March 27, 2023

The ‘Set Point’ Theory of Weight Loss (and why it could matter to you)

A set point refers to the weight range your body naturally maintains through a complex regulatory system that balances energy intake and expenditure. The concept suggests that when you lose weight, your body may reduce metabolism and increase hunger to return you to your set point weight. This can make it difficult to sustain weight loss.

There are a few strategies that may help overcome set point:

💪Slow, steady weight loss is easier for your body to adjust to—rapid weight loss can trigger a stronger response from the set point regulation system.

💪Regular exercise can help increase your metabolism and reduce your set-point weight over time.

💪Paying attention to hunger and fullness cues while acknowledging emotional eating can help you establish a healthy relationship with food and overcome a set point.

💪Poor sleep and chronic stress will increase hunger and reduce metabolism. Prioritizing sleep and stress management can help.

💪Overcoming a set point weight may take time, and it’s essential to be patient and focus on making sustainable changes rather than quick fixes.

The set point theory has also been criticized for several reasons:

🤷Some experts argue that there is limited scientific evidence to support a set point and that the theory is based on anecdotal observations.

👨‍💻Some suggest set points are not fixed but change in response to various factors, such as aging, metabolism changes, or energy balance shifts.

👨‍🎓The theory has been criticized for ignoring the role of environmental factors, such as access to healthy food options and sedentary behaviour, in determining weight.

🙅‍♀️The set point suggests that weight is regulated within a narrow range, but many people’s weight can fluctuate significantly, meaning that set points are more flexible than suggested.

👩‍🔬Focusing on weight is often misguided, as other factors, such as body composition, muscle mass, and overall health, are more important indicators of wellness.

The set point theory has been a popular research concept but is not universally accepted as an explanation for obesity. Exercise daily, cut sugar/alcohol, eat whole foods, and get adequate sleep to reach your goals. 🏋