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How to Find Your Set Point Weight (and why trying to may be harmful)

Learn more about set point theory, the biological mechanisms behind it, how dieting affects your set point, and what to consider if you’re trying to find your set point weight range. (Hint: It’s not what you think!). I also share more about why I actually consider set point theory to be unhelpful a lot of the time.

What is Set Point Theory?

Set point theory describes how an individual body is genetically programmed to stay within a certain weight range. As a person loses or gains weight, their body compensates to get back into that set point range.

It’s estimated that the average person’s set point range can vary by 10 to 20 pounds, though it’s often a much larger range if you’ve been restricting and dieting.

Without any external interference, our bodies respect our set point weight range (even if society and the culture at large do not). But this system, this delicate balance of homeostasis, only works the way it’s supposed to if we let it.

Your Set Point Can Change

Your set point weight range is not set (no pun intended) in stone. It can change over time due to things like genetics, weight-loss attempts, hormonal shifts, and aging. That’s because, despite what diet culture says, you aren’t meant to stay the same weight for your entire life.

Everyone’s Set Point is Different

For many people, their set point weight falls on the higher end of the spectrum, into the “overweight” or “obese” BMI categories. This is completely normal. We are not all meant to have the same size body, just as we are all not meant to have the same height, foot size, or hair color.

Body size diversity is inherent within a population and is something that we can—and should—respect rather than trying to change.

Dieting Can Interfere with Set Point

Dieting or manipulating food and exercise to try to “control” your weight messes with the body’s system and this delicate homeostasis starts to break down. Your body fights even harder to regain control of your weight-regulation mechanism. And your body pulls out all the stops to try to keep your weight within its genetically programmed set…


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