Weight Loss Support - "Natural" Weight?

View Full Version : "Natural" Weight?

01-30-2012, 12:17 AM
Do you feel there is a "natural weight" that your body seems to fall at or gravitate towards? I know for me, I always end up at 220 when I don't pay attention to what I'm eating/drinking. When I get above that weight, it's fairly easy for me to get back to 220, sometimes without even trying at all. When I'm under 220, I seem to easily gain that weight back if I don't pay very close attention to what I'm doing. This has probably happened to me at least 10 times, and I am in my early 20s. Has anyone else experienced this? Do you think our bodies are just comfortable at a certain weight even if it's not BMI appropriate? Obviously I'm not saying that it's necessarily healthy (or unhealthy) to be at the weight that's easiest for you to be at. I mean, after all, 220 is considered obese for me even if I am a bit muscular. Maybe it's a metabolism thing that can be changed with consistency? Can this be overcome or will it always be a struggle to keep a weight well under one's "natural" weight (if there is such a thing and I'm not imagining this whole thing)?

I don't know- I admit I haven't looked into this carefully, so excuse me if I sound like a total idiot, but I'm definitely interested in what others have experienced.

01-30-2012, 12:29 AM
Google "set point theory"

You're not alone.

01-30-2012, 12:33 AM
I don't know anything about it for sure, but I do know that my body for a long time gravitated towards 180. No matter what, thats where I seemed to end up. It took awhile to get past that point. Off to google....

01-30-2012, 12:51 AM
I believe it.

I also believe it can be reset BUT it takes more time and effort than most people will be willing to put up with.

My point is 140.

01-30-2012, 12:52 AM
Google "set point theory"

You're not alone.

Ah, thank you! The terminology I was using when looking it up was too general and I wasn't finding anything. I knew many people must have noticed this and now that I think about it, I vaguely remember hearing about this a few years ago. Looks like there's some controversy about why someone's "set point" can be high... Interesting though.

01-30-2012, 12:58 AM
I believe it.

I also believe it can be reset BUT it takes more time and effort than most people will be willing to put up with.

My point is 140.

I hope you're right about resetting it with a lot of effort. And I kind of believe you might be right too, but anecdotal evidence tells me it would take maintaining a lower weight in a healthy and manageable way over a long period of time.

01-30-2012, 10:58 AM
It might be true. I've read stuff on it.

I was the same way with 200 lbs. I was just comfortable there. I never put on that much more over 200 and stayed at 200 for a long time.

Then it was 195. I couldn't go back to 200 even when I ate tons of food. My body just stuck to 195.

Then, it was 180. Didn't matter what I did, I stuck in the 180-183 range. Maddening. Never higher, never lower. For a whole year.

Now, I'm stuck at 160 - 165.

Months. Months. Months. I think I spent most of 2011 between 160 and 165.

Now, my conclusion is that my body does like/prefer certain weights. It gets comfortable at that weight. Maybe it's not my preferred weight, but it likes it. (Except the 170s, never liked those.)

The way that I look at it is that my body is just getting used to that weight. I got it used to a higher weight and now that I've been losing weight (very slow!!!!!) it's getting used to particular weights. I average about 10 lbs of weight loss every year, which means that my body gets used to a particular weight for a year. Which I think will ultimately help me in the long term because I'm not fighting it too much to stay at a lower weight that's "unnatural".

Beach Patrol
01-30-2012, 11:20 AM
Hhhmmmm.... "set point theory"... aka SPT
I did google it (thanks John!)

but I'm not sure I believe it - but I've yo-yo dieted nearly my whole life, so it's difficult to tell.

I mean, it makes some kinda sense, but then I look back at what my body has done over the years. Can a person's "SPT" change over the years? If there *is* such a thing as SPT, then I believe it can (nothing I read supported this, it's just my own "theory"). My SPT was 125-130 when I was in my early 20's. My mid-30's to early 40's seemed to feel more comfortable at 135-140ish. And now I'm 48 & the mid 150's is seemingly my SPT.

So that's why I'm not sure whether or not I believe it; but I guess it kinda makes a little bit of sense.

01-30-2012, 12:09 PM
I'm kind of with Beach Patrol on this one.

