“I’m doing everything right – why do some people lose weight faster than me?”


This is one of the most common fitness problems I hear!  (And know from experience.)


Gahh, so frustrating right?! Especially when you do everything right, and make no progress, while your friend loses weight just going for a 1 km walk every afternoon.


There are lots of reasons some people see results faster than others.  These can be boiled down to three key factors: biology, your nutrition/fitness plan and psychology.


Reason Some People Lose Weight Faster #1: Biology

Biology plays a huge role in determining how easy it will be for you to lose weight.
Factors like gender, age, metabolism and genetics influence how easily you can gain, lose and maintain weight. Understanding how your genes work for and against you will help you find the missing key to unlock your weight struggles, rather than continuing to struggle with methods that don’t work.


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How frustrating is this meme …

why do some people lose weight faster than me


Because #accurate.


Know why you can go on an extreme diet, cut sugar, train every day and only lose a half kilo a week, while your husbo just cuts out beer on weeknights and loses 5 kg instantly?



(Minor exaggeration.  But also, not really).


Men are, unfortunately, just biologically hardwired to lose fat faster than women. Us girls are, unfortunately, more prone to storing fat than men.




This all boils down to the fact that we’re the ones who produce children. Women’s bodies have naturally higher levels of oestrogen, which actually keeps fat on our bodies so we can get pregnant and support a growing foetus.


But it doesn’t stop there. (Isn’t that enough? I mean, really?)


Because of men’s natural body composition, they have more muscle (about 36% more on average) and a faster metabolism, so their bodies burn more calories just sitting there doing nothing. They also have a higher exercise tolerance than us, so working out at the same level can feel harder to us.


So it’s GREAT to go on a couple’s fitness journey with your bae, and I totally encourage it.  Just don’t feel discouraged if you don’t progress as fast as your husband. 


You’re doing nothing wrong.


It’s just biology, baby. You’re doing great.


You know that friend who lives on McDonalds and KFC and just never gains weight? Have you always wondered what her secret is?


The truth is, she’s probably won the genetic lottery.


(Mind you – that’s only from a weight maintenance perspective. Eating a poor diet can still increase your risk of chronic preventable illness even if you never gain a pound.)


Every BODY is different. Take a look around at your group of friends.


You might have a friend who looks like a twiggy Victoria’s Secret model, never works out, and eats burgers like they’re going out of fashion.


Another friend who lifts weights a few times a week for a couple of months and starts looking like one of the Avengers.


And another friend who’s naturally soft, and round, and cuddly.


The rest of us fall somewhere in between.


There’s not much we can do over the genes we get, and how these affect our weight, but babe, remember: we can ALWAYS play a good hand with the cards we’re dealt.


Did you know that there are roughly 20 major genes and 200 minor genes that influence how your body stores fat and gains/loses weight?


There are also genes which determine your levels of exercise tolerance, body composition and hormone fluctuations.


A large number of the population (about 43%) is genetically predisposed to being overweight/obese. There is a specific obesity related gene in particular, called the FTO gene, which can increase your chances of being overweight by almost 70%.



As you can see, sleep is more critical to weight loss than you might have thought. Who knew you could sleep your way to the body of your dreams, right?


Some of my favourite tips for getting a better night’s sleep include:-


I’ve written a post dedicated to getting the best night’s sleep ever, so if you think sleep might be affecting your fitness results, make sure to check it out.


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Reason Some People Lose Weight Faster #2: Programming

If you’re stumped as to why other people seem to lose weight faster than you, look over your nutrition and exercise plan.


Hidden factors include the frequency, type and intensity of your workouts, what you’re eating, and your daily activity levels.


Your Workouts Aren’t Challenging Enough


There’s a quote that says “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”, and I think that’s sooo accurate when it comes to fitness.


Listen, sometimes you only have the physical, emotional and mental capacity for a gentle workout and that’s fine too. ANY movement has benefits.


However, to see results with your training program, you really need to be challenging your body regularly.


Activity at the right intensity puts just enough strain on the body to force it to adapt to meet the demands of your workouts.


Of course, you don’t want to overdo it (if you go too hard you could hurt yourself).  However, your workouts should feel moderately challenging by the end.


