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set point weight theory

The most challenging aspect of weight loss is keeping it off. The evidence points to this conclusion. Some scientists think that the body always returns to a certain weight. Your body may attempt to regain any lost weight if you lose it.

The set point idea has some support, but there are other factors that affect weight reduction as well. Furthermore, studies demonstrate that it is possible to reduce weight and keep it off.

You are succeeding! You’re consuming fewer calories. You’re working out. However, your scale doesn’t appear to appreciate your effort. Or maybe it did, briefly. However, despite your best efforts, your weight has remained constant recently. Or even more annoyingly, it keeps rising.

It’s an all too typical situation. However, you are not alone. And you are not to blame.

Marcio Griebeler, MD, an endocrinologist and obesity specialist, explains that in the past, people believed that losing weight could be achieved by increasing exercise or reducing calorie intake. Obesity, however, is an illness. It is a malfunction of physiology. Your body will work in a number of different ways to defend itself and prevent you from losing weight.

Several factors may alter body weight, according to a reliable source. Inherited characteristics, the environment, as well as hormonal, psychological, and genetic factors, all influence weight. The difference between the energy used and the calories consumed affects weight as well.

The set point model is based on the idea that there is a genetic weight range that is predetermined and influenced by biological signals. Your body has a regulatory mechanism that maintains you at a set point, or steady-state level.

Your brain’s hypothalamus receives signals from your fat cells. At specific periods, hormones like leptin, which controls appetite, and insulin are released. A variety of cues influence the continual up-and-down adjustments in your metabolism.


Your set point weight is determined by a variety of variables and is highly personal. According to specialists, your surroundings, genetics, and preferences are all important.

The set point is largely determined by the weight that your body has grown accustomed to.

“The set point is established over a long period of time,” claims Harrison. Although it’s a really complicated issue, it seems that your body is trying to manage itself by gaining or losing weight.

If you follow a diet, your body may attempt to regain your prior weight using the following mechanisms:

Physical systems: Your metabolism can slow down if you abruptly cut back on your calorie intake. This implies that your body expends less energy to perform the same tasks. The food you do eat does not burn as quickly as a result. Although you might temporarily lose weight, you’ll probably start gaining it back over time.

Your body may also make adjustments to the hormone levels that control your appetite and metabolism in an effort to get you back to your original weight. Additionally, it might change how you take in and utilize nutrients.

Mental systems: As you consume particular meals, your brain becomes accustomed to the pleasant feelings they produce. Your body will seek new meals or beverages to make up for the gaps left by those foods when you cut back on or eliminate them from your diet.

Harrison predicts that “people will find something else to satisfy them.” You can unknowingly reintroduce snack foods over time, or it might be a few glasses of wine a day.

Just a handful of the procedures that make losing weight so difficult are listed above.

For dieters, it can be particularly challenging, especially in the evening. Every system in your body is screaming, “I want this, I need this.” For you to succeed, there must be a means to overcome this, says Harrison.


According to set point theory, the body makes an effort to keep its weight within a desired range. Throughout their adult lives, many people maintain a body weight that falls within a relatively narrow range. While they are young, some people’s bodies may keep them thin, but as they get older, they may be able to put on weight.

According to the set point principle, your metabolism will slow down if you suddenly start eating fewer calories. Even if your activity level is the same, you will burn fewer calories. Additionally, your body might alter how it takes in nutrients. You may become more hungry as a result of changing hormones. These elements can make it simple for you to gain weight again.

‌Because there is no concrete evidence, the concept of a set point weight is only a notion. Researchers have noticed that many people tend to stay within a given weight range, yet it is challenging to conduct weight research on individuals. It’s challenging to regulate what people eat. The majority of research instead relies on self-reporting, which can be unreliable. ‌

If you have obesity, you are aware of the enormous difficulty in reducing weight and keeping it off.

The scientific reason for the occurrence is set point theory. According to this, your body puts up a fight to prevent you from losing weight. The underlying premise is that your body strives valiantly to maintain weight. And it believes it is helping you.

“What we frequently observe is that people may alter their food and exercise routines in an effort to shed weight, and they may initially succeed. However, their weight will then reach a ceiling and remain there, according to Dr. Griebeler. “That’s because reducing weight and altering your set point are two different things.


If your body aids in your weight increase when you have lost weight, shouldn’t it aid in your weight loss when you have gained weight? Why is it so simple to gain weight if our body has a system that controls body fat? These questions have been the focus of scientific research.

You should be able to reach a healthy weight through diet and exercise, right? At least, everyone seems to agree on that. Why then don’t you see results?

Your body resists losing weight, which is the problem. Additionally, it has several built-in safeguards to keep you at your predetermined spot.

Your body responds to weight loss efforts by producing more ghrelin hormones. They are the ones that give you a craving for food. Additionally, less leptin—the hormone that makes you feel full—is released.

Therefore, it’s not all in your head. Your body’s internal mechanisms are working against you as you diet by making you feel as though you need to eat more.

Dr. Griebeler observes that “fighting back against those hormones is very difficult.” “The fact that you’re hungry doesn’t mean you lack willpower. Because of a hormonal change, it will be quite challenging for you to maintain your diet over the long run.

Dieting alters not only your hormones but also how your body breaks down food.

The first step in weight loss is fat loss, according to Dr. Griebeler. “However, you burn fewer calories when you have less fat. It’s a downward spiral.

Furthermore, cutting calories can cause you to start losing muscle mass, which is equally harmful. Fat burns fewer calories than muscle does.

What do you have to show now after all your hard work? You have less muscle and less fat, which together reduce your ability to burn calories.


Several patterns of weight gain that scientists have noticed cannot be explained by set point theory. These patterns imply that a person’s life circumstances may have an equal impact on weight as the body’s set point. Science has determined that:

  • A lot of college students put on weight.
    Children with high television viewing habits are more likely to be overweight.
    Many people put on weight after getting married.
  • Less wealthy individuals in Western nations are more likely to be obese.
    After relocating from Asia to the West, people frequently gain weight.


According to recent studies, 20% of dieters are able to maintain their weight loss. People who have dropped at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year are tracked by the National Weight Control Registry. These people frequently respond to inquiries about how they avoid gaining the weight back.

According to the available evidence, people had better long-term weight loss results following a “medical trigger”—a warning about their health. Also,

Participants in the registry engaged in the following behaviours, which may help them maintain their weight loss:

  • They frequently weighed themselves every day.
  • Before they become significant increases, they battled tiny weight gains.
  • They typically ate cereal and fruit for breakfast.
  • They worked out for about an hour every day, frequently by walking.
  • They consumed a diet low in fat and calories.
  • Even on weekends and on holidays, they consistently followed their diet.

It’s common for people to attribute weight gain on a lack of willpower. Willpower has a tiny but significant impact on weight control, according to research. There are other, more crucial factors.


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