I'll be honest and say that I haven't seen much of a Set Point in my own life, but like many things I can't necessarily deny it doesn't exist for others. ;)

I do have a few weights that I've been at for long periods of times:

140lbs - 4 years in high school
155lbs- about 4 years in college
175-185lbs - bounced back and forth a lot after college for about 3 years
After that I got pregnant and my weight went WAY up seriously quickly. Post-partum it's never hit a stable point. I lost some immediately after pregnancy but then started gaining again and got within 15lbs of my pregnancy weight before I started this journey.

That's not to say I haven't hit some stalls while losing:
low 190's - started heavy lifting
this fall I had a stall for a month (I can't remember the weight, sorry!)
and I had another stall recently but that was due to just working on maintaining over the holidays. However, my weight loss has picked up (and then some!) since then.

So really, no, nothing like a major stall at a previous weight that I was for a long time before losing weight. We'll see what happens at 155lbs, which is the only other weight that this could happen at. But then again i might just call goal there, so who knows? ;)

01-30-2012, 12:23 PM
I think that your weight aligns with your lifestyle more than anything. For instance if you get married..weight adjusts...have kids..adjusts....going to school..etc.

It comes down to lifestyle more than anything...which may include more or less exercise, more or less access to healthy food and so on.

01-30-2012, 12:38 PM
There is a reason it's called a "theory". :D

That said - if you look at the evidence the body does some interesting things hormonally so ... who knows.

For me - I've been generally maintaining with out much effort or calorie counting because of intermittent fasting.

Petite Powerhouse
01-30-2012, 12:48 PM
My set point was 129 for all of my adult life (until I was 36) and part of my teens as well—from about the point I reached my full height on. I lost weight, but always returned rapidly to 129. Staying away from 129+ required some effort on my part—watching calories and working out—but, when I lost weight, it always seemed to me that my body strove for that one number. When it hit 129, it was much easier for me to keep from gaining weight from there than it was to keep 129 off. Now, however, I have maintained 108 for more than a year without any real effort. I am starting to think my body is finally willing to try a different weight. Part of that is, again, being vigilant—knowing now how easy it is to regain. But I also feel different. It has become much easier to stay at this weight. I don't fight cravings, don't feel compelled to gain the weight back anymore. In the past I think I just never managed to keep the weight off long enough for my body to accept it.

All that said, to now play Devil's Advocate I have to add that it's also a mental game, no? I can't rule out that it was easy for me to gain back to 129 because I knew I wasn't overweight at 129. I wanted to be thinner, but I didn't have to be for me. Over 129, though.... To me, 130+ was overweight, even though that wasn't technically true. I knew I didn't like my body at all at 130+. So there is no question that I always brought myself back to 129 if I went up a couple of pounds. And, when I lost weight, no matter how disappointed I was when I gained it back, in the back of my mind I imagine someone was whispering that it wouldn't be so awful as long as I didn't go over 129.

01-30-2012, 01:21 PM
Well, I think there might be a "set point."

More likely it's that people tend to eat a certain amount of calories, and whatever weight is at maintenance for those calories is what people tend to gravitate toward.

01-30-2012, 02:16 PM
I think it varies by person and I think your set-point can change. When I was gaining weight, I leveled out at 225 and stopped gaining after 10 years of putting on 10 lbs a year.

Since I've been on my weight loss journey, my set point seems to vary depending on how much exercise I am getting. My body seems to want to be lighter if I'm exercising more, even if I'm eating a lot to make up for it. I was stuck at 195 for MONTHS and then all of a sudden my body let it go and I dropped a few more pounds. I may well find I sit here for a few months, or maybe will drop more weight in short time. Hard to say, because both have happened to me on my weight loss journey.

01-30-2012, 02:22 PM
Before I gained a lot I gravitated around 220ish myself. I'd be happy to be that now :-P

01-30-2012, 02:44 PM
I do agree that it's more than what your body is used to, I think it's as much as what your lifestyle encourages.

Everyone knows that we tend to eat the same foods over and over, and we are much more creatures of habit than we admit to ourselves at times.

So, I think there is a point where it's subconsciously uncomfortable to go any lower with calories or higher with activity levels. To change those things, takes a REAL effort on our part and so it feels dramatic when we do it, and when we do it, it's harder to keep up long term.

IF we do keep it up, then that will become our go-to pattern and thereby establishing a new set point.

01-30-2012, 02:58 PM
i deffinately think there's numbers your body prefers. for me, i always get stuck at numbers ending with an 8. so like, i was at 208, for 2 months -then WHOOSH to 198, then 2 month stall then WHOOSh 188, then 2 months again, and WHOOOSH to 178. guess when i'm stuck right now for the last 3 weeks?
yeah you guessed it, 178.

