That was the attractive title of MSN’s recent article under the Health & Fitness section which received much flak from readers. And, perhaps, rightly so. Why? Because one, no ‘secrets’ were revealed and, two, NOTHING desirable in life comes ‘effortlessly’ (with one exception i.e. read points 1-3 below). The 10 “secrets” comprised of one or two good points, a couple of bad or wrong ones & the remaining were simple common sense advice on healthy eating & exercise.
Below is my take on the article.
“12 Reasons & Practices of Sensibly Thin People”
- Blessed with it! It is a blessing from Allah (SubbhanawaTaAala) first & foremost. In a world where being over-weight spells inevitable doom in the arena of vanity & health, if one is effortlessly lean, it is nothing but a great bounty from Allah (SubbhanawaTaAala).
- ‘Slim’ Genes. Yes, that is another very major reason for being easily thin. You either have them or you don’t. People blessed with such genes don’t know the spelling of ‘diet’ or ‘exercise’, but they sail through their lives’ tests with small girth, lean silhouette & envious friends!
- Natural Body Type. People are classed into body types called Ectomorph (soft & delicate), Mesomorph (hard & muscular) & Endomorph (big & round). Usually this division is associated with geography & race. Majority of effortlessly slim people are ectomorphs. Again, it a blessing if you find yourself on the ‘ecto-side’ of the scale.
- Eat Small Portions. Yes, its common sense & it WORKS. Prophet (sallallahualaihiwassalam) said: “The food for one person is sufficient for two, the food for two is sufficient for four and the food for four is sufficient for eight.” 1
- Don’t go for second helpings. One serving really is sufficient for satiation & energy requirement of the body. The trim people live by that tenet & only allow one or two of their favorite dishes to be an exception to this rule. Prophet (Salulaahualihiwasallum) said: “The child of Adam fills no vessel worse than his stomach. Sufficient for the child of Adam are a few morsels to keep his back straight. If he must eat more, then a third should be for his food, a third for his drink, and a third left for air.” 2
- Eat Slowly. Doesn’t matter if they are the last one to finish their meal at a party. This practice has multiple benefits & goes a long way in ensuring they eat less, really savor the taste & digest better.
- Eat with three fingers. This is the practice of the Prophet (Salulaahualihiwasallum).3 There are immense health benefits to it as it helps keep one in-line with the SLS eating principle (i.e. eat Small-eat Less-eat Slow). Learn how to eat this way by reading, “Fingers, Food & Sunnah“.
- Eat Dinner with a T-Spoon. Yes, ditch the traditional dinner spoons. They are way too big. You inadvertently end-up eating too much too fast. Ever seen a slender person eating with a dinner spoon? No, it won’t even fit in their mouths. If you heap your dinner morsels on those gigantic things, then be prepared to become one!
- Enjoy favorite calorific desserts. Yes, who says you have to deprive yourself of good food. The golden key with slim people is “moderation”. There is indescribable pleasure in dipping that spoon in a bowl of rich chocolate mousse. “Those who show moderation in eating find greater pleasure in their food than those who overindulge. When they become addicted and habituated to their indulgence, they find no great pleasure in it anymore, though they might suffer for want of it when they do not have it and endure ill health because of it.” 4
- Don’t mix two carbohydrates at one meal. Carbohydrate-rich food consists of bread, pasta, rice, etc. They don’t combine any of them in one meal. There is a tendency of overeating, without realizing it, if you combine any two. “The Prophet ( Salullahualahiwasallum) never mixed two hot dishes, or two cold dishes, two constipating dishes, two laxative dishes, two heavy dishes, two liquid foods or two types of food that produced the same condition.” 5
- Clean the plates. This is the exact opposite of what was suggested by the author of the afore-mentioned article. She sites the logic that “thin people are tuned into noticing when they are satisfied, and they stop eating even if there is food left” on their plates. WRONG! That’s not what thin people do. I suggest we go one step back, use common sense & knowledge of our own stomach-size & only serve ourselves measured quantities that we know is our body’s requirement. That way we don’t waste food. Plus, we don’t miss out on the blessings found in the food. “… “…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al‑Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance)” 6 “…And he commanded us to clean the plate, and said, ‘For you do not know where in your food the blessing is.'” 7
- Physically Active. It does not have to be a gym membership or a boring treadmill at home for them. Their key to consistency in physical exercise is to either do something that is also functional or something that’s enjoyable. Ditch the domestic helper. A simple regular house cleaning that includes dusting, sweeping & mopping the house is sufficient to keep their metabolism efficient. There’s nothing like pure active fun to bestow agility & leanness to their bodies. Table Tennis or mini indoor trampoline anyone? Prophet (Salullahualihiwasallum) said, “Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a diversion or heedlessness excepting four acts: Walking from target to target [during archery practice], training a horse, playing with one’s family, and learning to swim.” 8
1 Sahih Muslim 971
2 Sunan al-Tirmidhî 2380, Musnad Ahmad 17186 and authenticated by al-Albânî in Sahîh al-Jâmi
3 Muslim-2031, Ahmad-26626, Abu Dawood-3848
4 Writings of Ibn Taymiyah
5 Medicine of the Prophet by Ibn Katheer
6 Quran, al-A’raaf 7:31
7 Muslim, 2034