Do you feel body has a set point for its weight? That is you try to lose weight and then end up back in the same place? There has been much discussion lately about the “set point” theory in weight loss. Some have thought that is that your body has a set weight that it maintains regardless of your diet and exercise. Actually that is not a true and a new study shows that it’s possible to maintain large weight losses through intensive behavioral efforts, such as changing your approach to eating and exercise, regardless of whether you lost weight with bariatric surgery or through non-surgical methods. To understand set points one must look at history. The obesity rate is rising, how does that describe set points? In less than 20 years, the obesity rate in America went from less than 1 in 7 people to almost 1 in 3. Did America’s average set-point go up? A variety of arguments can be made to suggest that the average set-point of Americans is increasing. Many are getting older on average due to the aging baby boomer population, and as we age we get more fat cells. Our sedentary lifestyle may have a huge part in this. However, the real reason for our increasing weight is that our lifestyles are less physically demanding and we consume more calories, more fast food and eat on the run. The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine studied people for 5 and one-half years. What they found was behavioral modifications and lifestyle changes are critical components to long-term weight loss maintenance. They also addressed stress and emotional eating along with depression which can derail weight loss efforts. Despite all the hype, weight loss is achieved when calories in are less than calories expended. Weight gain results with the inverse- calories in are greater than calories expended. So, if you are wanting to lose weight, you can do it! Diligence and persistence is the key along with a reasonable eating and exercise program. Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist