Naturally Thin: Diet Review

By Mel Thomassian (RD)

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“Naturally thin” or “naturally slender” has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years — but, what can we learn from these so-called naturally thin types?

Well, Bethenny Frankel has written her own book, “Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting,” as a guideline on what they eat.

Basically this book is Bethenny’s advice, insights, and tips on banishing fat-thinking. It’s really an amalgamation of what she has learned from her own struggles with weight.In case you don’t know, Bethenny is a natural foods chef, author, and one of the original five housewives featured on the reality series, The Real Housewives of New York City.

Her book is split into two sections: “The Rules” and “The Naturally Thin Program.” In the first section there is an explanation of the 10 basic rules:

  1. Your diet is your bank account
  2. You can have it all, just not all at once
  3. Taste everything, eat nothing
  4. Pay attention
  5. Downsize now
  6. Cancel your membership to the clean plate club
  7. Check yourself before you wreck yourself
  8. Know thyself
  9. Get real
  10. Good for you

The second section goes through a few weeks of Bethenny’s eating, demonstrating how to implement the rules into your everyday life, just like she does.

It is this section in the book where things start to fall apart a bit. Bethenny’s eating is pretty minimalistic at times — skipping meals and counting two bites of food as a snack, doesn’t seem like a very nutritious diet to me.

However, perhaps this is what those who are “naturally thin” tend to do, i.e. eat small and often, what do you think? Then again, I would never think of ordering a steak at a restaurant, and only allowing myself three bites of it, would you?

Good things about this book include the emphasis on portion control, and the fact that all foods can be enjoyed in moderation.

However, some of the content is verging on unhealthy.

It is important to remember with books like these (i.e. celeb-endorsed diets), that what appears to work for a celebrity, may not be healthy for you. I certainly don’t see this diet as “ideal” for most people.

Naturally Thin is available on Amazon for $9.00.

26 Comments

  1. C.

    This is also why anorexia does not work as a permanent or healthy weight loss solution: you’re depriving your body of the nutrients it needs, and so while you may lose weight in the beginning (at an alarming rate, even), it will eventually come back, because your body knows you’r starving it, and isn’t too fond of the idea.

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  2. C.

    Another thing: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT SKIP MEALS!!!!! Sure, you think, “Oh, if I eat now, I’ll be stuffing more carbs, calories, fat, etc. into my body — I’m better off skipping.”

    Fact: You’re not better off. If your body goes too long without food, it will go into starvation mode and start hoarding everything you give it. This results in a greater likelihood that you will add inches to your hips, waist, etc., because you body thinks, “Hey, I’m not getting enough fuel — I’d better start stockpiling,” and stores it in those spots you’ve worked so diligently to keep slim.

    I hope this helps somebody! 🙂

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  3. C.

    Interesting. I suppose one might classify me as “naturally thin” — I am 5’7″, and range anywhere between 120 and 125, depending on the week. Don’t get me wrong — I have overweight friends and family members, and I’m thankful that I don’t have to struggle to maintain a healthy weight. But frankly, I almost get tired of hearing people talk about how thin and ideal my body is. Once, when I was at the mall with my mom and sisters, my sister pointed at me and said, “Nowadays, people think you have to look like that to be pretty.” I’m just blessed to have friends and family who don’t begrudge me for my size (or at least are gracious about doing so).

    I do tend to eat smaller portions here and there throughout the day (unless I’m really hungry, in which case I’ll eat a fair amount). The general rule is, I eat while I’m hungry, and stop when I feel full. I chew thoroughly (again, if I’m feeling extremely hungry, I’ll be a little less careful).

    Of course, everyone’s body is different — one woman may thrive on a certain diet, and another may gain (or lose) and inordinate amount of weight, to the point of becoming unhealthy.

    Still, my two cents’ worth is this: Portion control is a good thing — just don’t overdo it. Frankly, limiting oneself to three bites of food doesn’t sound healthy. I’m “naturally thin,” but even I eat whatever’s on my plate, until my stomach is full (at which point I stop — eating too much stretches your stomach, and we all know that’s a bad thing, unless you find yourself lacking the room for a healthy amount of food).

