It’s harder to lose weight if you're short

Kristine Tarbert

If you're like me and you've been wondering your whole life why your taller sister can eat whatever the hell she wants and barely gain any - visible - weight, yet you simply breathe around chocolate and gain 5kg - then the answer is finally here.

But the explanation is a little bit depressing - it turns out losing weight is harder if you are shorter because your metabolism is slower.

If someone who is over 180cm gains a couple of kilos it's not generally as obvious as on someone who is only 155cm tall. If that's not annoying enough, that taller person can then also lose those few kilos much easier than their shorter friend.

Losing weight is harder when you're shorter. Photo: Getty

“Short women have slower metabolisms,” Craig Primack, president-elect of the Obesity Medicine Association, told US Cosmo.

“The average woman has a basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 1,400 calories per day. That means, if she lays in bed for 24 hours, she will burn 1,400 calories. But I see women who are shorter than 5 feet with BMRs of 1,200 calories, and some who are 5’10” or so at 1,750 or more per day.”

Short women have a slower metabolism. Photo: Getty

What that translates to is this - the smaller your body, the less energy it needs, and so the less it burns.

Shorter bodies also have less lean mass, which is your muscles, organs, bones and connective tissues. The medical journal PLOS ONE published research that explains how the size of people’s kidneys, brain, liver, and muscles accounts for 43 percent of differences between peoples’ basal metabolic rates. 

Actual muscle mass is another thing short people lose out on as well.

Listen to your hunger levels. Photo: Getty

But never fear, the experts have also put together some tips for shorter folk looking to lose some weight.

Pay attention to your hunger signals and match your meals and snacks to your personal hunger levels and energy needs. Don't just assume you can eat the same amount of calories as someone else, especially someone taller, and lose the same weight.

Lift heavy in order to build lean, metabolically active muscle. The experts suggest doing weights two to three times a week.

More protein is also required to build muscle. To get the most out of your workout, it is recommended that you should eat 0.4 to 0.55g of protein per kilogram of your body weight four times per day.

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