Set Point Theory: Why Weight Loss Is Not Just a Matter of Willpower

At Reset Solutions, we specialize in breaking the cycle of weight loss and gain by combining advanced GLP-1 medication with a health-focused and holistic approach to wellness.  This approach is critical, because when it comes to weight loss, many people struggle with the seemingly simple equation of "calories in versus calories out". But if weight loss were merely a matter of eating less and exercising more, wouldn't more people be successful at maintaining their weight loss over the long term?

The reality is that weight management is much more complex than counting calories. Our bodies are biologically designed to maintain a certain weight range.  Read on to learn more about these complex systems and learn how a program like Reset Solutions' can help.    

What is Set Point Theory?

The set point theory suggests that our bodies have a built-in control mechanism that dictates how much fat we carry. It's controlled by a complex interplay of genetics, environment, and behaviors and this weight range can vary significantly from person to person.

Our bodies work to maintain this set point, much like how a thermostat works to maintain a specific temperature in a room. When we gain or lose weight, our bodies compensate by adjusting our hunger levels and metabolic rate. If we eat less and lose weight, our bodies respond by making us feel hungrier and slowing down our metabolism to conserve energy.

This phenomenon explains why it's so hard to maintain weight loss. After a period of dieting and weight loss, our bodies push back, working hard to return to our set point weight. This can often lead to the frustrating cycle of weight loss and regain, also known as yo-yo dieting.

The Evolutionary Background of Set Point Theory

We humans spent our earliest years during times of feast and famine. Our bodies were built to store excess energy in times of plenty to prepare for periods of scarcity. This trait served us well in the past, helping our ancestors survive in harsh conditions where food was not always readily available.

However, in today's world, this adaptation has become a liability. In our modern environment, with easy access to high-calorie, processed foods and sedentary lifestyles, our bodies' tendency to store excess energy can lead to overweight and obesity.

The Promise of GLP-1 Medications: A Reset For Your Set Point

Thankfully, there is hope!  In recent years, the understanding of how our bodies regulate weight has led to the development of new treatments for obesity. One of these advancements is the class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists, like semaglutide and tirzepatide.

GLP-1 agonists mimic the effects of a natural hormone in our body, glucagon-like peptide-1, which plays a crucial role in regulating our appetite and food intake. Research has shown that these medications can effectively lower our body's set point for weight, helping to achieve and maintain weight loss.

GLP-1 agonists work by interacting with the areas of our brain that regulate appetite and energy expenditure, essentially resetting our set point to a healthier weight. This, in turn, helps counteract the physiological responses that typically lead to weight regain after dieting.

Looking Forward

With the advent of medications like semaglutide, liraglutide, tirzepatide, and new GLP-1 treatments currently in development, we have powerful new tools to manage weight and combat obesity. However, it's important to remember that these medications are not magic bullets. They work best in conjunction with lifestyle changes, like a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

While our bodies may still operate based on ancient programming, we now have the knowledge and tools to help manage our weight more effectively in our modern environment. By understanding and working with our body's set point, we can potentially make weight loss less of a struggle and more of a sustainable journey to better health.

Reset Solutions offers a health-focused medical weight loss program that combines these advanced medications with accountability coaching and a holistic plan for healthy living.  If you'd like to learn more, take our short online assessment to see if GLP-1 treatment might be right for you, or browse our site to learn more about our programs and to book a consultation.

For Further Reading:

  1. "20 years of leptin: leptin at 20: an overview" by J. M. Friedman (2014)
  2. "How dieting makes some fatter: from a perspective of human body composition autoregulation" by A. G. Dulloo, J. Jacquet, and J. P. Montani (2012)
  3. "Metabolic adaptation to caloric restriction and subsequent refeeding: the Minnesota Starvation Experiment revisited" by M. J. Müller et al. (2015)
  4. "Incretin hormones: Their role in health and disease" by M. A. Nauck and J. J. Meier (2018)
  5. "Low-dose leptin reverses skeletal muscle, autonomic, and neuroendocrine adaptations to maintenance of reduced weight" by M. Rosenbaum et al. (2005)
  6. "Efficacy and safety of semaglutide compared with liraglutide and placebo for weight loss in patients with obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo and active controlled, dose-ranging, phase 2 trial" by P. M. O'Neil et al. (2018)