Summary: Set point weight is the weight at which an individual’s body naturally wants to be, determined by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. It can change over time, but some interventions, like drastic calorie restrictions, can disrupt it and lead to weight regain. It is no secret that obese people struggle with weight loss. Studies suggest that barely about one-tenth of obese adults are ever able to lose body weight and maintain it.
In the rest of the cases, even if individuals lose body weight, they regain it after some time. Even worse, many of them go on to put more weight after the initial weight loss effort.
Many overweight individuals may have excellent results and experience considerable weight loss when participating in any weight loss program. But very few of them are able to maintain that weight in the long run.
Over the years, the body appears to have created some set point, which is difficult to change. Even worse, specific dietary measures may reprogram the body in such a way that it may lead to a slowdown in the metabolic rate. This explains why some people on a restrictive diet may experience some weight loss. However, it may be followed by significant weight gain.
The term “set point weight” refers to the weight at which an individual’s body naturally wants to be. This is also known as the body’s “natural weight.” The set point weight is determined by a complex interplay of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors.
Genetics plays a significant role in determining an individual’s set point weight. Studies have shown that certain genetic variations are associated with a higher or lower set point weight. For example, variations in the FTO gene have been linked to a higher set point weight.
Hormonal factors also play a role in determining an individual’s set point weight. Hormones such as leptin, ghrelin, and insulin can affect appetite and energy metabolism, influencing how much an individual eats and how much energy they burn. For example, high levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite, can signal to the body that it has enough energy and does not need to eat more.
Environmental factors, such as diet and physical activity, can also affect an individual’s set point weight. For example, a diet high in processed foods and low in fruits and vegetables can lead to weight gain, while regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight.
It’s important to note that the set point weight can change over time, especially with weight loss, and weight regain can often occur. Diets or other weight-loss interventions that drastically cut calories or macronutrients can disrupt the body’s set point weight, leading to weight regain once the diet ends, a phenomenon known as yo-yo dieting.
Here we are not saying that one should not consider weight loss. However, set point weight theory only says that weight loss is challenging.
This set point theory has been used to explain even many other issues. For example, many people living with hypertension may get used to high blood pressure.
However, all this does NOT mean that a higher body weight, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure is healthy. If one does not reduce body weight, bad cholesterol, and blood pressure, it will still lead to premature death, significant disability, and reduced lifespan.
So, what is the importance of “set point weight”? Well, it only shows that weight loss is difficult for most people, and “set point weight” is one of the hurdles to be overcome. Additionally, this theory shows that weight loss and maintenance are entirely different things.
It also means that weight loss requires one psychological approach, and maintaining weight loss would need a completely different approach and mindset.
Thus, those living with obesity should not think that if they join some weight loss bootcamp, they can transform their lives. Instead, they must prepare for long-term efforts. Otherwise, all efforts will go in vain, and everything they might achieve will be lost, and even worse, they might end up gaining more body weight.
Hence, to become healthy, lose body weight and maintain it, one will need to break the “set point weight” barrier.
They will need to reprogram their body and mind to create a new “set point weight.” It is possible but will require much more effort and the right kind of mental attitude.
Finally, any weight loss effort will only work when metabolic rate is also altered,
or rather boosted in the way that it becomes the new normal.
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