Plateau From Hell: Battling My Body’s Set Weight Point
Bleh! I was expecting a loss this week and instead I’m up a pound. What’s really frustrating is I’ve been bouncing between 182-185 pounds for a year. One. Freaking. Year.
I recently finished reading The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. Regular readers know I love Dr. Fung’s blog and his online lectures. A review of his book is coming soon (hint, you should read it!), but right now I’m looking at shaking up my intermittent fasting tactics for one simple reason — changing my body’s set weight point.
It’s believed that our bodies have a set weight point. When a healthy person’s weight goes above or below that set weight, the body compensates — slowing or raising metabolism, increasing hunger or satiety hormones — and works to get back to that person’s set weight point.
Body Set-Weight Point and Settling Points
But what happens if you’ve been unhealthy for years? Because I was overweight for decades (and obese for 10 of those years), my insulin resistance pushed my set point upward to help my body compensate for my bad diet.
This is why Weight Watchers didn’t work for me. I’d lose weight, but always felt hungry and cold. My body didn’t want me to lose the weight. So it dropped my metabolism as I cut back on calories. If that didn’t work then my body released more hunger hormones. Eventually, I’d hit a plateau that I couldn’t get past except by cutting calories again. And my body matched that cut. Then I’d give up, eat, and regain the weight.
Once I switched to eating low carb high fat (LCHF) foods, I lost weight by eating more food (so I never felt hungry). That’s because eating LCHF foods lowered my blood sugar and insulin levels. So my body’s set point resettled lower and lower. When a plateau hit (my body’s efforts to keep me at the new settled weight point), I’d just tweak my LCHF diet. Boom, plateau gone and my body re-settled on a new set point.
While eating LCHF foods certainly improved my insulin resistance, it didn’t cure it. That’s where fasting comes in.
If you don’t eat, your body isn’t flooded with insulin, thus allowing cell receptors that were ignoring insulin to begin healing.
On most days, I do an 18 hour intermittent fast — I don’t eat after dinner until noon the next day. I also toss in the occasional 24 hour fast. But to really break my insulin resistance, I need to look at regular 24 hour to 36 hour fasting. And, given the years of insulin resistance, I’m considering a 7-day fast later this summer (but I really have to work up to that).
So after dinner tonight (Tuesday) my next meal won’t be until 36 hours later — breakfast Thursday morning.
The good news is that fasting isn’t a fad. It’s an ancient remedy used for thousands of years. While I know it my not “cure” my insulin resistance (after all, we’re talking about decades of poor eating), I’m hopeful to resettle my set weight point to something closer to 150 to 160 pounds. And it certainly would kick my butt into ketosis.
Of course this could go all out the window depending on how my IVF treatments go.