Most people notice that they feel their best, and at their peak performance, when they are at a certain weight. For me, that "magic" number is 115 lbs to 120 lbs. I notice that if I go over this weight, I start to feel lethargic, "flabby", and less able to focus. So, does this mean that the theory we are all biologically predetermined to weight a certain amount is true?
Well, some scientific data and logical conclusions made by scientists do point to the fact that we have a genetically and biologically predetermined weight that we are supposed to carry, and this set weight depends on a number of factors, number one being good old mom and dad - AKA genetics. It has been proven by shear observation, and medical evidence that most individuals are about 65% likely to be in the same weight range as their family members are. Are there anomolies to this fact? Of course, there always are, but it's a pretty good chance that the apple will not fall far from the tree, weight wise.
Each of us has what is called a "set point" weight. In other words, it is a genetically determined weight that our body tries to maintain, whether it is by dictating the appetite we have, or the foods we tend to crave, our bodies are pretty good at regulating our eating habits and our individual metabolisms to achieve that set point. There have even been studies of children who are adopted, which have shown similar results since the adopted kid's weight was more akin to their biological parents than to their adoptive parents.
It is speculated by the scientific community that every one of us is subject to this genetically predetermined weight range, which is said to be dependent on the number of fat cells a person has by the end of their first year of life. Of course, how much we eat, the fat content of our diet, the amount of calories we take in regularly and our level of physical activity all impact how large those fat cells will get, and thus how "large" we will be, but we do pretty much start life off with this predetermined amount of fat cells.
This would mean that even the strictest dieters may have a very hard time losing weight if they are currently in their "set point" weight range, because the body will constantly combat any sort of responsive weight loss by slowing the metabolism down. What this means is the body metabolizes the food more slowly, or more quickly, depending on the set point goal, whether it needs to go up to achieve it's set point, or down.
The fact is, today there are an alarming number of cases of obesity in the United States. So much so that many Americans have gotten the dangerous "tummy reducing" surgery gastric bypass, in an effort to cheat nature, and lose the weight that nature will not allow them too. Still yet, an alarming number of those people eat there way right around the surgery and still gain the weight back.
Obesity is measured by the Body Mass Index, or BMI, which is a measurement of body fat that is based on an inidvidual's height and weight. Now, based on the concept of BMI, more than 60 percent of Americans are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese, meaning that their health may be at great risk, simply from carrying too much weight and putting stress on their organs. Generally a BMI of 19 to 25 is an indicator of what is considered a healthy weight.
When we consider this, how can the concept of a "set point" weight always be true? Would nature determine that a man or woman should be morbidly obese, or is this a perversion of a more pure form of the set point theory, that is due to the lack of nutrition education and increasingly poor diets due to a lack of availability of nutritious foods to certain parts of the population?
Well, I'm not enough of a scientist to speculate on that, but what I can tell you is that there are just too many advanced methods to lose weight and keep it off to allow for the rampant amounts of obesity that are currently prevalent today. What we must do is re-coach our bodies to get to a new "set point", and the answer to this is not gastric bypass, but nutrition guidance and education. As with everything else in this world, education and moderation is the key.
Danna Schneider is the cofounder of the dieting magazine and weight loss guide, Dieting Magazine : Weight Loss and Diet Advice , a daily online magazine devoted to helping people find the right supplements, diets and fitness routines for a lifetime of fitness and weight maintenance.