The 20 diet secrets of slim people
Fad diets are ever-popular in our modern world as we continuously seek out the most effective way to shed unwanted pounds quickly — meanwhile some people seem to stay lean effortlessly. Katie Byrne reveals their secrets...
Why is it that some people seem to be on a perpetual diet while others stay at more or less the same weight their whole life?
While some naturally slim people have won the genetic lottery, many more have simply worked out how to stack the odds in their favour.
Here we look at the many ways a naturally slim person works with their body, rather than against it...
THEY EAT EXTRA PROTEIN
Protein curbs the appetite, regulates blood sugar and helps to build muscle. Naturally slim people use this information to their advantage. They consume protein straight after an intense workout and eat a protein-rich dinner to avoid late-night snacking.
Cindy Crawford reveals a protein shake kick starts her day
Supermodel Cindy Crawford says she starts every day with a protein shake.
“That gets me through [the day] with very even energy,” she says.
THEY SWAP WHITE CARBS FOR BROWN
Naturally slim people opt for brown bread, rice and pasta over white bread, rice and pasta. White carbohydrates release energy quickly leading to a spike in blood sugar followed by a sudden crash. Brown, or wholewheat, carbohydrates release energy more slowly, meaning they keep you fuller for longer.
THEY EAT BREAKFAST LIKE A KING...
Naturally slim people follow the old adage about eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. They also tend not to eat past 8pm.
THEY NEVER ALLOW THEMSELVES TO GET TOO HUNGRY
You’ve probably noticed that your slim work colleagues keep a bag of nuts in their top drawer. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks keep the metabolism fired up while keeping hunger at bay. It also keeps the hunger hormone, ghrelin, under control.
AND THEY NEVER ALLOW THEMSELVES TO GET TOO FULL
Naturally slim people don’t feel obliged to finish food simply because it’s in front of them, while many of them follow the Japanese rule of ‘hara hachi bu’: they stop eating when they’re 80pc full.
THEY AVOID FAD DIETS AND CLEANSES
Naturally slim people know that fad diets do more harm than good. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow learned this the hard way: “I’ve done juice cleanses in the past, and in my 20s I did the Master Cleanse, which left me hallucinating after 10 days,” she once admitted.
“Be aware: a juice detox can crash your metabolism and lead to future weight gain.” Proof, if any was needed, that consistent lifestyle changes lead to long-term results.
THEY DRINK APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar has a multitude of health benefits including weight control. Numerous studies prove that daily apple cider vinegar consumption leads to reduced appetite and less belly fat. Try adding two to four teaspoons to a one-litre bottle of water and sip throughout the day. Actress Megan Fox swears by it. (Note: Never consume ACV raw as the acid content can weaken tooth enamel.)
THEY MIX UP THEIR WORKOUT ROUTINE
Sticking to the same routine can make both the brain and body become complacent. Trying new forms of exercise will increase motivation and reawaken muscle groups that you’ve long stopped using.
THEY SPICE UP THEIR FOOD
According to the British Journal of Nutrition, adding hot spices to your meals can help regulate the appetite and boost the metabolism. Try adding chopped chilli to pasta sauces and freshly grated ginger to teas and soups.
THEY DON’T TAKE THE EASY ROUTE
Naturally slim people incorporate exercise into their daily routines by taking the stairs rather than the lift; parking in the farthest area of the car park and getting off the Luas one stop early. Small changes lead to big results.
THEY DRINK MATCHA GREEN TEA
Not only is matcha green tea chock-full of antioxidants, it also contains a compound called EGCG that boosts the metabolism and helps to reduce body fat.
Cynthia Pasquella, a Los Angeles nutritionist who has worked with Charlize Theron and Sandra Bullock, has added it to the dietary plans of many of her clients.
Matcha, which comes in powder form, is significantly more expensive that standard bagged green tea. If your budget is tight, bagged green tea also has metabolism-boosting effects.
THEY GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Adequate sleep is crucial for a healthy metabolism and appetite. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who had adequate sleep had a resting energy expenditure (the amount of calories burned when you’re not moving) that was 5pc higher than those who were sleep-deprived.
Bedtime is also important: secretion of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which helps to build muscle and burn fat, takes place between 10pm to 2am.
THEY HACK THEIR TREATS
Naturally slim people know that it’s important to treat themselves from time to time. However, they do it wisely. If they’re ordering a burger, they’ll skip the soft drink and have water instead. If they opt for dessert, they’ll ask for two spoons and share it with a friend.
AND THEY DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT
Naturally slim people don’t berate themselves when they eat unhealthy food. On the contrary, they remind themselves that treat-days are essential for staying motivated.
THEY EAT BEFORE PARTIES
By consuming a protein-heavy meal before a party, you’ll be less inclined to eat 16 mini sausage rolls in quick succession.
AND THEY SKIP THE WINE
A bottle of wine contains 635 calories — that’s the same as 14 Jaffa cakes. Naturally slim people opt for low-calorie spirits like gin, rum and vodka with low-sugar mixers.
THEY EAT SLOWLY AND MINDFULLY
It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you have eaten enough. Naturally slim people take time to chew their food and often put down their fork and knife down during a meal.
Naturally slim people often spend a few hours batch-cooking healthy meals on a Sunday so that they are less likely to eat unhealthy on-the-run foods during the week.
THEY SATIATE THEIR SWEET TOOTH WITH DARK CHOCOLATE
Naturally slim people always have a bar of dark chocolate (minimum 70pc) in the kitchen to satiate their sweet tooth. Alternatively, they whip up healthy sweet treats using cacao and dates. The higher the cocoa content, the milder the blood sugar spike.
THEY DRY BODY-BRUSH
Dry body-brushing with a firm bristle brush before showering each morning increases circulation, thus revving up the metabolism. It also helps reduce cellulite, eliminate toxins and soften the skin. Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr says it’s an “integral part” of her beauty routine.