If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

This means that, if you’re doing a weights workout, that last rep of your set should feel difficult to complete without shaking. If you’re doing cardio, you should be able to manage to talk in short sentences, but not hold a detailed conversation with the person next to you.

Noticing how your body is responding will give you the best idea of how challenging your workouts are. It’s a better indicator than, say, sweating (I’ll sweat walking to my mailbox), or feeling sore (you can still get a great workout without muscle soreness).

If more often than not your workouts are challenging you, you’re on the right path! But if you feel like you could still talk the whole way through your aerobics class, or if you can bust a set of 8-12 reps with ease, it’s time to up the intensity to keep seeing results.


You’re Not in a Calorie Deficit

No matter what “diet” you’re doing to lose weight:

  • Keto
  • Low carb
  • Low calorie
  • Low fat
  • Paleo
  • Sugar free
  • Vegan
  • Clean eating

… the idea behind it is to eat less processed foods, which can be highly calorie dense, and to eat more whole foods, which are often less calorie dense, thereby putting you in a caloric deficit.


Now before I spend the rest of the article throwing these terms around like confetti, here’s what I’m talking about. 
You might have heard that calories are the pesky little gremlins that get into your cupboard at night and stitch your clothes tighter.
Well, in fact they’re just units of energy.Your body needs energy to stay alive. It gets energy from food.
Every unit of energy that your body gets from food is called a calorie (or kilojoule).
If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. This is called a caloric surplus.
If you eat as many calories as you burn, you’ll maintain your current weight.
Finally, if you burn more calories than you eat, you’ll lose weight. This is called a caloric deficit. 


So, you may be sticking like glue to the “allowed foods” on your “nutrition plan” – but you may be eating more calories than you’re burning, which will cause you to gain weight.

Healthy foods like nuts, seeds, avocadoes, lean meat, olive oil, coconut oil, dairy, and quinoa are undoubtedly good for you, and they’re an important part of a balanced diet.

But they are calorie dense – just ¼ cup of nuts has 150 calories.

2 tablespoons of coconut oil has 234 calories – almost as many calories as a McDonalds hamburger.

It’s easy to overeat these foods and unknowingly consume a lot more calories than you’re burning, even though you’re eating those calories from healthy sources and sticking to your “allowed foods”.

It doesn’t mean you need to restrict these foods – just be mindful of the caloric density of things like nuts, seeds, oils, avocadoes, dairy and wholegrains – and be careful with portion sizes.

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You’re Not Eating Enough High Quality Calories


To a large degree, the amount of calories you eat will affect your results.


However, if those calories all come from three Big Macs a day, you’re going to feel pretty rotten.


And hungry-sick, if you know what I mean.  Like, you’re still hungry and want to eat something else, but there’s a big nasty lump in your gut.


(I don’t know, I always get that feeling from McDonalds and I don’t know how else to describe it other than... “hungry-sick”).


All calories are not created equal. If all of those calories come from … well … let’s just say foods that aren’t nutritionally dense but are calorie dense:

  • You increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other chronic preventable illness
  • You’re going to feel hungry all the time.  Food that has high caloric density is low in volume, so it doesn’t fill your tummy
  • You can increase your risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency.  Highly processed food often doesn’t have a lot of those important nutrients.


Consider a Big Mac: one burger has 563 calories.


For the same amount of calories (slightly less, actually), you could eat:

  • Two Weet Bix with 1/3 cup skim milk (140 calories); plus
  • 140 g of YoPro strawberry yoghurt (90 calories); plus
  • 1 cup of grapes (62 calories); plus
  • 85 g of chicken breast with a tablespoon of teriyaki sauce and 1 cup of steamed broccoli (230 calories); plus
  • 1 cup of air popped popcorn (31 calories).

why some people lose weight faster than you

Both are okay choices!


But if you choose the second option:

  • Your body will get more fibre, minerals, and vitamins
  • The volume of food is HUGE for the same amount of calories as a single Big Mac – increased satisfaction and fullness for longer, so you won’t be hungry 15 minutes later
  • You probably couldn’t eat all of it in one sitting – so by eating lots of low calorie, high volume foods throughout the day you’ll consume less calories overall

One thing I have to admit to loving about calorie tracking is that there ARE no rules. I’m not cutting any favourite foods, and it’s helping me heal from the perception that there are “good” and “bad” foods.


