How to Reset a Body-Weight Set Point

By Jo Jackson

Everyone has a weight range that their bodies find easy to maintain, which is called the set point. Many dieters find it easy to lose weight at first, but then they reach a plateau that is hard to move beyond. This is the set point, where your body regulates metabolism and feelings of hunger to maintain a given weight. In general, this occurs when your weight change is around 10 percent. It requires determination to reset your body-weight set point, but it is possible.

Step 1

Eat a healthy diet by reducing your intake of processed and fatty foods and increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat. Do not starve yourself, or your metabolism will slow making it harder for you to lose weight. Eat at least 450 calories per meal and drink lots of water to trick your stomach into feeling fuller. Have four to six smaller light meals a day rather than three large ones, as eating increases your metabolic rate.

Step 2

Exercise regularly for at least 60 minutes at a time on several days of the week. Choose exercises that use the large muscle groups of your legs and thighs, including walking, cycling, swimming and weightlifting. Start with 10 to 30 minutes of walking, cycling or swimming depending on your fitness level. Build to 60 minutes of walking or cycling and combine 30 minutes of swimming with 30 minutes of aqua aerobics. Use weights that make you feel your muscles work but are not overly heavy, and increase weight over time as it presents less of a challenge. Building muscles will raise your metabolism and burn more calories.

Step 3

Vary your exercises so that your body does not become too efficient at performing your routine. Add some one-minute sprints to a slow jog, pick up some heavier weights for a while or walk through an inclined area instead of a flat one. Be active even when you are not exercising by choosing stairs instead of the elevator and walking around more.

Step 4

Sleep for at least eight hours each night to allow your body to rebuild muscle fibers used while exercising and to burn calories more effectively. Weigh yourself once a week at the same time and keep a weight record.

Step 5

Once you have lost 10 percent of your body weight, maintain that weight for four to six months before trying to lose anymore. According to George Blackburn, M.D., and Julie Corliss, in their book, "Break Through Your Set Point," research they conducted involving over 12,000 overweight people showed that your body weight set point will be reset after this time, allowing you to make further progress with weight loss.

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