Your height is determined primarily by your bone structure. Therefore no, weight loss won’t make you shorter!
Actually losing excess weight can decompress your spine, improve your posture and help you stand more upright, creating the illusion of being taller, not shorter. However weight loss doesn’t change the actual bone structure or length of bones.
As we age, we naturally get shorter. Our posture changes, and the spinal cushioning (intervertebral discs) shrinks, stiffens, and wears out, losing height. If your weightloss journey overlaps with these age-related changes, it might create the idea that your height drop is linked to it.
In this article, we delve into how weight loss links to height, and address factors that can impact it, clarifying any doubts. To finish, we’ll share surprising natural weight loss tips.
Is There a Relation Between Height And Weight?
Yes there is a connection between height and weight and it doesn’t involve getting shorter due to weight loss.
While changing your weight does not make you shorter or taller, it does change the perception of your height. That’s because slimmer people appear to be taller, but do not actually gain any height.
Weight loss may also improve your posture and make you stand taller and feel more confident, too, due to carrying less weight. This can give the impression of increased height.
Additionally, it’s common to naturally lose some height as we age. You can expect to lose a few centimeters between the age of 40 to 70 years. As you shed weight after turning 40, it’s common to also undergo the typical height change that accompanies aging.
While losing weight doesn’t directly make you shorter or taller, some things can slightly affect your height. These can be temporary or permanent changes. We’ll explain these factors in the next section.
Factors Affecting Height Changes in Adults
When it comes to your weight, scales don’t always provide accurate readings. Accuracy can be influenced by various factors:
- who measures
- how it’s done
- the equipment use
- when the measurement is taken
Sometimes, details like keeping shoes or slouching, leaning forward, having a rounded shoulder can impact the measurement, too. If you notice an unexpected change in your height, consider taking another measurement to confirm accuracy.
Also, try to take your height with reliable equipment, like a height measuring rod, a stadiometer as measuring tape can give you a false reading, depending who does it for you. Try to check your height consistently, at the same time with good posture.
Older adults, particularly women, can lose bone mass and density as they age, which can lead to a loss in height. This is called osteoporosis. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it.
Maintaining strong bones through hydration, sleep, diet, exercise, and sufficient calcium and vitamin D intake can support overall skeletal health, potentially minimizing age-related height loss.
Poor posture can also affect your height. If you have rounded shoulders or slouch when you stand, your skeleton isn’t able to reach its full potential length. As you age, your spine may begin to curve, the intervertebral discs stiffen, lose fluidity and height, which also reduces your height.
Regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve posture and prevent some age-related changes. Particularly for those overweight, weight loss can significantly improve your posture, often leading to improved spinal alignment and reduced strain on the back.
Which means, less lower back and knee pain!
As individuals shed excess weight, the body’s center of gravity adjusts, allowing for a more balanced stance. This enhanced posture not only leads to better overall spinal health but also creates the illusion of increased height.
By standing taller and straighter, you will appear to be taller even though your actual height remains unchanged.
As we mentioned above, posture and several other conditions, like osteoporosis or degenerative disc disease can affect spinal integrity and result in height loss. Also, over time, the intervertebral discs between vertebrae can compress, contributing to a slight reduction in height.
So to keep your spine healthy, try and incorporate these changes into your life:
- Maintain a neutral, straight back throughout the day, even if you have a seated job.
- Take regular breaks, move, and stretch at work.
- Only lift weights you can lift with the correct technique.
- Follow manual handling guides.
- Exercise your core and strengthen abs, glutes and back.
- Get a good mattress so your spine can rest fully during the night.
- Wear shoes that support your spine and your overall posture.
- Get sports massage regularly and recovery between sessions
Throughout the day, your spine may compress and expand as you move, sit, stand, and sleep. This can lead to slight changes in height. A person may be the tallest first thing in the morning after a good night’s sleep and shortest at the end of the day.
Dehydration itself doesn’t directly reduce height in adults. However, it can affect spinal health and posture temporarily.
When the body lacks proper hydration, the intervertebral discs between the vertebrae (the cushioning between the disks) can lose some of their fluid content, leading to slight compression and reduced spinal flexibility. This may cause a temporary decrease in height due to altered posture.
Once you rehydrate, the discs typically regain their lost fluid, restoring the spine’s normal configuration and your height. So this is only temporary, unless you don’t drink, which can cause other serious health issues.
Chronic or severe dehydration, might contribute to issues like decreased bone density, which can impact overall skeletal health over time, too, potentially affecting posture and height.
However, the impact on height is typically minimal and reversible with proper hydration and care.
Cancer can also affect height. Tumors in the spine can compress the vertebrae and lead to a loss in height. Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can also cause bone loss and lead to a reduction in height.
Does Losing Weight Make You Shorter?
No, losing weight does not make you shorter or affect your height in any way. If it did, many people would avoid it to prevent becoming shorter or pursue it solely for height gain. . However, weight loss can influence posture and body proportions, giving the appearance of increased height without altering your actual height.
As we’ve learnt, there are several factors affecting our height temporarily or permanently. These factors are not directly tied to weight loss. Yet, prolonged undernourishment, chronic dieting or extreme weight loss can impact bone density, overall health, and posture. This might slightly reduce perceived height due to changes in spinal health.
In adults with fused growth plates, weight loss typically doesn’t directly affect height. Yet, chronic unhealthy weight loss, especially during critical growth periods like adolescence, can potentially impact height and alter development!
Preventing or reducing such impacts involves lifestyle changes and proper care. Many effects are reversible with adequate hydration and nutrition. While age-related changes affect everyone differently, maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and nutrient-rich diets can minimize their impact on height.
How To Lose Weight Naturally?
There are many ways to lose weight naturally. Some simple lifestyle changes can help you lose weight and keep it off.
- Cut back on processed foods
Processed foods are high in calories, fat, and sugar. They are also low in nutrients. Replace processed foods with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Eat more protein
Protein helps you feel full and can boost metabolism. Include lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, and beans in your diet.
- Limit added sugars
Added sugars are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. Limit your intake of sugary drinks, desserts, and other sweets.
- Increase physical activity
Physical activity helps you burn calories and improve your health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week.
Losing weight can lead to a decrease in height, due to the loss of both fat and muscle mass. Muscle mass helps support the skeleton, so when there is less muscle, the bones may become weaker and more susceptible to fractures. In addition, weight loss can lead to dehydration, which can also cause a decrease in height. However, there are many ways to lose weight naturally, such as cutting back on processed foods, eating more protein, limiting added sugars and increasing physical activity.