How to Lower Your Setpoint Weight
Before we show you how to lower your setpoint weight and give you the four steps to lasting weight loss transformation, we need to acknowledge the elephant in the room.
It is the massive amount of misinformation out there when it comes to weight loss and that special four-letter word: “diet”. Count calories. Fat is bad. Force your body to go drill sergeant on you with a zillion crunches as soon as you wake up. Don’t eat white foods. Drink diet shakes all day long. Celebrities with flat abs eat these foods and so should you. You can probably think of a dozen or more diet rules that certain experts have tried to shove down your throat over the years.
Don’t worry, we are not going to be talking about any of that. Instead, we are going to show you how learning one simple sentence will lower your setpoint weight. We will show you how this sentence will transform your life and your body. Ready to get started? Great, let’s dig in.
What is setpoint weight?
Before we discuss how you can lower your setpoint weight, we need to make sure you know exactly what this term means.
What is setpoint weight?
Setpoint weight refers to the level of fat your body “thinks” it should have. It’s the number on the scale your weight tends to hover around, give or take 10 pounds or so. The way it decides how much fat you should have is truly amazing. You see, your brain, digestive system, and hormones constantly communicate with each other through a sophisticated feedback loop. This enables the body to synchronize the activities that automatically keep body fat at a specified level, known as setpoint weight.
Your setpoint weight maintains a certain level of body fat by regulating your appetite and metabolism through your hormones, genes, and brain. It makes no difference how many calories you consume or exercise off. Your body will always try to keep you at or near your setpoint weight.
Setpoint weight is THE answer.
The scientifically verified existence of setpoint weight turns the traditional calorie-deficit theory of weight loss on its head. All those crazy diets…all those crazy workouts…all that hunger, frustration, and effort. Turns out, all of that was for nothing. But then, haven’t you always known deep down that the calorie-deficit theory was…well… a myth?
If you’ve ever dieted, you know how difficult it can be to lose weight. Oh, you started out like gangbusters. You were excited and determined. This time, you told yourself, you would not only lose all your excess weight, but you would also keep it off. So, you restricted your calories to 1,100 or 1,200 per day. You also exercised 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days per week.
The weight loss was immediate, and you were SO happy. Sure, you were hungry, weak, and irritable most days, but it was worth it to have the figure of your dreams. As the weeks progressed, however, the weight loss slowed down. Way down. You were lucky if you lost a half pound a week, which after starving yourself all week, was a particularly depressing outcome.
A few weeks or months later, the weight loss had become even slower, and your hunger had become even greater. You were DONE. No more torturing yourself. You were going to start eating like a normal person. But as soon as you started eating normally again, the weight came back. In a few short months, you had gained all the weight back plus several more pounds. How is it possible that by dieting, you ended up worse off than before you started?
Setpoint weight and the calorie myth
It’s because the calorie-deficit theory of weight loss treats the metabolism like a scale and that every calorie is the same as every other calorie, no matter its source. It states that a calorie deficit is required — either through consuming fewer calories than the body needs or exercising them off — for weight loss, and it doesn’t matter what kinds of foods you eat. This is incorrect.
In other words, the calorie-deficit theory of weight loss says you can basically eat anything you want as long as you do not exceed a certain number of calories per day. If you want to maintain your weight, the experts say, you must not eat more than X amount of calories per day.
If you want to lose weight, this theory states, you must starve your beautiful mind and body to force it to release its fat stores. The “experts” tell you if you eat X fewer calories than your body needs (or burn them off through physical activity), you will lose X number of pounds per week/month. The only problem, as every yo-yo dieter knows, is that the math never works out that way.
Why the calorie math never works
And this calorie-deficit math doesn’t just fail you. Clinical research studies — many of them — show nobody loses as much weight as this theory promises. Do you know what the studies actually show? They show consistently that when we eat more calories, we burn more calories. When we eat fewer calories, we burn fewer calories. These studies show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the body tries to keep us within about 15 pounds of our setpoint weight.
Rather than being like a mindless scale, just counting calories, the biological feedback system that establishes your setpoint weight is like the thermostat in your home. It constantly monitors your fat stores because your health and survival depend upon your having a certain amount of fat. The minute it detects any change in these fat stores — good or bad — it takes action.
How does your body keep you near your setpoint weight? Easy. Your setpoint can raise or lower your metabolism instantly. Or…it can stimulate or suppress your appetite. Do you see why your previous starvation diets failed?
Why Traditional Diets Fail
These calorie-restricted diets fail because the minute you slash calories, your hormones send distress signals to the brain. The hypothalamus — the part of the brain responsible for balancing calories in with calories out — responds by increasing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. (If you thought being extremely hungry while dieting was your imagination, it wasn’t. It is your setpoint.) Research shows that calorie-restrictive dieting not only causes an increase in ghrelin but that levels of this hormone also stay elevated months after the diet ends. So…the ravenous hunger you experienced long after your diet ended was also not your imagination.
