Why Do Stalls Happen Chapter 4: Body Weight Set Points, and the Attack of The Set Point Monster

Continued from Chapter 3

If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, or your weight loss has stalled  due to hitting a set point, then this next section will be of particular interest to you. Not only did I have to deal with the fact that I had lowered my BMI, due to loss of mass, but I was also battling a set point, and The Set Point Monster.

Note: I’m holding off on talking about starvation mode until Chapter 5. I’m separating the two because they I think each deserve special attention.

In simple terms, a set point is nothing more than a weight in which the body is comfortable being. Once we move out of that range, the body does everything it can to maintain that weight through a complex process of brain, nervous system, and fat cell interaction. It does all of this on an unconscious level. When we are trying to lose weight, this unconscious biological process can sabotage our weight loss efforts causing a weight loss plateau, or stall. I’ve come to calling this unconscious process “The Set Point Monster.” This monster can be a killer to any diet. It slows down the metabolism, zaps our energy and motivation, and can drive us crazy with hunger and cravings.

Before I explain set points in more detail, let me explain a little bit about the way hunger is supposed to work. Hunger is the body’s way of getting us to:

  • Consume more calories and nutrients
  • Replenish our energy supply
  • Regulate weight

If I were at my ideal weight, and had a healthy metabolism, on the days I burned off more calories I should be hungrier than on the days I did nothing. This seems obvious, and it explains why, on some days, after you have worked out, or had a particularly grueling day, you often feel ravenous. You have used up more of your body’s energy supply, and the body is desperately trying to replace those supplies. More

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