Set Point Theory: Why Diets Don’t Work
Can’t seem to hit your weight loss goals? You’re not alone. At any given time, research estimates that a third of the general population is dieting; typically, in pursuit of “better health.”
When adding something new to our wellness regimen (such as medication or supplement), we have a tendency to look for potential negative side effects. Unfortunately, dieting and weight loss seem to be the exception to this habit.
We’re often encouraged by our doctors, trainers, and healthcare professionals to remain committed to an active pursuit of weight loss. However, what these providers, numerous fad diets, and intense exercise regimes don’t share with us is that our bodies cannot tell the difference between dieting and starvation.
SET POINT THEORY
Set Point Theory identifies that our bodies have a weight range (anywhere from 10-20 lbs on average) where it performs most optimally and will not resist attempts to change. Each person’s set point is predetermined – primarily by genetics – and varies person-to-person.
Some folks have naturally lower set points, while others have naturally higher. Which means that even if we all ate the same and moved the same, our bodies would still always look different. Our size doesn’t determine our level of health!
There is no study yet to date that can prove we have any control over changing our set point. And yet, we’re made to believe that our bodies and our weight are as malleable as silly putty. Here’s what’s dangerous about dieting…
DANGERS OF DIETING
Should we begin restricting food to lose weight and dip below our set point, our body’s natural reaction is to respond as if we we were legitimately starving: We’re colder, more irritable, sleepier, have lower sex drives, poorer digestion, and women often lose their periods. Just to name a few. When we’re dieting and restricting, our metabolisms slow down to conserve energy for vital life functions. Ultimately, weight loss will plateau as the body fights to hold onto what little energy it’s receiving.
Yo-yo dieting, also known as “weight cycling,” (in addition to putting you at a higher risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease) often results in weight gain, as your brain interprets weight cycling as short famines. The body rebels efforts to dip below our set point and puts forth efforts to keep you from starving. Simply put, our weight will likely increase as a result of dieting.
GETTING STARTED WITH THERAPY
If you’re curious what your set point might be, you’ll likely begin to identify your body’s own range once you ditch the diets and begin eating and moving more intuitively. Not sure where to start? Schedule a Call with a member of our team; begin healing your relationship with your body and move away from diet culture for good.