The hypothalamus also releases or increases other hormones that make you weak, shaky, and irritable. You don’t feel like being physically active, which is the body’s plan. After all, if you don’t consume enough calories, your body will do everything it can to conserve energy (calories). It does this not only by making you feel weak and lethargic but also by slowing your metabolism.
Of course, you’ll lose weight on a starvation diet. But it’s only a short-term fix. As soon as you go off the diet, you’ll gain back the weight because the body still thinks you’re supposed to have that specific amount of body fat. The only way to lose weight permanently is to lower your setpoint weight. Once you lower your setpoint weight, you’ll lose weight effortlessly. You’ll never have to worry about the endless and depressing cycle of yo-yo dieting.
Factors that determine setpoint weight
There are three factors that determine setpoint weight: brain inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and hormonal dysregulation. Let’s briefly discuss each one.
The hypothalamus, located in the center of your brain is responsible for balancing calories in with calories out so that your body stays at its setpoint weight. The hormones leptin and insulin continually send the hypothalamus information about your level of body fat. The hypothalamus then takes appropriate action to regulate your weight.
If the hypothalamus is inflamed, however, it cannot receive signals from leptin and insulin. It is in the dark about how much fat you have, so it errs on the side of giving you more fat and raising your setpoint weight.
Your digestive system is home to trillions of gut bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiota. Once thought to just affect digestion, research shows having a proper balance of gut bacteria affects every aspect of health.
Having too many bad bacteria relative to good bacteria in the gut has been linked to diabetes, autoimmune disease, autism, allergies, cancer, heart disease, depression, and many more. more. It has also been linked to weight gain and obesity.
In fact, the research on the impact gut microbiota has on weight is particularly compelling. For instance, studies show those with more diverse gut bacteria were slimmer compared to those with less diverse gut bacteria. The reason this is important is that certain types of bacteria control how many calories and nutrients your body absorbs. If you have more bacteria that prevent you from absorbing a significant amount of calories, you will be slimmer — and you can eat more food without gaining weight.
Studies also indicate that certain bacteria can alter your body’s sensitivity to insulin, making your cells either more sensitive to insulin and accepting of glucose or making them insulin-resistant and rejecting glucose. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are both caused by insulin resistance, so obviously, the types of bacteria you have, have a huge effect on weight gain and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Finally, some bacteria appear to have preferences for certain types of foods. Some prefer fats, some carbs, some sweets, etc. This means your cravings for certain foods may not be your cravings at all. They may be what your gut bacteria is craving!
The health of your hormones is extremely important in your weight-loss efforts. Hormones are chemical messengers responsible for most major bodily functions, including metabolism, hunger, fat-burning ability, and much more.
When hormones that affect your metabolism are working properly, they send correct signals to the hypothalamus regarding the state of your weight (fat stores). The hypothalamus then triggers the release of certain hormones — or moderates levels of hormones — to bring your fat stores into line with your setpoint weight.
The hormonal clog and setpoint weight
But if a hormonal clog occurs, the hormones cannot send correct signals. Hormonal dysregulation ensures that either the hypothalamus does not receive them or it cannot interpret the signals correctly. But since the main goal of the hypothalamus is to keep you alive — and a certain minimum level of body fat is necessary for survival — it gives you MORE fat. Your setpoint weight then rises.
Incidentally, a hormonal clog is similar to a clog in a sink. If you have a clogged sink, the water cannot drain out. Every time you pour water into the sink, the water level keeps rising. It has an elevated setpoint. Similarly, if you have a hormonal clog, your hypothalamus cannot correctly balance calories in with calories out. The calories you consume cannot be burned off. They just accumulate as fat.
Now, compare this with what happens if the sink — and your hormones — are unclogged. Without a clog, the sink balances the water at a low setpoint. Any water you pour in an unclogged sink immediately drains out. The water level NEVER builds up. Similarly, when your hormones are unclogged, your body automatically takes care of the calories that enter your body. When you eat more, you’ll burn more. When you eat less, you’ll burn less. With unclogged hormones, fat will NEVER build up in your body because your body will balance you at a low setpoint weight.
Factors that elevate setpoint weight
About 50% of your setpoint weight is determined by genetics. The rest is influenced by dietary and lifestyle factors. Here are a few of the most common factors that elevate setpoint weight.
Clinical research studies show that regularly eating a diet composed of starchy carbs, heavily processed foods, and sugar elevates setpoint weight. That’s because these foods are quickly turned into glucose, which is then dumped into the bloodstream. This causes a spike in blood glucose levels.
The pancreas then releases a large amount of insulin to clear the glucose from your bloodstream. But because there is an excessive amount of glucose, insulin becomes overwhelmed and takes most of it to your fat cells. If this happens often, your non-fat cells signal the hypothalamus that they’re starving. The body responds by increasing its calorie intake and its setpoint weight.
