Managing Your Weight Set Point

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By Rob Archangel, 180DegreeHealth.com staff writer

Quick heads up folks- Matt recently offered a guest article for Tom Corson-Knowles on the bodyweight set point. It’s a nice introduction to the concept and has some ideas about how to impact it.

Plus, the cast of Willow, the Swedish Bikini Team and Alf- oh my! It just went live over on Tom’s site, so head on over and check it out here.

 

 

 

28 Comments

  1. Whatever it is that lowers my weight set-point, I haven’t found it yet. And by God that’s frustrating.

    The best I can say is that I’ve stopped harming myself with weird diets, which is great, but I also hate being fat. It doesn’t impede my enjoyment of all activities (there are non-athletic things to do), but it does impede some. It’s annoying. And especially so when people say “What haven’t you tried Atkins?”

    I just started barbell training (Starting Strength) in the last month though. No changes yet, but it’s only been a month. We’ll see how it goes. I enjoy the exercises.

    Reply
    • What helped me to loose weight was…eating.

      Dieting in the normal way-less calories means less weight- will only lead for your setpoint to get higher and higher and your body to fear starvation and start packing more food into your fat cells than burning it for energy.

      And even more important, stop hating your body..you may dislike the fat for hindering you to fit in your clothes or do the sports you have done before…but if you treat your body like a temple, it will become one over time..positive emotions.

      What helped my body to start burning calories and using food up, was taking extra micronutrients.
      A motor only works well oiled, with all the parts in good conditions, same with your body.

      Your body stays in the state of hunger and preserving calories as fat, as long as it hasn´t enough equipment to change that.

      To use up excess bodyfat the body needs vitamins and minerals, or your body can not turn the fat into energy.

      Also omega3 is neccessary to turn static fat into mobile fat.

      Try to keep the ratio of omega6 to omega3 in the ratio of 3:1.
      Mother milk fat has an ratio of 1:1, modern diets have a ratio of 16 or 25:1 which results in slow storage fat.

      I take 2 tablespoons of flax seed a day and boy does it make me burn up. Ever ran around barfooted in the snow..that´s me..yeah I am all warm.

      I also use spirulina, it is easily digestable, full of protein, vitamins and minerals..the taste is…well..not so good but better than spinach or such stuff..and no known antinutrients or toxic substances like that can happen with afa algaes.

      Fish oil doesn´t seem to have the same ‘burning up’ factor as flax oil, maybe it is because the body needs the simple omega3 to burn fat and the complex omega3 is used for brain functions and such.

      Also omega 6 and omega3 need the same kind of process to be utilized by the body and omega6 is hindering omega3…so a higher omega3 ratio is helping the body to utilize omega3 better and keeps omega6 from beeing turned into inflamation factors.

      But don´t get too excited, I first had to fill up my storage of vitamins and minerals before the weight loss started, diets do deplete them horrible.

      And the body leeches minerals and vitamins out of bones and other bodily tissue to keep blood levels accurate.

      When you add enough micronutrients back into your diet the body first starts to fill the storages back up to be prepared for times of need..and only when the storages are filled again, than the body uses the micronutrients for less important stuff like weight loss.

      http://cronometer.com/

      This tool helped me to keep track of what goes into my body, I changed the settings to my needs and it is very simple but effective.

      Don´t forget to add the daily exercise like sitting in the office or doing housework.

      I was a bit surprised at first by how much we underfeed our body caloriewise..and therefor in micronutrients.

      Food can normally not reach toxic levels of minerals and vitamins, so you can go over the normal daily needs that are advised for you..depending on your condition.

      At first I couldn´t tolerate iodine because it works together with zinc and b vitamins and I was lacking there..now that I had filled up on them I take high levels of iodine ..because I like sushi and with sushi comes nori and nori contains much iodine..and other minerals.

      Since I know edible algaes I sometimes get a wacky craving for them

      Reply
  2. Hey Brock- I hear you. I think weight training is an important component of it, and persistence is key. It’s been easy for me to give up in times past when I haven’t seen dramatic results in a few months, but I’ve tried to take the approach of, ‘Persistence is better than perfection’ recently, and slowly, I’m getting inklings of change. Body recomposition definitely is not linear, and there are ups and downs, times when you feel and look great, and others when crises of confidence emerge. But sticking with whatever you’re trying and giving it a chance to do its thing is important.

    Reply
  3. Perhaps I am not understanding something, but is the calorie theory THAT wrong? Look at the emaciated long-distance runners in the recent Olympics. Now aside from the fact that I (and most people) wouldn’t want to look like that, isn’t it true that their low-body fat/weight is due to their exercise regimen and more calories out than in? Wouldn’t it follow that one could get less extreme results if one were to run, or some similar activity, and a lesser scale? The calorie theory has recently been snubbed, but I am not so sure it deserves the snubbing.

    Reply
    • Yes, anyone who keeps calories low enough will be thin, unless they have a hormone disorder. Look at populations who have been through famines, etc., or anorexic people or, yes, many distance runners. The problem is the sustainability for the average population, and the long-term health issues for anyone. Most people are not professional athletes training for marathons, and starving yourself long-term is extremely difficult and the body will fight it any way it can. With the majority of people, trying to adhere to “calories in calories out” will lead to higher appetite and lower metabolism, and binging. Not to mention losing touch with your hunger levels.

