My friend seems to be able to eat anything and not put on weight but I struggle to eat and stay in shape. Do you have any tips that might be able to help me?

Joanne Besser says ...

We are all built differently… some people will simply appear to never put on weight, the key to this may be based on their body type; ectomorphs – the technical word for people who struggle to increase their body mass - are usually tall and slim (and no doubt hated by all of their friends for their relative ease at staying skinny).  

It can be the way their body works and that they have been graced with a quick metabolism, or it could simply be the small things they do daily that make the difference – walking at lunch time, eating small portions of healthy food 90% of the time so they can eat what they want the rest with no guilt or consequence – these are all things that you may not see that make the big difference.– Maybe too technical?

If you want to maintain a healthy weight I would suggest you start to keep a food diary – write down what you eat (including portion sizes), what time (you should try to eat small portions and healthy snacks every 3-4 hours) and how you feel 2 hours later (as this will help to show if you have any allergies or intolerances). A food diary will help you see where you might be slipping up, and also stop you from reaching for that piece of chocolate.  Once you’ve settled into a routine with the food diary, look at it and see if there are simple things you can change – drink more water, have a larger portion of vegetables and less red meat?  Make small changes that you can stick to each week and you’ll stay with them long term.

Joanne Besser – Personal Trainer Oomph!

Keith Littlewood says ...

The reason that you differ so greatly from your friend is that we all metabolise food on a subjective level. The difference is similar literally to your own fingerprint being as individual as you are.

If you consider that we have evolved over millions of years but it is only in the past 1000 years or so our genetic endowment has been more influenced by merging ethnicities. Consider that an Eskimo can eat a diet full of fat and protein with minimal carbohydrates and not get fat. Go south and you'll find Latin American tribes consuming more carbohydrates without weight or health issues.

The concept of a one size diet fits all is starting to wear thin. Not least because since the end of the last world war media and large corporations have bombarded us with marketing that suggested that grains, cereals and margarine etc is a so called healthy option, yet weight loss and disease are on the rise.

So how can we be eating healthier yet getting unhealthier?  The answer is eating for your metabolic type. Metabolic typing allows for the analysis of physical, psychological and dietary traits. This provides you with a profile of the dominant nervous system, fuel metabolising pathway and dominant glands. It provides the user with what type and how much food you should eat to bring about balance within your body. There's no need to diet, just eat from you food plan until you feel satiated. There will be a need to fine tune because as suggested earlier we are all individuals and there is no exact definitive type.

So you might be an autonomic dominant in your sympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for regulating energy expenditure and the fight or flight response) who is a fast oxidiser (need fats and carbs to burn fuel slowly) or the exact opposite. It sounds a little complicated but this typing system helps you to explain the differences between individuals and how to achieve ideal weight or free yourself from unwanted food cravings.

Keith Littlewood, Personal Trainer, Balance Body and Mind

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