Body Weight and the Set Point Theory

“Set-points are not fixed.”  –R.E. Keesey, University of Wisconsin

You can stray from your set-point weight temporarily by lowering the quantity of food you eat and raising the quantity of exercise you do. Yet you cannot adjust your set-point weight itself unless you focus on changing the quality of the food and exercise. The higher the quality, the lower your set-point weight. While this is what scientists have proven, it’s not what we’ve been told for decades.

  • Eating less does not cause long-term fat loss.
  • Exercising more does not cause long-term fat loss.
  • Exercising less does not cause long-term fat gain.
  • Eating more does not cause long-term fat gain.
figure 10.6_1
Source: McGraw Hill Education

Eating less does not create the need to burn body fat. It creates the need for the body to slow down. Likewise, exercising more does not cause long-term fat loss. From the perspective of our metabolism, there is no difference between eating less and exercising more. Eating 300 fewer calories is the same as burning 300 more calories. In both cases, our metabolism reacts like this: “Oh no! Less nutrition! I am starving! Time to slow down, hang on to protective body fat, and burn calorie-hungry muscle.” More calories out is the same as less calories in. Everything that makes the “eat less” principle fail makes “exercise more” fail too. That is not to say that all exercise is pointless. What is ineffective is traditional low-quality exercise. Exercising less—smarter—burns all sorts of body fat.

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This guest blog post was written by Jonathan Bailor, Author of The Science of Slim. Visit his website here.

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