This way, all foods fit in moderation.


But when the majority of your daily calories come from highly nutrient dense foods, rather than highly caloric dense foods:

  • You can eat WAY more food overall and feel fuller and more satisfied with the same amount of calories
  • You get the most bang for your buck in terms of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) per calorie.  This helps skin and hair health, improves your metabolism, energy, and immune system and decreases your risk of chronic disease.
  • You’ve got a better shot at keeping your blood sugar stable: White bread contains the same amount of calories as wholegrain bread. Both are acceptable choices. When you choose the wholegrain variety, your blood sugar levels remain stable, preventing a spike in insulin. Insulin resistance (caused by rapid spikes in blood sugar over time) increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
  • A focus on whole foods like wholegrains (brown rice, oats, pasta, wholegrain bread, wholegrain cereals), fruits and vegetables means you’ll naturally increase your fibre intake. Fibre sweeps the gut clear of toxins and waste products, lowers cholesterol, reduces bloating and helps you poo regularly (which is just … honestly one of the most important things you can do for your health).


You’re Doing Things the Healthy, Sustainable Way


So Martha at the office loses 5 kg in two days from some crazy cabbage-juice-and-diarrhoea-tea diet she bought from Instagram and you’re mega jealous, because you’ve been at your fitness plan for a month and a half and lost half as much as she has overnight.


It might be true that Martha saw results faster – but obviously one cannot live on cabbage juice and diarrhoea tea alone.


(Bleurgh, or even for a day – can you imagine?)



It’s important to remember that most diets like this might promise overnight results, but most of that is probably water weight and … well … old poo that’s been stuck in Martha’s colon (poor Marth), and within a few days, she’s likely to gain most of that 5 kg back.


(And then a couple of kilos extra on top of that, because she’s lived on cabbage juice for three days, and she’s starving, so she’ll eat twice as much as normal to make up for it.)


But you’re doing things differently. You’re doing things the right way.


Weight loss is going to be slow and gradual for you – and that’s okay. In fact, it’s wonderful.


Your way is sustainable, enjoyable, and a lifestyle you’ll be able to stick with for life.   Whilst it may take you a lot longer to see results, you’ll enjoy and maintain it for the long haul.


Crash diets like very low calorie diets, cutting food groups, or weird cleanses might deliver drastic results in the long term, but they come at a high price.


A shonky metabolism, digestive issues, out of whack hormones, and long term weight gain to name a few.


Best not to compare your journey to anyone else’s.  Just remember why you started in the first place: to get healthier, fitter, and create an active, lifestyle you can enjoy for life.


You’re Not Starting From the Same Place

Someone with a lot of weight to lose will shake the weight faster than someone who’s trying to drop those last 5 kg. Whilst it might feel like they’re getting better results, remember that we’re all on different paths and stages.


(And read on for why it’s so hard to shake those last 5 kg.)


You’re Further Along in the Journey

When you first start losing weight, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose, the weight comes off relatively fast.


This is because losing weight requires some big lifestyle changes like:

  • Drinking more water
  • Being more active
  • Eating low calorie foods

and so on. When you and I start doing this, our bodies have no idea what’s happening and burn through fat stores pretty fast.


However, your body is sneaky sneaky. Over time it adjusts your metabolism to slow down fat loss.


This is a survival mechanism from your caveman days. Think about it: you’re a caveman and food’s been scarce for a few days.


So you’re getting more active – out hunting more, chasing harder after prey – and living on less food.


If your body didn’t adjust its metabolism to compensate for increased activity and decreased energy stores, it would starve to death.


Your body doesn’t know that it’s 2021 and food is ridiculously readily available to most of the Western world.


It doesn’t know that we live in unprecedented times where many privileged people in the Western world suffer more from the effects of too much food than not enough.


We haven’t yet evolved to be able to switch this mechanism off, so we have to deal with a plateau or two along the way.


