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Diet stuff - sort of H&B - wondering if a lot of women are like this? And don't admit it.

(89 Posts)
ShakespearesSister01 Sun 05-Jul-15 20:17:23

Found out this weekend that my cousin has basically been on a strict diet since she was 18. She's now 42. She was a chubby teenager but went away to college and came back slim, as you do when you leave home. In her early 20s she was very skinny, after giving up smoking she filled out a bit in her 30s but after having her first baby last year she's got very slim again. We were at a family 'do this weekend and I commented how good she looked. She does look great considering she doesn't exercise, I exercise and am bigger than her. Anyway she admitted to me she has stuck rigidly to a 1500 calories a day for two decades. She's never slipped up - and she sticks to tiny portions and avoids eating carbs every day. I have to say I was quite shocked, but she doesn't exercise and the rest of her side of the family - my aunt and uncle - are quite stocky. She says it's her genes and she is fighting it all the time. i really felt for her - because I don't think it makes her that happy. She says she is always worrying about what she eats. Is this common among women? I eat what I like - although I am veggie and veer on the vegan, but more for taste than moral reasons. I could never imagine having the time to count calories.

LaCerbiatta Sun 05-Jul-15 20:36:41

Obviously being slim is more important for her. I know a few women like that, "happy" to diet all the time. Wouldn't be for me though.

AliAliAlium Sun 05-Jul-15 20:37:14

I think there are quite a few people who take this sort of approach. I definitely know some. Although come to think of it I know the whole spectrum of eaters, from women who eat what they like and stay skinny as rakes, women who eat what they like and are significantly overweight, "normal" eaters, yo-yo dieters, women with EDs.

I do agree that a lot of our shape is down to genes. Choosing to do something about this is fine, as long as it doesn't become more than a dietary choice. 1500 calories a day is probably not that low for someone with a sedentary lifestyle (the recommended 2000 is likely to be too high for most people who don't seriously exercise).

It wouldn't be for me though. I like my food too much, but that's just how I'm made, and I seriously CBA with calorie counting (the 5:2 diet has been a godsend for me in this regard). Being slim(ish) is important to me, so to an extent I can understand what motivates your cousin.

cromwell44 Sun 05-Jul-15 20:49:15

I think the reality is that thin women eat less. Some are naturally less hungry, more in tune with the amount of food they need or will eat cake but then reduce what they eat later in the day. Some eat what they like, but it is a lot less than folk who are bigger.
I used to weigh much more than I do now because now I eat much less food. It's a trade off.
Your cousin prefers to eat less and be thinner which is fine unless it is damaging her health.

Jewels234 Sun 05-Jul-15 21:01:45

Yes, I do. It's the only way I can stay slim by tracking every calorie that passes my lips and not eating any/many carbs. Though being slim makes me far happier than eating cake, and if tracking calories is the price I have to pay, I'm willing to do that.

Kundry Sun 05-Jul-15 21:03:52

Many people who have lost weight do this - it's proven to be one of the few ways to achieve long term weight loss which is generally rare, usually the weight comes back on within a couple of years.

The successful losers effectively adopt their diet habits as a longterm lifestyle instead of just being a short term diet.

If you aren't someone who naturally eats less or is naturally less hungry, you have to work at it.

Kennington Sun 05-Jul-15 21:10:48

I don't have much of an appetite and am slim however I can stuff myself and it doesn't make a difference. But I rarely do.
When I was younger I really didn't have any appetite at all and only ate because others did.
My idea of a good portion is smaller than some others. Likewise my husband and child has small portions too.

MilkThistle187 Sun 05-Jul-15 21:27:10

I do this too. I fit into the same clothes now at 45 as I did at 18, only because I am very mindfull of what I eat. I rarely eat carbs and never biscuits, cake etc. after a while your tastebuds adapt and you really don't want that sort of food. I will go to a restaurant and eat what I like but I'll compensate by eating less for the next few days. As other posters have said being slim is more important to me than eating a lot.

afink Sun 05-Jul-15 21:28:30

At a size 12-14, I am the fattest in my close friendship group of 4. The others three are a size 8 or 10. One of them eats really healthily most of the time and goes to the gym 4 times a week. The other two have really fucked up eating patterns - such as eating nothing from the time they wake up until the evening, at which point they will eat a massive takeaway every night, or eating practically nothing, but drinking a bottle and a half of wine in the evening, then eating a big bar of chocolate. I wish I had the willpower to be like my first friend (but I do not), but I would rather be as I am - a bit chubby - and not have such a screwed up attitude towards food and such an unhealthy diet.

