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Friday, October 1, 2010

Set Point Theory

In 1982 a group of nutrition researchers introduced the SET POINT THEORY to explain why so many people who lose weight gain it back. The premise is that in adulthood the body wants to maintain a constant level of body fat and has a built in weight regulating mechanism.  The theory says that an individual’s body has a “set point” of weight at which if is most comfortable and functions best. Furthermore, according to this theory, the body’s metabolism adjusts to stay at that weight and is largely determined by genetics. 

Many disagree with this theory, saying it gives the obese person an excuse to stay fat. Some researches say that the set point is psychological. Others believe that the set point is physiological and depends on the activity of the hypothalamus (a hormone-secreting gland that controls appetite and metabolism).

The set-point theory is, at best, a theory and not agreed upon by all.

One of the research studies that does not support the set point theory of metabolism is: R. Weinsier, T. Nagy, G. Hunter, et al., Do Adaptive Changes in Metabolic Rate Favor Weight Regain in Weight-Reduced Individuals? An Examination of The Set-Point Theory. Am J Clin Nutr;72:1088-1094 (November, 2000) [Correspondence: RL Weinsier, Clinical Nutrition Research Center, Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294. E-mail: weinsier@shrp.uab.edu

I am in Phase 4 of the HCG protocol, which means gradually adding starches and sugars. My weight has ranged from 122 – 125.6 and the set point theory might be why I have trouble staying below 125. For years (high school and beyond) my weight fluctuated between 125 and 150. At 125 I felt fabulous, but somehow the pounds crept back on and I’d get on the scale and it would read 150 (another set point for me). At that weight, I felt miserable, had lots of self-loathing, didn’t want to look in the mirror, and avoided cameras. When I had my fill of feeling miserable, I’d find the latest diet and take off those 25 pounds once again. They would never stay off—I was constantly yo-yoing between 125 and 150.

Unfortunately, my adult weight climbed higher than 150 -- I maintained my weight in the 160s for many years. I eliminated 30 pounds through a diet/wellness program in Tucson and then was stuck at 135 for months and months. Was this about set point??? When I discovered the HCG protocol and the ease of ordering homeopathic drops in July, I was able to shed 13 more pounds using HCG. I am so grateful! I have been in an overweight body for so many years and this feels absolutely wonderful. Actually, my BMI (body mass index) is 25.2 so according to the charts I am still overweight. Boo hoo….what do they know??

Although my weight has been as low as 121 1/2, it has been more like 124 or 125 since I stopped taking the drops. I am wondering if the 125 number is a body memory because I was at that weight off and on for years.  

The HCG protocol is supposed to reset your hypothalamus, which means it might be the perfect answer for getting past your set point. I am starting another round of HCG tomorrow (this time using RX rather than homeopathic just to see if there is any difference). The question I will be discovering for myself, and letting you know about through this blog: Can I reduce my weight below 120 and maintain it?
Stay tuned…..I will keep you posted about how I am doing!

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