Set point weight theory

Hey everyone!

So recently I’ve been dabbling in the ED recovery community/intuitive eating/anti-diet community and they all talk about everyone having a set point weight. Apparently there’s nothing we can do to change this and it’s just something that you have to live with for the rest of your life because of genetics. What is everyone’s opinion on this and is it scientifically valid? If so then that means I’m going to be stuck at 150-160 lbs for the rest of my life 😦. I’m 5’ 4” and small/medium boned (5.75” wrists!) so feel that’s waaay too much weight for my frame! Even with muscle. Exercise is harder as well when I weigh more (currently on a long diet break of 6-9 months).


  • SnifterPug
    SnifterPug Posts: 746 Member
    There is such a theory but you can change your set point. If you are interested, I suggest you read Why We Eat (Too Much) by Dr Andrew Jenkinson, who is a bariatric surgeon.
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 2,928 Member
    This topic comes up in the forum from time to time. Set point theory was popularized in mainstream press around 1980 or a little earlier than that. 40 years is a long time for a hypothesis to garner evidence. Is there any scientific evidence supporting the set point mechanism at all?

    The likely explanation for the observation (bodies tend to stay the same weight) is what quiksylver said -- habits tend to stay the same rather than any biological mechanism.
  • 4Phoenix
    4Phoenix Posts: 232 Member
    You can change your "set point" own personal journey provides me with evidence.
  • breefoshee
    breefoshee Posts: 398 Member
    It also doesn't make sense on a cellular level. Your body does maintain a certain number of fat cells (adipocytes) throughout your adult life... so that is what this theory seems to be built on.

    But you don't keep the same cells forever and ever. Cells die and get replenished through cell division. I think the set point theory assumes that you are stuck at a certain size because the number of fat cells do not change much. So even if they are depleted of fat, they are overstretched and more inclined to be filled with fat.

    But if your body is always making new cells, then eventually those cells would be replaced with not-so-fat-filled smaller cells.