    Another thing: it takes your stomach a fair amount of time to register that it’s full. If you eat more slowly (chew thoroughly, take small bites, etc.), you’ll be less likely to over-eat, but can still take your fill of the foods you love. And don’t load up on junk — that’s a no-brainer.

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  4. outstripped

    I am one of the few posters who has actually read this book.

    This book resounded with me and inspired me because it seems that some of her old eating habits aligned with mine, and her solutions to them were great.

    The “cancel your membership to the clean plate club” is something that very few other diet websites, blogs or books address. When I was younger, my parents wouldn’t let me get up from the table unless I had eaten all the food on my plate. As I got older, that habit was one of the main culprits that I was overweight. Bethenny basically tells you that you are not a trash can, and the food will do less harm in the disposal than getting stored as fat on your thighs. That made sense to me.

    All in all, this book was great because Bethenny was very frank about what you should and should not do. Her direct writing and addressing of some unpopular issues was refreshing. I feel like everyone everywhere has the same “magic tips for weight loss (eat whole grains! eat a salad before your meal! Don’t drink alcohol!) but no one was addressing the changes I needed to make in my own lifestyle — Bethenny did that.

    However, when you read what she actually eats every day… that’s when she lost me too. I’d rather have square meals than graze, which is pretty much what she does.

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  5. helpful

    I read this book a while back and got the impression that drinking alcohol (empty calories there) was important to the author for some reason, so she made room for it in her eating plan. Someone who doesn’t drink would have more room for actual food with the same amount of calories (and may actually find this plan to have enough food, depending on what was eaten for those calories).

    As far as 3 bites, it’s just a reminder that the first bite of something will taste the best, and you get less satisfaction from there on out. She doesn’t say how many times she chews those 3 bites before swallowing by the way.

    And how big is a bite or spoonful? When someone says, a “heaping” spoonful, have you ever tried to see how much of something you could heap onto the spoon–for example, hot chocolate mix? It can be quite a lot, depending on the food.
    You might be better off with portion control by weight or level cup/spoonful (but even then, with some things like brown sugar, how much can YOU pack into that level spoonful?).

    One thing I definitely didn’t like about the book was the very light typeface and small print used for the recipes, which made it difficult to read, and therefore, use. Some of the recipes were interesting. Worth borrowing from the library, at any rate.

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  6. kaz

    I tried to eat like my “naturally thin” sister for a week, and I gained weight. Even my Aunt who is slender eats big macs all the time!!! I’ve used online nutrition trackers to track every single thing I eat and drink, and it left my doctor scratching his head as to why I am overweight. I’m still working on it though, every year I try something new. So far this one seems to be working best, if I ever get skinny maybe I’ll write a book. lol

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  7. antjon

    I have yet to read the book, after reading all comments its my bound duty to read it, I think you should eat something you enjoy say once a week if you can cut your calories by 200 per week its got to be doing some good

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  8. Spectra

    I’m guessing it’s more than we think, sadly. Most celebrities aren’t exactly known for their healthy habits.

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  9. Susan

    I haven’t read this book, but I am partway through _Unbearable Lightness_ by Portia de Rossi. Reading this blog post and the comments reminded me of a disturbing part of _Unbearable Lightness_ where someone asked Portia for details about how she lost so much weight, and Portia didn’t want to share because she didn’t want to admit how very little she actually ate each day, so she just said, “It probably wouldn’t work for you – this plan was specially designed for me.” I wonder how many skinny celebrities got that way through disordered eating that they try to hide from everyone.

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  10. Ann

    She never said don’t order anything. She said order a smaller plate like an appetizer or order a healthier option and have just a few bites of your friends’ food (if they let you). She also suggested that sharing food with friends is a good way to try more dishes and be social.

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  11. Ellen

    I did read this book – and she had me up until she started detailing he own habits to show you how to follow her ideas day-to-day. At one point, she suggests not ordering a meal when you eat out, but just to take some bits off other peoples plate. I’m sorry, but I do not think she had gotten over her eating problems – not at all. What she says she does it just plain crazy. I suffered with an eating disorder for years and I can see it plain and clear here.

