Set point weight refers to the concept that each individual’s body has a natural and biologically predetermined weight range that it strives to maintain. This weight range is regulated by complex physiological processes involving hormones, metabolism, and the brain’s regulatory mechanisms. While external factors like diet and exercise can influence weight to some extent, the body tends to resist drastic and sustained changes from its established set point. This means that attempting to maintain a weight significantly below or above one’s set point can trigger adaptive responses, such as alterations in metabolism and hunger levels, making it challenging to sustain such changes over the long term.
However, the idea of set point weight is just a conjecture and there is no real proof. Studies observed that many people return to a certain weight range but it’s hard to control what human subjects eat. So those studies are not very scientific. In addition, the set point theory fails to explain many patterns of weight gain that scientists have observed.
Researchers have observed that:
- College students often gain weight.
- People often gain weight post-marriage.
- Children who watch a lot of television are more likely to fall prey to obesity.
- In Western society, higher levels of obesity are observed among less affluent people.
The above set of findings points to the possibility that what is going on in a person’s life may be more important in determining body weight than the body’s set point.
It may be possible to gain more insight into set weight point theory by studying people who have had weight loss surgery. The question we want to answer is: Does the weight loss surgery change their set point so that their bodies are ‘happier’ at a lower weight? Unfortunately, research studies on humans are lacking. One study on animals supports the theory that weight loss surgery could change the set point.
Note that even if the set point weight theory is true, weight loss is possible. When you change your food habits and lifestyle towards a healthier one, you may experience weight loss. Your body weight will slowly adjust to your new way of life. This will slowly change your set point weight in a natural way.