I totally forgot how I ended up down the Reddit rabbit hole today (that’s usually how it goes–I can google a quick question, read an answer on Reddit, and then a few hours later, forget what I googled, haha) but I saw a question on the r/NoStupidQuestions subreddit and I found it SUPER interesting. As the name suggests, r/NoStupidQuestions is a place to ask questions you’re genuinely curious about — and no question is “too stupid” to ask.
This was about weight and slimming habits vs. overweight eating habits, and I spent more time than I care to admit reading the responses. They were so different and a really great read. Here is the question:
If that’s too hard to read, here’s what it says:
“Do skinny people lie about how much they eat or are they just blessed with a good metabolism? I’ve been overweight for most of my life, in recent years I’ve lost weight but I’m definitely not skinny, I’d probably say average. I eat healthy and stay within recommended calories , but I’m really struggling to get to a lean weight. Do skinny people lie about how much they eat and is it an unspoken rule to eat less, or are they just blessed with an awesome metabolism?”
There are over 7,000 comments at the time of writing this, so it’s too much to read them all, but I read a lot of them. It seems that the majority of people tend to think that thin people eat less food overall and overweight people eat more than they think. Not that they’re necessarily lying to themselves, but that they simply don’t realize how much they’re actually consuming.
I’ve been watching my weight for so long and have been tracking calories continuously 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 when I cut calories/food and gained weight when I eat more. My weight is extremely predictable based on how much I’ve eaten (meaning 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 they’re eating way fewer calories than they actually are.
A few people in the thread suggested watching the British show called Secret Eaters. It includes people who believe they just can’t lose weight, despite trying “everything”. The show’s producers have people follow them and record what they actually eat, and it’s *very* impressive for them to see how many calories they’re eating. I only watched one episode of it, but it answered this Reddit question well. (Obviously not all thin or overweight people; the whole thread is speaking in general terms.)
What I found most interesting about the thread is when people talked about their own eating habits. Some thought four Oreos were “too many” and then said they’d be sick. Others have said how they can eat an entire sleeve of Oreos and feel like it wasn’t much because they didn’t eat the whole package. Yet others said they might eat two or three and then feel bad about it because they didn’t need it.
What got me the most was a discussion about how some skinny people can “eat whatever they want and not get fat”. Someone stated 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 foods that the overweight person might imagine.
I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense! If a skinny friend told me, “I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight” or “I can eat as much as I want and not gain weight” I would have assumed they were probably blessed with a high metabolism. In fact, it could be that they eat until they don’t want to anymore (and maybe I would consider that a small amount) or that they just prefer foods that are lower in calories and don’t want junk food. So they actually eat “what they want” as well as “as much as they want” — they just have different desires than I do. Hope that makes sense!
There are so many different answers in the thread — I suggested checking it out if you’re interested. It helps put the diet of “skinny” vs. “overweight” people into perspective and I learned quite a bit about how people think about their diet! (Here is a link to the post)