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How Can Some People Eat Whatever They Want And Not Gain Weight?

Do you find yourself getting frustrated how some people can eat whatever they want and never gain any weight?

How come they can seemingly eat everything in sight, but never gain an ounce of fat?

The answer is quite simple: they are not in a caloric surplus. We know that in order to gain weight, you have to be in a surplus. In other words, you need to be consuming more calories than you are burning. You can eat only cookies and never gain weight if your calories are low enough. Sure, eating cookies and other snacks will make it harder to keep your calories low, but that doesn’t take away from the truth of the matter: if you’re not in a caloric surplus, you will not gain weight.

That being said, not being in a surplus can be broken down into a few different avenues:

The first is that someone might simply be not eating a ton. Maybe you know someone who eats McDonald’s 5 days per week and snacks on Oreos throughout the day, so it seems like they should be much heavier than they are. But it’s also possible that their overall calories are actually pretty low overall. While their diet might not be the “healthiest”, they’re not over-consuming. Even though it looks like they’re eating a ton, they’re actually not from a caloric standpoint.

The second possibility is that their diet is actually very well-rounded, but you’re just seeing the “junk”. If your coworker is always snacking on cookies and donuts in the office, you might think their diet is garbage. But when they go home, they might actually eat very well. Take it from someone who is always talking about pizza and donuts on Instagram- just because you see someone eating less than optimal food, it doesn’t mean their whole diet looks like that. More than likely, the rest of their meals are very plain and boring- that’s definitely the case for me. I typically don’t think to share my most mundane, healthy meals.

The other possibilities revolve around energy expenditure (calories burned). Someone might simply have a higher BMR/metabolism, meaning they require more calories throughout the day. Yes, genetics do play a role to some extent, and someone might naturally have a higher metabolism. Who all knew that kid growing up who seems to have the fastest metabolism on the face of the Earth. But things like age, muscle mass, and even hormones all play a role in our individual caloric requirements, so someone else’s requirements might simply be much, much higher.

Lastly, someone might simply be a very active person. That kid you grew up with that could eat everything in sight was likely also extremely active. I’ve talked about NEAT before: a nurse might eat a lot more than a telemarketer, since they are on the feet all day and therefore burning more calories throughout the day.

At the end of the day, it all comes back to a caloric balance. Anyone can technically eat “whatever they want” and not gain weight if total calories are in check!

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About Matt Rosenman

With over 15 years of experience in health and fitness, Matt Rosenman is the expert voice behind Matt’s philosophy is simple: no foods are off-limits, and a healthy lifestyle shouldn't be complicated or restrictive. As a former certified personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in Health Behavioral Sciences, Matt brings well-rounded expertise to his blog. From revamping classic recipes with a nutritious twist to breaking down fast food menus, his goal is make healthy living less confusing for everyone. Featured in major publications and with a strong following on social media, Matt is committed to making “healthy” uncomplicated—no matter where you are in your health journey. Join Matt on his mission to simplify health without sacrificing flavor. Learn More