Have you experienced weight loss, only to later regain the pounds you’ve lost in mere weeks or months? An analysis of 29 long-term weight loss studies (1) revealed that this is a common phenomenon, as people tend to regain more than half of the weight they’ve lost in two years. On top of that, the analysis also showed that most people get back more than 80% of the weight they lost within five years.
There are many reasons why you may regain pounds, and one of these reasons is your set point weight. Here’s what you need to know about set point weight and how you can adjust it.
What is the Set Point Weight Theory?
If you’re struggling with weight loss, your set point weight may be one of the factors to blame. Many people find it almost impossible to lose a lot of weight and keep it off because of factors like set point weight, lack of access to healthy food, and more. As such, the medical community no longer blames patients for not losing excess pounds because there’s plenty of scientific evidence to prove that significant weight loss can be challenging to achieve.
In fact, Dr. Robert F. Kushner, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, states it’s difficult to shed pounds because the body likes to maintain a set point weight or a certain amount of fat. So whenever you try to diet or exercise, your body may defend its set point and try to get your weight back to where it was. Dr. Kushner explains that your body may defend its set point weight by adjusting the appetite centers in your brain and making you crave food more. Your body may also increase your ghrelin levels and lower the production of leptin, which can make you feel hungrier than usual.
Fortunately, you can combat these adaptations in your body and successfully lower your set point weight by doing behavioral changes that can promote weight loss.
How Can You Go Beyond Your Set Point Weight?
Losing weight is hard—but it’s not impossible. Though your set point weight may work against you initially, you can teach your body how to adjust and maintain the weight you’ve lost through the right strategies.
First, you can try doing certain workout combinations. You can do cardio workouts, like HIIT or Zumba, which can burn lots of calories due to the intensity of the exercises. However, you can help your body adjust to weight loss and burn more calories by incorporating strength training exercises into your routine. You can even use a BOSU ball to improve the strength of your core and your other muscles. Your body will start to use more energy while you’re targeting these muscle groups with weights, and effectively burn all your excess.
Aside from optimizing your workouts, you should also be more mindful of your hunger and satiety. Your body will naturally increase your appetite as you attempt to reduce your calorie intake. Thus, intuitive eating counselor Sandra Thies recommends eating based only on how much your body needs. Rather than following restrictive diets, you can better adjust to a new set point weight by listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Listening to these cues can help you manage your weight better because you only eat whenever you need energy, not when you feel stressed or bored.
Regaining all the pounds that you have already lost can feel frustrating. However, you need to understand the mechanisms occurring in your body to work smarter on your health journey and finally achieve the weight you want.