When it comes to weight loss, here’s a topic that many of us find both challenging and perplexing: the concept of a ‘set weight.’
Chasing the Scales: The Stubborn ‘Set Weight’
What is it, actually?
It’s that seemingly immovable number on the scale that our bodies resist going below, making our efforts feel like a constant uphill battle. It’s as if our body is playing a stubborn game of hide-and-seek with those extra 2-5 kilos. Interestingly, it seems to always choose ‘seek’ over ‘hide.
And if we ever succeed in going below it…(Congratulations!) it’s amazing how our body quickly bounces back. Almost like it’s smirking and telling us, “Come on, you didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?”
Like a Jack in a Box, it goes SPROINK, and it’s back to where we don’t want it to be. You start to wonder if your body has a secret trampoline hidden somewhere.
Exploring the Concept of a ‘Set Point’ in Weight
Now, I have to mention that the concept of a ‘set point’ isn’t something you’ll find etched in scientific stone. But, from my years of experience with clients and my own battles with that pesky ‘set weight,’ it’s something that I’ve definitely observed.
And I’m not alone in this; various trustworthy medical websites and some authors have discussed this in length with no definite outcome.
It seems that for many of us, a particular weight acts as a balance point, like a cosmic equilibrium of sorts. As if our bodies strive to maintain a unique weight range at all costs, whether it’s to keep us prepared for a famine that may never come or just to keep us guessing.
The Mystery of Metabolism: Unravelling the Set Weight
Researchers haven’t quite pinpointed why this happens; it’s like trying to catch smoke with a net. Perhaps it’s some deep evolutionary mechanism, so I can’t blame academics for not fully understanding what’s really going on with our metabolism.
Conducting deep-dive studies on this subject is a tad tricky. You can’t exactly control every morsel a person eats unless you’re willing to lock them up and have them eat only what you provide. And that, as you can imagine, isn’t the most practical approach.
Most of these studies rely on self-reporting over several years, which, let’s be honest, isn’t always the most accurate.
Meet the Weight Wizard. My Husband.
Take my husband, for instance. (Not literally. He’s a keeper)
He’s been the same weight for nearly 30 years, like some sort of weight wizard.
Before he became vegan, he was the same weight as he is now. And that’s nearly 8-9 years later. It’s like his body came with a ‘set weight’ built-in from a factory.
I often picture him standing in line at the ‘set weight’ factory, eagerly waiting for his personalized genes to be handed out.
He may have even asked: ‘May I have a set weight so I can eat as much pizza or cake without any consequences?’
But when I stood in line, those popular genes were not available anymore. They had all been taken already.
So what can we do about it?
How can we trick our bodies into accepting a new set weight, you may wonder? Well, patience and discipline will be the key ingredients required for this complex recipe
Patience, to let our body finally bid farewell to that favoured weight range. And discipline, for sticking to a safe and sensible calorie deficit like it’s our new best friend. Not just a vague attempt at reducing calories on some days…But rather a calculated and sustained effort.
Maintaining a New Weight: A Possible 6-Month Rule?
Then, they advise us to establish and maintain a new weight for at least 6 months. This is to help the body to finally ‘get it’ that it has to stay there.
But after reaching that new desired lower weight, the real work begins. Keeping a watchful eye on even a 1-pound increase becomes crucial.
Is it just fluid? Then all can continue as is.
Or perhaps we have been a little too relaxed with the food choices we made? Perhaps even the portion sizes have crept up a bit. Sadly that can result in the unwelcome return of some body fat. And that means it’s time for an adjustment to the menu.
After diligently keeping a new weight for six months, many find that it becomes a bit easier to maintain. That number seems to be the magical time frame to create the new ‘set weight.’
Therefore according to this, if you gain weight (say, 5 kg) and maintain it for 6 months, it will be harder to lose those extra kilos. But if you had stayed at that increased weight for just a single month, it would, most likely, be faster and easier to get back to a lower weight.
But, here’s the big caveat: we are all unique. This means our successes with weight loss will vary depending on age, activity levels, genetics, hormones etc.
Set Weight, the Unproven Science
Plus, none of this ‘set weight’ business is proven by science.
I suppose it’s all part of the grand experiment of life, and we’re just making observations as we go along. 🤔
Have you ever noticed a ‘set weight’ in your body?
I certainly have. It used to be 53 kg to 54 kg for years, like a faithful companion that wouldn’t budge. I thought I’d never break through it.
But I finally did, and now I’ve maintained my 50 kg for a long time, over a decade in fact.
Yet, I can’t rest on my laurels. I know that if I relaxed my eating too much, I’d be back to 53 kg before I could say, ‘What happened here?’ 🤨
It’s like our bodies have an internal GPS. One that keeps nudging us back to that familiar weight range, for better or for worse.