Many people try to lose weight and fail. This is because everyone has a certain general weight that their body feels most comfortable at. This is called your set point. It is your ideal weight where the heart, lungs and other organs function at an ideal level so as to not expend too much or too little energy.
When a person is on a diet they change their metabolism because of the foods that are being cut out or cut down on. The body’s metabolism eventually pushes back to compensate the weight loss and thereby increases hunger and cravings. This is called the “yo-yo effect” and is one of the main reasons why diets don’t work in the long run.
This article will discuss what determines a body’s set point, the ways to reset your set point in order to avoid the ups and downs of diets, and how to successfully keep weight off, long term.
What Determines A Body’s Set Point
A body’s set point is determined by four physical criteria:
- Physical Activity – Burning the calories that are taken in is an important way to change your body’s set point. The calories that have been ingested should be relatively similar to the calories burned. Over time the body gets used to this amount and basically sets itself to handle that amount of exercise and calories.
- Genetics – Many people like to “blame” their genes for how they look based on the fact that they think they can’t process calories as well as others. While this is true for some people, the majority just have to change their eating and exercise habits for an extended time period.
- Diet – As with physical activity, diet is another integral part of the body’s set point. Your set point doesn’t necessarily mean eating less means lower body weight, and eating more doesn’t mean a higher one. However, eating the right foods for you and exercising properly will help make a big difference in your set point.
- Hormones – Hormones can play a part in resetting your set point, much in the same way genetics do. High levels of testosterone, sensitivity to leptin, and lower levels of cortisol are some specific hormones that can affect body weight.
While healthy hormones aren’t the most important factor in determining a body’s set point, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best option for healthy hormones and a healthy life.
How Can You Reset Your Body’s Set Point
Most people try to lose weight by trying one or more diets and exercise plans. They cut out carbs, sugars, or fats, they go to the gym, and then after 6 weeks, put the weight right back on.
This is often done many times in a person’s life and is called “yo-yo dieting”, because just as a yo-yo goes down, it must then go up.
Although there is not much you can do about genetics and hormones, physical activity and dietician certainly be altered. The key to resetting your body’s set point is to make minor changes that you can do for the rest of your life. Going on huge diets and intense exercise binges is not a good idea for most people because of the eventual crash.
One scientific method is called the 10% method. It means that you should be able to lose no more than 10% of your body weight at a time and keep it off. Losing more than 10% means your body begins to fight back by increasing metabolism, hunger , and cravings. This 10% loss should be over a 6 month period. Afterwards, the person can try for another 10%.
The best and easiest way to start changing your body’s set point is by changing your diet. Eating more healthy foods on some days and less food overall on others keeps the metabolism at a level that will eventually lower the body’s set point. Diets lower your everyday caloric intake, while resetting your set point means having a healthy everyday eating style and not just cutting calories.
The key to resetting your set point is really consistency. Making subtle changes in your diet and exercise routines will take time, but also has to last forever. Small dietary changes and beginning with simple exercises that you can do forever instead of short, intense exercises will help change your overall health by resetting your body’s set point.