Is It More Difficult to Lose Weight When You Are Short?

taller and shorter women walk together

Is It More Difficult to Lose Weight When You Are Short?

Losing weight is difficult for most people, but some may have it harder due to a variety of factors, such as age, activity level, starting weight, sleep patterns, hormones, and yes, height. 

You may have heard that it is more difficult to lose weight when you are short, and if you are short, you may have experienced this firsthand. But is it truly more difficult to lose weight when you are short, or does it just seem that way because losing weight, in general, is hard?

So, is it harder for shorter people to lose weight?

a group of women stand together with yoga mats

It is true, shorter people have to consume fewer calories to lose weight than their taller friends when every other factor is equal. Sadly, even if you have the same activity level and same overall health as taller people, the taller people are going to be able to lose more weight while eating more. Due to having to eat fewer calories to lose weight, it can feel much more difficult. 

There is actually a science-backed reason for this. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is and taller people were born with more muscle mass simply because of their height. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which determines how many calories your body burns at rest, is impacted by your lean muscle mass. So, the more lean muscle you have, the higher your BMR will be, and the more you are able to eat. 

Shorter people also have a harder time losing weight because, in general, they will have less weight to lose. The less weight you start with the harder it is to lose. Additionally, if you are splitting meals with taller people, those extra calories could work against you and not affect your friend. 

It gets a little bit more complicated than that

three friends run together

In general, shorter people have to consume less than taller people to lose weight. However, height is not the only factor that determines your calories burned for the day. Additional roles, such as sleep habits, exercise, genetics, dieting history, and hormonal health impact the number of calories you burn each day. 

While it is typical for shorter people to need to eat fewer calories than taller people, that is not always the case. For example, a shorter person with a higher percentage of lean body mass can probably consume the same number of calories as a taller person with less lean muscle mass and lose weight at a similar rate. 

Shorter people do have the advantage when it comes to exercising, which is one of the primary ways you can increase your metabolism. So while a shorter person has a lower calorie requirement, they will sometimes burn more doing the same exercise as a taller person. For example, if a shorter and taller person run a mile together, the shorter person has to take more steps and put in more effort to get through that mile. 

Tips and tricks for shorter people

man does a bicep curl

If you are on the shorter side and cannot seem to drop the extra weight, try these tips and tricks.

Chat with an expert

Get in contact with a registered dietitian or certified personal trainer before comparing your progress with that of your taller friend. The experts will help you put your goals into perspective while also giving you suggestions on how to maximize your BMR. 

Recognize your hunger cues

While someone shorter does not need to eat as much as someone taller, they also should not be as hungry. Recognize when you are truly hungry, not just bored or sad, and eat when your body tells you to. 

Lift weights

Lift weights to build as much lean muscle mass as you can, as it burns more calories. 

Figure out your calorie needs

Calculate your calorie needs with an online calculator, entering your height, weight, and activity level. The calculator is a rough estimate, so meet with an expert at Xperience Fitness to get a better sense of how many calories you should consume in a day or use that number as a rough guide.