Studies also show that regularly eating starchy carbs, sugar, and heavily processed foods destroys the blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins, bacteria, and other foreign invaders into the brain’s environment. They activate inflammation-causing microglia cells. These foods also disturb the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, increasing the levels of bad bacteria (gut dysbiosis). Eating a poor-quality diet is directly linked to brain inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and hormonal dysregulation, each leading to an elevated setpoint weight.
Chronic stress has become an epidemic. We live in a stressful society. Everyone, it seems, is burning the candle at both ends. There are bills to pay, spouses and children to please. We also have jobs — sometimes more than one — that demands a lot of our time and attention. This all adds up to a lot of stress.
The problem is that our bodies only know how to deal with short-term, true emergency-level stress. Stress to a caveman was being chased by a bear or mountain lion. When faced with this type of life-threatening stress, the body prepares itself to fight or flee its enemy. Because you’ll need energy for battle, blood glucose levels increase.
The stress hormone cortisol is also released, which triggers a release of insulin to shuttle that glucose into your cells for energy. (The cells will not open for glucose without insulin.) During your battle with your enemy, your body burns off glucose. After the battle, the relaxation response occurs, and your body’s systems gradually return to normal.
This is a healthy, life-saving response to stress. The problem is that most people deal with every problem as if it’s a lion ready to pounce on them. This means chronic stress leads to chronically elevated levels of cortisol and insulin, both of which raise setpoint weight. And since worrying about your bills or your job does not burn off glucose — only physical stress burns off glucose — you also have a constant surge of glucose in your bloodstream. This not only further raises setpoint weight, but it also increases your risk for type 2 diabetes.
For the same reasons people suffer from chronic stress, they are also chronically sleep deprived. Getting a good night’s sleep often takes a backseat to work, family, and social responsibilities. This is unfortunate because many studies show an association between sleep deprivation and weight gain.
These studies show lack of sleep has a negative effect on metabolism. Research indicates sleep deprivation increases hunger, particularly for high-calorie starchy carbs and sugar. This is because sleep deprivation reduces levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, and it increases levels of the hunger-producing hormone ghrelin. Sleep deprivation has also been shown to increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that, among other things, increases cravings for starchy carbs and sugar. Elevated cortisol levels also lead to an accumulation of dangerous belly fat.
In other words, sleep deprivation dysregulates hormones, leading directly to an elevated setpoint weight.
4 steps to lasting weight loss transformation
Now that you know more about setpoint weight, you’re ready to learn these four amazing steps to lasting weight loss transformation:
Step 1: Get your head right about your lower setpoint weight
You would not climb a mountain without bringing the right equipment. Well, losing weight and lowering your setpoint is no different. Luckily we don’t have to climb a mountain, but we do need the right mental equipment. And we need to leave behind anything that will weigh us down for our journey. Both literally, metaphorically, and especially emotionally.
Leave behind shame and guilt because they will no longer serve you. Focus on progress instead of perfection and work on taking the simple consistent actions that will add up over time. Habits are far easier to change if you believe in your ability to change, so don’t forget to use positive self-talk as much as possible.
Step 2: Get the correct information backed by science To lower your setpoint weight
The amount of junk science out there is staggering. Paying attention to the wrong fad can not only stall your weight loss, but it can even make you gain back more weight. This is because yo-yo dieting dramatically increases your setpoint weight! It really isn’t rocket science.
Study after study from respected institutions such as Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic points to one obvious fact. Eating lean protein, whole food fats, and large amounts of non-starchy vegetables will lead to lasting metabolic healing and a lower setpoint weight. Can it really be that simple? Yes! We’ll show you how you can learn more about eating to lower your setpoint weight in a bit, but for now, let’s move on to step number three.
Step 3: How to lower your setpoint with one simple sentence
That’s right, there is one little sentence you can use to make sure every choice you make lowers your setpoint weight.
And here is the thing that makes this work so well: Every choice you make in life either raises or lowers your setpoint weight. Everything. If you are stressed, that releases cortisol and raises your setpoint weight. If you eat a correctly proportioned SANE meal your hormones will heal and rebalance over time, and that will decrease your setpoint weight. In fact, many things that we think should help us lose weight actually raise our setpoint weight, such as strenuous exercise. Now you know why it’s been so hard to lose weight!
So the one simple question you can ask about everything in life, from what you eat to how you exercise, is: “Will this raise or lower my setpoint weight?”
That’s it. When you look at life through this simple lens it clarifies each choice and gives you more motivation than ever to stick with your transformation plan. We’ll give you the opportunity to learn exactly what lowers and what raises your setpoint weight at the end of this article.
Step 4: When it comes to lowering your setpoint weight, strive for transformation, not more of the same old information
So many people continue to struggle with their weight because they keep trying the same failed methods with different names and different fancy packaging and pictures, but they are all the same.
It’s time to completely change your relationship with food and create your own personal food transformation, and to do that, we have created a short assessment that will give you your Set Point Risk Score. This will also give you the exact steps you can take to lower your risk score and thereby lower your setpoint weight. Click here to learn more.
Next step: Learn more about setpoint weight with the SANE Plan
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