Set Point/Weight Loss

(Marianne) #1

I’ve been carnivore/zero carb since February. I have lost weight since then, but very moderately, and have ten more pounds to lose, ideally. I can tell from my clothes that my weight has been pretty stable for a while. Just wondering if our bodies reach a set point where it wants to be, regardless of where we might want to be, and stops losing. I am happy with where I’m at, however, I still have some extra fat distribution that I’d like to get rid of. I haven’t changed anything and am hoping this stall is temporary. I don’t weigh or sweat it too much, however, I am hoping to get to goal weight some time.

(Robin) #2

Hey friend, we are at the same point. I’ve decided my body needs to stop and maintain for a while, sometimes weeks even months. Then slowly, the scale starts moving again. I have 10 more pounds to go too, in theory. I’m thrilled with where I am but I am supposed to be in the 150s. I don’t care if I reach it, although I am pretty sure I will. Veeeeery sloooowly. In the meantime, my body shape is still changing and my pants are getting baggier. If you’re like me (and a lot of women), we are left with the extra “pooch” below our belly buttons. My mom, bless her heart, was so skinny she was almost skeletal. But she had her pooch. So I’m not gonna sweat it. We’re both sailing on smooth seas with a cool breeze! We got this!

(Old Baconian) #3

I have seen the notion of a set point ridiculed, but it certainly seems valid to me. How one goes about changing that set point, however, is a mystery.


Set points are make believe, what’s real is our metabolic rate. Where that decides to be is a direct result of our actions. I had mine at around 1700 (terrible) and at last measurement was a little over 3400 because of my actions to fix it. At some point you have to scrap the idea of fat loss (very hard to do when you’re not where you want to be, I know) and shift to metabolic repair.

(Butter Withaspoon) #5

I first learned about the set point idea in physiology classes. I’d been struggling with weight and dieting for less than 5 years at that point so I decided, what the heck, I’ll eat to satiety what I feel like eating with no counting of anything or controlling my diet in any way.
I promptly lost a bit of weight and stayed at the same number for a few decades, measuring rarely because I didn’t have a scale.

Eventually I reached point of overloading my processed carb threshold and realised it was time to give up sweet things.

Set point is a thing, but how to use it reliably after years of metabolic disfunction is not clear at all. Eating to hunger and stopping when full was the norm for 1000s of years after all

(Bob M) #6

You’re saying that it takes 3,400 calories a day for you to survive without any exercise? More specifically, could you detail the test you had and what it was measuring? What is the known error in the test? What can affect the test? Has the test itself been verified in any way?


My body liked 69kg but it doesn’t anymore. I don’t really believe in set point and definitely not for myself. My body can’t help but lose fat if I eat little enough, I just don’t eat little enough. 69 kg was the weight where I automatically ate at maintenance for years (or higher but my body doesn’t care about it, I never could gain weight at a noticeable pace except a mystery stress gain last year. 1-2lbs per year was the result of massive overeating on HCHF all the time. that’s cool, what isn’t cool that fat-loss is nearly impossible for me even when I try my best. my best isn’t good enough, that’s why, my body is healthy enough).
Sorry, I got carried away. So, it is always calories for me and it’;s even more so for my SO. It’s more complicated for others and I can imagine there is a weight where the body prefers to be and it takes more effort to lose fat then (in some extreme cases it becomes impossible without messing up metabolism even more as far as I know)… The body may have some problematic substance or things to do… I am pretty sure “set weight”, if exists, isn’t as common as people think. Just like gaining fat from thin air isn’t nearly as common as people think, I’ve read that from zillion people in my life and they weren’t totally joking while it’s plain impossible…
My “set weight” was due to the fact that when I ate as little as comfortably could longer term, I ate my maintenance calories or more so my bodyweight had no reason to change at all.
If I managed to eat less longer term, I always started to lose fat and it continued until I ate little for me. I still was 79kg (with some tiny fluctuation in my overeating periods) for quite a few years. And I am 75kg since last November, I don’t even fully understand as I have so many cute carni-ish days - and too many other but it’s not like I seriously overeat like in the past. I suspect my body changed. Bummer. (Or I eat more I think on my non-tracking days. I am horrible at guessing my energy intake.)
It had to as I ate WAY more carbs and wasn’t on keto when I lost smoothly from this weight (until I reached 69kg and my maintenance calories at the same time).

My SO has no set point (just a HCHF woe he’s thriving on). He eats less, he starts to lose and smoothly slims down. He eats more or exercise less, he starts to gain. (He could be a simple CICO mascot with his bodily behavior, seriously. Starving is super effective too, without gaining back much fat ever, how many people is like that?) His normal weight is the one where he can maintain with a decent amount of exercise (hours of running a few times a week is a minimum) and only a few hours hunger a day, it’s pretty easy for him (I wouldn’t do that. I must be satiated about all the time. maybe that’s why I am fat and never him).

So we don’t have set weights, it seems. And I am at least sure many people who think they have don’t have it either. Just like people who say calories aren’t important on keto because they lose fat just eating to satiation usually automatically eat little enough… I surely never lost fat just because I did keto (but ate and exercised as much as on low-carb). But easily and immediately when I ate more carbs and less calories than my lower maintenance limit at the time.
But I accept it’s not this easy for everyone.

(Allie) #8

Some say it exists but that it can be changed too. I know for me I hover around 125lbs if I get lazy and slack with what I eat, let go of the IF and have carbs at weekends - but when I tighten things up again I’ll easily drop down to 120 or even lower if I keep focused on it, but I’m so over focusing on the scale that this hasn’t happened for a long time.

