UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOUR SET POINT WEIGHT IS

Your body changes as life naturally progresses, so why would you expect your weight to stay the same? Enjoy the foods you love without your mind on the weight scale.


BY: ROBYN NOHLING, FNP-BC, RD

Set point theory is often overlooked or not spoken about in a clear manner.

In general, your “set point” is not one specific number, or even one number give or take a few pounds. Researchers estimate that the average person has a set point range of ten to twenty pounds.

Ten to twenty pounds.

That means at any given time or in any given season of your life, such as your early twenties, postpartum period, menopause, or simply an emotionally difficult time, there is a ten to twenty pound range in which your body will comfortably sit and not resist attempts to change.

It’s actually pretty awesome how the body can fluctuate and adapt to different periods in your life. Why?

Because our bodies are not static.

It is in a constant, dynamic state, so weight fluctuation is completely normal and supposed to happen. Our lives aren’t always the exact same, so why do we expect our weight to be the exact same all the time? Our bodies need to change as life changes sometimes, and that is perfectly okay. When people talk about eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight, we need to ask the question: what does that even mean?

When your weight dips below your body’s own natural set point, your body is smart and will attempt to adjust both your appetite and metabolism in an effort to return your body to its set point.

Metabolism slows to conserve energy because you’re actually not meeting your daily energy demands.

In turn, your body will sense it is starving and will try to be as efficient as possible with the inadequate amount of calories it’s receiving. This inadequate calorie intake can lead to your  body shutting down certain functions in order to conserve energy. For example, a woman can stop menstruating when she is underweight because a period is not critical for her to live.

Are you fatigued? Are you cold all the time? Are you irritable? Is your sex drive in the toilet? It’s well-established that when your body is underweight, the production of estrogen and other hormones becomes severely impacted. Tired, cold, irritable, crappy libido…that’s no fun.

So how do you know if you’re at your body’s set point? There is no blanket recommendation or rule that everyone should follow to find your set point. The one way you will eventually find your set point is by tuning into your intuition when eating, rather than looking outward for influence, comparison, and objective measures to determine how much and what you should eat. Intuitive eating is not a quick fix, nor is it black and white. It’s grey and murky, and may be uncomfortable in the beginning.

But you will find your set point, plus the freedom and life beyond your pant size that comes with it.

Adapted from the original article.

Robyn Nohling, FNP-BC, RD is a Registered Dietitian and Family Nurse Practitioner who believes that eating cupcakes and kale are both equally healthy to the body and mind. With a passion for women’s hormonal health and nutrition, Robyn cuts through the irrational noise of diet fads and unrealistic beauty expectations to help others find joy in food as it’s meant to be celebrated. Learn more about Robyn at The Real Life RD.

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