Stealthpolarbear Sun 05-Jul-15 21:32:43

I never worried about calories. At my heaviest I was over 16 St. I lost lots of weight with calories counting. Id like to lose more but am no longer obese. The way I'm living now is to be on my 'diet' through the week with a relax at the weekends but avoiding binging as much as I can. Because I've realised my 'diet' is just how this people actually eat. If I ate what I wanted when I wanted I'd be eating 4000-5000 calories a day and soon back where o was.

Stealthpolarbear Sun 05-Jul-15 21:33:34

How thin people eat I mean. It just doesn't come naturally to me

FrameyMcFrame Sun 05-Jul-15 21:37:10

for the last 3 years I've managed to stay under 10 stone, by eating a restricted diet. I'm like your friend, I get fat too easily.

Apatite1 Sun 05-Jul-15 21:42:46

I'm a size 12 but could be and have been size 8 through calorie control. I can't be asked to diet for the rest of my life and eat cake with gay abandon. Today I've had a donut, a burger and a pile of chips. Oh well. I ate a salad yesterday grin

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sun 05-Jul-15 21:43:25

I think t must be true that a number of very slender women do watch every morsel they eat. There are only so many who can be naturally slender!

I have counted calories for lengthy periods at various points during my life, I've also got down to a pretty low weight. It's not sustainable for me though, I enjoy food too much and I naturally have quite a Big appetite.

I run and walk loads these days though. My focus is now on health and fitness rather than my body shape. It's very liberating to not care so much about my body shape. That's mostly come from age and having had a life threatening illness. There's nothing quite like your own mortality to put things in perspective.

Coastingit Sun 05-Jul-15 22:00:32

I think a lot of women do this.

Tbh though we are surrounded by massive portions of unhealthy food and immersed in a snacking culture encouraged by heavy advertising and supermarket layouts.

You have to fight all that to remain healthily, naturally slim. I don't think it's disordered eating but I think it's incredibly hard to eat outside of what's considered normal, and do you do need to be very focused and a bit obsessed and highly motivated to do it!

I like the feeling and look of being slim so I 'work' at it by avoiding carbs and processed foods, and if I snack it's on things like cheese, nuts or dark chocolate. It's not denying myself though - I couldn't eat a doughnut now without knowing the crap it's doing to me and so it's just not worth any momentary sugar hit.

Tbh too many people are addicted to sugar and it's given rise to an acceptability of genuinely disordered eating - having a pudding of near equal calories to the main meal is commonplace in my MiL's house.

stripytees Sun 05-Jul-15 22:42:12

How tall is she?

I'm about 5ft2 and my sedentary TDEE is only 1475. Any more than that and I start gaining weight, as I've discovered.

I've lost 18 pounds this spring to get back to a size 10. Long term I plan to continue 5:2 and eat back the 2000 calorie deficit spread over the other days. But without that deficit and if I don't exercise, I too would be eating 1500 kcal per day.

A lot of us have got used to eating way too much. Portion sizes in anything ready made are not right for shorter women who spend their days working in offices. One of the salads I often bought for lunch has 800 kcal. shock

RaisingSteam Sun 05-Jul-15 22:43:55

To avoid becoming overweight, most people can't have a completely relaxed/ self -indulgent diet. In today's society you need to be pretty well planned and turn a blind eye to 90% of the supermarket. So yes, our "diet" is actually just normal eating for people who are thin.

I find it unhelpful when people say, Oh diets don't work, they make you fat, just cut out sugar and eat loads of veg and not much carbs. That IS a flipping diet! It sure would be for me.

Annarose2014 Sun 05-Jul-15 22:45:37

I think you have to have a certain type of personality to do this - perhaps a mind that is naturally quite disciplined and perfectionist.

You basically bave to have an invisible food ledger in your head at all times, like an account book.

I'm too scatty. I frequently completely forget what I had for lunch. My mind just isn't cut out for that kind of totting up.

