Body Weight Set Points

July 21, 2010

Do you believe in set points to your weight?

Do you believe in the set points theory for your weight?  Certain weights at which your body just gets comfortable & really fights moving beyond.  This can be up or down.

I dug around and found several different articles and a simple summary (from MIT, no less) :  “According to the set point theory, the set point itself keeps weight fairly constant”. The most hopeful article on the topic of weight set points was at WebMD (and bonus! they talk about Happy weights) Dr Google can find you tons of other options if you want to explore further.

My weight history

Years ago when I worked with Dr Hope one of her first assignments was for me to graph out my weight history, which I’ve updated here :

weight history graph

As you can see, I have a couple of weight sticking points

I’ve had a couple of set points in my life.  It does make me wonder if the set point theory has merit.

First set points : 220s

I spent most of my late teens and early 20’s around 220 pounds, and didn’t go above that much even though I was eating whatever I wanted.  After I did go beyond that (by moving even less & eating even more) on my way back down the 220s was a weight I stayed in for quite a while.  Even in my highest weight free-for-all times, my weight did stabilize (just at a crazy high level).

Second set points : 185-195 (ish)

When I got serious about losing 8 years ago and left the 250+ range I spent a LOT of time in the 185-195 range on my way down.  I think for about a year, although I was trying to move on.   Eventually I did kick it into a higher gear and get more weight off.  I touched 167 for about a week, then moved to France where buttery croissants, short gym hours & a whole new life immediately packed 20 pounds back on me.  But I stabilized again in that 185-195 range, and in fact for most of the past 7 years my weight has been between 185-195, with rather brief forays up or down from there (well, an UP foray that lasted over a year…)

I seem to get kind of stuck there.  In the past seven years I only got to 175 once (and briefly).  And it was a foray to 220 that got me to finally take action again in January of 2009.

I worked really hard over the past two months to get out of the 190s but as I was writing this breakup letter to the 190s and went back & checked my history over the past year, I was surprised to see that I’ve spent another year in this range.

Next goal : Out of the Set Point!

So I’m setting my sights on getting out of this sticky range.

My next goal will be 179. It will get me out of those clingy 180s and it’s a big change to work for.  It’s also the weight at which I move from the “obese” category of BMI to merely (ha!) “overweight”, so it’s fraught with significance.

In between I have a few mini-goals.  Slow losers like myself need to fight for & celebrate each and every pound, because a 10 pound goal takes months of effort for us to achieve.  First up will be 185, thereby getting back to the weight I’d reached in March before the IVF madness began again.  Following that will be 183, my wedding weight from 3 years ago.  But it’s 179 that I’m currently gunning for, the number I’m counting down to in my head.

Do you believe in set points?  Where have you gotten stuck for long periods?

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