Why you might be better off quitting your diet even if you are fat

“I have tried every diet and nothing works. I tried losing weight in the past only to gain it ALL back and then some. I just can’t keep the weight off, no matter how hard I try.” 

If this sounds like you, here is a question:

Have you ever considered that maybe you are asking your body to do something it can’t do? 

The truth is, the reason most diets don’t work and might even be making you fatter, is not because we don’t have enough willpower, but because our bodies are fighting us to stay the weight we are designed to be. It’s called your body weight setpoint. Some call it the settling point because it’s not actually one number but a range. This weight can vary between 10-20 pounds but in general it’s the weight your body naturally arrives at when you are not doing anything abnormal externally to shift it one direction or another. 

It's the weight you are when you eat normally, and have normal activity levels. 

I’m not talking about the weight you are when you are running 70 miles a week, or when you are going “all in” at crossfit.  I am definitely not talking about the weight you are when you are meticulously tracking 1200 calories per day of food, or eating [insert diet fad here]. 

Now, if you are a glutton for punishment or just extremely competitive and like the extra activity, great, but get ready to actually eat more because your body will need the fuel to recover. Going on a restrictive diet and training intensely week after week is a recipe for disaster and hormonal distress. 

On the flipside, your settling point is also not the weight you are when you are binge eating, drinking way too much, overworked, sleep deprived and sitting on the couch (or at your desk) all day every day. 

Your healthy settling point weight is when you are eating when you are hungry, stopping when you are full, drinking alcohol in moderation (no more than 1-2 drinks per day) doing activity that feels natural to your body and taking time to relax and recover. 

Here’s the deal, your body has no clue that you want a six pack, and most of us won’t really have a six pack naturally, because it’s simply not a natural thing. Most people who have a 6 packs are genetically predisposed to low body fat levels or they are living extremely restrictive lifestyles. 

Basically they are lucky or miserable. 

You might be thinking, well if I can’t have a six pack, then are you saying just to stop trying? 

Well, yes and no. 

What I am saying to you is that if you are continuously trying to attain something that has never happened before in your life, it will be extremely hard--not impossible--but extremely difficult. Chances are, even if you are in the 1.5% of the population that does get incredibly lean enough to see your six pack, you will not be able to sustain it for long unless you make dramatic long lasting lifestyle changes. Our bodies are simply not designed to be that lean. We were designed to store food (which is why it’s much easier to gain weight for most of us than lose it) so that when food was scarce we had enough energy to fuel us until our next meal. 

Why? 

According to researchers, our bodies are believed to have a settling point where it is most happy. The set point theory states that your body works like a thermostat settling at the weight where your body is able to function at its best. 

Can this set point be changed?

In theory, yes. In fact, researchers have noted that part of our obesity epidemic has to do with environmental factors of having an overabundance of food and our lifestyle habits are contributing to higher body weight set points. However, changing to a lower set point (which is what most people would want) is difficult, especially if you are already pretty close to a healthy, normal range or you have been overweight or obese for a very long time. It’s the reason why people have such a hard time “losing that last 10-20 pounds” Chances are losing 10-20 pounds and keeping it off might not be in the cards for you. 

In fact, 80-95% of people who lose weight, gain it back gradually and sometimes end up gaining more weight “settling” their bodies at a “new normal”. 

So then what if your BMI says your are obese, and you need to lose weight for health reasons? 

Well, first and foremost, let’s talk about BMI. I'm sure you have figured out by now that your BMI is not a great indicator of whether you are healthy or not. In fact, some of us have never in our entire lives been a “normal” BMI. That is in part due to genetic predispositions, race and gender differences. But most importantly it has a lot to do with the BMI calculation not being a great indicator to begin with. When the BMI calculation was created it was heavily based on your height and weight which presented problems for shorter people, people of other ethnicities and gender differences to name a few.  

Then if BMI is not a good indicator, how do we know if we need to buckle down, change our lifestyle habits and lose some weight?  

The better question might be, is my weight affecting my health? The way to find this out would be to do a simple waist measurement. If you are above 40” for men or above 37” for women, then you may want to consider some lifestyle changes to bring your weight down to a place where you significantly reduce your chance of disease and illness. 

Your waist is a much better indicator of your health because adipose tissue in the abdominal area in particular is a greater indicator of health risk. 

Here is a great video that explains more about BMI and exactly how to do this waist measurement to avoid errors: 

https://youtu.be/PuwS7uL2s3I 

If you are lucky enough to be at or under those waist measurements you know that (unless your doctor has diagnosed you with something) you are not in any health risk even if your BMI says you are overweight or obese. However, you might still want a flatter stomach or more defined arms, etc. 

At this point, I hope I have at least made an argument as to why diets may not be the answer and if your waist is at a healthy place you are better off ditching diets and crazy workout routines and going back to normal eating and activity levels and using tools like body contouring to naturally shape the areas of your body that are genetically fatter or just stubborn. 

Body contouring is a godsend to humans everywhere who have been cycling on and off of diets for years. For those of you who were gym-aholics and kept your weight in check that way but no longer have the time or energy to do the 2 hour workouts anymore. 

If your waist is above 40” (or 37” for women), you may still want to consider a body contouring lifestyle along with some healthier eating habits to reach your goals and keep you motivated. 

Your turn!

What lifestyle changes did you make long term that helped you reach your body goals?

Looking to reduce stubborn fat that just won’t budge even with a healthy lifestyle? At Cryohub, we specialize in body sculpting so you can hit your goals without restrictive dieting. Reach out to us to book your free phone consultation.

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