Change Your Set Point and Manage Your Weight

Change the composition of your diet.  If your diet currently includes a lot of sweets or refined carbohydrates (things like white bread, cereal, pasta, and pastry), consider cutting way back on these—and not just as a temporary weight loss strategy but as a permanent shift. This can lower your insulin levels, which can in turn reduce your appetite and your tendency to store fat.

Change the composition of your gut. The types of bacteria that flourish in your intestines may play a major role in your body weight set point. My best advice is to stop using artificial sweeteners, which appear to encourage the growth of bacteria associated with obesity. Instead, you want to cultivate the strains of bacteria associated with leaner bodies by eating a variety of fermented and cultured foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, tempeh, pickles, natto, yogurt, raw cheese, miso and more. along with fiber-rich foods that nourish those friendly bacteria.

Change your environment. Talk to me all you want about appetite hormones [leptin, ghrelin, and neuropeptide Y (NPY)] and how they sabotage weight loss. Yet the facts are clear, hunger is not what drives most of our consumption. We eat because we are constantly surrounded by cheap, tasty, high calorie foods that are literally engineered to be irresistible. We condition ourselves to eat, practice makes your perfectly overweight. We tend to eat until until the oversized package is empty or our oversized plate is completely consumed. We eat because everyone around us is always eating.

Scientific Fact: Scientists used to dismiss the idea that hormone imbalances could cause obesity, but new research suggests this is exactly the case. It’s not the traditional hormones that are involved, however, but newly identified hormones that are produced in your intestines and by your fat cells. These hormones travel to your brain where they influence the satiety center in your brain. Unravelling how these hormones work, and their potential as treatments for obesity and diabetes, is one of the most important areas of weight loss research today.

If you want to permanently lower your body weight, you need to permanently change the habits and behaviors that lead you to overeat. And because this needs to be a sustainable shift, I suggest that you not rely on willpower alone but take steps to reengineer your personal environment in ways that remove all these external cues and calories of opportunity.

I know you know what to do but here are tips I know you know but we really don’t practice. Use smaller plates and serving dishes. Don’t eat in front of the television and computer. Keep tempting foods out of sight or just don’t purchase those temping foods.

Change your body weight more slowly. Another way to permanently reset your set point is not to change your body weight too much or too quickly. When your body weight changes slowly, your body is less likely to fight back. This, after all, is how most of us end up gaining weight and may explain why our set point doesn’t seem to cause our mind and body to rebel. 

If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, a step-down approach may work better than a long steady slide. Start by gradually losing no more than 10% of your total weight. If you’re currently 250 pounds, for example, start by losing no more than 20 pounds. Then, spend two or three months maintaining that new lower weight before taking the next step down, again losing no more than 10% of your new weight. It will probably take you longer to reach your goal weight, but you are so much more likely to maintain that goal weight once you get there

Slow and gradual weight loss can help you avoid the metabolic back lash that rapid weight loss can trigger. It also means that by the time you reach your goal weight, you have had much more time to master and internalize the healthy habits you’ll need to maintain the new slimmer you.