The “All You Can Eat” Phenomenon
For those that struggle with their weight, the biggest mystery seems to be why those of a slimmer stature can eat all they want without any noticeable change in body composition. In contrast, for those of naturally slimmer physiques, the biggest mystery seems to be how one can become so overweight.
It’s one of life’s greatest injustices.
Is it because of the common perception that those with faster metabolisms can generally eat what they want without gaining any significant weight? Is it due to genetics? Is it simply due in part to a habit of unconscious (or partly conscious) overeating? Or is it a combination of some or all of these factors?
In short, it’s likely a combo of some or all of these factors, however according to the research, the answer doesn’t seem to be that easy, and truly, it depends.
It’s time to get to the bottom of it…
It’s Not Just Fast Metabolisms
While this holds some truth in some cases, it’s such a multifaceted situation that it would be wrong to conclude that the reason skinny people can eat whatever they want without gaining weight is because of their fast metabolism.
Sure, maybe your athletic friend Joe does, in fact, have a faster metabolism than you, however, that doesn’t mean its why he can’t gain weight. It goes deeper than that.
After all, you only see your friend Joe eat copious amounts when you’re with him, right? What about when you’re not with him? And he’s an athlete of sorts which means he exercises, right? Exactly.
Let’s dive into this scenario a little deeper to learn why it’s not always the case of faster metabolisms and magic.
Perception Isn’t Always Reality
When you have a friend or person in your life that you know to eat like a bottomless pit, yet never seems to gain weight, what’s your first instinct as to why he’s skinny? It’s likely that he has some out of this world fast metabolism.
However, upon deeper reflection, this is likely not the case. As mentioned earlier, you only see your friend eat large amounts when you’re with them. But what about when you’re not with them, what do they eat? You see, while some individuals do have the ability to eat large quantities in one sitting, they typically don’t eat like that for every meal. Additionally, those that have the tendency to overeat during one sitting typically won’t eat for the rest of the day to compensate, OR they’ll find a way to reduce their intake the next day to balance it out. Moreover, if they’re your skinny friend, chances are they exercise regularly as well. We’ll get into exercise and calories more a little later.
What you perceive to be someone who endlessly eats is actually someone who simply has the capacity to eat a lot, but doesn’t always do so. In fact, if you were to do the math on caloric intake on a daily and weekly basis, you’d likely be surprised at how few calories they actually consume.
While this scenario isn’t always true, it’s probably more of a common occurrence than you’d imagine. Now that we’ve discussed the idea of false perception, it’s now time to discuss the next scenario – physical activity.
So, your skinny friend eats all they want, they have the fastest metabolism on the planet, and their genetics are undeniable. Oh, did I mention that they’re also from another planet?!
You see, skinny people are skinny for a reason. As mentioned earlier, while it can be a combination of metabolism, genetics, and dietary control (the scenario of perception), it also likely involves caloric expenditure via physical activity.
Now this doesn’t mean that your skinny friend has to go to the gym and run everyday like a mad person. More often than not, these individuals that seem to be able to eat whatever they want without gaining weight don’t even particularly make exercise or fitness a main priority in their lives.
However, this is where the misconception comes into play. Physical activity doesn’t always need to mean fitness regimens and gym memberships. Physical activity can simply imply that someone is more active throughout the day than the average individual, which, in turn, results in an increased caloric burn. This could be due in part to the nature of their jobs, it could be as simple as having a habit of pacing and fidgeting, and it could even be because they have a child or pet to chase around.
Because of such a scenario, that person that seems to be able to eat whatever they want CAN eat whatever they want because they naturally burn most of it off as a counterbalance anyways!
Additionally, by adding extra movement to your day, your body’s metabolism will naturally get a boost. This positive loop cycle is what allows someone to burn more calories throughout the run of a day.
A Final Word
At the end of the day, the answer becomes quite complex as you may be able to recognize. Our tendency to want to eat more or less can be largely hereditary and biological in nature; Our ability to control our weight can sometimes be due to a fast metabolism; Our ability to burn more calories with the same amount of effort can be largely genetic; and ultimately, perception isn’t always reality anyways.
So why can skinny people eat whatever they want without gaining any weight? The answer is still up for debate…
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