Set Point: How Your Body Tries to Protect You
What does 'set point' really mean? If you consider that our metabolism automatically adjusts to either excess or insufficient available energy (calories), you can begin to understand how carefully our bodies are 'tuned' to protect a certain weight.
Genetics and eating habits determine body size. If an adult does not try to manipulate their body weight by dieting or excessive eating, their weight will be remarkably stable over time.
'Set point' can be described as a reference point around which the body tries to keep a stable weight.
Body temperature is another example of a type of 'set point'. There are a variety of physical mechanisms that 'kick in' if a person's temperature goes above or below 37 degrees Celcius, in an effort to maintain a normal body temperature.
'Set point' is individual to each person. If a slight amount of weight is gained, most people will experience an increase in their metabolic rate so that the excess energy (calories) are wasted. This allows the body to return to that previous set point relatively easily.
However, in the case of weight loss, the metabolism will slow down as less food is eaten or exercise is increased. This leads to a protective decrease in energy burned, which will result in weight gain on fewer calories than before. This is your body's attempt to protect that genetic 'set point'.
This concept explains why very few people are able to maintain a weight loss after being on a diet.
Your 'set point', unlike a media-brainwashed mind, does not care about current 'fashion' or contributing to the massive diet industry. Your 'genes' are what dictate your body shape and size.
Set point cannot be randomly determined or measured.
It is estimated that if you have been eating 'normally' and not obsessively exercising for about a year, you are likely at your 'set point'. This is speaking for adults, and cannot be applied before a person's growth is complete.
Predisposition to be a certain size 'runs in the family'.
Certain factors can alter set point, but there are still more questions than answers regarding this issue. Pregnancy may temporarily alter set point for some women, and for others, it may result in a permanent higher 'natural' weight. The conclusions about this are disimilar.
What does this mean? This concept implies that the farther you are from your natural set-point (either way), the more difficult it is to maintain, and your body will work to revert back to your 'natural' weight. Accepting and remaining at a stable weight, YOUR set point, is healthier that the yo-yo dieting cycle.
As much as it seems to go against all we see and hear around us today, you need to consider weight as you consider height. It's all based on our genetic predisposition.
The dangerous and exasperating attempts and time spent on trying to change your weight can be much better spent on fulfilling your life-long dreams, desires and happiness.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that values thinness in women, to a degree that causes illness and eating disorders, now world-wide.
Isn't life more about accepting ourselves AND others at a natural heatlthy weight, and challenging the false notion that thin people are necessarily happier, smarter or more virtuous?