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Is there a set point?

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The book on running I was just reading "Running until you're hundred" has a chapter called "Why does your body want to hold on to fat"
The answer that the author (Jeff Galloway) gives is that we have a "set point" - the body get set on a particular point of body fat and is biologically engineered to hold on to that point. If we try to go under the body slows down its metabolism to prevent us. If we get thin the body sends all kind of hunger signals to make us eat to get back to our set point
Galloway writes that the set point gets set sometime before 25 and that is the fat percentage the body wants to hold on to come what may.

This is certainly a bit depressing
If it is true it makes it very hard to be thin for someone who may have been chubby most of her life LOL
It does also kind of explain to me why it is so easy for me to get back to 135 lbs where it absolutely looks like my body wants to stay - while I am trying to force it to be on 125.

I tried to research"set points" and there were all kinds of theories out there.

So how does one lower a "set point"
Galloway suggests cardio is the key. Keeping elevated body temperature for more than 45 minutes. He suggests running is good but also doing other cardio workouts to not put too much stress on the body.

How about a sauna? That was my question LOL

Another author whose book I have not read but I ordered it from the library, suggests that one way to reprogram a set point is to lose 10% of body weight at a time and keep it there for 6 monts. the idea here is that it is easier to maintain a 10% loss because if you lose large amounts of weight at once, you set up an internal struggle and hormones like ghrelin spike to make you hungrier as your body tries to defend its comfortable range. But a 10% loss is small enough to "defend"

This was kind of interesting to me. This really means that I should put a lot of effort into keeping my bodyweight steady where it is now and if I can do this for 6 months the battle may be easier later on. That sounds reasonable to me.

This books is Break Through Your Set Point: How to Finally Lose the Weight You Want and Keep It Off, by George Blackburn, MD,

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Updated October 1st, 2011 at 07:34 PM by liv



  1. rosaline's Avatar
    Very interesting Liv, thanks ! It's enlightening !
  2. bidget999's Avatar
    I think you are on to something!


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