You may have on many occasions embarked on a diet with the goal of gaining or losing weight, but, after failing to do so for at least a short period of time, you may have opted to quit.

The problem is that you may be dealing with the set point that your hypothalamus has determined, which is something that if we understand can help us achieve greater adherence to any future diet.

What is set point

The set point is nothing more than the weight that your brain understands your body needs to be.

After you stay at a certain weight for a period of time, your brain adapts and sends signals to your body that will encourage you to stay at that weight.

For that reason, weight loss or weight gain in diets is not a linear process, but oscillates depending on many factors, and one of them (and quite significant) is precisely the set point.

If your weight fluctuates, your brain will modify processes such as heat production, fat oxidation or hunger sensation to help you return to a weight at which you have been comfortable for a long time.

That these processes are altered when you gain or lose weight is normal, but instead of resigning yourself to this happening the idea is that you try to modify your eating to effectively cope with these changes.

Dealing with the set point

The longer you have stayed at a particular weight, the more likely you are to maintain that weight and the harder it will be to change it.

Does this mean it’s impossible to do? No, but you should understand that those who have recently reached a particular weight will be more likely to return to their previous weight compared to those who have been maintaining a certain weight for some time.

Therefore, instead of considering starting a particular diet, it may make more sense to consider making positive changes in your diet that you can maintain for a long time, always considering the long term.

For example, if you are trying to gain weight and you are eating more food to do so, there will come a point where your brain will make you less hungry so that your weight simply doesn’t fluctuate.

At that point, it will make sense that instead of trying to eat a larger amount of food, you will focus on choosing foods with a higher caloric density or opt for liquid foods to achieve less satiety.

The final summary of all this is that your brain will always put your survival above everything else, but given that many times the mechanisms it sets in motion are unjustified, you should try to deal with them with the strategies you have at your disposal.


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