I strongly strongly suspect Kate Middleton does this. And her mother. Carol really looks like a longterm dieter, somehow.

Jewels234 Sun 05-Jul-15 22:46:57

Absolutely agree with Coasting. I worked for a v well known v unhealthy brand. Their strategy was to get their products absolutely everywhere so that people have to constantly actively say 'no'. Which is just dreadful when you think of it, that we all have to live like that.

RaisingSteam Sun 05-Jul-15 22:47:04

I'm 5ft 2 as well, 1500 cal per day leaves me shaking and faint by mid afternoon and usually with a migraine. I think my blood sugar is all over the place. If I eat a piece of fruit I feel as if I've eaten nothing. The will power to cope with that on top of all the other things in my life is not forthcoming!

Runningupthathill82 Sun 05-Jul-15 22:48:06

I think most slim women do this tbh. Before I was pregnant, I certainly did. 1600 cals a day, but averaged out over the week. So I'd tend to have around 1200 most days but have a takeaway, a meal out, wine or whatever on a weekend.

I ate exactly what I wanted, but in moderation. Keeping an eye on my food intake through My Fitness Pal enabled me to be sure I was indeed being moderate!

Plus lots of running, weights, circuit training etc, which I'm keeping up while pregnant, though not at the same intensity as before.

Counting calories wasn't at all time consuming - once you've been on MFP for a while, you have all your usual foods saved, so it just takes a couple of minutes a day.

For me, it wasn't at all arduous and was the key to remaining a slim, happy and fit size 8/10. I was much happier at that size than when I was a size 12 previously, with a BMI pushing 24.

Edenviolet Sun 05-Jul-15 22:54:26

I'm a size 8/10 and eat pretty much what I want, I walk a lot but do no other exercise. I'm not sure though how many calories I have each day but eat similar foods on a daily basis (I'm boring!)

Dh has commented often how his DM who is very overweight doesn't each much at all, I think numerous diets over the years ruined her metabolism. Another family member is very thin, probably a size 6 and admits she doesn't have anything sugary in the house and eats little as her Dh likes women to be ultra slim.

Runningupthathill82 Sun 05-Jul-15 22:54:48

Also, it's food choices - I'm being honest when I say that I eat whatever I want. And occasionally I want chips, and chocolate, but generally it's healthy food because that makes me feel better and run faster. And it tastes better.

We don't have crisps, biscuits, fizzy drinks etc in the house, and I wouldn't nip to a shop on my lunch break at work to buy them, so it wouldn't occur to me to eat that sort of stuff.

I think slim people are in the habit of avoiding unhealthy foods, so it's not a hardship to go without. I certainly don't crave chocolate etc, but I have friends who think they're being virtuous if they forego a biscuit and "only" have a sandwich for lunch.

Once you're in the habit of eating well, it becomes second nature. It's not a daily battle - I enjoy it and it makes me feel good.

500Decibels Sun 05-Jul-15 22:55:19

Two of my friends are very slim and I've only ever seen one of them eat once when we went out for dinner. I've never seen them eat otherwise.
They'll come over for tea/coffee and that's all they have. They refuse all snacks. Even home made cake.
If I go to theirs, they'll lay on snacks and drinks but will only have a tea or coffee.
We usually meet out and about and not generally at meal times.
One of them admitted recently that she only has one meal a day and that's dinner.
I wish I had that will power.

SpecificOcean Mon 06-Jul-15 09:35:06

I am slim, but not thin. I look healthy and have curves. I'm 5"5 size 10 mostly with a few 8's. I've never had a big appetite and hate the feeling when I've eaten too much. I'm not a snacker either and have never grazed.
I do eat 3 meals a day though I have small portions, I haven't used a dinner plate for years.
I eat anything I like but prefer salads, veg, fish. I like biscuits, crisps, pizza and the odd choc bar but not keen on fry ups/fast food/fizzy pop or cakes.
Apart from babies the biggest I've been was about a size 12 but I blame that mainly on the contraception I was using at the time, as soon as I changed the weight dropped off.
I am quite active too- walk my dog 3 times a day, walk to work and my job is active. I haven't got a clue how many calories I eat a day and haven't weighed myself for years.
So not obsessed, but I like to fit into my clothes and not be bursting out of them and I would and could forego things if that did start to happen.

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