Set point weight theory

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Replies

  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 960 Member
    I do believe people have a weight that--for whatever reason (and there are probably many)--their bodies are just more comfortable at maintaining. I also believe people have weight were they just aesthetically look better. I know for me, personally, I wouldn't look good being at the low or below-average weight. I'm definitely one of those people who would look like a lollipop due to my big head! However, I don't think that means we are destined to stay at that set point, but it may take more work to MAINTAIN a lower set point.

    Most of my life I have been a slightly bigger person, even though my brothers were never overweight, and 2 were "skinny" and probably underweight. I was somewhat stocky, with football player shoulders and wider hips (no shoulder pads for me, thank you 80's fashion). My parents were not overweight either (esp my mom), although my dad would go into that category from time to time and had to work harder at "watching his weight." It's possible my metabolism was slower than my brothers, or it's possible I learned at a young age to use food for self-soothing and/or dismiss hunger/fullness signals? Who really knows. Anyway, that doesn't (and in my case, didn't) mean I could lose weight, and eventually maintain a normal weight. I've recently even gone lower than what I thought my set point was, even though that old weight was still considered a healthy weight for my height.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,181 Member
    Meh...I have a "happy" weight which is a range of about 178 - 183. Happy in that I'm happy with the way I look and feel at that weight. I'm also relatively lean at that weight...right around 15%, maybe a little less. I don't really have any desire at that point to be leaner, nor do I want to make the effort...I could, but some of the habits I have (and enjoy) aren't really conducive to being super lean.
  • JoDavo66
    JoDavo66 Posts: 526 Member
    There a mix of nature & nuture!
    Your build is, to some extent genetic; in terms of approx height weight & certain functioning BUT what you do with that as enormous effect.
    I can trace different body builds through old photos & they certainly ate less & moved more over 100 years ago but the trends are still there. Some family members, like me have to watch every morsal & keep very active: still tough, others can eat what they like & are like stick insects- we can see who they take after BUT the "icing onthe cake" is what you do with what you've got!
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,622 Member
    I'll throw out an interesting angle: endocannabinoids.

    There's a lot there to get into.

    I'm not willing to go into what I've learned because ain't nobody got time for that, but it's super interesting in regards to set point and "food addiction" - like behaviors.
  • dsc84
    dsc84 Posts: 207 Member
    Homeostasis comes to mind. In this case the body attempting to maintain balance. I don’t honestly believe there is a Set Point per say but at some point you will gain weight and then level off because our habits and intake typically stay the same. If we change habits we can gain or lose and then our body can reset into a homeostasis. The human body is amazing and can do great things.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 916 Member
    ashverdo wrote: »
    It's a theory but if it were as accurate as they think then people should have a much harder time getting to 300, 400, 500 lbs. Once you hit over your set point your body should do things like not absorb the calories in your food or signal you to have an intense desire not to eat and to move more. But if you look at any IE group, you will see loads of very obese women (I was one of them) that do everything correctly and still gain or remain very obese.

    I think people get into weight ranges that through habits make it easy to maintain their weight. Like you love to eat but it tips out at 3000k so you stay 300 lbs with little effort etc. I think that's why a lot of dieters fail. I lost 110 lbs and regained it all because 1. I barely ate when losing weight. 2. I didn't change any actual habits. 3. I coveted my usual way of eating and that's how I started to eat again and boom. Regain.

    Using CICO you can basically make your weight whatever you want it to be. It'll be slow and hard a lot of the time but it's do able and is done every day!

    If you don’t mind me asking- what was your experience of IE? I would love to know, especially if you were part of a group.
  • riffraff2112
    riffraff2112 Posts: 1,757 Member
    Setpoint is like equilibrium. It is what habits you form that train your body to be comfortable at a certain size. This changes as we age, discover new habits (positive or negative). To lose weight or gain weight you need to disrupt that equilibrium and reset it with new habits and rituals.
    Many people have long term success but breaking a 20yr habit is difficult, and it is very easy to fall back into old habits that were established and engrained for years. I don't think its the body but more the mind!
  • whoami67
    whoami67 Posts: 289 Member
    I absolutely believe in the set point theory. I've just never heard that it couldn't be changed and reset to another lower or higher weight. It isn't set in stone.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 26,224 Member
    breefoshee wrote: »
    breefoshee wrote: »
    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.

    Not sure why I got so many disagrees on this post. Is it because I said people maintain the same # of adipocytes throughout their life?

