in a while, maybe twice a week". And sure enough, he says, "yup, twice a week is about right". And I said, "I bet you're one of those that forgets to eat till 3:00 in the afternoon", and he says, "yeah, that's true too, sometimes, later." And I said, "I bet you can barely look at most of the food you prepare", and he says, "yeah, I haven't in years." And I said, "I bet you hit that treadmill first thing in the morning every day", and he said, "oh yeah, everyday, first thing in the morning, always have, always will".

There you have it. What one skinny man describes as "eating like a pig". At least he didn't say "I eat whatever I want." Although essentially it would have been the same thing. He just doesn't *want* all that much. Not that that's how I would have ever wanted to be slim, but it would have beaten how *I* ate like a "pig" back in the day.... 3 chicken bottoms and 2 potato bourekas - ha. Interesting, no?
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:19 AM   #5
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Yup. I have to agree with Robin. I have a colleague who is 60 and very slim. She said "I eat all the time..." And she does. But what does she really eat? Her maintenance calories are similar, or lower than my weight loss calories....

My brother was a professional athlete-- he used to "eat all the time" but he trained for 6 hours a day. Now, in his 40s, he still works in an athletic career, but he doesn't train like he used to. But he developed an "I can eat whatever I want" mentality, when he was in training, and now, he struggles with his weight.

My close friend is a celebrity. She's 5'8" and weighs in the low to mid 120s. She "eats whatever she wants..." all the time out at restaurants. I used to believe her. When I started my weight loss journey, she started to share more with me. She only eats dinner. The rest of the day all she does is drink tea. And if she puts on 3 pounds she immediately skips her meals out and diets it away. Oh, and she works out like crazy. She just doesn't talk about it with friends who have weight problems, because she doesn't want to rub it in their faces...

I mean, don't get me wrong. People absolutely DO have different body types. Not every shot putter could equally thrive as a long distance runner-- but those are differences within the range of normal-- they are not differences that push you into the range of morbid obesity....

We get there by a combination of eating too much and not moving our bodies enough. The beauty of that is that we have a choice to lose it....

Believe me, there was nothing about "me" that suggested I was capable of losing 90 lbs. I had been morbidly obese for 20 years, during which time I blamed a lot of stuff. Turns out, it was my habits that was making me fat, and habits are changeable.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:25 AM   #6
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When I was thin 110 or so everyone always said "How can you eat like that and stay so thin?" I never knew how to answer but looking back on it now I do know the answer.

Back then I smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day and drank coffee all day long, I ate one big meal a day and nothing else..when I got hungry I smoked. I was so unhealthy it was unreal.

Now the thing about that is when I finally quit smoking I gained a bunch of weight and here I am now.

So it was never my metabolism, ppl said it was and made comments about it being that but in reality I was just horribly unhealthy and never fed my body like I should have. I heard on TV the other day where they said they see more and more thin ppl who are obese on the inside because of the things they eat and when/how they eat them.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:35 AM   #7
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Uber mentioned the "I eat whatever I want" phrase.

The thing is, *these folks* just don't want all that much!!

I have no doubt I wanted more than the average person. I wanted more and I allowed myself to have it. I was like a spoiled, irresponsible, immature child. I didn't realize that just because I wanted it, didn't mean I had to have it.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
The thing is, *these folks* just don't want all that much!!
Bingo!!!

My OH is a naturally slim 6ft tall man who "eats what he wants".

Eating what he wants involves no breakfast, no lunch, an evening meal maybe 1.5 times the size of mine (so about 500-600 calories), then maybe a bar of chocolate and a packet of crisps in the evening.

Plus endless cups of coffee and tea with full fat milk and sugar for energy during the day.

And he smokes.

So, even adding in the full fat milk and sugar in his drinks, he eats just about enough calories to keep going.

He said that when he gave up smoking a few years ago he did put weight on, going from a 32" waist to a 34" waist but he said he felt like a "fat b*****d".
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:56 AM   #9
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I have lived these two extremes:

I have a "naturally slim" son and "naturally chubby" son...until you really look at them. Our slim son is on the go all day long, all day, all day. When it's sledding season, he's out there two hours after all the other children have gone inside!! Our other little guy is a little couch potato. He doesn't work off what he eats at all. (He's starting to, but for him, it has to be regular and scheduled exercise. He's not interested in playing.)

