Last Thursday a new study came out that suggests people who are overweight are happier if they live in an area where everybody is fat. Honestly! What use is that information? It certainly supports the idiom “misery loves company”. Otherwise, why did they even need a study to prove this?
I’d like to suggest a study to identify the difference in the habits of these two groups of people. I understand there’s more to this than habits alone. I just want to see what it would be like if a fat person behaved like a thin person. What would happen? There’s a precedent to this line of thinking. For example; If we were camping in an area with a large bear population we’d be advised to “think like a bear.” That means protect yourself as well as your food and campground by imagining the things which might attract a bear. Bathing before you retire for the night so you don’t have the smell of a cook fire on your body and clothes. Putting food (cologne and toothpaste as well) and cooking gear high up in a tree or packed in your car. Be the bear. . .
So, let’s “Be the Thin Person.” How does a thin person eat? What are their habits in a restaurant? I must preface this article with the stipulation that our thin person is a healthy, normal individual. We don’t want to compare ourselves with an athlete or even a wanna-be athlete. This person is naturally thin, healthy and jubilant. We’re also assuming you’re the heavier of the two people and as this newest study suggests — probably very uncomfortable.
When you have lunch together what’s the first thing you notice about them?
- They Consider All the Menu Options. Your friend looks over the entire menu. Not focusing on the salads as you do.
- Selection. They might select a sandwich where as you don’t because you’re afraid it’s more fattening. They also ask the waiter to make slight changes with the dish. “Very light mayonnaise please and just make it an open-faced sandwich.” You would never draw attention to yourself by asking for special treatment so you take it as they offer it on the menu.
- Preparation before eating. When the waiter brings your drinks and bread, they chat and don’t eat the bread. When your meal arrives they look at the waiter while they thank them rather than stare at the plate of food, and mumble their thanks. Then they get their napkin and place it on their lap. You’ve probably already gotten the napkin ready to chow down since before the water arrived. They may taste a small bite to see if the seasoning is right — THEN add pepper or salt if deemed necessary.
- Pace of Eating. They come up for air when they eat. You notice they eat slowly. They chew their food. They put the fork down between bites. They talk between bites. They look at your eyes when they talk, and genuinely share a part of themselves while you talk about your life. They listen!
- The End. At the end of the meal there is normally food on their plate. They don’t always take it home.
That’s the behavior. We can’t know the thought process specifically, but we see the results. Little attention paid to the food other than — “What sounds good?” They know what they like to eat, they know how they want it prepared, and they make the choices based on their “Food Template”.
The Food Template is something we develop over the course of our lives, and it can change through the years. Your mother started yours when she recognized you didn’t like peas but thought the string beans were wonderful. Then she might have seen that you got very bad gas after a meal of carrots. This is what ZWL has always asked you to do for yourself. Monitor the foods you know are good for you. The foods that give you energy, keep you healthy and don’t make you gain weight or get sick.
Learning your Food Template comes from Mindful Eating. Eat and see how you feel. At first you should write down the analysis because you cannot remember everything. Try an assortment of foods. See how your GI Track handles it. Then see if you gain weight. A diet of cookies or pie won’t help in the energy level and will probably put weight on your frame.
How thin people are different from fat people is that they have done this already. Whether their family practiced this discernment or they learned it as adults is irrelevant. They know what they can eat and they have learned to enjoy the food. They’re better listeners when it comes to being full.
Thin people also never eat unless they’re hungry. If you’ve had dinner out and then go to the movie do you get popcorn? Thin people are the ones at the movie theater who won’t get popcorn or candy. Not because those particular snacks aren’t good food, but because they aren’t hungry.
THIN PEOPLE AREN’T BETTER THAN FAT PEOPLE
They aren’t better than fat people. They’re people with a Food Template and an innate ability to listen to their bodies. The good news is that you can develop this same discernment with a Mindful approach to eating. It won’t be about keeping a food diary and monitoring your body forever. Eventually you will know your Food Template and you will not only eat like a Thin person — You will be one!
Start Your Mindful Eating Today — Click on the Picture