Losing weight is a surefire way to appear taller, at least from the neck up. A few hundred pounds will do that. But how exactly does reducing your body mass index (BMI) and losing weight make you appear taller? In general, people who are overweight tend to stand shorter than those who are of normal weight or even underweight. This is because excess fat on the body can compress skeletal tissue, which in turn can cause bones to appear shortened or flattened. That’s why losing weight can reduce the appearance of being short — because it makes you stand taller. But there’s more to it than that. Here’s what we know about the science behind losing weight and making you taller:
Does Losing Weight Make You Taller?
No, losing weight does not make you taller. The only way to become taller is to have growth spurts, which are the result of your body producing more growth hormones. This can happen at any age but is most common during puberty in girls and boys.
How Does Losing Weight Help You Look Taller?
1. Losing Weight Flattens the Bones
If you’re overweight, your bones are likely to be compressed and flattened, which can make you look shorter. This isn’t just about your height — it’s also about your skeletal structure at the base of the neck and the back of the head. Even if you’re still tall in absolute terms, losing weight makes you appear shorter because it flattens out your bones.
2. Losing Weight Reduces Muscle Mass
Muscle mass is another factor that can make you look smaller or taller. If there is a lot of muscle mass in proportion to your height, then even if you lose weight, the muscles may not disappear completely because they are still there underneath.
3. Losing Weight Can Increase Bone Length
We know that if someone loses weight, their bones tend to get longer concerning their height because they are losing fat as well as muscle mass (remember we covered this earlier). But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will appear taller than before — although some people do appear taller when they lose weight — it is more likely that they will just look more slender or smaller than before.
4. Losing Weight Can Increase Bone Width
When you lose weight, your bones get wider about your height. This is because the width of the bones is reduced due to the loss of fat, but the bones are still longer than before because they are still wider than they were before.
5. Losing Weight Makes You Look Younger
The appearance of your skin and facial features can also make you look younger or older, depending on how much weight you have lost and whether or not you have any wrinkles. Unfortunately, there’s no way to measure this scientifically, but some people do appear younger when they lose weight.
6. Losing Weight Can Make You Look Taller if You’re Short
If you’re short — say, under 5 feet 2 inches tall — then losing weight can make you look taller if it causes you to lose fat as well as muscle mass (remember we covered this earlier). For example, a woman who is 5 foot 2 inches tall with a BMI of 19 may look taller when she loses 20 pounds (8 kilograms) and appears slimmer than before because she has lost a lot of fat along with her muscle mass.
Why Do Thin People Appear Taller Than They Are?
1. Losing Weight Can Increase Your Bone Density
When you lose weight, your body increases the density of your bones, which makes them appear larger than they actually are. This is because the bone is thicker than it was before losing weight, so it looks more like a column of thicker material than a solid block of bone.
2. Losing Weight Can Reduce Body Fat Percentage
The more fat you have on your body, the shorter you can look regardless of your height — even if you lose weight! So reducing body fat percentage can increase your height even if you’re losing weight because it reduces the amount of fat in your body.
3. Losing Weight Increases Your Bone Mineral Density (BMD)
Your BMD is a measure of how much bone mineral is in your body, and it has long been known that having a higher BMD makes you appear taller than someone with a lower BMD. So not only does losing weight make you look taller in general, but it can also make you appear taller because of higher BMD as well (although this doesn’t mean that all people who have high BMD will become tall).
4. Losing Weight Can Increase Head Circumference
You might notice that when people lose weight, their head circumference will increase slightly compared to their original height — this happens because of changes in the muscle tissue around the neck and head area (remember when we talked about fat compressing skeletal tissue because they are not as dense. This can make you look taller — but remember that bone width is not the same as bone length, and having a wider bone doesn’t necessarily make it look longer.
5. Losing Weight Can Reduce Joint Mobility
A lack of weight can reduce joint mobility, which can also affect how you appear to be tall or short. You may find that your joints move less easily than before, which is why losing weight can harm how you appear to be tall or short.
What Can Make You Appear Taller Instantly?
1. If you want to lose weight, you should aim for a loss of just 2-3% of your body weight every week. This is a slow but steady rate of loss — not too fast, but not too slow either. If you want to lose 1lb (0.5kg) every week, then it will take you around 21 days to lose 1lb (0.5kg).
2. If you are losing 1 pound (0.5kg) per week, then it will take you around 12 weeks to lose 1 pound (0.5kg). So if you can manage this kind of weight loss rate, then it is possible to lose up to 5lbs (2kg) in 12 weeks. But remember that this is a slow and steady pace — so if you can’t do it any faster than this, then don’t worry!
3. You should aim for a gain in fat mass of 0-1% every week — or about 0.2 lbs (0.1 kg) every week if your goal. This is because weight loss is also reducing your muscle mass, which means that there is less muscle to support the bones. So when you lose weight, the bones become wider concerning their length. This can make you look taller, especially if you are a woman who has long legs and narrow hips.
4. If your bones are wide about their length, they will likely be less stiff and more flexible than before — which can make them appear longer and more slender than before.
5. If you lose weight, then your bone density increases because you’re losing calcium as well as fat (remember we covered this earlier). If this happens consistently over time then it can produce a noticeable change in appearance — especially if you’re already thin or have a naturally slim build.
In general, people who are overweight tend to stand shorter than those who are of normal weight or even underweight. This is because excess fat on the body can compress skeletal tissue, which in turn can cause bones to appear shortened or flattened. That’s why losing weight can reduce the appearance of being short — because it makes you stand taller. But there’s more to it than that. Here’s what we know about the science behind losing weight and making you taller.