Everyone knows someone like this: That one co-worker/friend/associate who’s always eating, yet stays slim. And to make matters worse they’re usually stuffing their face with junk food as if to tease those of us who’ve been KILLING ourselves to get in shape. Now, a lot of you (especially my female readers) may say to yourself, “it’s because (s)he’s much younger than me… I remember back in school, how I could stay up all night, party, eat whatever I wanted and stayed in shape”. Or you might believe “It’s because their metabolism is much faster than mine”, “My family is just big boned” or some combination of these explanations. I’m here today to tell you that most of these beliefs are only partially true.
For example, the idea that someone’s metabolism is much faster than yours is not necessarily true (barring that you have some sort of medical condition/thyroid disease). In fact, the average metabolic difference between individuals is typically less than 10%. Also, folks that I’ve encountered who believe they’re just big boned tend to be shorter than me (I’m 6’1”) and their wrists and ankles tend to be average to slightly below average. But what about their family members you ask? Typically, these situations are a matter of habit. Along with religion, linguistics, that awkward laugh, and other traditions we inherit from family, we also tend to get our eating/fitness habits from them as well. So the next time you’re at the ‘family get together’ and someone passes you a plate of ribs with a huge side of Mac’n’Cheese you may want to think twice before indulging… but let’s be real, your grandma is the greatest cook in the world so how can you resist?
Next I want to address the good ole college days of booze, pizza, left over Chinese food, and flat abs (unless you put on the ‘Freshman 40’). In a nutshell, what a lot of us don’t realize is actually how active we were during this period of life. Think about it, you were drinking beer (calories in) while doing keg stands and playing beer pong (calories out). You were up late night, walking from frat house to frat house getting rejected most of the time because saying you know “Mark” didn’t work. Finally you get in somewhere and dance the night away (calories out). What I’m referring to here is a little something called N.E.A.T (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). Basically you were a ball of activity back then and now you sit in an office at a desk all day and Mark is just as out of shape as you are now.
Lastly, what does this have to do with your skinny/fit co-worker, after all they’re in the same office as well right? That they are! However, most of the time these folks subconsciously subscribe to many of the following practices:
- They are very active outside of work and exercise. (They talk with their hands, shake their foot while sitting, always on the go, etc.)
- They eat all day but never really finish most of it. (This should be a crime!)
- They eat most of their calories at work. (The time of day that you see them.)
- They eat very slowly. (This gives their body time to feel satisfied as it may to a minute to catch up to the rate of ingestion.)
- They very well could be a genetic anomaly. or have a different gut microbiome that aids in weight management. Not much you can do about this until fecal transplants become common place.
All in all, the takeaway from this blog post is that most of your fitness goals are within your power to reach. So don’t hate on your slender nemesis. Just know that there is more than meets the eye and get motivated to make it work for you! As always, I’m HERE if you need some direction. Until next time…