Adjusting The Body's Natural Set-Point For Weight
Have you ever lost weight, only to regain it after a relatively short period of time? Did you find yourself back where you started (and perhaps even worse off)?
This can be exceptionally frustrating, but it is a common side-effect of dieting, and one of the reasons that the weight-loss industry is worth over $300 million dollars in Australia alone. Effectively, you are being set up to return again and again, yet each time you re-lose the weight you had regained, you set yourself further back in terms of both physical health and mental well-being.
But how would long-term, lasting weight loss that helps you achieve the vitality you have always known you deserve, sound? It is achievable, if you are equipped with the right knowledge, tools and support. Let me explain further...
There are 2 reasons why most weight-loss programs fail.
The first is that traditional low-calorie diets usually only focus on losing the weight quickly, but do nothing to address the underlying reasons why you gained weight in the first place. Whilst willpower will help you stick to a restrictive diet in the short-term, if you don’t change your habits, look after your stress levels or your adjust your mindset around food, then it is likely that you will quite quickly find yourself back where you started. A great example of this is the contestants from ‘The Biggest Loser’ – most of which lost enormous amounts of weight very quickly but regained the weight after the show ended (and they slowed their metabolism right down, too).
The other reason why most diets don’t work is that your body has a ‘set-point’ – a weight at which your body naturally wants to sit, and that it wants to return to, despite your best efforts.
What exactly IS the set-point?
The set-point is the weight at which your body is happy with the amount of fat it is carrying, and where your brain decides that you are either hungry or satisfied, at the level that makes it easy to maintain a constant weight. We all know people who are 'naturally slim' - in these people the set-point is at a healthy level that their metabolism can easily control.
In overweight people, the body’s set-point has become skewed to a higher level, due to an imbalance in the area of the brain that is responsible for regulating hunger and the signals of satisfaction that we get from food. This means that the messages that are sent to the brain letting it know that the body already has enough fat for now, thank-you-very-much, get mixed up, just like Chinese whispers. The body responds by trying its best to defend any weight-loss efforts by increasing appetite (particularly for tasty, calorie-laden foods) and reducing willpower and the desire to exercise. A higher set-point basically makes your body ‘resistant’ to diets!
This can certainly make one feel like a failure, but it is important to note that this is a physiologically imbalanced response that has its roots in our ancestors' survival – not a lack of motivation or effort.
Now the good news..
An understanding of this crucial body adaption can make weight-loss a lot easier, and taking steps to lower the set-point can help you keep the weight off in the long term.
A better way to success:
In the clinic I offer the new & improved Shake It Practitioner Weight Management Program. Here’s how it works:
- The focus is on fat loss not weight loss. Most diets are all about the scales, where it doesn't matter what is lost (fat, muscle or water weight) as long as the number goes down. This Program is about losing fat and protecting muscle tissue. Losing fat helps improve your overall health - losing muscle does not (in fact muscle loss from the wrong type of dieting can slow your metabolism and reduce your energy). Part of the Program involves regularly checking your body composition (fat, muscle and water mass) with a bio-impedance analysis machine, which gives an excellent and accurate insight into what is actually going on within your body.
- A 6-week Intense phase: This is to maximise fat-burning in the early stages of the program when your metabolism is most responsive. This phase also helps you re-set your taste buds and establish healthier habits.
- Diet breaks that are cycled on a 2-week basis. This helps give you a bit of a 'breather' which is nice, but also are crucial for keeping your metabolism burning fat effectively. Diet breaks are also part of the process to lower your body's set-point so that you can maintain your ideal weight long-term. Funnily enough, research has shown that people who take structured breaks in their diets actually lose far more weight than those who don't.
- Supporting gut health. Science has revealed that not only does our gut health play a role in many health conditions, it can also affect our weight. Read more on this topic here.
- Regular movement, not only for effective fat loss but for improved energy, better sleep, happier moods and to help lower the body's set-point for lasting weight-loss.