As well as starting up my Coaching practice, I also work at my local library and I love it. I get paid to touch books and talk to people (and try my very best not to confuse the two!) Maybe I should have started working there years ago, as the majority of the other women who also work there are beautifully and enviably ‘naturally’ slim. Their slimness is fascinating to me, more so because the coffee table in the staffroom is cluttered with biscuits and cakes and chocolates, and also empty boxes that used to contain the afore mentioned items.
I have taken to observing their tea break and lunchtime habits in a David Attenborough type way.
Imagine Mr Attenborough’s hushed tone’s uttering the following question-‘How is it that these lovely library ladies can chomp on these treats and not gain weight?’
So I sit quietly and watch and listen for clues……
Deb is eating soup and fruit for lunch.
When Lesley asks her if that’s all she’s having-she replies it’s what she usually has for lunch. She is careful at lunch time because she likes to eat more in the evening and at weekends. The other thing I observe is that Deb always cuts her fruit up and eats much more slowly than I do-she eats mindfully (Remember? I talked about that before- here.)
After finishing her usual very healthy lunch of pitta, cottage cheese and sliced pear (it’s what she likes) Lesley contemplates having a mince pie. She ponders a while and then decides against it. There’s no angst, no turmoil, just a considered and informed decision that it’s high in saturated fat and she’ll be having a different treat later on. Besides she’s not really hungry. (David Attenborough voice again- ‘Species Library Lady has evolved over the years to understand when she has had enough food! Remarkable…’)
That’s not to say that if my colleagues fancy a biscuit or two or a mince pie that they don’t have one- they simply (!) pause and think first and then totally enjoy (The mince pie box was empty anyway as was the three quarters empty box of Ferrero Rocher- let’s just say everyone except me seemed to know they tasted good-how does that work?)
Although I haven’t yet managed to infiltrate their home environments and spy on them when they are on their own in their kitchens at night, I am pretty sure that my colleagues behave in the same way in private as they do in public. No declining chocolates in public and then scoffing them when no one’s looking. They’ve been practicing this behaviour all their lives; David Attenborough might comment that their sensible eating habits have now become second nature.
I find it so interesting that people who struggle to manage their weight, think that slim people are ‘naturally’ slim and can eat whatever they want and still stay slim. Some slim people believe the same. I believe that in reality slim people do generally eat what they want, but (and this is the significant bit) they simply don’t WANT the same foods or the same VOLUME of food that many overweight people ‘want’. The library ladies are a great example of how the slim stay slim-they put some thought into maintaining their healthy weights; their good habits help too.
So now I have a great opportunity to keep watching, and to attempt to copy those slim eating habits until they become second nature (normal?) to me too. I know it won’t be easy as I have spent the last er-hmm years practising my own unique bad habits (I do have some good ones too-just saying!). This week I’ll keep practising mindful eating (I’m getting better at this and I enjoy food much more when I am mindful) and I will make a huge attempt to pause before I snack. Pausing will enable me to ask myself-‘do I really need to eat this?’, and I’m hoping sometimes the answer will be ‘No!’
What have you noticed about how slim people behave around food and what could you copy that could lead to better weight management skills for you?
Please leave your comments below-I’m curious to know your thoughts. And if you decide to share this ……well I’m not sure how I feel about the ‘naturally slim’ reading it (giggles nervously) – it might encourage them to start watching us more closely!