Fact: I used to really want to be a size “blank.” Like really really.
It didn’t matter to me that my original weight was perfectly healthy. It didn’t matter that it was easy to maintain. I still wanted to be thinner. I would do everything in my power to reach that smaller size – restrict my eating, overdo it at the gym, obsess over every morsel of food I ate. Eventually I got what I wanted; I reached my dream size.
Guess how long I stayed at a size “blank”? I think it was about two months. Two very short months. I blinked my eyes and was right back at the weight where I started.
Of course this frustrated me; I had worked hard, hadn’t I? I had followed the rules, right? I was keeping my body tightly under control, wasn’t I?
Then I learned about set point, which gave me a whole new perspective on my weight.
“Set point” is the idea that when we fight against our bodies, trying to make them succumb to our wishes, our bodies don’t just sit back and passively let themselves be controlled. No, our bodies fight back. They know the weight where they are most comfortable, and they will fight to stay there.
When we lower our weight by dieting or increase it by overeating, of course our body size responds to that. But our bodies will also let us know that they aren’t happy. When I was under my set point, I was always tired and cranky, and constantly craving decadent foods. My body was pushing me to gain the weight back. When I was over my set point from eating emotionally, I continuously felt bloated and uncomfortable because my body was urging me to tune back into its signals.
It’s really difficult to maintain a weight that’s too far from our set points because our bodies keep saying, “Listen to me! I won’t let you do this! I will make you feel miserable until you pay attention to my needs!”
In the end, I had to turn inward and ask myself why I wanted to be a size “blank” so badly in the first place, when it was obvious my body was more comfortable elsewhere. I had to choose between being a size that was more “fashionable” – and yet made me feel miserable – and a size that was less model-like but a whole lot healthier for me personally.
I had to decide if my body and its set point were going to be my enemy or my ally. I chose the latter.
Do you think our bodies have a “set point”?