In my video about metabolism you heard me say that those defining themselves as “hardgainers” and not able to gain weight no matter how much they eat are wrong – they consume as much or less energy needed to maintain their weight. There is an exception to this rule. Her name is Lizzie Velásquez.
Lizzie is 21 years old, lives in Austin, Texas, and by noon has eaten more than most of us consume over the entire day. Her daily calorie intake goes up to 8000 kcal and yet she weighs 60 lbs (28 kg) at a height of 5’2″ (1.57 m).
There are only two other people in the world exhibiting this apparent disappearance of calories, a 15-year-old girl who too is living in Austin and a woman in England. The closest likeness their condition has to known illnesses is a genetic defect called neonatal progeroid syndrome, that causes premature aging in those affected. It seems that in people who suffer from NPS, all metabolic processes run at a rate much faster than normal.
But people who suffer from NPS usually die at a very young age, a life expectancy Lizzie clearly has outlived.
Professor Abhimanyu Garg at the University of Texas, where Lizzie takes part in a genetic research project, surmises that she might suffer from a type of NPS even more seldom than this already rare illness.
Should You Envy Her?
Before you start envying Lizzie for what might seem to some like the ideal way of being, consider that eating 8000 kcal per day can become a chore – a lot of her life revolves around having to eat – and that she can only get together the number of required calories by resorting to unhealthy foods and will suffer from the side effects a nutrition like that brings.
In some places Lizzie is heralded as carrying in herself the solution to the obesity problem, but I wonder how Lizzie feels about being a test subject for those that simply can’t control themselves.