01-30-2012, 02:59 PM
I've had several "set points" throughout my life. I've pretty much always eaten the same way, but my activity level over the years has dropped. And I've read that the metabolism slows down with age, so it shouldn't really be all that surprising when the weight goes up 10 pounds every decade or so. In my mid to late 20's my weight stayed in the 215 range. I dropped below 200 once during that time, but it didn't last long. Once I got into my 30's it seemed my weight went up pretty steadily until it came to rest at 235. I stayed there for years. I would exercise and diet for a while and lose 20 pounds every now and again, but I always went back to my old eating habits and gained it all back. In the last few years, though, my weight climbed up to 245 and hovered there for the last 3 or 4 years.

I'm hoping I can get to a new set point around 185. :)

01-30-2012, 03:10 PM
I have these too. I gained a serious amount of weight during my 1st pregnancy (75 lbs). Got down to 207 and stayed there for 2 years until I became pregnant again, then again and again (at the same weight). 207 is my magic pregnancy weight for some reason :).
But on a more serious note, I loose in "whooshes" as well. I stay at a certain weight for 3-6 weeks, loose 2-3 lbs, and the cycle states all over again.
I always get stuck at 218, 213, 207, 201 etc. Not sure why that is.

01-30-2012, 03:37 PM
133-136 for me, but I want to be below 132 and preferably at or under 130 for vanity's sake!

01-30-2012, 03:52 PM
I think I have a few...

1) ~ heaviest ~ I seem to top off at 165-170 range
2) ~middle~ I go down to 151-152 easy, but I can't seem to break 150 without tricks. I hover around 150 forever.
3) ~ low ~ If I break 150, I seem to cruise down to 125-130 range. -- I had quite easy time maintaining at 126 for years.

01-30-2012, 03:59 PM
I loved seeing this thread! This is something I have talked with a best friend about too. Not really something you can ask just any old person you meet out in the real world. So seeing that other people see this same phenomena is awesome.

My friend and I came to the conclusion that we have certain weights that we settle at for awhile. This happend when going up and when going down. (sadly this testifies to the fact that we have yo yo'd our weight around a bit).

So my high weight was christmas of '09, right about when I got engadged. I weight 186. I then lost down to 172 by my wedding. During this time I notivced my weight sticking around 182 for awhile. Did the same thing at 178. After the wedding bounced around 172-175 a few months, then settled up to 178. Lost down to 168 when doing a bunch of home improvements and then back to 172-175. Got a second job over the summer, back down to 168. By just before the holidays I was right around 170-172. After the holiday shot up to 178-180.

Anyways that smy pattern. When I weight daily I see alot of variance, but my weight likes to go in fits and starts. Its as if I lose 5 lbs really fast, but then see it vary a few pounds for awhile right around a 2 or an 8. Then I see a loss to the next, (or at times a gain up) 2 or 8. Maybe when losing weight our bodies needs to resettle? Totally unscientific and out of my own head term here. I just find it interseting. And like I said my best friend has the same thing. She has yo yo'd for many more years than I have. And she feels she always gets stalled or stuck at certain numbers, and always has.

01-30-2012, 04:36 PM
This makes sense, my husband can't get above 150 lbs no matter what he does. He'll eat a ton, he get's plenty of physical exercise as well as he is a carpenter. Sometimes he dips to about 145 and he gets so sad because he tries so hard to gain weight. He's 6'3 and I wish we could trade weights, haha.

I just had a baby, and even though I lost a ton of weight on 3FC back in 2010, my weight settled at 194. That's the weight I started at when I lost weight back then. Now I have to work to lose all the weight all over again.

01-30-2012, 04:40 PM
Hmm... it makes some sense. Unfortunately, my 'set point' has just gone up since high school. I'll up about 5-10 pounds and staythere for a long time. Then up another 5-10 pounds, and stay there for along time. I just keeps going up. I need it to go back DOWN!

Petite Powerhouse
01-30-2012, 04:56 PM
This makes sense, my husband can't get above 150 lbs no matter what he does. He'll eat a ton, he get's plenty of physical exercise as well as he is a carpenter. Sometimes he dips to about 145 and he gets so sad because he tries so hard to gain weight. He's 6'3 and I wish we could trade weights, haha.