    I am currently taking Anatomy and Physiology and took this from my textbook. If there are other science-backed views that show otherwise, I'd be interested to see them.
    g29cjxwwo5zg.png

    I didn't click disagree, insofar as I remember. Yes, we know that cells, generically, die and are replaced.

    Do we we know that fat cells that die are not replaced, simply because the person has less stored fat? Sure, that's possible. Proven?

    Cells of a certain type don't normally die in mass numbers, all around the same time, in a healthy individual, it would seem to me - though I can't prove it. (If lots died all/many at once, wouldn't that cause functional health problems?) I suspect that the cell aging-apoptosis-replacement cycle in an area or cell type would be staggered, time-wise, though I don't actually know that.

    If fat cells are used to being over-stretched, and therefore are more inclined to refill, what is the mechanism that causes that? (I grant that hunger/appetite hormones seem like a potential answer, and I'm sure that there are other potential answers, but in implying that existing fat cells somehow "want" to be refilled in a way that new ones don't, you seem to be making unstated assumptions about mechanism. We know that statistically, people are likely to regain, but there's a lot of dispute in science about what the physical mechanisms are, what the psychological mechanisms are, what the role of various multi-effect hormones may be, what role habit and environment may have, and more.)

    If the fat cells are replaced when some die, and the cell death is fact staggered in time (<= assumptions in "If" form), what about the new cells would make them less likely to be filled, when the physical environment in the body (and eating behavior, to the extent physically induced) is an output of the totality of the cells, not that one or few new guys on the block? They're bathed in the same biochemicals as the older fat cells.

    If a fat-filled fat cell dies, where does the fat go? Is it just excreted/burned, or do the cell neighbors take over storing that fat increment? Is it divided during cell division, sort of farmed out to the kids like the wealth in an estate?

    I don't know the answers to those things, nor to many other potential questions that could be relevant. I have no relevant scientific expertise. I haven't even read your textbook (maybe that stuff is covered on page 171 😉). So, I'm pretty clear on what I don't know, in this scenario. I got nuthin'.

    Still, reasoning from "cells die" to "set point theory is unsound" seems to involve some assumptions and leaps. Frankly, I'm not even sure that scientific-expert set point hypothesis advocates (if there are any these days) base their belief entirely on the idea that the number of fat cells don't change much. Maybe. Dunno. They know more about it than I do, too. My point of view on the set point hypothesis comes entirely from the human-behavior side of things, where I also have limited expertise beyond a few psych/soc/etc. classes in college, a little pleasure reading, and 65 years of hanging around with diverse people while also being a person myself.

    I know more about MFP culture, though, I think. Unstated important assumptions or leaps tend to attract disagree-clicks, even outside the Debate section. Maybe slightly moreso outside the Debate section, even, because lots of people who hang out over there like to use their words when they debate, not just click? That last sentence is pure speculation, though.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,953 Member
    ashverdo wrote: »
    It's a theory but if it were as accurate as they think then people should have a much harder time getting to 300, 400, 500 lbs. Once you hit over your set point your body should do things like not absorb the calories in your food or signal you to have an intense desire not to eat and to move more. But if you look at any IE group, you will see loads of very obese women (I was one of them) that do everything correctly and still gain or remain very obese.

    I think people get into weight ranges that through habits make it easy to maintain their weight. Like you love to eat but it tips out at 3000k so you stay 300 lbs with little effort etc. I think that's why a lot of dieters fail. I lost 110 lbs and regained it all because 1. I barely ate when losing weight. 2. I didn't change any actual habits. 3. I coveted my usual way of eating and that's how I started to eat again and boom. Regain.

    Using CICO you can basically make your weight whatever you want it to be. It'll be slow and hard a lot of the time but it's do able and is done every day!

    Yes, I think I like to eat around 2500 calories, which is fine when I had an active job and lifestyle, but not so good once my job became sedentary.
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 9,523 Member
    breefoshee wrote: »
    breefoshee wrote: »
    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.

    Not sure why I got so many disagrees on this post. Is it because I said people maintain the same # of adipocytes throughout their life?

    I am currently taking Anatomy and Physiology and took this from my textbook. If there are other science-backed views that show otherwise, I'd be interested to see them.
    g29cjxwwo5zg.png

    Honestly don't remember if I actually clicked disagree or not, but I know when I read your post I mentally disagreed with the idea of fat cell "stretchiness" being a meaningful factor in weight gain or loss, which depends on the relationship between energy intake and energy expenditure. "Stretchy" fat cells can't turn an energy deficit into an energy surplus.