It’s great to see articles like this that reinforce how a healthy body/mind automatically balances calories in and calories out…and how food quality is key to keeping the brain balancing us out automatically. Read more
Next stop on The Biggest Loser’s Jennifer Jacobs and Jay Jacobs‘ shift from short-term weight loss to long-term health and fat-loss: Q&A regarding exercising less–but smarter vs. exercising for literally six hours per day “on the ranch.” Enjoy the short, medium, and full versions of our chat below. I personally recommend the full version, but we want to provide something for everyone :) – Jonathan Bailor
“Set-points are not fixed.” –R.E. Keesey, University of Wisconsin
You can stray from your set-point weight temporarily by lowering the quantity of food you eat and raising the quantity of exercise you do. Yet you cannot adjust your set-point weight itself unless you focus on changing the quality of the food and exercise. The higher the quality, the lower your set-point weight.
While this is what scientists have proven, it’s not what we’ve been told for decades. Let’s use the next couple posts to bring the facts back to fat loss and reveal how:
- Eating less does not cause long-term fat loss.
- Exercising more does not cause long-term fat loss.
- Exercising less does not cause long-term fat gain.
- Eating more does not cause long-term fat gain.
Our metabolism keeps us at our set-point the same way it does everything else: hormones. The two most commonly talked about are insulin and leptin. Insulin determines whether we are storing or burning body fat. Leptin regulates how much food we eat, how much energy we burn, and the amount of body fat specified by our set-point.
Let’s assume our metabolism is working properly. When our weight starts rising above our set-point, hormonal signals cause our metabolism to go up, our appetite to go down, and our body fat to get burned. This prevents excess body fat from sticking around for long. We stay at our set-point without trying.
But when we fill our body with low-quality foods, our metabolism gets clogged. It is unable to effectively respond to these hormones. Without those hormonal “burn body fat” signals getting through, the metabolic processes that otherwise automatically keep us thin do not happen. Read more
“The set-point theory of body weight regulation is based on a large body of empiric evidence.”– D.S. Weigle, University of Washington
Our fat metabolism system automatically regulates our weight around a “set-point.” That set-point is why no matter how little we eat or how much we exercise, we generally end up weighing the same. It is why you can get sick, lose weight, but then gain it all back. It is also why heavy people do not keep getting heavier and heavier until they explode.
Set-Point Weight: The weight that our fat metabolism system automatically works to keep us at regardless of the quantity of calories we take in or exercise off.
I know that last part sounds silly, but let’s look at this point seriously. Why don’t obese people gain weight forever? If the quantity of calories they ate and exercised off raised them to 450 pounds, why doesn’t it raise them to 4,500 pounds? These individuals somehow automatically stop gaining weight. How does that work under the Calories In – Calories Out theory?
It doesn’t. Read more
Despite being proven wrong, eating less and exercising more is still the most common approach to weight loss. We are led to believe that our body sits back while we consciously regulate our weight. That is not how our body works. After W.C. Miller of Indiana University ran a clinical test of this principle, he concluded: “This study examined the relationships among body fat…energy intake, and exercise…There was no relationship between energy intake [calories in] and adiposity [body fat]”
Think about any other system in our body—our respiratory system, our immune system, etc. We do not manually control our bodily systems. We can try to hold our breath. We can try to avoid colds. But the respiratory and immune systems are in control and will do what they want. Our “fat metabolism system” works the same way. Researcher J.M. Friedman from the Rockefeller University explains, “The average human consumes one million…calories a year, yet weight changes very little…These facts lead to the conclusion that energy balance is regulated with a precision of greater than 99.5%, which far exceeds what can be consciously monitored.” Read more