Do you struggle with food cravings? Body weight issues? Yo-yo dieting?
Let’s look at Leptin – the weight loss hormone….
Just yesterday you were able to stick to three square meals, but today some animal urge inside is making you devour everything in sight. Yes, it can often feel like your appetite changes on a day-to-day basis. And really, every day can be a little different. Hunger is the result of a complex mix of hormones, physical activity, sleep deprivation, and even emotions, particularly stress. But it changes over time. There are some general trends that stand out and are noticeable to doctors and nutrition experts.
Every woman, especially those over 40, wants to find the fastest way to burn fat. So when you finally make that decision to get serious about weight loss, it is easy to become impatient as the pounds don’t come off as fast as you would like.
It is reality that many women don’t lose weight as quick as men. There is a way to jump start your natural fat burner and see more results faster than you have in the past.
The Weight Loss Hormone
Leptin is the king of hormones, the most powerful hormone in the human body. Fat cells produce leptin, a primary source for instructing metabolism, weight loss, and hormone balance. Leptin communicates directly to your brain, telling the brain how much fat is in storage. It controls appetite, energy, and metabolic rate. Leptin problems are the primary reason for food cravings, overeating, faulty metabolism, the obsession with food, and heart disease.
Leptin and weight loss for women need to be discussed together because it is impossible to maintain a healthy body weight if this hormone is not able to function correctly. When the body is working properly, leptin allows people to control their eating habits and burn off what they to easier. In effect you are able to eat normal portions without the constant hunger pains that many people experience when dieting. When Leptin resistance is involved the body quickly begins to gain weight because the brain never receives the signal the stomach is full.
When leptin resistance occurs, the body produces the hormone, usually in levels higher than normal. The body is just not able to react correctly to the signa
ls it attempts to send. Women who are experiencing this will often feel hungry even after eating a large meal. They will crave sweets and receive no lasting satisfaction from anything that is eaten.
Since this often happens in combination with a slowing metabolism, like in women over 40, weight gain can happen very quickly. If you don’t address the leptin resistance issue in your body, it will be impossible to lose weight effectively. How your body becomes leptin resistant is a good indicator of what needs to be done to correct the issue and start to lose weight.
Causes of Leptin Resistance
- Consuming foods that contain high fructose corn syrup
- Consuming high sugary foods and drinks
- Lack of sleep
- High stress levels
- Foods high in fat or refined sugar
Making Leptin Work So You Can Lose Weight
Reversing the resistance your body has to leptin is possible. And it can be done naturally. However, you will need to follow a weight loss plan as well as exercise (See weekly exercise plan in Our Cortisol article).
The goal is to make leptin work properly and help you lose weight. It includes changes such as switching to a healthy eating plan with recipes that feature a combination of inflammation-fighting foods, getting enough sleep and reducing stress. It also includes eliminating sugar and adding more protein and fiber to your diet. Once you make this change you’ll notice a remarkable change. Not only will you feel better and look better and find the pounds dropping, but you’ll also stop craving unhealthy foods.
Increase Your Resting Metabolic Rate
It’s well known that exercise burns calories. In addition, regular exercise stimulates the activity of fat-burning enzymes. The exciting news is that leptin also stimulates these enzymes, which can increase your metabolic rate even when you’re not exercising. This is important because for most people, the resting metabolic rate accounts for two-thirds of the total number of calories they burn each day.
Steps To Increasing Metabolism:
- Maximize flavor and nutrition. Choose food that give you the most flavor and nutritional value for the calories you consume. These foods are rich in one or more of the dietary elements that help your metabolism such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Foods with appetite-satisfying flavor and lots of nutrition top our list, such as blueberries, tomatoes, ginger, onions and fresh herbs.
- Benefit from Omega-3 Oils. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential to the healthy functioning of the body and brain. Omega-3s help heal inflammation as well as promoting a wide range of cellular activities, and improving or preventing depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. Plant sources of Omega-3s include: ground flax seed, walnuts, and beans — especially navy, kidney and soy. Animal sources include fish, especially oily cold-water fish such as salmon or tuna.
- Up Your Fruit and Veg Servings to 9 or 10 a Day. Find delicious ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal. Choose those fruits and vegetables with deep colors and intense flavors that reflect their high content of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, like carotenoids and flavonoids. The deepest red and blue flavonoids belong to a subgroup called anthocyanins, found in the jewel-like colors of blueberries, cherries and pomegranates.
- Skip the Artificial Sweeteners. The use of artificial flavors and sweeteners deprives you of the potent anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in herbs, spices and naturally sweet fruits. Studies show that artificial sweeteners interfere with weight loss. So steer clear of these sugar substitutes and enjoy fruit, fruit juice and fruit concentrates for their flavor and nutrition. A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA) also raised concerns about the use of artificial sweeteners.
- Enjoy Healthy Snacks and Desserts. Snacks satisfy hunger, and desserts add fun and satisfaction to a meal. Indulge, but in healthy choices only. Enjoy delicious snacks such as crunchy walnuts or almonds, and dessert treats made from fruit and yogurt. This will excite your palate while keeping you satisfied.
- Exercise is necessary as it builds muscle, burns calories, and helps to reduce stress. Not only will lowered stress levels help to balance leptin in the body it can also curb cortisol. (See article on Cortisol). By following an exercise plan that takes leptin resistance into account, will help from aggravating the problem further.
Remember, weight loss is difficult and if the body is not working as it should be maintaining that weight loss will be close to impossible. End the cycle of bad diet plans today by making the sensible decision to end your resistance, lose weight, and feel good.
Whether you are currently at a gym, in a group exercise program, working with a personal trainer, or managing your fitness routine on your own, understanding the role that hormones, appetite, and exercise play go a long way.
Our Personal Trainers have helped hundreds of people in Howard County and the surrounding areas lose weight, tone up, and become stronger. Our neighbors in Highland, Clarksville, Columbia, Burtonsville, Olney, Ashton and Silver Spring love their personalized training program. Unlike group fitness classes, each client receives a custom program. We’d love to help you too. Call us at 301-452-5547 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see for yourself. Mention this article for a free session!