Monday, January 08, 2018

Body Weight Set Points. Sociology, Or Physiology?

The notion that bodies possess a weight "set point" is deeply entrenched.

And regardless of the mechanism, what appears to be true is that people tend, following weight loss, to regain the weight they've lost, finding themselves right back where they'd started.

As to the mechanism, there are many theories (including a cool new one that was explored in mice which Dr. Sharma covered last week), but the one that I tend think carries the most weight is sociological, not physiological, in that when we give up on our temporary diet and lifestyle interventions, we revert back to the lives we had been living prior. Those lives, for better or for worse, are comfortable and automatic. They include our dietary likes and dislikes, our cooking skills, our life's responsibilities, the number of meals out we regularly eat on our own, with our families, and with our friends, our sleep patterns, our activity levels, our treats and indiscretions, and so much more.

They also include the same average number of daily calories that they always did.

So why would it be surprising that when we quit our diets and return to all of our normal patterns (and calories), that our weights tend to head back to where they started?

All this to say, aim for the healthiest life that you can actually enjoy, as if life's merely tolerable, you're less likely to stick with it.