Is it true that some people just CANNOT lose weight?

…at least without seriously compromising their overall health? I have heard this claim that there are some heavy people who have a metabolism such that they can diet and exercise all they want but can never lose any significant amount of weight. I think actress Camryn Manheim made this claim in her book. Also a girl I knew in high school. Sounds like making excuses to me, but what do I know?

That is absolutely not true. When your metabolism is so low that one cannot lose weight, we call that conditions being dead. Certainly, some have a higher metabolic rate and can therefore lose weight more easily, but if you don’t eat you will definitely lose weight.

I think that’s probably true. But losing weight is harder for some than for others, and for some it’s just so hard that they can’t do it, or can’t keep the weight off. Especially for low income people who work long hours- unhealthy food is cheaper and easier to prepare, and when you have very little extra money or time, eating tasty food might be about the one nice thing during the day that you look forward too.

It’s awfully hard to expect someone to cut out the fried chicken and ice cream when that’s literally the only nice part about their day.

From a purely physical standpoint, anyone can lose weight. If you were to lock a fat or obese person in a bathroom for 90 days, and fed them 900 calories a day through a slot in the door, they would lose weight. Regardless of their metabolism, medications they’re taking, or any disease they might have.

We’ve done this subject a number of times. Easier to prepare? - sure: just do fast food takeout. Cheaper? - not compared to such things as whole grains, or beans & rice.

Ok, I meant both cheap and easy to prepare. I don’t think it changes my point at all.

There is no adult who would not lose weight staying on a medically supervised very low calorie diet which assures hitting some minimal standard of nutritional requirements. A significant fraction would be muscle mass. Some would lose much less weight on that diet than others would, and some more. Few who had been obese would keep most of it off unless there was major support to maintain a moderately low calorie diet and an exercise plan forever more. Never impossible but for some unrealistic.

“It’s too hard to cook” is not the same statement as “It is impossible for me to lose weight, no matter how I diet and exercise”.

Nobody in Dachau maintained their weight, and if Camryn Manheim is claiming that she is exempt from the first law of thermodynamics, I would like to see her note from God.


This is a lengthy article from earlier this month about why it’s difficult for people to lose weight and to keep off weight, that once a person loses weight, the body fights to regain it.

I think it self evident that it’s HARD to lose weight. Anyone who’s had to do it knows that. If it was easy there wouldn’t be so many fat people.

As to the OP’s question, though, “are there some people from who it is impossible to lose weight,” of course that is not true, assuming the person is alive and has some weight to lose.

I can understand, though, why some people would want to sit behind the excuse that it’s impossible, if they’ve tried off and on for years and are frustrated at years of failure.

I think it’s less self-evident that the difficulty does vary from person to person.

There are people who, eating a normal, healthy, balanced diet, will be fat. Asking people to literally starve themselves skinnier is unhealthy and ill-advised. If a person couldn’t substantially lose fat without damaging themselves more than they’re healing themselves, I’d say that borders on “weight loss is impossible” from a practical standpoint.

That said, I think it’s far, far more common for heavy people to “hide behind” that excuse than for it to be their “natural weight.”

To the best of my knowledge, correctly performed surgery that limits stomach capacity in some way always results in weight loss. It follows that voluntarily limiting caloric intake would have the same result.

From my own experience as I have aged, I certainly agree that metabolism has a lot to do with how easy it is to lose weight, but it would violate the laws of physics for someone to not lose weight no matter how restricted his diet is.

Agree, have never seen any photos of fat people in Dachau or Auschwitz or any of those working on the Death railway.

If the fatties really wanted to loose weight they could.

In that situation only the people who could safely lose weight would be left, the others would be uh, dead.

So its a fairly silly example to use.


Most people are ignoring the part of the OP that says “without seriously compromising their overall health.” I think it is clearly untrue that anyone could be completely incapable of losing weight from a purely physical standpoint. Whether some people may be physically incapable of losing weight healthily has not been clearly addressed, and I think it’s an interesting question.

I doubt that there are very many obese people out there whose metabolisms are such that they’re doomed to be fat, excepting people with fairly serious hormonal/glandular issues like inactive thyroids or something along those lines. (so says the 300 lb man)

That being said, I think that losing weight may well be THE hardest thing to do that people commonly face. It’s not like quitting drinking, smoking or crack or whatever; with those, you can quit, get pharmaceutical help with the cravings, and once that’s done, just flat-out not do it anymore- there are countless recovering alcoholics who don’t touch the stuff anymore.

However, how many of them would be successful if they HAD to drink some quantity per day, but limit it? Vanishingly few, I suspect. That’s the fat person’s problem in a nutshell- you can’t just quit eating, and for most of us, portion control and/or healthy eating choices are a serious issue.

Combine that with the fact that serious weight loss takes an extraordinary amount of time. Medical recommendations are to lose no more than 2 lbs/week over the long term… if you’re 50 lbs overweight, you’re talking 25 weeks to lose that weight, or just shy of 6 months. How many of the earlier alcoholics could keep up having 1 drink a day, no more no less for 6 months without relapsing into full-tilt alcoholism?

The final thing is that most weight-loss classes/schemes/whatever are geared toward rapid weight loss not toward changing people’s habits toward food and eating, which is what it would really take. I suspect that in reality, serious weight loss ought to be more of a psychological issue rather than a physiological one.

That’s my 2 cents as a fat guy who at one point lost 65 lbs and has gained it back and then some.

This is kind of what I’m talking about, I think.

It’s very difficult to lose weight, as a woman, if your thyroid is compromised or removed. I don’t know if the same is true with men.

I know this for a fact. I had a total thyroidectomy two years ago. My eating habits are quite modest. I could stand to lose 20 lbs. The scale creeps slowly upward, no matter how hard I exercise.

Perhaps at the point they are at now, i.e. now that they are overweight, eating what is considered a regular diet keeps them “stable,” but at some point, they had to eat a diet that had too many calories.

If a diet is making you gain weight, and you’re not in a condition where that’s a good thing, then it’s unhealthy. Maybe not by any large amount, but ideally you’re weight should be a zero-sum game…take in what your use, no more, no less.

I imagine the problem is that for a lot of overweight people, they didn’t suddenly decide to start eating 3000 calories a day and gained 10 lbs a month, they were just eating a little too much, and maybe just put on 5 or 10 pounds a year…do that for a decade or more, and now you can be 100 pounds overweight. So now that they have this extra mass, the diet that before was a little bit too much, is actually now “just right” in the sense that they neither gain nor lose weight on it.

So to have noticeable weight loss, which is going to be a lot more than 10 pounds a year, they have to cut back a fair amount from what they’re used to, and probably even have to cut back to less than what an average weight person eats. So in that regard, I can see how an overweight person feels it’s “not fair” that they have to starve themselves to get to the size of that average person, while that person can eat what the overweight person used to and not gain weight.

Anyone can lose weight with theproper motivation techniques.