Week 13: Set Point Weight and Weight Loss

Why does it seem difficult to lose those last 10 pounds when so much progress has been made?  Why does your brain play tricks and try to tempt and encourage you to eat more food while dieting?  These things can be very frustrating and downright discouraging. There is a state and metabolic rate in the body whereby it feels comfortable at a certain weight range.  This is the body’s set point weight and it will do everything it can such as releasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. This is one of the main reasons why most people that lose weight tend to put it back on within 10 years. 

One other very important factor is that as a person loses weight the metabolic rate decreases, this means that fewer calories will be needed at the new weight to maintain it.  Research shows that if a person gains the weight back after losing it, the metabolic rate will not change and will still remain at the lower level. There was a study done by E. Fothergil et al on this subject entitled, “Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after ‘The Biggest Loser’ competition”. In summary, it is best to be aware that the body will respond to the lower metabolic rate that it had achieved during weight loss and will ignore the new higher metabolic rate because of weight gain. 

All is not lost and the body can be reprogrammed along with the mind to maintain the weight loss as long as there are some lifestyle changes. These include exercising for at least 1 hour each day incorporating cardiovascular and some strength training at least 3 days per week.  Eating habits must also be changed and adaptations to the new lifestyle should remain. Stress levels should also be reduced and adequate sleep gained each night to activate the human growth hormone necessary for weight loss and building muscle.

I can attest to this from personal experience and say that my weight gain was primarily hormonal but also diet related since I wanted to eat the same way for the last 20 years.  Now that I am pre-menopausal, my new lifestyle will consist of the ketogenic diet.  Since my motto has always been “life is meant to be enjoyed”, I will occasionally come off the ketogenic diet to enjoy special occasions with my family.


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