Updated: Jan 17, 2019

“The metabolic set point theory of homeostasis” is a complicated, medical way of saying that your body:

• Has a natural tendency to be a specific weight

• Will adjust your internal bodily processes in order to stay at that specific weight, such as speeding up or slowing down metabolism.

This is an important thing to recognize, because even though people will tell you otherwise, your weight is largely out of your control.

Read the sections below for everything you need to know about understanding (and changing) your set point.

• Your body “wants” to be a certain weight and will “work” to stay at that weight.

• Historically, we have been thinner because our lifestyles were more physically demanding and we consumed fewer calories.

To better understand whether it’s possible to change our setpoint, first consider the degree to which obesity has become our leading cause of chronic illness, as well as a leading chronic disease in its own right.

A variety of arguments can be made to suggest that the average set-point of Australians is increasing.

What happened?

Did Australia’s average set-point go up?

• We are getting older on average due to the aging baby boomer population, and as we age we get more fat cells

• Our sedentary lifestyle and worsening diets are making our set-points go up While there is an element of truth to each of these arguments, neither is correct.

The real answer is…

Australia's increasing weight is our “real” set-point. Historically we have been thinner because our lifestyles were more physically demanding and we consumed fewer calories.

In other words, we are genetically hard-wired to be obese in the presence of a high-energy (high fat) and sedentary lifestyle. In addition, as our bodies “give in” to our genetic predispositions, it is likely that our brains become less receptive to the “stop eating” hormones that our fat cells secrete.


You cannot change your body's set point unless you suffer from obesity.

Some bariatric procedures fundamentally change the way your body functions, which changes your set point.

If genetics drive our weight level, is the desire to achieve sustained weight loss hopeless?

It depends on your current weight and your goals. Despite the healthiest diet and the most active lifestyle, some body types are just “thicker” by nature.

On the other hand, obesity (body mass index of 30 or above) is a serious problem that should be addressed. Which category describes your situation best?

1. Normal to thicker body type (body mass index from 18.5 to 29.9)

2. Obese (body mass index of 30 or above)

1. Normal to Thicker Body Type.

If you have a thicker body type and feel unattractive when comparing yourself to what you see on tv, it’s time to change your self image.

Learn to accept your body type. Realize that you are beautiful just the way you are, and understand that there are many people who find “heavier-set” people much more attractive.

While TV and magazines can lead us to believe that skinny equals sexy, there are plenty of people who view those models and celebrities as way too skinny.

Fortunately, the ideal body weight in the eyes of the media and therefore the public in general is slowly shifting back to a more natural, normal, healthy level.

Here are a few examples of how the trends are swinging in the right direction…

• As published on, in a recent Prada fashion show “all the models were clad in classic 60s feminine shapes— A-line dresses, princess coats, and dresses with ruffles on the bodice or inverted darts at the bustline that amplified the chest, though in the least revealing way. In these clothes, the voluptuous models especially seemed to represent the type of beauty that was revered back in 1950s and ’60s.”

Vogue Italia launched “Vogue Curvy”, a new line of clothing specifically dedicated to more shapely women.