Can You Alter Your Set Point?

The following article is excerpted from my latest book, Matt Hoover’s Guide to Life, Love, and Losing Weight by Matt Hoover (winner of “The Biggest Loser” Season 2) and Sheri Colberg, Ph.D.

Fact or Fiction?
“Your body has a set point for your weight that is impossible to bring back down once you gain weight.”

Fiction. It’s true that your body has a “set point,” or a body weight around which you settle and stay most of the time. Many people find that once they lose weight, their bodies try to return to that weight. It’s a myth that you can’t do anything to permanently lower your set point down to a lower weight after you’ve gained and then lost weight, though.

A lot of your set point has to do with the amount of muscle you have. It’s the most active, calorie-requiring tissue in your body, and muscle uses up lots of calories each day, even when you’re at rest. One of the few things actually effective for lowering your body’s set point is regular physical activity. In fact, most people who lose weight by dieting alone don’t actually reset to a lower point, which is why they’re even more likely to gain the weight back.

Remember that one of the main characteristics of people in the National Weight Control Registry is that they exercise daily. The older you get, the more you’ll have to fight to maintain or gain muscle mass to keep your metabolism from dropping, and you’ll only do so by being as physically active as possible.

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