Set Point, Paleo, or Both?

I just finished watching a TED Talk given by neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt entitled “Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work”.

She explains how the body has a ‘set point’ and, like it or not, it’s a range within which our body desperately tries to keep our weight.  It can vary from ten to fifteen pounds, but according to her research, the body has a very difficult time maintaining a weight below this ‘point’.

With references to how we have evolved and how it’s quite likely that in order to survive in times of famine, she reviews this very set point would have been what allowed us to put on weight in times of feast and be able to live through times of famine.

No doubt about it, she’s done her homework and her talk is worth watching.

However, my concern is that far too many people will watch it, shrug their shoulders and surrender their attempts to try and become more healthy simply by deciding there’s just nothing they can do about the extra weight; their body wants to hover between X and X (neither of which might fall into the healthy weight category, by the way).

The reason I write this is because I’ve heard so many people say things like this over the years.

What’s the answer?

I think the correct response is that it’s a mixture of the two.

Yes, the body wants to be within a certain range, and maybe even a certain shape (remember that reference that if all the women in one’s family tend to be pear shaped, likely all the other women will be, too?).

It is my experience, however, that when one shifts what they’re eating by adopting a True Paleo regime, suddenly, their body goes through amazing changes which, more often than not, lands them in a lean physique they’d never dreamed would be possible.

This doesn’t actually contradict what Mrs. Aamodt presents in her talk; she refers to ‘diets’  not usually working, and I agree with that.   

But guess what?

Paleo isn’t a ‘diet’. It’s a healthy way to live.

Important distinction.

Watch the talk, learn some more about how the brain works… and keep Paleo!