Time to change your Set Point. Most people have never heard of their ‘Set Point’ as it relates to weight loss and gain.
Scientific research in the past several years indicates that your body has internal metabolic regulators that stabilize your weight. These regulators include several different hormones, such as insulin, leptin and cortisol, to name a few. These hormones create a Set Point for your body that works to keep your weight fairly constant. To reduce your weight and KEEP THE POUNDS OFF, you have to change that Set Point.
The good news is we have also learned that you can actually change your Set Point, although it is not easy and takes time. This is the focus of the Sensable Health program.
What is your Set Point?
Our understanding of the hormonal regulators tells us that Set Points are driven by several different things – from the genes that you are born with, to the bacteria in your gut, to the lifestyle you have become accustomed to. All of these factors influence the production, regulation and balance of a set of highly interdependent hormones that drive the fat burning, storage and release mechanisms in the body – and help us to either gain, lose or maintain weight. Over time the cumulative effects of these hormonal interactions cause our bodies to develop a ‘Set Point’. Set Point is essentially the weight (plus or minus a few pounds) your body has come to determine as your ‘normal’ weight.
Is there really a Set Point?
When you lose weight too rapidly, your metabolic rate slows down, your appetite is increased from an increase in the hormone ghrelin, and your body burns fewer calories and stores these calories as fat cells.
Thus, you actually gain more weight from eating the same foods as before. Because your metabolism slows down, it takes more exercise to maintain the same weight as you have had before. You may notice that when you lose weight too quickly, you have to increase your time and level of exercise just to keep the weight from creeping back up – and / or eat less food. Fighting against your Set Point makes it difficult for you to keep the effects of rapid weight loss over time. This is probably the reason that 80% of people who lose at least 10% of their body weight will regain it within one year. In other words, if you don’t lose weight in a manner that also lowers your body’s Set Point, any weight loss will typically be temporary and unsustainable.
We’ve already talked briefly about hormones and their role in weight regulation. Three key hormones that we will measure and have an effect on your Set Point are:
Insulin: The way your insulin works to store fat or burn fat as energy is drastically affected when you lose weight, as any excess carbohydrates are stored as fat. This will slowly drive your weight back up to the level that your Set Point has determined is right for you. Insulin is also indirectly influenced by both sleep and stress. For example, chronic, unmanaged stress as well as poor sleep can disrupt cortisol regulation – which in turn can increase blood sugar and insulin levels.
Leptin: You have probably noticed that when you lose a lot of weight, you are hungrier. This is because the body lowers a hormone, leptin, which causes you to feel full and increases a hormone (ghrelin) which makes you feel hungry and even crave sweets to satisfy this hunger. It is worth noting that lack of sleep – or poor sleep – also effects leptin and ghrelin levels, causing you to crave sugar and starchy foods.
Cortisol: Under conditions of chronic stress and/or sleep deprivation, cortisol levels go up and stay elevated causing higher sugar levels. The elevated cortisol levels not only raise insulin levels, but change its effectiveness to drive sugar into cells. This effect is called insulin resistance and is a major factor in causing weight gain.
How can Sensable Health change your Set Point?
Understanding the factors
Sensable Health starts out by better understanding the metabolic and behavioral factors related to keeping the stable Set Point. There are four life Domains that directly influence the hormones that regulate your metabolism and your Set Point.
These are Nutrition (what and how much you eat), Activity (the types, levels and duration of your exercise), Sleep (the amount of overall sleep, especially the time spent in Deep Sleep) and Stress (how much do you experience and how well do you deal with it). What is amazing is that these four Domains do not exist as independent parts of your life, but actually influence each other a great deal every day. When you are stressed, it is hard to fall asleep and stay asleep and you are tired and do not exercise. When you do not sleep, you crave sweets, and so on!!
Most people want to lose a lot of weight right away. Who wouldn’t want this result? But, your Set Point did not occur in a day, week or a month, but over years. Therefore, it takes a while to make a sustained change to your Set Point. YoYo diets will not work, and may even make the situation worse. The Sensable Health program is designed to get you on your way to making a lifetime change in your Set Point, and this will take a commitment of several months to accomplish.
Making Long Lasting Lifestyle Change
Changing the Set Point is not easy and takes commitment to working hard to create healthier behaviors in each of the 4 Domains over time. We help you to capitalize on small changes to begin influencing the internal mechanisms that regulate your Set Point…and getting your internal biology to start working FOR YOU rather than against you, in your weight loss journey. Your new behaviors should be enjoyable, and fit in with the rest of the activities of your life and family. If you do not like or struggle with these new behaviors, you will not do them for very long and you will not be able to make a sustained change in your Set Point.
In the Sensable Health program, we will work with you in each domain:
The type, quality and timing of the foods and beverages you consume each day have a significant impact on critical weight control, Set Point hormones and biological factors – including blood sugar, insulin levels and various inflammatory markers. The Sensable Health program focuses on helping you understand and get the right mix of macro and micronutrients for your individual biological and behavioral needs – helping to optimize the production, regulation and balance of hormones critical to weight loss and maintenance. It also supplies you with tools and materials for in-home meal planning and preparation, as well as helpful guides and resources for restaurant and take-out meals.
Engaging in the right amounts and intensity levels of activity for your individual needs – and at the right times of day – can help modulate cortisol levels throughout the day, reduce general stress and inflammation, and increase the production of ‘feel good’ hormones like serotonin and endorphins, helping to improve overall mood and energy levels. The Sensable Health program helps you to optimize your Activity routines, including cardio, strength, stretching and gentle movement.
Getting adequate amounts of sleep – including time in deep restful stages 3 and 4 sleep – can help increase your leptin levels (helping you to feel full and satiated when eating), and reduce your ghrelin levels (one of the hormones that increases hunger levels). Good quality sleep also helps to regulate blood sugar, improve insulin function, and reduce overall inflammation. The Sensable Health program helps you to establish an optimal sleep environment, and provides resources to help promote relaxation and deeper, more restorative sleep.
Effectively recognizing and managing your stress is vital to changing your metabolic Set Point, and maintaining sustainable weight loss. Chronic or unmanaged stress can wreak havoc with the production, regulation and balance of cortisol, negatively impact thyroid function and sex hormones, and increase overall levels of inflammation. The Sensable Health program will help you to recognize when you are feeling stress sooner – making it easier to deal with; help you develop skills to more effectively deal with everyday stress when it occurs; and help you to become more resilient.
Get started on your Sensable Health Journey today
Sensable Health will help you lose weight in a manner that will also lower and reset your Set Point – thus enabling long-term, sustained weight loss, and better health. We do this by addressing the four key lifestyle factors mentioned above, and by taking a slower and more sustainable approach to weight loss. When you lose weight in a slow but steady and sustainable manner, your body is less likely to fight back with its built-in protective set point mechanisms. In this program, it may take you longer to reach your goal weight than other programs, but you are so much more likely to maintain that goal weight once you get there – and to reap all of the health benefits associated with it! We want to help you find a way to eat, exercise, sleep and cope with stress in healthier ways that you can do forever.