I want to talk about the “set point” weight range theory and what this means for you, my diet obsessed friend.
In my experience, when I finally decided — despite my profession — that I was going to start listening to my body and not my inner voices, things began to change for my body composition.
I’m a small person. I’m 5 foot 1 to be exact (though many have tried to challenge this – the measuring tape holds the truth!).
For me, many years of my body dissatisfaction came from things about my body that despite how thin I disciplined myself to get, never changed.
As a result, I spent most of my life trying to fit a mould that was physically impossible for my body.
I could get myself down to a low weight, but try as I might, if I didn’t engage in restrictive eating – regardless of my fitness level – my weight would continue to creep back up to this particular number.
What I didn’t understand back then (besides literally everything about my need to control food and health) was that my body longed to be where it would return. Like clockwork.
If you know anything about going against a tide, it’s that you will go down without a fight. And, eventually, if you don’t turn your ass around, you will be defeated.
Your weight is like this too.
The “set point” weight range
What is the set-point theory?
According to research conducted by MIT Medical:
The set-point theory originally developed in 1982 by Bennett and Gurin to explain why repeated dieting is unsuccessful in producing long-term change in body weight or shape. Going on a weight-loss diet is an attempt to overpower the set point, and the set point is a seemingly tireless opponent to the dieter.
The takeaway from this theory is that our bodies cannot differentiate between dieting and starvation when it comes to defending our fat stores.
When we attempt to control our weight through restrictive dieting, our bodies will want to continue to stay within a “set-point” weight range.
If you don’t believe this to be true, just look at the controversy surrounding past participants from TV’s The Biggest Loser. The majority of the participants have not only failed to maintain their weight loss but, in many cases, they weigh even more now.
When we allow ourselves to eat intuitively, our weight tends to stay within its “set point” weight range naturally.
Knowing our body’s range helps us understand what our bodies truly need.
I finally learned that after years of attempting to control my weight — and after obtaining professional certifications to help others manage theirs — most of us are fighting against the weight range our bodies want to be.
The truth is this: When we struggle we tend to engage in the restrictive and controlling behaviours that ultimately set us up for failure.
What about people who think this theory is BS?
People will argue until the end of time that being a larger size is detrimental to overall health. While there are correlations between weight and certain chronic conditions, there is no solid proof of causation.
In fact, studies have shown, people considered “obese” by the medical community have the same mortality rate as people within a “normal” weight range when they eat fruits and vegetables, don’t smoke, perform regular physical activity, and have moderate alcohol consumption.
Conversations about body acceptance are crucial to people’s relationship with food.
Mental health, not thinness, is a critical component for optimal physical health.
And let’s be clear, being thin does not equate optimal mental or physical health.
Trust me; I have worked with many thin fitness professionals who have more health issues than the heaviest client I have had.
The bottom line is (and common sense, as well as credible studies, have shown) we cannot shame and hate ourselves into loving our bodies.
I know you are afraid of giving up “control.”
But, you don’t have much control anyway. Sorry, but you have been brainwashed into thinking you do.
And diets don’t work.
Deep down, you know this.
Want to know what does work?
Learning to accept your body and having genuine respect for all that it does for you.
That’s what I’m here to help you do.
If you would like to know more about the “set point weight range” you can listen to this fantastic TED Talk by Sandra Aamodt here.
Want to work with me? Fill out this contact form or feel free to email me — I would love to hear from you!