My brother and me...My slim brother "ate whatever he wanted" usually PBJ's and Doritos. But he was active all the time, like my slim little guy, never coming inside. Now that he's an adult, he has slowed down to near couch potato status and has put on significant pounds. I grew up the less active, chubby child. I was up and down in weight. When I was active (hello band camp!!!) the weight melted off. When I was inactive, the weight piled in. I was a slim summer, fat winter person.

Now I'm active again and monitoring my calories and look...fifty pounds down.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:59 AM   #10
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I still kind disagree. I've lived with people who really do eat whatever they want and are still slim. My dad's entire family is this way. And I was that way until I had my son, really. Growing up, I was skinny as a rail and could eat all day long. I've seen how much my father eats on a normal day...and I've seen how he's maintained or even lost weight throughout his life, he has never been overweight. And trust me, he is not a one big meal man...he's hardee's for breakfast, meat and potatoes for lunch and pizza for dinner, candy bars in between. (I know...horrificly unhealthy)

Some people DO have faster metabolisms and CAN eat whatever they want.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThicknPretty View Post

Some people DO have faster metabolisms.
Well sure some people have faster metabolisms than others. Sooooo what????

Some people have heart murmurs, allergies of all sorts, stomach ailments, kidney disease, hearing loss, poor vision, (and things way worse) - thing is they've compensated for this and do what's necessary to live their lives in a healthy manner (hopefully).

Would I mind having an extra few hundred calories to eat every day without gaining weight??? Heck yes!!! But that's not to be. I've discovered the *correct* calorie allotment that keeps me at a healthy weight and it's my job to keep to it, IF I want the advantages of being that healthy weight.

I could say it's not fair that this one gets to eat more than me, but you know what, maybe they have difficulties with reading or conceiving or other *issues* that I haven't. We've all got something. There are no two people alike. We've all got to deal with our own *issues* and not look at what other people are doing. It can drive you batty.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:43 AM   #12
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Um.

I was responding to the insituation in SEVERAL posts above that it's not that these people have faster metabolisms, they must just eat one large meal a day or go go go all day long.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:50 AM   #13
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I believe we are each prone to a certain metabolism based on genetics. I, for one, happen to have my father's very slow metabolism while my mother and brother both have very rapid metabolisms. My mother is 5'8" and 125 pounds and eats like you wouldn't believe! My brother can also chow down on anything and not fluctuate.

HOWEVER, I believe we can always improve out metabolisms. For me, to combat my slow metabolism, I work out first thing in the morning which is supposed to ramp it up throughout the day. I also am constantly moving to maintain it. I may never have one like my mother or brother, but I can make adjustments to make it work for me.

You just have to learn to deal with what you're given.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:00 AM   #14
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I do agree that people have very different metabolisms. There are plenty of people posting on 3fc who are eating hundreds of calories a day more than I do, and losing weight.

But I also believe that it's irrelevant at the end of the day. I am happy on a plan that works for me, other people find plans that work for them.

oh, I will say that age is a very big factor in this, in my observation. I do know people who were able to eat very large quantities of food and stay reasonably slim in their 20s but as they got into their late 30s and esp. after 40, they began to pack on the pounds eating the same way. So for all of you who are younger and are developing good habits now, way to go!! You will be so much better off down the road.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:03 AM   #15
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I had a friend in highschool with a metabolic disorder. Essentially, his body just burned through calories like there was no tomorrow. Which sounds great, until you realize that when he wasn't playing soccer or exercising, his maintenance calories were somewhere in the range of 5000+ calories a day. And he didn't like junk food. It was actually a very interesting lesson in food. Simply put- when eating healthy foods- people just aren't hungry enough to eat too ignificantly over their calories. During training for soccer (he was a very competitive player) when they were practicing or conditioning for 6 hours a day, he said he could get to 4000. The rest of the time he was under 3000 unless he put lots of work into it. (Lots of "fat shakes" and other unpleasant looking weight gaining products that looked terrible) Keeping weight on was an absolute daily struggle for him.

But, I would agree that to some extent, most of the people who eat whatever they want just dont want that much. There are always a few exceptions to the rule (one of my roommates in college), but it does strike me that most people who eat whatever they want are either very active, don't really eat that much, or eat a lot of foods in healthy choices.
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