Do heavier people lose weight faster?

Yes.  Most of the time, heavier people lose weight faster than thinner people because the heavier you are, the more calories it takes to perform any type of activity.   When a person cuts his or her caloric intake to the same level a thinner person uses for weight loss, he or she loses weight quicker.  As the heavier person becomes lighter, the rate at which he or she loses will slow.  Anyone who is losing weight will need to reaccess his or her activity level and caloric intake as his or her weight reduces in order to avoid the dreaded plateau. Resistance training is very important in any weight loss/fat loss program.  Muscle helps to boost your metabolism, which results in a higher calorie burn and a healthier/leaner you. 

A few things to keep in mind that are key in weight loss are:

  • For every 5lbs of muscle you gain, you burn 500 more calories per day
  • You need to burn more calories than you consume each day
  • It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1lb

Yes, heavier people lose weight faster than lighter people do. Physics dictates that a heavier object moved an equal distance, or an equal weight object moved a greater distance will require more work to be accomplished. Work is energy. Much like a larger vehicle is less fuel efficient merely due to being larger, and larger person will burn more calories due to their added size. If a 200lbs person and a 150lbs both exercise for 30 minutes at the same intensity the 200lbs person will burn more calories, and if both persons consume 500 fewer calories a day, then the heavier person will at first lose more weight.  When losing weight it’s important not to focus on the success of others but only to measure your progress based solely on yourself.  

Technically yes.  This is due to simple math.  A heavier person tends to have a higher metabolic rate.  The higher your metabolic rate the more calories you need to maintain this weight.  Therefore when you go into caloric deficit you have more of a range of options for calorie reduction.  A person that needs 3000 calories per day to maintain their weight can without enormous difficulty cut 1000 calories out of their diet every day.  This will produce a net of 2 lbs of fat loss per week.  A different person with a metabolic rate of 1800 calories a day will find it far more difficult to go to 800 calories a day to match the other example.  This of course is just a math example I am not endorsing either of these programs.
Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Taking water weight fluctuations out of the equation because it has nothing to do with losing body fat, one single factor determines the rate of weight loss: the average daily calorie deficit. This is the difference between how much energy is expended (calories burned) and the amount supplied (calories consumed). The goal is to proceed at sustainable pace and one that does not compromise health or performance.
That said, generally speaking, the heavier you are the easier it is to shed those first few fat pounds simply because you can eat more than a lighter person (the heavier you are the more calories you burn). Example: because there are 3,500 calories in a pound of body fat, a 250 lb person that maintains body weight by consuming ~4,000 calories per day and wants to lose 3 pounds per week, would need to consume ~2,500 calories per day. This translates to a 1,500 daily calorie deficit.
If a smaller, 150 lb person maintains their weight by eating ~2,500 calories per day and wants to lose the same 3 pounds per week, they would only be able to consume 1000 calories a day, which would be miserable for most. Eventually, as this 150 pounder loses weight, their new maintenance calories would also be lower, making it extremely difficult to create a deficit of this size. So, weight loss happens at a much slower rate.
None of the above changes the fact that the rate of weight loss is solely determined by the calorie deficit because this 150 lb person could add exercise so they too could burn 4000 calories per day. This would allow them to eat 2,500 calories a day and still lose 3 pounds per week. So keep in mind, the leaner you get the more work and diligence it takes to lose weight. It’s much more comfortable to lose weight at a slower pace.

Heavy people absolutely lose weight faster than our skinnier counterparts. This is in part because heavy people have to work harder to move more weight for one. The second part is their diet. If you take the biggest loser, for example, and have people not exercising at all and eating 3 to 4 thousand calories a day. Then throw them in a extreme exercise program eat 1400-2500 calories a day and exercising for hours a day they will lose a lot of weight fast. Not the healthiest way to do it and the most unrealistic since our lives do not provide us with that much time to workout and have a personal trainer, nutritionist and counselor to help us along the way. The closer you get to your goal the harder it will be to lose the weight. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.