One of the biggest challenges our clients face are set points. As health coaches, we’re very familiar with bodyfat and weight set points. However that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
There are also mental, emotional and hormonal set points in our bodies. Your internal set point system is similar to the preset radio stations in your car. Maybe you love listening to the comedy station or the top 40 hits, so you push a button to make your default settings the “latest hits” station. Our brains and emotions work the same way.
Research has demonstrated that we have a wide variety of set points in our brains, bodies, and behaviors. We even have set points for happiness and anger (Cummins, Li, Wooden, & Stokes, 2014; Headey, 2008; Ormel, Riese, & Rosmalen, 2012).
Our weight is governed by a whole series of hormonal set points. When we’re hungry, our bodies release a hormone called ghrelin, which increases appetite. When our stomachs are full, our fat cells secrete leptin, another hormone, that signals our brain that it’s time to stop eating.
The size of our stomachs creates another set point. When a person regularly overeats, their stomach stretches to accommodate the extra food. Once stretched out, it requires more food to fill, and delays the onset of the hormonal signaling system that signals satiety. There’s also stress set points.