Fortunately, you can shake this up with increasing exercise intensity, adjusting nutrition, and tweaking a few of the other factors mentioned in this article. But all this to say: don’t be surprised if weight loss feels easy at first and then slows down the further you get.


You’re Not Active Outside the Gym


This is a little big one that I stumbled on relatively recently, because of my own weight plateau.


Take two people (because I’m a diehard Disney nerd, let’s call them Minnie and Daisy).


Minnie and Daisy decide to go on a fitness plan together.


They both have the same:-


But Minnie is getting better results than Daisy, and it’s doing Daisy’s head in.


Why is Minnie getting better results than Daisy?


Because when Daisy finishes her workout, she drives to work, sits at her desk, and doesn’t move until lunch, when she eats in the office lunchroom.  After lunch, she goes back to her desk, works until 5 pm, and drives home.  For the rest of the night, she flops on the couch to watch Netflix.


If your workout is between 30 minutes and an hour long, and it’s the only form of activity you’re doing, this means you’re only active for between 2% to 4% of your entire day.


When Minnie finishes her workout, she walks the three blocks to the office. She gets up at regular intervals through the day to walk and stretch, walking over to talk to her colleagues rather than sending an email, and using a sit/stand desk.


At lunch, she puts her walking shoes on and walks a few blocks, then eats lunch at her desk. After work, she gets off the bus a stop early and walks home.


After dinner, she and her husband Mickey (why not) take their dog Pluto for a walk in the park (I’m committed to this now), or she does yoga before bed.


Minnie is a LOT more incidentally active throughout the course of the day than Daisy.  This means sheburns a lot more calories, so she’s getting those results a lot easier.


Listen, it’s great that you’re working out, and I am so proud of you.


But let’s look at this objectively: you have 24 hours in a day. If your workout is between 30 minutes and an hour long, and it’s the only form of activity you’re doing, this means you’re only active for between 2% to 4% of your entire day.


Don’t get me wrong, this is better than nothing of course! But if your goal is to lose weight, it’s going to be hard to create a calorie deficit without starving yourself, even if you’re working out every day.

I need to do a whole post on this in detail, but basically, daily energy expenditure (not including exercise) is made up of 3 things:

  1. Your basic metabolic rate i.e. the number of calories your body needs to physically function even if you’re bedridden.
  2. The thermal effect from the food you eat i.e. the calories your body needs to burn just to digest the food you eat, which can range from 2%-30%, depending on the food group.
  3. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) i.e. the incidental movement you get in your day that isn’t your workout. It’s all the activities you do in a day that involves moving your body, like cleaning, cooking, fidgeting, shopping, walking, picking up your kids, standing up straight et cetera. NEAT can account for between 10% to 50% of your daily energy expenditure.

The more active you are THROUGHOUT your day, the more energy your body will burn.


You might have heard the fitness advice to “walk 10,000 steps per day” – this is why.


If you’ve walked 10,000 steps per day, you’ve likely been very active.  Active enough, in fact, to easily stay in a calorie deficit or maintain your weight without hours in the gym or living on rabbit food.


It’s estimated that you’ll burn between 300 to 400 extra calories a day (depending on a bunch of factors) just by walking 10,000 steps.


If you’re currently sedentary, and not moving around a lot, it can be helpful to get a step tracker just to help you see how active you are throughout the day.


If you have a Samsung phone, the Samsung Health app has a step counter which can give you a rough idea of how many steps you’re taking per day (although you need to be carrying your phone around everywhere, so this may not be very accurate, but it will give you a rough guide).


For better accuracy, consider a smart watch (like this one) or a Fitbit, which will count the number of steps you take and can help you see how active you’re staying throughout the day.

Some fitness watches are extra fancy and will even beep at you when you’ve been sedentary for too long, encouraging you to get up and move.

I was shocked to see just how little I moved outside of my workouts, and now I’m making a commitment to move more throughout my day. I’m building up my step count from … well, virtually zero, by increasing the amount of steps I walk by 10% each day until I build up to 10,000 steps.

(Remember, trying to do too much too soon can feel overwhelming for your mental health and your body, and is usually unsustainable, so start slow and gradually build the habit with time.)


