So you can lose weight (and keep it after): How the theory of the set point or fixed point works
Often the problems to lose weight are not limited to the difficulty of losing weight, but to keep us in our new weight once we have reached it.
The best advice to achieve this is to convert the fact of dieting into a complete change of habits to eat healthier and get used to exercise so that these are our new habits and do not abandon them once we have lost those kilos that we considered that we had left over.
But sometimes that is not enough and we see how our body is determined to recover the lost weight even though we are maintaining a healthy diet and doing the same exercise as when we lose weight.
What is the theory of the set point ?
Why does this happen? A hypothesis is the so-called set point theory or fixed point . According to this theory, our body has a predetermined weight, each one of its own, and tends to always stay around that figure, either by fattening when it is below or thinning when it is above.
This means that although we strive to change our weight, our body struggles against that effort, which in fact sounds quite similar to many personal experiences when it comes to losing weight.
To achieve this, the body uses different mechanisms. For example, if we are consuming more calories than necessary to maintain that fixed point of our weight, body heat is increased to burn the extra calories and thus stay. If we are eating less, it slows down the metabolism and accentuates the sensation of hunger.
In these reactions, leptin is the key hormone. This substance circulates through the body and when it reaches the hypothalamus it is responsible for stimulating our appetite or activating thermodynamics and with it the consumption of calories.
Fixed point: myth or reality
As we said, the fixed point is at the moment a theory that has not been proven , and some experts consider it plausible while others consider it unrealistic.
On the one hand, it is true that the body tends to maintain more or less the same weight for long periods of our lives, and that although losing weight is possible, it is not easy to maintain a new weight in the medium and long term.
On the other hand, most studies to date show that weight and body fat are a direct result of the balance between energy consumed and energy consumed , and that these difficulties in maintaining weight after the period of weight loss can be explained in the most of the cases by a return to habits in which there was an imbalance between both factors.
Does our body tend to make us fat?
¿ Why is it so difficult to lose weight ? Does our body boycott us? It’s a good question, and it’s not easy to answer with yes or no. The body works in a way that ensures our survival, and for that in many cases it tries to force us to eat the calories it considers necessary.
The problem is that what is necessary is not the same now, that we live mostly sedentary lives and the food available to us is very dense in calories, which for decades or centuries in which life was more active and less caloric foods.
Our body has not changed as much as our environment, and that is why it unconsciously favors an intake of calories that in many cases is excessive. Also, do not distinguish between dieting and starving .
That’s where we boycott: when a person makes an aggressive diet that greatly reduces the calories consumed, the feeling of hunger can be constant and intense. It is the body’s way of forcing us to eat. In addition, if it is maintained for a long time, lethargy and depression appear, which are states in which physical activity decreases, and with that the consumption of calories.
Therefore, a much more effective approach to weight loss would be to establish a new caloric balance in our body, so that we burn a small percentage of calories over those we consume, and then keep it in tables so as not to recover the lost weight.
Of course, there are no magic formulas or shortcuts to achieve it.
How to maintain the new weight
As we say, the fixed-point theory is, for the moment, just a theory. It is true that maintaining a new weight is difficult, but it is not impossible for most people, unless they are taking certain medication or suffer certain physical changes that make them recover without remedy, for which it will always be better to go to the medical consultation.
If this is not your case, here are some tips that can help you stay at the desired weight.
1. Forget strict diets
Miracle diets and very strict diets can make you lose a lot of weight in a very short time, and it will seem to work. But in the medium term they are impossible to maintain , and as soon as you get out of that narrow path, you will lose the lost kilos again.
2. Progressive but stable changes
That’s why it’s better that, instead of dieting, you change and improve your habits little by little : change sugar for sweeteners, refined flour products for wholemeal, processed foods for other fresh, goodbye to alcohol … Yes you are adopting them little by little and you consolidate them in your routines , you will achieve stable results in the long term, both in your weight and in your health.
3. Exercise is your ally, do not leave it!
Pointing to the gym a couple of months and getting strenuous workouts is a way to increase your caloric intake and burn more fat. It is not easy to catch and maintain that habit, so congratulations! But once you have achieved it and you have removed those five kilos that you took in summer, do not leave it !
First, because when that increase in calorie consumption disappears, eating the same can start to store fat again , and secondly, because exercising is good for your health beyond weight. Make physical activity a routine forever.
4. Get away from stress
Stress is a bad ally in general, but especially to lose weight and not regain weight because they often lead to situations in which we eat more, especially very caloric foods .
It is especially counterproductive to stress because of your weight , when the scale number is higher or when for whatever reason you have made a meal more caloric or insane than normal. It should not be the norm, of course, but a stumble along the way has anyone and you do not have to martyr yourself for it . Just try to make sure it is not normal and move on with your life.