I know so many people, despite being ready to ditch diets, are very worried about their weight.
So, today we’re going to tackle weight set range, sometimes called weight set point. I like to refer to it as a weight set range because I don’t believe it’s a fixed point, but rather a range with wiggle room.
Your weight set range is the genetically determined weight range where your body feels the most comfortable and runs most optimally.
Graphic by Alana Van Der Sluys
The key phrase here is genetically-determined. Your DNA accounts for 80% of your body composition in terms of what we try to control–your size, your shape, your weight. Diet and exercise only contribute to 20%. They’re not the end all, be all of your size, contrary to what diet companies might tell you.
And yes, sometimes there are people who have these incredible weight loss stories–losing 50, or 100 pounds and they look happy and fit. But there are some things to consider here. First, are they restricting. Are they working out super intensely every day for hours? Are they really happy? It’s one thing to smile and look happy, it’s another thing to be happy.
And at what part of their journey are they? Are we seeing them five years after they hit their goal weight? Have they maintained this long-term? Or is this a fresh-reveal when the endorphins are high and they’re on cloud 9 from finally reaching the goal.
The thing about weight loss like this is it makes you happy for maybe a few weeks, until you realize that happiness won’t last. That the weight loss wasn’t what you were looking for. So you move the target, you create a new weight goal, and so on and so forth. But now many times can you do that before you realize: no matter what weight I’m at, THAT’S not what is going to make you happy.
So, that’s really the first step to weight set range work: is realizing that it’s a range that’s largely out of your control, and even if you can beat your body into submission, it would be a life-long battle to maintain it, and it won’t actually be the thing to make you happy. You really have to divorce yourself from the idea that an ideal weight will make you happy and that the pursuit of that weight is necessary to be a worthwhile, happy human being.
A lot of clients also ask, “How do I know what I’m at my weight set range?”
There are some characteristics of weight set range.
- You are no longer restricting. You are listening to your hunger and fullness? If you are, you are probably at your weight set range. Are you still waiting for scripted times to eat? Are you still counting calories or macros? Are you still weighing yourself? If the answer is yes to any of these, you’re probably not at your weight set range.
- You feel energized. When you’re on a diet, you feel exhausted, tired, irritable, out of control of your cravings. When you’re intuitive eating, you feel energized but relaxed and more at ease.
- You are moving for pleasure. You’re not punishing yourself with exercise to change your body to a thin ideal. You’re not nauseated and ready to pass out. You’re not doing certain exercises because those are what you’re “supposed” to do.
It also is worth saying that everyone’s weight set range is different DESPITE HEIGHT AND AGE. Height and age play a hand in weight set range, but not everyone at age 35 or everyone who is 5’4″ will have the same weight set range. Genetically, we have more or less muscle mass, propensity for fat, bone density, etc.
BMI is BS…but that’s a different conversation for a different day.
It might really devastate some people whose weight set ranges are higher than others. You may grieve the thin body you were hoping for. But know that what you were searching for with that thin body is available to you now. Yes, diet culture and it’s thin privilege and fatphobia exist and that’s something you’ll have to acknowledge and contend with (again, a discussion for a different day), but happiness, life fulfillment, a family, great friends, kids, a kicka$$ job, whatever you’re looking for in your life…is available to you NOW. You just have to realize that and go for it.