There are a lot of books and weight loss programs with names like, “Naturally Slim”, “Naturally thin”, etc. While I understand the good intention of the authors who choose these names, I believe the names can be misleading.

There are no naturally slim people, only slim eaters.

Here is why:

Naturally slim seems to say these people are just slim from birth, perhaps just genetically endowed to be slim regardless of what they do. It doesn’t matter if they eat ten thousand calories every day, they will still be slim because they are naturally designed to be slim. But that’s obviously not true. Even though I’ve seen some people with very high metabolism rates who can eat a lot and not gain weight, these people are very few. The type of people often misnamed “naturally slim” are usually not like that.

What I have discovered is that there is no human being who is just “naturally slim.” Slim people are slim for a reason. They are slim because they have slim eating habits.

Besides, calling some people “naturally slim”, says to others, “even though you are slim, you are not natural”.  It’s almost like saying, If I train myself to eat right, lose weight and become slim, I am somehow becoming someone else other than the person I was designed to be. I want to be me, and not copy someone else who is natural. We are all “natural”.

If you were to ask a slim person why they are slim, many of them wouldn’t know the answer.

I think a combination of genes and upbringing — Nature and nurture — is at play here. Slim people are slim because they are slim eaters. They have developed from early in their lives the habits that allow them to be slim eaters without even knowing.

They learned the slim eating habits from childhood and have grown with them. In fact, many children have slim eating habits and are often forced by their parents to break these good habits. When a perfectly healthy child eats a small portion size, becomes full, and doesn’t want to finish the food, what do the parents do? They scold them, “Finish your food. Don’t you know some children are dying in Africa without food?” By doing so, they train children to develop unhealthy eating habits such as eating even when they are comfortably full and trying to eat everything on their plates. We noticed this with our two boys, especially our second child, Caleb. He is a picky eater. And because we are aware fo this, we affirm him to eat only to his full.

Again, I think there are no naturally slim or thin people, only people who learned to be slim eaters from childhood. These people learned to listen to their bodies, eat when hungry, eat until they are full but not stuffed, and to throw away or save whatever was left without feeling guilty to finish it. They learned to eat in accordance with the way we are designed.

If it were not for poor environmental circumstances and poor instruction by many of our parents, most of us will already have these “natural” eating habits. These habits come naturally to all of us, some of us were untrained and miseducated while others were affirmed and trained to listen to their bodies.

The good news is that we can take control of our own lives, learn and retrain ourselves to eat the way we were designed to eat, to listen to our bodies tell us when they need food, in essence, to connect with our bodies again.