Some people spend money like there’s no tomorrow.
Money comes into their life and then promptly leaves again, frittered away on yet more stuff.
Others like to squirrel their money away.
You often hear stories about someone who left millions in their will, yet they lived like a pauper, having worn the same pair of shoes since 1978.
In much the same way, some people have a body that is “thrifty” when it comes to energy.
Put them on a diet, and you’ll see a big drop in the number of calories they burn each day.
Overfeed them, and you’ll see a relatively small increase in daily energy expenditure.
Their body is trying to “save” the extra calories rather than burning them off.
In scientific lingo, they are said to have a “thrifty” phenotype.
Others are the exact opposite.
Put them on a diet, and the number of calories they burn each day won’t drop to the same extent.
Overfeed them, and they will “spend” more of the extra energy, storing less of it as fat.
These people are said to have a “spendthrift” phenotype.
From a study on the subject by Dr. Martin Reinhardt, a researcher with the National Institutes of Health:
“‘Thrift’ refers generically to the efficiency with which energy is used. Some humans with a smaller increase in 24-hour energy expenditure in response to short-term overfeeding have a correspondingly larger decrease in 24-hour energy expenditure in response to fasting (thrifty) and vice versa (spendthrift).
“This is true in lean and obese individuals and indicates an interindividual variability in the energy expenditure response to calorie restriction that might influence the ability to lose weight.”
The upshot of which is that someone with a “thrifty” phenotype will often have a much harder time losing fat than someone with a “spendthrift” phenotype.
That’s one of the reasons you can put two people on the exact same diet, and one person will see faster results than the other.
It’s also why comparing your results with those of other people isn’t always a great idea.
Focus on your own goals.
Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.
As long as you’re moving in the right direction, you’re doing just fine.
SEE ALSO: THE FLAT BELLY CHEAT SHEET
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It's a “cut the waffle and just tell me what to do” PDF, written in plain English, that tells you exactly how to get rid of belly fat. To download a free copy please click or tap here.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN FINNChristian Finn holds a master's degree with distinction in exercise science, is a former personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest, and Perfect Body magazine.