What You Need to Know About Weight Set Point

Weight set point is a theory that suggests that our bodies have a weight range at which they naturally settle and function best. This range can be influenced by genetics, environment, hormones, and diet. It is usually a range of 10-20 pounds, where no efforts need to be made to maintain body weight, following hunger and fullness cues and having healthy hormonal function.

Understanding weight set point theory can be useful in many ways. It can help increase acceptance of diversity and that everybody’s bodies are different. It can also help people improve their relationship with food and their bodies, step away from dieting, and combat societal messaging that we all need to be a certain size to be healthy.

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to eating that involves eliminating all diet and food rules, listening to the body, its hunger and fullness cues, and trusting it will be able to make the correct decisions for nourishment. The idea of being at your set point weight is that you are maintaining this stable weight effortlessly and less overthinking of nutrition and counting calories or weighing yourself. Essentially, if you learn to eat intuitively, your body should remain within its desired range.

Fighting against your set point weight can have negative consequences, such as survival mechanisms kicking in, metabolism slowing down, reduced fullness signals, and an increase in drive to eat. It is important to note that weight set point theory is not 100% proven, but it can be a useful tool in understanding our bodies and accepting our natural weight range.

Signs that you are at your weight set point include balanced hormones, regular periods (if not on hormonal contraceptive), stable labs, strong hair and nails, hunger and fullness cues present, and effortless weight maintenance. Making peace with your set point weight involves learning to trust and listen to your body, challenging diet culture and weight stigma, and accepting your body and its weight for better mental and physical health.

It is possible for someone to go from a higher weight to a lower weight if their set point is on the low end and they have been eating more due to external influences such as environment, desire to gain weight or emotional/stress eating. Aging can also have an effect on body composition, and gradual weight loss can bring a person’s set point to a lower range over time.

Overall, understanding weight set point theory can help individuals accept and appreciate their bodies for their natural weight range, leading to better mental and physical health.

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