Health & Wellness

The Skinny Gene: Secrets of Thin People

11.10.11 DNA

Some people seem to have it easy when it comes to maintaining their slim physique.  Others are constantly struggling.  Instead of envying others who have a naturally thin frame, the editors of Cotton Candy thought we’d all be better off learning from them. So don’t fret if you’re lack of the skinny gene is wreaking havoc on your skinny jeans.  Registered Dietitian and founder of NYC’s Pure Nutrition Christian Henderson reveals health secrets of thin people that anyone can put to use.

No. 1 They keep themselves well hydrated.
Among numerous other attributes, wateris essential for a healthy metabolism, flushing toxins, and regulating digestion and elimination – all of which are key for maintaining a svelte physique. In addition, thirst can easily be confused with hunger.

How to stay hydrated?
– Drink plenty of pure water, you can always flavor it with lemon or lime if the taste is too bland.
–  Eat water rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

No. 2 They eat a vegetable centric diet.
Those who focus their diets around vegetables are more likely to be thin and healthy than those who focus on other food groups, such as meats. Vegetables are hydrating, full of fiber and nutrient dense. Fiber fills us up, and nutrients satisfy our body’s hunger for real nutrition.

How to make sure you get your veggies?
– Start your meal with veggies. Starting your meal with water and fiber will help your mind and body get on the same page and will prevent you from overeating the denser fare included in your main meal.
– Load up at least half your plate with veggies.

No. 3 They move.
Exercise not only burns calories but also helps build strong bones and muscles, aids in detoxification, and it makes you feel good – all are key for staying slim. Moving the body is something that should be done on a daily basis – both organized and unplanned or opportunistic exercises are effective.

How to make sure you move?
– Schedule your workouts into your calendar at the beginning of the week. This way when a friend asks if you can grab drinks after work you can say you already have plans.
– Take advantage of unplanned exercise – take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot, play with your kids outside. All activity counts.

No. 4 They manage their stress.
Stress leads to an increase in production of the hormone cortisol, which in turn leads to increased appetite and weight gain – even if you don’t change what you eat.

Here are a few tips to keep stress at bay:
– Keep a to-do list and prioritize your tasks.
– Meditate or practice deep breathing exercises.
– Take time for yourself – massage, hot bath, pedicure, etc.

No. 5 They get adequate sleep.
Amazing things happen internally during the wee hours of the night.  Among these things is hormone regulation, specifically the hormones that control hunger cues.  When you are over tired your hormones send mixed messages that often translate into eating too much of the wrong foods. Getting ample sleep will help keep your hormones in line and therefore your diet on track.

How to make sure you get your zzz’s?
– Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily.
– Turn off computer and blackberry 30 minutes before bedtime.
– Make time to relax (bath, hot shower, good book) before bed.

No. 6 They eat simply.
When there are too many flavors and textures in a meal, it’s easy to overeat because you want a little more of everything. A perfect example of this is a buffet or holiday meal situations – so many options – that even if you only have a little of everything you are guaranteed to overeat. Instead, skinny people minimize how many flavors and textures they have going on in their meal.

How can you eat simply?
– Choose between having starch or protein at each meal.  It is like built-in portion control. For example, instead of having a breast of chicken and a baked sweet potato, have one or the other and load the rest of your plate with veggies and a little healthy fat.

No. 7 They are prepared.
Skinny people are prepared for situations where they may be tempted, such as restaurants, cocktail parties and catered office meetings.

How can you do the same?
– Have a snack first. Having a healthy snack before you go is your bulletproof vest. It will help curb your hunger, and therefore it easier to make good choices.
– Do your best while you are there. Load up on any veggies that are available, choose healthy protein and fats, and feel free to have one or two indulgences.
–  What you do before and after is almost more important than while you are there. If you are at an office meeting and you choose to indulge in a cookie (or two) don’t let this ruin the rest of your day.  Instead of throwing in the towel, do your best to eat healthy the rest of the day.


Written by: Christian Henderson

Christian Henderson, founder of the Manhattan-based private practice Pure Nutrition, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Nutritionist.  Partnering with clients she creates personalized and unique healthy eating plans focusing on high quality, whole foods, recognizing individual differences in lifestyle, body, and food preferences.

Cotton Candy Magazine®