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How to Lower Weight Set Point

By Brian Richards

The weight set point theory is that the human body has a specific weight at which it is comfortable. The body will automatically regulate hunger and metabolism in order to keep itself at this comfortable weight. Your weight set point will drift, and often increases as a person gains weight with age. When trying to lose weight, the set point will provide a plateau that slows or stops weight loss, typically after the dieter loses 10 percent of his body weight. Moving beyond this plateau involves lowering your weight set point.

Monitor your food consumption with a food diary. Record every item of food or drink you consume, noting its calories, fat, fiber, protein and carbohydrates.

Consume at least 450 calories in every meal. While you should limit your caloric intake to a number appropriate for your age, sex and weight, too substantial a reduction will make your body more likely to further lower your metabolism to make up for the reduction in calories and to maintain its weight set point.

Choose healthy, lower-fat foods over refined or processed ones. These types of foods are more nutritionally dense for the same amount of calories. This will calm your body's natural desire to slow its metabolism when it receives fewer calories because you are meeting all of your body's nutritional needs.

Exercise vigorously using large muscles in your back and legs. Exercise is the only way to burn fat without your body reacting by lowering its metabolism. Activities that use large muscles like swimming and biking will burn more fat than less strenuous ones.

Add variety to your workout to keep stressing your body in different ways. The human body adapts very quickly to new activities, and as it gets more efficient, the number of calories and amount of fat your burn decreases. If you are weight training, increase the amount of weight you lift or add different exercises to your regimen. If you do primarily aerobic activities like jogging, introduce new elements such as a one-minute sprint every half mile.

Sleep at least 8 hours every night. Not only does sleep allow your body to rebuild the muscle fibers you stressed during your exercise, it will also help you burn calories more effectively, according to Dr. George Blackburn of Harvard Medical School.

Tips

You should only concern yourself with your body's weight set point after you have lost about 10 percent of your body weight. If you are having difficulty losing any weight at all, reduce your caloric intake and increase the amount of exercise you do.

Be patient. Your weight set point takes a long time to alter, and you may be stuck on your plateau for many months. Once you have lost 10 percent of your body weight, you must maintain this weight for around 6 months before you can begin losing weight again. Stay true to your diet and exercise plans and your weight loss will eventually resume.

Consult a doctor or nutritionist for help in losing weight if you cannot seem to find a regimen that works for you.

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