Reason Some People Lose Weight Faster #3: Psychology

Ever heard the catchphrase: “Fitness is 80% nutrition, 20% exercise”? What you might not have heard is that the overarching 100% is your mindset. A fit and healthy lifestyle begins with your mindset – if it’s not in the right place, the wheels can fall off the wagon. Here’s what I mean.



Stress is a sneaky little saboteur when it comes to weight loss!

Not only can it sabotage your efforts if you’re a stress eater (like me), long term chronic stress actually has a negative effect on your metabolism and capacity for critical thinking.

Stress can lead to:

  • Impairment in critical thinking i.e. your ability to make good decisions
  • Cravings for sugary foods
  • Increased appetite
  • Lack of motivation to work out
  • Poor sleep (which we already know can affect weight gain)

High levels of cortisol (i.e. the stress hormone) release glucose into the blood stream, causing a blood sugar spike, and conserve energy (i.e. fat stores) to help you in a “fight or flight” situation.

Because your body thinks it needs a good jolt of glucose to either “fight or flight”, you’ll begin to crave sugary foods.

Great if you’re a caveman under attack from a neighbouring tribe. Not cool if you’re trying to get fit.

There are lots of ways you can manage stress levels:

  • Meditation
  • Regular exercise
  • Deep breathing
  • Journalling

but if you’re having trouble managing stress and anxiety on your own, and you think it might be contributing to weight gain, it’s important to chat to your doctor about it.


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Negative body image


Hey, listen, I get it.  When you’re not happy with your body it can do a number on your self esteem and self confidence.


Maybe going to the gym feels like a hurdle. Maybe you feel frustrated with your body for not doing what you want it to do.


I’ve been there.


I would “punish” myself beyond breaking point in workouts and restrict food, attempting to fight my body.


In the end, it did more damage than good. And each time I burnt out from going to these extremes, it only compounded the problem.


I blamed my body, thinking there must be something wrong with it.


When I learned to love and accept my body as it was, and want to take the best care of it I could (even if the weight never dropped) that everything changed.


Negative body image can be difficult to overcome.  Self love can be a tough journey, but it’s the most rewarding one you will ever take.


When you approach fitness and nutrition from a place of wanting to take loving care of your body, healthy choices don’t feel like something you “should” do – they’re something you want to do.


I have some great resources that can help with this (HERE and HERE) but if you’re still stuck, it’s a great idea to talk with someone who can help you deal with negative thoughts about your body.

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Black and white thinking


Black and white/all or nothing thinking is your psychological enemy when it comes to keeping on track with your fitness goals.


Here’s what it looks like:


This isn’t just going to derail your fitness goals, it’s going to play havoc with your mental health too.


There are no “good” or “bad” foods … food is just food.


Some foods help your body feel good and strong and healthy. Other foods just taste good.


That’s it.


Aim for overall consistency rather than getting everything “perfect”. There’s no such thing, and life will always happen.


Do the best you can with the resources you have. And if you don’t get it quite right, that’s okay – you can always choose differently when the next meal rolls around.


Lack of motivation


Okay, but why are you doing this fitness journey though?


What’s your motivation?


At the very outset of your fitness journey, the most IMPORTANT thing to do is get clear on why you’re doing this.


The more clear you are about why you’re doing this, the more motivated you’ll be to achieve it, and the more likely you’ll stay on track and consistently make the right choices.

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It’s true that if you burn more calories than you consume, weight loss will occur.  However, the rate this will happen WILL still vary.


There are a LOT of other factors that influence weight loss, including your unique biology, how you’re eating and exercising, and your psychology.


And these reasons can be why some people can lose weight faster than you.  But just remember, this doesn’t mean you won’t lose the weight.


Most of these things can be tweaked! With a little adjustment (and self acceptance) you’ll bust through that pesky plateau and get back on track.


If you would like more information on getting in the best shape of your life, don’t forget to download the subscriber-only FREE fitness resource bundle.  You’ll get an .mp3 of relaxing self love affirmations, a collection of journal prompts, and an eBook, all designed to help you build sustainable habits for a fit and healthy lifestyle … for life.

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Get Your free fitness resources HERE

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 ♥♥♥Got a burning fitness question you want answered? Share it with me in the comments below, and I’ll answer it in an upcoming blog post!


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