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Episode 96: Is Your Weight Set Point Keeping You Stuck?

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Do you ever feel like your body is legitimately fighting against your weight loss efforts? Like every pound is a struggle to lose, and even if you do hit your goal weight, just a slight deviation in your diet or a week off of working out sends the scale soaring back up?

You're not crazy, what you're experiencing is weight set point. 

What is weight set point?

Your body has an intrinsic weight that it likes to hover around (plus or minus a few pounds) that is determined at birth. But over the course of years of bad habits, over eating, and under-exercising, we can reset our set point to a higher, less desirable weight.

As you embark on a weight loss journey, your body fights back by releasing more hunger hormones, slowing your metabolism, and basically doing whatever it can to get you 'back to normal'.

This is why 95% of diets fail, 50% of people will regain lost weight over the course of 2 years, and 80% of people will regain lost weight over 5 years. 

But all hope is not lost. Studies show, just like you can push your set point higher, you can also drop it lower. 

The key? Patience.

Fast weight loss almost guarantees weight regain (often times putting you at a higher weight than you started because of a diet-induced slower metabolism).

Instead, to truly change your set point and make weight loss last forever, the goal needs to be to lose around 10% of your body weight (0.5-1 pounds per week), and then maintain for 6 months before losing the next 10% of your body. Repeat this process until you reach your goal weight.

For example if you're 170 pounds, you would work to lose 17 pounds over the course of 4-8ish months with sustainable habits. You'd then hold at 153 for 6 months. And repeat. 

This process may take longer, but it will feel way easier to maintain your results while still being able to enjoy your life. (And let's be real, the process itself may take longer. But it'll be much shorter compared to 10 years of losing and regaining weight quickly.)

Case in point: me. Some of you may know I suffered a foot injury 6 months ago that has prevented me from doing any high intensity, high impact, or cardio based-workouts. In 6 months, I haven't broken a sweat, I haven't gotten sore, I couldn't even walk without pain in my foot. 

Yet my body looks almost exactly the same. This isn't good genetics. This is my weight set point. I've maintained consistent habits for years, and that's allowed me to basically take 6 months off without scale retribution. 

So if we know slow weight loss is the ultimate weapon against weight regain, what are some habits we should be working on to achieve that? Follow DeMaps!

  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day.
  • Eat a serving of non-starchy veggies at every meal and snack. 
  • Move your body for 30 minutes per day (break a sweat 3-4 times per week).
  • Avoid perfectionism. Follow the 80/20 or 90/10 rule.
  • Practice portion control.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours per night.

Need help resetting your weight set point and finally keeping the weight off for good? Click here to book a free consultation, I'm here to help!


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Reference: Precision Nutrition

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