Weight Loss Stalls: Is Set Point Real?

Gunnar June 2, 2014 No Comments
Is Set Point Real?

Is Set Point Real?Have you ever heard of set point when it comes to weight loss? If you’ve tried dieting before, you may have noticed that once you hit a certain weight, it is extremely hard to lose any more weight past that point. This is what many people refer to as set point. There is more to this type of stall than not being able to go below a certain weight. We’ll break down everything you need to know about set point theory in this blog.

Set Point Theory

Set point theory is the idea that the body internally regulates weight and fat making it difficult to drop below that point. Set point theory claims that if you do drop below your set point, your metabolism slows down to maintain energy and prevent you from losing more weight. This point is not based on height or frame, in fact it is believed to be biological and genetic. While many doctors and personal trainers believe that set point exists, there isn’t aren’t many peer-reviewed studies on the subject that prove it is real.

With our clients, we have noticed that they will stall when they hit a certain weight. They typically have a hard time dropping below this point. We have noticed that the point where they stall is usually a weight that they had previously maintained for several years. For example, Cindy weighed 204 pounds for several years. She then gained 30 pounds and decided it was time to get down to her healthy weight of 135. Cindy had a difficult time maintaining any weight loss below 200 pounds. Her body recognizes her weight at 204 as sort of a homeostasis, and so it tries to maintain it by slowing down her metabolism. While this may be a set point, Cindy knows that it still is not a healthy weight for her. So, for people trying to lose weight, even if set point is an issue for you, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay that weight.  You can drop below your set point for good by maintaining a new weight for a long period of time so your metabolism can adjust accordingly.

Overcoming Set Point

As mentioned before, overcoming set point means that you have to maintain your new weight for 3 weeks. Your metabolism needs to be reset to recognize your new weight as homeostasis. Here are four tips for overcoming your set point: 1. Start Exercising – This will keep your metabolism engaged so it doesn’t slow down and try to get you back up to your set point. 2. Eat smart and avoid binging. One of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to get below your set point is to binge. Binging is confusing for your body, and it pushes you closer to your old set point. Eat smart, track your calories, and find a balance of eating and exercising that allows you to maintain your new weight for at least 3 weeks. 3. Be Patient – It takes time to overcome a set point. If you are trying to lose weight, you need to keep trying, even if it feels like you’ve been stalled for a week. If you put in consistent effort, and if you are burning more calories than you are consuming, eventually your body will be forced below the set point. It’s a process and it takes time. 4. Make permanent, manageable changes – Don’t do anything to extreme to drop below your set point because if this method isn’t sustainable, when you stop you will gain the weight back. Make changes that are ones you can live with. Try lowering your caloric intake by 200 calories, or try exercising a little longer than normal. These small changes will add up and help you maintain a new weight. Set points don’t have to hold you back on your weight loss journey. With continued hard work, and a little patience, you’ll be to a new weight before you know it. Have you ever experienced set point?

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