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  12. Ann

    Did anyone commenting on this even read the book? She doesn’t say you should waste food. She says that you shouldn’t feel obligated to finish the food just because it’s there. She actually talks about bringing the leftovers home (and she several times refers to having leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day). Even the “three bites of steak” thing that everyone is up in arms about – she said that she took most of it home and made a sandwich of it for her husband the next day. And she had a salad, side of vegetables, and some dessert with that three bites of steak. Mentioning the three bites is just being aware of how much and what you eat, rather than not counting it because it wasn’t much.

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  13. Ann

    I don’t see how this says “entitlement”. The idea of having it all, just not all at once is that she actually says you can still have french fries, cheeseburgers, and milk shakes, but that you shouldn’t have all those things together. Basically she says that you should pay attention to when you are having a splurge item, and not compound it by having more splurge items. It has nothing to do with being entitled.

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  14. Albert123

    Good post. Well, I am yet to read the book and based on the information posted in the post, I think that the book promotes crash dieting. I agree with the comment that says that we place too much emphasis on losing weight. Opt for a healthy lifestyle, rather than being obsessed with weight loss.

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  15. Melanie Thomassian R.D.

    I don’t know how people do that… I honestly like my food too much to just push it around my plate, lol

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  16. bijou

    She’s not even that thin.

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  17. Healthy Hideout

    The naivety of some people astounds me – Great review by the way. A close friend of mine really struggled with so many different diets, trying to achieve that “naturally thin” look. I have to say I have to agree with Jim F on this one, it really is a case of accepting who you are whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle that suits you and your body. No two people react exactly the same!

    Don’t like the “cancel your membership to the clean plate club” part either. Portion control is all that is needed – We shouldn’t be encouraged to waste food.

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  18. Berzerker

    “I think she still eats like an anorexic”
    Sadly, (despite what so-called experts say) some people never really do get over eating disorders, they just get better at hiding them.

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  19. Jim F.

    Good review. I cringe reading the statement “you can have it all just not at once”. The attitude of entitlement comes over loud and clear. Maybe you can’t have it all. Maybe you need to be grateful and enjoy what you do have.

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  20. Heather

    Sounds like unhealthy near disordered eating and NOT how my naturally thin friends eat. Then, vmy naturally thin friends would insist they are the last people you want to copy in eating habits.

    What works best for me is eating mini meals all the time, but they aren’t that small. They just are vegetable rich and no processed foods so that I am never hungry but never stuffed. Reason why I’m not overweight anymore.

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  21. O.

    I think I have heard some dietitians refer to a few bites of a decadent food as a “splurge” but that is in the context of eating it on top of a full days worth of healthy eating.

    The fact that it sounds weird coming from Bethenny is interesting. Except for the fact that she refers to the couple of bites being the whole meal.

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  22. laney

    agreed. this is a book that teaches you step-by-step how to have disordered eating. lame.

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  23. Spectra

    I actually read this book because I wanted to see what a person who ADMITS she had an eating disorder has to say about being thin. I laughed throughout the entire book–especially her diet. Come on, be real–who is really going to count 3 bites of steak, a side salad with no dressing, and two nibbles of cheesecake a “decadent” splurge? I think she still eats like an anorexic–only allowing herself a teeny bite of foods that she deems are “splurge” foods, skipping breakfast or lunch if she’s going to have a glass of wine later, etc. If you’re looking for a healthy eating plan, this is probably not a great fit.

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  24. O.

    This sounds like an aunt of mine that has always been rail thin and a friends sister who is a former chubby.

    Basically they clain they are eating, but at the end of the meal the food has pretty much been pushed around the plate and only a couple small bites taken.

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  25. Alexie

    Sounds like a book to avoid!

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  26. MichaelD

    I find it intriguing that people who exercise and are overweight are as healthy or healthier than people that are slender or underweight, even if they also exercise.

    Too much emphasis is being put on people to be skinny. It’s a shame.

    Reply