The Setpoint Diet: Interview with Jonathan Bailor

Jonathan Bailor joins Nutrition Diva to talk about his new book, The Setpoint Diet.  Can you change what your body wants to weigh?

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
3-minute read
Episode #514
Author Jonathan Bailor

My guest today is Jonathan Bailor, author of a new book called The Setpoint Diet and the founder and CEO of Sane Solution. Before starting his own company,  Jonathan served as a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, where he helped create health and fitness-focused products like NikeKinect Training and Xbox Fitness.

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Here are a few of the topics we delve into in our conversation (just click on the audio player to listen):

  • What we gain (and lose!) when we focus on the quality of our food choices.
  • How can we change the weight our body "wants" to weigh?
  • How big a factor do external factors play in changing one's Setpoint?
  • How to choose foods that keep hunger at bay
  • The limits of appetite control
  • How to avoid overeating healthy foods
  • Where food and eating fits in to a balanced life
  • How to love yourself slim.

About 5 years ago, Jonathan wrote a book called The Calorie Myth, in which he argued that it’s the quality of calories that determines our weight, more so than the quantity. In The Setpoint Diet, Jonathan adds new insights into how to convert those principles into action in the real world, based on his experience with thousands of participants.

This concept of a body weight setpoint is an interesting one. It contends that the body has a certain weight that it wants to be. And if we lose weight, the body fights to return to its setpoint weight.  In The Setpoint Diet, Bailor says we can change that setpoint—that weight that our body wants to weigh—by changing our diet.

But as we discuss in our interview, that setpoint may be at least partially determined by our environmentthe way our homes and workplaces and schedules are set up and the degree to which they encourage us to overeat or be sedentary.  We can lose a bunch of weight on a short term diet. But if we don’t change, in a permanent way, the way our homes and workplaces and schedules are set up, that environment is going to exert a lot of pressure on us to revert to previous habits (and weight).

Controlling hunger is obviously a big part of managing your weight. Foods that are higher in fiber and water help make you feel fuller. And eating foods that are higher in protein and lower in sugar can keep you from getting hungry again as quickly. And it’s sometimes implied that if you stick to these naturally-filling foods, the portion control takes care of itself.  But of course, that assumes that we only eat when we are hungry.

How do we deal with the fact that the urge to eat often has very little to do with actual physiological hunger? When you’re eating to fill a hunger that has nothing to do with food, it is more than possible to overeat even when eating whole, nutrient-dense foods.

The Setpoint Diet devotes a lot of time to the emotional and psychological aspects of weight management.  My favorite part of this book is the chapter entitled "Love Yourself Slim." It is really difficult to exercise self-care and commit to a program of self-improvement when you  are swimming in a toxic soup of self-loathing.  We think we need to lose weight in order to love ourselves but in reality we need to love ourselves in order to lose weight. 

You can find Jonathan’s new book The Setpoint Diet at your local or online bookseller and you can connect with Jonathan on his website at jonathanbailor.com.

And if you’d like to hear more of our conversation on how to create healthy body, mind, and lifestyle, I’m a guest on Jonathan’s podcast this week, The SANE Show! We’d love to include you in this conversation as well. If you have comments or questions, you can post them below or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Bailor.

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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