Slim vs. Overweight Eating Habits

I completely forgot how I ended up down the Reddit rabbit hole today (that’s how it usually goes: I can Google a quick question, read an answer on Reddit, and a couple hours later forget what I Googled, haha ). but I saw a question on the r/NoStupidQuestions subreddit and found it SUPER interesting. As the name describes, r/NoStupidQuestions is a place to ask questions that really interest you, and no question is “too stupid” to ask.

This one was about the weight and eating habits of thin versus overweight people, and I spent more time than I’d like to admit reading the answers. They were very diverse and it was a really great read. Here is the question:

If it’s too hard to read, this is what it says:

“Do thin people lie about how much they eat or are they just lucky to have a good metabolism? For much of my life I have been overweight, in recent years I have lost weight, but I am definitely not thin. I would say it is possibly from medium size. I eat healthy and stick to the suggested calories but I really struggle to get to a slim weight. Do thin people lie about how much they eat and is it an unspoken rule to eat a smaller amount or are they just lucky to have a big metabolism?”

There are over 7,000 comments at the time I write this, so it’s too much to read them all, but I read a lot of them. It seems that most people tend to believe that thin people eat less food and overweight people eat more than they think. It’s not that they are necessarily lying to themselves, but that they simply don’t realize how much they are actually consuming.

I’ve been tracking my weight for a long time and tracked calories on and off for the better part of two decades, so I’m very in tune with how my body reacts to my diet. I have *always* lost weight by cutting back on calories and food, and gained weight by eating more. My weight is super predictable based on how much I’ve eaten (i.e. calories, not volume), so I certainly can’t fool myself. But I think that’s probably a trap that a lot of people fall into: thinking that they’re eating far fewer calories than they actually are.

Some people in the thread suggested watching the British show called Secret Eaters. It features people who believe they simply can’t lose weight, despite trying “everything.” The producers of the show have people follow them and count what they’re actually eating, and they find it *very* eye-opening to see how many calories they eat. I only watched one episode, but it answered this Reddit question well. (Obviously it doesn’t apply to all thin or overweight people; the entire thread speaks in general terms.)

What I found most interesting about the thread is when people talked about their own eating habits. Some people considered four Oreos “too much” and then said they would get sick. Others said they can eat a whole sleeve of Oreos and feel like it wasn’t too much because they didn’t eat the entire package. And others said they might eat two or three and then feel bad because they didn’t need it.

What caught my attention was a discussion about how some thin people can “eat whatever they want and not gain weight.” Someone claimed that when a thin person tells an overweight person that they can eat whatever they want and not gain weight, the overweight person may assume that they are both eating the same foods. However, the thin person may not enjoy Oreos, chips, candy, or any other high-calorie food that the overweight person may be imagining.

I’ve never thought of it that way, but it makes sense! If a thin friend had told me, “I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight” or “I can eat all I want and not gain weight,” I would have assumed that they had probably been blessed with a high metabolism. In reality, it could be that they eat until they don’t want any more (and maybe that’s what I would consider a small amount) or that they simply prefer foods that are low in calories and don’t want junk food. food. So they actually eat “whatever they want” as well as “whatever they want”, they just have different desires than I would. Hopefully that makes sense!

There are so many different responses to the thread; I suggested you check it out if you’re interested. It helps me put the diets of “thin” versus “overweight” people into perspective, and I learned quite a bit about how people think about their diet! (Here I leave you the link to the publication.)

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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