      Reply
      • Yes, Amy, but. as far as the average person, I am not talking about training like a marathon runner and all of the health issues that can arise from that. I am talking about running a mile, playing basketball….strenuous activity that is not over the top.

        I can understand taking off from exercise for a period of time, if you are stressed-out. However, I think reasonably strenuous exercise is one part of the strategy to lose weight. Even when I was in the middle of my experimentation with the “Weird Ray” diet, I did not buy into Peat’s phobia about exercise.

        Reply
        • I don’t think anyone here is saying exercise is bad. Matt specifically says in the article that it helps with weight loss. But not because it burns calories (although if you use it for that purpose, it will work in the short-term until you stop exercising).

          I think exercise is healthy not only because it gets you moving and metabolising, but it also improves your mental state.

          Reply
          • Yeah, I think exercise is good because of the downstream metabolic effects more than the calorie burning effects. Helping to convince the body to store more energy in muscles rather than fat is more important than the 200 or 400 calories you burn.

          • Exactly, different types of activities will activate different type of hormonal patterns to re prioritize and reallocate calories and nutrients to different areas. We know that lots of aerobics makes the body actually want to store fat (I’m no scientist…) to become more efficient at that particular activity next time, whereas anarobic type stuff will make muscle tissue more insulin sensitive and you’d be much more likely to store your food in muscles and the energy to go towards repairing them and making them stronger. And of course this doesn’t mean you have to be in a deficit, and at this point I certainly wouldnt want to be =)

      • There’s this saying here in Europe: during the war everyone was slim. And it’s true (also for some time after the war). But not any longer.

        Reply
    • I mean no disrespect because I disagree Thomas, I’m rather certain the in/out theory deserves a snub simply because using any method to correct obesity based on the simplified concept of calories in/calories out will not produce satisfactory results for more than .maybe 1 percent of the population. Which just happens to be the ones that didn’t need to do anything to lose the weight in the first place, it would have just happened for their little ten pound vanity chub. Besides I’m kinda well known for eating like a badass at a buffet and not gaining a pound ( after losing 70 plus pounds smashing buffets) and pretty good at teaching others how to smash food and actually lose weight in the process.

      Reply
  4. My arms look small to me but I know they’re not (they’re not swoll and huge or anything) because multiple people have said things. Hell this whole time I’ve been smashin whatever I want my boss has never thought I looked fat and said I just look like a big burly strong dude. So it’s like a chubby strong man look. I’m gonna stick to my training for sure, I have discipline to do the crazy eating I’ve done, so I have enough discipline to get #beastmode. Just doing as many body weight squats as you can kicks your ass. I know that eating a lot of good food, weight training, plus some short high intensity sprinting type of stuff usually works, but it doesn’t mean your body will thank you I guess. The ladies will though muhahahhahaha.

    Reply
  5. I once read a book about weight set point called The Shangri-la Diet. I don’t remember the details but I do remember downing tablespoons of olive oil (the cheap fake stuff) and sugar water as part of the process. I did lose my appetite and eat less as a result though . . . Makes me shudder to think about it now.

    Reply
    • I tried the shangri la diet thing- for quite a few months- tried different oils etc.
      no results!
      I did not lose appetite or weight..

      Reply
    • I never tried that one it sounds so exotic, I did try Don Rosedale’s low carb high veggie fat diet for three days, I threw up and felt sick for two days. What a ridiculous diet that was, all that olive oil ugh.. almost as bad as wheatgrass.

      Reply
  6. funny articile :)

    And good to see you say something about grounding. I’ve been trying grounding lately and I’m quite sure it has a de-stressing effect on me.

    Reply
  7. One of you folks (The Real Amy?) mentioned on a previous post’s comment section that Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine might provide some insight into determining WHAT will work FOR WHOM, and I want to second that emotion. I am trying like hell to get it figured out, and thanks to Mattie-San and posts like this one, I am getting closer.
    I am working up a theory of stress response styles described as Constitutions/Animal Archetypes…For example, stress is a killer for some but high intensity and brief exercise can get a Kapha/Bear type’s metabolism moving. RRARFing is therapeutic for some, especially for the Vata/Deer types, who need to sleep more and think less. Not as good for the Bear type (they already RRARF ;D). Low inflammatory diet/superfoods along with Yoga and stress (anger) management is essential for Pitta/Tiger types.
    whaddayathink, y’all? Any words from Mattie-San?
    peace,
    sheila g

    Reply
    • Sheila- this sounds fascinating! Let us know what you find! I am a Vata type, and I know I do need to try to stick to my RRARFing and resting more.

      Reply
    • How did you come up with this?

      Reply
    • Well thats a cool picture, but regardless of what they’re eating, their lifestyles and stuff could make ‘em look like that. They seem to be haulin some heavy shit, and who knows how long and how much. But you probably do since you knew what they ate =) I’d figure whatever they’re doing, if they had more calories they’d be even more muscular.