I think this is a slightly different animal. Your husband sounds like he has a freakish metabolism. My boyfriend does as well: he's never been over 135, if he ever actually got there, and is typically around 128, and he's 6' and age 50.

With a set point the idea is that you actually can put on weight, but the body works hard to get you back to your set weight. And, similarly, if you lose weight, your body works hard to get you back up to your set weight.

Incidentally, one of the theories for why people gain weight past the set point and stick there is that, when you force your body to go under the set weight, it retaliates by trying to make you eat AND by raising your set point. The belief is that the body is trying to protect itself from starvation.

01-30-2012, 05:01 PM
If I behave like a ¨normal¨person and eat what my family does I am always about 170....I never really go much above that no matter what crazy things I eat...Im going to google this theory.

01-30-2012, 05:15 PM
Yep Yep... my previous set point was about 220. I worked hard and now I seem to level off at 170 and once I get things under control and drop the water weight associated with the gain I settle at 165. I'm going to have to get really serious to get below this, I have a feeling... One day I will. I promise :P.

01-30-2012, 05:20 PM
I think this may be true for some people. However, my weight adjusts according to my lifestyle. If I eat like crap (way over my calories), I easily gain weight. If I eat low-calorie, I pretty easily lose weight. If I eat right at maintenance, I maintain. Maybe I just haven't gotten to it yet, but it doesn't seem like my body really has a set weight that it particularly likes being at.

01-31-2012, 01:33 PM
I don't believe in this theory. Not for my body. My body stay the weight I make it stay at, it does not gravitate toward another weight.

01-31-2012, 02:07 PM
Without keeping much track of my weight when I was younger, I would automatically be around 120. I had to work really hard everyday to get down to 112.

My body now wants to be around 130 keeping track of my weight or not (it's just how I eat, so there is no real variation). I need to get moving more and indulge in fewer libations on the weekends if I want the scale to budge!

01-31-2012, 02:21 PM
I have a few weight points I naturally settle at. Not a single point but places it takes extraordinary effort to move up or down from and once I do I move quickly to the next one. They have been the same for 25 years.

01-31-2012, 02:40 PM
I believe this. For years I sat around 200-205. Its very easy for me to loss to that point (Which I have now done) Now the hard part is getting past that point, and its not going very well. Trying IF to see if I can finally break through!

02-01-2012, 01:33 AM
That is a good point.

02-01-2012, 02:01 PM
I'm pretty busy so I didn't really look into this much but it's interesting to see some discussion on it!

Well obviously if you eat low-calorie you will lose weight and if you eat high-calorie you will gain.*The point is, there is potentially some scientific basis for the theory that once you've been at a certain weight for a while, your body will naturally gravitate more towards that weight if you haven't maintained your lower/higher weight for long enough.*

There are probably also some genetic reasons for some having lower or higher "natural" weights. Did your ancestors survive a famine and pass on those fat storing genes to you? Haha. (Obviously I'm oversimplifying.)

There are probably some minor psychological factors at work too.*

We could also just reduced this to the fact that a lot of us are more or less consistent in the amount of calories eaten when we aren't paying attention, and eventually this just becomes maintenance for a certain weight.

That's definitely not to say that we're doomed to stay at that weight or use it as an excuse- it could just make maintaining a significant weight loss more difficult. I definitely see this happening in my life... It's probably a combination of factors that makes for a pretty strong pull towards a "natural weight" for some of us but I think many of these factors that can be controlled to get away from it. Those are what we should focus on...which I think most of the people here are doing,

02-01-2012, 02:13 PM
<<More likely it's that people tend to eat a certain amount of calories, and whatever weight is at maintenance for those calories is what people tend to gravitate toward.>>

I agree with this. I resist the set-point theory, partly because it seems so defeatist and partly because I don't find the science convincing.


02-01-2012, 03:30 PM
I'm not sure if I'm convinced of the idea either.. but I'll be interested to see how my weight loss fits into the theory from here on out.

One of my 'set points' in weight was 257 pounds, which I was for many years. I hit that weight about 2 1/2 months ago in this weight loss journey, and have been STUCK like glue to it ever since. I did eat maintenance level cals for a month of that time however.. so I can only say I've been plateaued at that level for about 1 1/2 months now.. but it's interesting that I'm stuck here and this was my weight for many years. Hmmmm...

My other weight that I held for many years was around 240 pounds. I'm super interested to see if I hit a plateau at that weight too... I'll check in with this post when I get there! ;)