Is it possible that your body stabilizes at a specific weight?
What if your brain sent off a starvation signal any time you went below this weight?
It sent this signal even if your weight isn’t a healthy weight.
This is a reality.
It’s called the “adiposity set point”.
We’ll call it body weight set point.
Your body typically stabilizes at a certain weight and fights it any time your weight dips below this point.
A lot of people have low set points in their 20’s and 30’s.
This is a great thing but can change over time.
As long as your body weight set point is high, keeping weight off is going to be a struggle.
If it is low, staying lean is simple.
I’ll discuss what causes this level to rise and how to lower it, right after a music break.
The music theme for this article is yacht rock.
“Yacht Rock – refers to the highly polished brand of soft rock that emanated from Southern California between 1976 and 1984. The term is meant to suggest the kind of smooth, mellow music that early yuppies likely enjoyed while sipping champagne and snorting cocaine on their yachts.”
My last article discussed how to get a yacht bod by lowering protein intake a bit… but I forgot to include yacht rock.
I’m hoping to make up for that.
The idea of your body and brain working together to defend a certain weight started with an important discovery.
The Hormone Leptin is Discovered in 1994
I don’t want this to get too detailed, confusing, and boring.
Leptin is a hormone that acts like a “canary in a coal mine” in some ways.
When you lose weight a drop in Leptin occurs.
When leptin is low, the body’s metabolism slows, muscles burn fewer calories and brain reduces thyroid hormone levels.
Basically, low leptin triggers a starvation response.
The body then fights to regain that lost weight.
You become hungry and just want to watch Netflix (and probably not even in the mood to “chill”).
When the body dips below a comfortable weight, leptin levels dramatically drop.
This sets off the “leptin alarm”.
Sometimes this alarm gets triggered at a higher than healthy body weight.
Here’s how rebound weight gain happens.
People get to a healthy weight, but their body doesn’t cooperate.
Leptin levels drop so low that hunger signals are insane and the body does everything in its power to reduce calories burned.
This is almost impossible to fight.
This low leptin levels won’t get back to normal until that person has gained ALL of their weight back.
It’s just a matter of time.
Why don’t we prescribe leptin to people with obesity?
The leptin mechanism is great at preventing starvation…
…but doesn’t help as much with weight loss.
Here’s a quote from The Hungry Brain:
“Many researchers now believe that while low leptin levels in humans engage a powerful starvation response that promotes fat gain, high leptin levels don’t engage an equally powerful response that promotes fat loss.”
Great book, by the way.
I quote it a couple more times in this blog post.
How do we stop leptin levels from dropping every time we lose weight?
We lower our body weight set point.
Lower Your Body Weight Set Point – By Lowering Your Food Reward
Studies show that low food reward can lower body weight set point.
Bland food may be the key to losing weight and keeping it off.
Boring food is the key to your “Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams.”
(Eat dull on the LAND to look stunning on the WATER.)
Micheal Cabanac, a researcher at Laval University in Canada, set up a study which supports lowering body weight set point with bland food.
This is all detailed in The Hungry Brain.
- Group 1 – ate an unrestricted BLAND liquid diet for three weeks, which caused them to lose just under 7 pounds on average.
- Group 2 – used PORTION CONTROL on a diet made up of “normal foods” and was set up to lose the same amount of weight (7 pounds) over the same period of time.
Results: The portion control group “had to continually fight off hunger and would spend the night dreaming of food”. The bland diet group never felt hungry and “were always in good spirits”.
On the bland diet, the starvation response never kicked in.
The “leptin alarm” was never triggered by the bland diet.
The subjects lost weight without a lowering of leptin levels.
This makes a lot of sense.
Societies with less food variety and novelty, have less obesity (most of the time).
It’s probably why the U.S. has such high obesity rates.
Highly rewarding food = high body weight set points.
This is also one reason why The Potato Hack works so well.
It’s a diet of nothing but potatoes for a few days.
People lose weight without triggering the starvation response.
(A bland diet DEVOTION prepares your body for the OCEAN.)
A bland diet is one way to lower your set point.
There is one other way to accomplish this.
Exercise Can Lower Your Body Weight Set Point
What about studies that show exercise isn’t great for weight loss?
In The Hungry Brain, the author points out that people simply aren’t following exercise recommendations properly in most studies.
The small number of studies that force exercise compliance, result in substantial fat loss.
“So it appears that many of us in the research world, including myself at one time, may have misjudged exercise: It really does cause fat loss.”
Exercise works better for some than others.
What they find is that some people increase food from exercising and some decrease food.
If you crave less food after you exercise?
This is a strong indicator that your body weight set point is lowering.
Here’s an interesting way of looking at exercise:
Perhaps exercise quickly lowers our set point and the body eventually defends that new lower set point by reducing our hunger and increasing our thyroid hormone output, etc.
Bland food does the same thing.
Maybe the key to weight loss is to focus on set point?
*Eat a bland diet while increasing exercise.*
We still have a lot to learn here.
I’ll write more as we learn more.
As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.
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