(Marianne) #9

Right on, Robin. Sounds like we are walking the same path. It’s all good. I think my mild anxiety about losing these last few pounds comes from years of “dieting.” I’m not perfect, but probably 95% of that thinking has fallen by the wayside, thankfully. That in itself is a huge NSV.

(Marianne) #10

How is this measured and how did you fix it?

(Marianne) #11

How did you know that’s where it was?!!! :joy::rofl::innocent:


yes your body will ‘set point’ based on your thermodynamics and more but key being…on plan gets one ‘past that’ but not on your personal timeline…so the ‘I want to hit goal soon’ means to ‘diet’ and not just do carnivore as intended.

If you are ‘that close’ truly why not just eat to still get what you achieved thru just a slower time frame and after all…you are staying carnivore right?

cause if you dump back into ‘some keto’ or keep it very low you will gain back, but then again it could suit you for future lifestyle eating…so you got some SOs? in there LOL

I will not and ever base my future life on a number on the scale or a tiny pooch of my gut or my darn fatter arms with some hanging meat on them that wiggle or my few wrinkles in the thighs thru losing lbs or anything else. I can’t achieve perfect, only photoshop will do that for a human being LOL But I feel at some point I had to get past ‘the dieting’ and just friggin’ live a healthy eating lifestyle ya know…not saying this is you at this time at all, but that is how I progressed ‘past the diet’ and into a lifestyle. Took time for me but that is me :wink:

(Marianne) #13

Yup; carnivore. I find it just suits me. Everything is delicious and I don’t feel like I am missing anything… Please don’t get me wrong, I am very satisfied with my body, how I’m eating and where I am at - and with however long it takes. I don’t weigh myself or obsess about food or my weight. I feel great nakey or in my clothes.

(Robin) #14

I’m suggesting WE don’t go about changing the set point. Time and our own bodies determine that, with no changes in our diet or exercise.

(Greg Smith) #15

Just curious if you track your calories and have you adjusted your daily target for weight loss as you lost weight? When I was 250 I set my target calories per day around 1850 following a typical Keto macro ratio.

Started Sept . 2020 and I got to about 205 in Jan. I definitely stalled for months at 205 through April. I actually slacked a bit over the summer and gained back about 12-15 lbs not counting my calories as much and allowing my self weekends of alcohol beverages which was killing my calorie targets.

I started my keto again 8/29/21 (at 219) set my calorie target at 1,521 for max weight loss. As of today I’m at 209.5. I recognized that I should have lowered my calorie target from 1850 down some back in Feb. (or added exercise daily) I am also not very active so diet is my main weight loss control (but I have recently added 25 min walks too)

Weight loss is calories in < calories needed. Your bodies calorie needs is dependent on age, weight, activity level.

Just my thoughts, good luck getting past the plateau….I’m targeting 190 as my final goal.

(Bob M) #16

How does your body not figure out you’re eating fewer calories and therefore reduce your resting energy expenditure?

I’ll let Gary Taubes explain it:

(Old Baconian) #17

You don’t find that your metabolism slows to match the amount of calories you consume? Many people on these forums have reported that their fat loss didn’t really begin until they started eating more, not less. As long as they avoided carbohydrate, their insulin level was low enough to allow excess accumulated fat to be shed and metabolised.


Because it’s not very flawed and it won’t start things which should be used in starvation when there is a modest energy deficit? I know some people get metabolism slowing instead of fat-loss when eating a bit below their need and I feel very very sorry for them. They not only can’t lose fat normally, they live using less energy than ideal so their body must work unwell to some extent. Our body isn’t wasteful (okay, sometimes it is. mine does that when I eat too much so it could do its fav thing, maintaining. it’s extremely good at that, of course it can’t do it when I eat little but that’s what its urges are for), it uses the big energy need well, for good things we should have at that level. We can survive on less but it’s not so good. As far as I know but it’s totally logical to me. It doesn’t make sense to waste precious energy when the body works perfectly fine with less. It’s not so perfectly fine then.

But whatever is the case, many of us clearly experience no fat-loss when eating at maintenance levels (we maintain there… what else would we do, waste precious fat reserves without a need? I don’t get how people do that but fine, they may do that. MY body loves maintaining and only wastes energy if I overeat, it seems) while eating less than our energy need (no matter if we know how much that is. some people lose fat skipping a meal or eating as little as they can, neither are good for everyone but works great for some. but many people figure out their need from their fat-loss while others can’t do that as they don’t lose fat according to the calories. but many people do) results in long steady fat-loss, no matter the carb intake.

Each to their own.

I still don’t like enforcing the small guesswork calorie limit that so many people do but if that works for them… On keto, I usually advise people, especially heavier ones just to do it in a more relaxed way, it easily can help without stressing about calories (that is good not to do in the very beginning anyway… unless maybe if quick fat-loss is a must but that’s an extreme case).
My case is simpler, I can’t control my calories much - only through very very good food choices. And those have other benefits as well :slight_smile:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #19

Thanks for this link, Bob. It’s a great article! I think the forum should have a ‘required reading’ list or at least a strongly recommend reading list. This article belongs on it, whether required or recommended.

(Marianne) #20

I’ve never tracked calories on keto. In the beginning, I was so terrified that this was going to be another program to lose weight that wasn’t going to work, I just followed what people here said and what I read on For a couple of months, I tracked fat, protein and carb macros and ate to satiety, and that worked. I lost all my cravings for carbage, loved what I did eat, and lost 75 lbs. Yes, I’d like to lose another ten, however, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing (2.5 years), and I know it will come off at some point in time. For me, I don’t ever want to return to weighing myself, calorie counting or calorie restriction. I am glad you have found what works for you. It’s an individual journey that morphs and changes along the way. Best!