      Reply
      • Sure, these people were basically migrant earth workers, shoving and wheelbarrowing earth all day, all spring-summer-fall. In winter they were unemployed. What they eat was the standard fare for migrant workers. They carried three things with them: bacon (the kind that’s mostly fat), onion and dried pasta. During the day they ate bread, onion and bacon, and then they had a supper of thin soup made with onion, paprika and pasta. Hardly anything else.

        Reply
    • as far as the famous photo, Like you said earlier everyone was thin during the war. I doubt they were even close to maintenance calories simply because if there was ample food people tend to like more variety then thin soup bacon and bread everyday.

      When you fast (even when it’s because of semi starvation) and do heavy work your body kicks in hormones to protect your lean mass so thats why they don’t look completely emaciated. Everyone looks ripped when they are at a low body fat because you see the form of the muscle without the fat hiding it, even if their muscles are not that big. To me those guys don’t look very muscular as much as they look average with very low fat which during the war with food being scarce in many places in Europe it’s completely understandable regardless of the food types.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your contribution, CHIEFROK. I believe these people got enough calories, although mostly from fat.
        I was raised in rural Hungary in the 1970s. There were definitely enough calories at the time. The staples were pork, chicken, lard, white flour bread, bacon, sausage, cabbage, beans, potate. There were very few fat people at the time, even though generally, food was plentiful and fattening. I would say these were the reasons:

        - most things were home made. I we wanted to eat chicken, we went to the market, bought one, killed it and made it into a meal. Most families raiesed pigs and slaughtered them (traditionally, you bought a piglet in March and slaughtered the pig before Christmas)

        - there were no deep freezers around. Pork was mainly preserved by smoking, most families had a small hut built in the backyard for smoking

        - there were no snack foods. Potato chips were unknown. People used to eat three meals a day, and that was it. No snacking.

        - although the term “organic” was not yet around, I believe most of the foods we ate could be considered organic. Also, there were no microwave ovens and ready made foods or frozen pizza. Food was made from fresh ingredients. Even pasta was usually homemade.

        Reply
        • thank you as well centurion. 1970 and 1935 if a big difference considering there was a lot of conflict in Europe heading into the war and the world economy in 1970 was quite different. There was a lot less scarcity world wide at that time. Although I’m ill equipped to debate hungarian lifestyle due to never having lived there, judging by the photo these men were shorthanded in the calorie department maybe not to the point of muscle and organ breakdown but far less than they needed to keep up with the migrant worker lifestyle. Like I often tell trainees that give me a picture of brad pit in fight club as a reference of how they want to look, photo can not say what is going on inside the body and how well that person feels.

          they would look more like this guy if they did have more than enough available to eat.
          http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m9vtc9CJrT1rvezlbo1_500.jpg

          bodybuilders wouldn’t have to do a cut phase if maximum muscle and really low body fat were possible at the same time. Maximum muscle is not possible without steady maximum calorie intake. Ultra low body fat is not possible without steady falling a little short in calories.

          I would say there were very few fat people in your area in the 70′s because the effects of the modern world that cause obesity did not have an affect on that self sufficient lifestyle that was more akin to a pre industrial era. Eating the exact same foods in rural “anywhere” would not get the same results in 2010.

          I’m curious to know if you were mentioning freezers along side microwaves as something that degrades food quality. If so what do you think is at play?

          Reply
          • Thanks CHIEFROK, I apprecieate your insights. In the 70s these migrant earth workers were still around, I used to know some of them. They did not have big muscles, but were extremely resilient, moved several tons of earth per day, for months on end. As to the freezers and microwaves, I’m not sure freezing or microwaving degrades food quality. Perhaps it does, but that’s not what I had in mind. What I had in mind was that without freezers or microwave you need to use fresh ingredients every time, no opportunity to buy ready-made food and just stash it in the microwave. So you miss out on all the chemicals that frozen food is stuffed with. Like in my childhood, there was no such thing as sliced bread or one hundred different kinds of bread. There was one kind of loaf, baked freshly each day by the local baker. And it was delicious and stayed fresh for several days without any chemicals.

            So the funny thing was, we ate lots of pork, lard and bacon, but people were generally slim and healthier than today. One other thing, perhaps, it’s not significant, is that we ate locally grown fruits and vegetables, there was very little imported fruit, probably only lemon.

  8. I think losing weight&keeping it off is a very intricate&complicated thing,of which I think there’s definitely no one magic solution.
    It has a lot to do with hormone balancing&stuff,healthy gutflora etc.. I think trying to avoid high estrogen levels is one part of the equation,as this is mostly a ‘fat storing’ hormone,however the body does need some estrogen….so it’s a very fine balance one has to maintain.

    I know Ray Peat and Josh Rubin,amongst others,have talked about Estrogen and avoiding it as much as possible. However what I don’t get,is why they promote dairy in their diets?as this is listed as one of the High-Estrogen foods….

    Reply
  9. I am confused on this article. Matt has said that raising your metabolism is the best way to lose fat and that means eating plenty of palatable foods right? This article promotes eating raw foods as much as possible which I wouldn’t say is very palatable unless you are talking about fruit.

    Reply

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