The wait for weight loss

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. 

By Cathleen Kronemer

With the possible exception of genetically identical twins, each of us is a beautifully unique individual. Nobody else has our exact array of freckles, our well-defined shoulders, or even that adorable gap between our front teeth. While we readily accept the physical differences which set us apart from our friends and family members, we tend to forget this concept when it comes to weight loss.

Very often a client will express frustration over an inability to shed weight as expediently as desired, a comment which is usually followed by, “But my neighbor lost her weight in six weeks…so why is it not happening for me?”

The physical attributes which make each of us one of a kind will also be contributing factors in an attempt to lose weight. According to, two people of different weights will burn a different amount of calories while engaging in the exact same exercise for the same duration of time. For example, while enjoying a step aerobics class, a 130-pound woman will burn approximately 502 calories in an hour, while her 155-pound friend will burn about 96 additional calories by the end of the class. Likewise, if these same two friends played golf for an hour, the 155-pound woman would burn up approximately 51 more calories than her friend, who is 25 pounds lighter.

Before you even start thinking, “That’s just not fair!” consider the dynamics of what is occurring from a physics point of view. The sheer energy required to move a body at rest is going to be dependent upon the size of the object being moved. We have accepted that fact since the time of Sir Isaac Newton. This is the exact dynamic at play in the cases stated above.

To further complicate matters, energy expended (or calories burned) during exercise is influenced not only by one’s weight, but also by one’s level of fitness conditioning. The person who has been teaching that step aerobics class 3 times a week for 15 years is so conditioned to that level of exercise that her body will probably not burn nearly as many calories as the deconditioned participant for whom this class is brand-new.

Becoming in tune with your own body, noticing how it reacts and responds to the forces being applied to it, will be your best ally in the quest to lose weight and become more fit. Pair this with the knowledge that no two people are exactly alike, in physical appearance or in metabolic processes, and you will be empowered to find the perfect path to your unique goals.