Finding your healthy set point weight range can be a difficult process if you’re still attached to what you think it should be vs. what it actually is.
If you’re unfamiliar with weight set point theory, essentially it’s that every individual has their own weight set point range of 10-20 pounds where there body is comfortable. It will not fight weight loss or gain within this range, and it will fight to stay in that range. It does this by revving up your appetite, slowing metabolism and decreasing desire for movement when you’ve lost weight below your set range and/or are not eating enough, and by revving your metabolism, possibly decreasing your appetite and/or increasing your desire for movement when you’re pushing above your set point and/or eating over what your body needs to maintain it’s set point.
There are various factors that can keep you below or above your set point and your set point can, and is likely to, change in different seasons of your life. source.
For me, finding my healthy set point meant finding the weight range that I maintained with zero effort or thought, no matter what I ate or how much movement I did, based on living the life that I want to live.
So, how do you know you’re where your body wants to be?
First of all, your ideal weight is very likely different from your body’s happy set point. Personally, my body is happy 20-25ish pounds over what my disordered brain thought was ideal and fought to maintain. That took a lot of getting used to, but ultimately allowing it meant I got to live my life and stop obsessing over exercise/what I was eating.
Second, you really won’t know until you get there. This can be unnerving for a lot of people, but the only way to ever find out is to allow your body to take control and get where it wants to go. This means eating freely without restriction, not forcing yourself to exercise/do exercise you don’t like, letting yourself rest, not stressing about the food you eat, doing things that bring you joy, processing your emotions, and overall practicing good self-care.
Questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering if you’re where your body wants to be:
- Do I legitimately eat whatever I feel like eating/feels good in my body/can afford to complete fullness/satisfaction?
- Do I exercise in ways that feel good/when it feels good/if it feels good?
- Do I allow myself to rest without guilt?
- Do I spend time doing things I enjoy?
- Do I worry about food/mentally restrict?
- Am I living a life that most resonates with me?
A lot of people think that people who eat whatever they want, never worry about food/exercise/etc and keep their weight stable are unicorns. They aren’t. They just haven’t dieted or don’t currently engage in dieting. I think the reason people think that it’s rare is because it is rare to have someone maintain a ‘conventionally ideal’ body and be completely free of food/weight/exercise obsession. It is a very small percentage of the population that is naturally meant to be that small, but there are plenty of people maintaining their body’s ideal range without restriction/obsession.
I’ve maintained the same range for years no matter what/how much I eat or exercise. Sometimes my weight goes up a bit, sometimes it goes down a bit. Things other than food seem to change it: my cycle, how much I’m sleeping, if I’m stressed or not, etc. Food never really has any effect on my weight anymore and it’s a really nice place to be in.
There is a weight for you where you don’t have to control/think about food, force yourself to exercise or feel obligated to engage in certain behaviors. There is a weight for you that is effortless to maintain, where you aren’t engaging in a war with your body on the daily. That weight might be higher than where you are now, it might be the same, it might even be lower. The only way to know is to let go and let your body take the reigns again.
I promise, it’s worth it.
Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or medical professional. This is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any illnesses and should not be seen as a substitute for professional help or delay you in seeking treatment. I share my experiences here in hopes of helping others, but I absolutely encourage you to seek professional help for your struggles.