Nutrition & Dieting/Slow metabolism


My husband is 55, and healthy and normal except for his extremely slow metabolism.
Since we spend a lot of time together, we are both semi-retired, I can atest to the fact that he cant eat much more than 1500 calories a day or his weight creeps up. He is already overweight at 250 pounds at 5 feet 8 inches.
He does cardio daily, and eats only low glycemic carbs and very little fatty foods. He sees his physician twice a year, and there is no indication of thyroid or other problems. The doctor has chided him about his weight so I hva been accompanying him lately.  The doctor just shrugged and said he just has a slow metabolism.
As a child he was u nderweight and sickly, and had scarlett, fever, measles, mumps-you name it. Maybe these compromised his metabolism, or hormonal issues struck? because he says he was underweight  until adolescence, then became heavy at puberty.
Thanks for any insight. I have researched this issue and most people that claim to have slow naturally metabolisms probably dont

Hi Barb,
Thanks for your question!

I believe it's highly unlikely a man weighing 250 pounds cannot lose weight on a 1500 calorie intake while he does cardio daily and has no thyroid problems. I would place his energy expenditure much closer to 2500 calories, which means he should be losing 2 pounds a week on 1500.

There are a few explanations:
He may be eating when you aren't aware he is; he may be drinking hundreds of calories a day in juices, milk, coffee drinks or sodas which are not counted; you could possibly both be mistaken on your caloric estimates of foods and portion sizes; or he may be easily discouraged after a few days and be going 'on and off' the lower calorie diet during a typical week.

Your best move would be to find a local dietitian who can work with him one on one. She can have him keep a detailed food diary to review with him, and some medical centers have equipment that actually measures your metabolism (by merely breathing into a mask hooked up to machine for about 15 minutes!) which would be extremely helpful information.

I hope you find the solution, and don't hesitate to write back with any questions, or to let me know what's going on with his progress!


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Laurie Beebe, MS, RD, LD


As a registered dietitian (RD)I am fully qualified to accurately answer questions regarding weight loss, including those from people with health conditions requiring dietary restrictions (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc) who want to lose weight, or who have been advised to do so by their physician.


I have been a registered dietitian for over 30 years and have a certificate in Adult Weight Management through the commission on dietetic registration at Level 1 and Level 2. I am also trained in coaching through Coach U and currently work as a diet coach to help people lose weight the healthy way, through gradual habit changes.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group, Nutrition Entreprenuers, St.Louis International Coach Federation, Toastmasters

Publications,,,, Today's Dietitian

Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida, 1983; Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University 1985; Certificate in Adult Weight Management 2006; CoachU core essentials grad 2007; Level 2 certificate in Adult Weight Management 2010.

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