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The Truth About Slim People

‘The Truth About Slim People’ is a Channel 4 documentary which screened on 03.11.17.

For one week Yemi and Anne-Marie, two people who eat and drink what they want and stay slim without making any conscious effort to do so, were observed for eating behaviour and activities of daily living in order to determine if there was a common factor responsible for maintenance of their slim physiques.

Here is a summary of the findings:

Yemi Anne-Marie
Metabolic rate Average Average
Sleep Adequate; good quality Adequate; good quality
Alcohol Nil; disinterested. Minimal e.g. once a month approximately; disinterested.
Meals Home cooked fresh food, made from scratch; ate a range of meat, vegetables, and fruit; always ate sitting down. Some takeaways; ate a range of meat, vegetables and fruit; always ate sitting down.
Eating out Infrequent; ate more when eating out Infrequent; ate more when eating out
Snacks between meals/evenings Nil Nil
Sweets Doesn’t have a sweet tooth Doesn’t have a sweet tooth
Exercise 2 hours structured exercise per week; walks everywhere
Walks 20km/week.
2 hours structured exercise per week; drives everywhere but rarely still; walks 20km/wk.
Faeces bacteria Normal healthy Healthy with an increase in the bacteria Akkermansia which may be associated with staying slim.
Comfort/boredom eating Nil Nil
Job Sedentary Sedentary

The Truth About Slim People reveals the steps to stay slim are not that obvious and unfortunately no single secret solution was forthcoming.

However it did highlight that habitual behaviour seems to be at the basis of maintaining a slim physique for these two people with average metabolic rates. Specifically: eating only at mealtimes, sitting down to eat, maintaining exercise, and getting adequate sleep.

It needs to be stressed that these behaviours were habitual, i.e. they were not consciously performing these behaviours every day in preference to other behaviours which may have led to weight gain e.g. drinking alcohol regularly, snacking between meals, snacking in the evenings, comfort eating, boredom eating, stress eating, not exercising and not having enough sleep.

Additionally both Yemi and Anne-marie habitually self-regulated if they deviated from their usual routine, e.g. having an evening meal out, which typically resulted in eating more than usual, was offset by eating less the following day although there wasn’t a conscious decision to do this, i.e. they were subconsciously self-regulating their eating behaviour so their overall food intake remained constant.

The suggestion which came from the documentary is that we all have within us the power to make a conscious effort to introduce new behaviours, and with enough repetition these behaviours will become habits which are performed subconsciously, and which, in time, will displace bad habits.

With the New Year only six weeks away, this may be something to start thinking about?