Do you think Insulin is the most famous hormone for obesity? Yes, it is but there is another hormone that is just as dominant when it comes to your body’s ability to burn fat and tame weighty issues. Discovered in 1994, Leptin is a new discovery on the hormones. Backed by science, leptin resistance is one of the major reasons for the obesity and all weight related issues. I didn’t mention this point in my last post where I discussed the top 25 reasons why you’re not losing weight. I wanted a separate and detailed post for leptin and leptin resistance . So let’s get started.
What is Leptin? What does it do?
Like Insulin, Leptin is a hormone also known as a master hormone that controls body weight, secreted by fat adipose fat tissue, leptin controls hunger and satiety. Its main work is in the brain area known as the hypothalamus. Leptin’s job is to tell the brain that it has enough fat stored; we are full and can burn calories into fuel at a standard rate. In simple words, we can say leptin knows “how much is too much” in terms of fat stored and energy expended. You can also say leptin is the gatekeeper that lookouts fat metabolism and monitors how much energy we human beings take in.
Let’s recap for a second. What is leptin, exactly? It’s a hormone produced in the fat tissues in your body and it serves two major purposes :
A. It sends signals to your brain that you’re hungry or full,
B. It regulates your body’s energy expenditure,
What is Leptin Resistance?
Ever had trouble sticking to a diet?
Do you have out of control craving for junk foods?
Are you overweight ?
Do you feel like you want to snack, especially at night?
Above mentioned behavior patterns strongly that indicates you have some leptin issues. Like I said, Leptin is a master hormone in the body that controls hunger and feelings of satiety. It is secreted by adipose (fat) tissue, so the more overweight a person is, typically, the higher his leptin levels.
When communication breaks down between Leptin and brain, your brain doesn’t realize that it is full and it craves for food all the time especially for sugary and junk food. Even when there is a lot of fat floating around, the mind keeps craving and that’s when the fat cells become more of what it has to be and inflammation occurs and leaves us fatter than ever. This situation is known as leptin resistance.
For better explanation, let me put this way, imagine two situations
When we eat, it makes our body fat goes up and so our leptin, as a result, our mind knows when we are full and how much fat we have so we eat less and burn more. Ideal situation. And, what is happening with the majority of the population across the globe is our next situation.
Where we don’t eat, and body fat goes down due to (crash diets), leptin also goes down and as a result, our mind doesn’t receive the fullness message which makes us more starving and as an end result we eat more and burn less.
This goes for all the people who go for crash diet, miss breakfast and think they are saving calories and supporting their fat loss scheme. It’s completely useless. By doing so, you are creating more mess for yourself.
Why diets fail?
Have you ever wondered why you fail to keep your diet or any health regimes? And, even if, you somehow manage to lose weight, you gain back? Why can’t you keep it off? Why maintaining weight is a constant battle for most of us?
It is simple because you are leptin resistance. The moment body loses a significant amount of fat, leptin goes down and brain signal stops and it goes into starvation mode which makes us hungrier and motivation for workout drops. Sounds familiar?
I am sure most of the regular dieters would resonate with this situation.In initial days of workout, we have a lot of enthusiasm for working out and maintaining a proper regime but as days goes by it reduces at an increasing rate. Which is why cheat days are included in the diet plans. But people take advantage of it and eat nastiest cheat meal that leaves you sluggish and uneasy. Sounds like have been there. Am I right ? I know you are nodding.
If you want to make healthy changes once for all then you have to fix your leptin. If you have failed diets and hard time casting away those stubborn pounds, most likely it is due to your leptin levels.
I know how hard it is for you to live in unhealthy body limiting to change but see the good news is, even if you have failed to make changes in your health conditions, it was most likely because you were not informed about your leptin levels and leptin resistance. By regulating the same you can finally make changes that are lasting. It can be done with the help of the doctor and your own supervision. Yes, it’s a good time to visit a doctor.
Like I said leptin is a satiety hormone produced by fat cells, those with more fat cells will have more leptin. Eventually, which would signal the mind to eat less and burn more. It makes sense in theory, but this generally doesn’t happens especially when people have whacked out metabolism and endocrine problems.
If we closely observe, leptin production is not a problem but being resistant to it. The majority of people are overweight who face difficulty losing it where leptin unable to produce effects that help in weight loss. Leptin resistance is sensed as starvation which activates fat storage than burning it due to negative loop communication
Leptin resistance also blocks the effects of thyroid on metabolism since it stimulates the formation of reverse T3. Due to no signal, the brain is constantly getting a signal of starvation and the person is eating excess food and keeps on with it, that’s how it contributes to weight gain.
What are the symptoms of Leptin resistance?
I am sure by now you have got the hang of what leptin is and how being a leptin resistance can tarnish all your efforts in weight loss journey. Let’ s see what factors contribute to leptin resistance so that we can avoid it .
Leptin resistance is a complex matter and there are multiple reasons negatively impacting the functioning of leptin like:
- People who prefer sodas, hard drinks, basically fructose consumption (especially in forms like High Fructose Corn Syrup), all processed packaged food items have sweeteners, added preservatives
- People who have high-stress levels, busy working late nights , meeting deadlines, traveling constantly & skipping meals , Fatty liver, Fatigue, Insomnia, Allergies, Food sensitivities, Acne,
- Excessive consumption of a lot of simple carbs, the absence of protein and good fats, Carbohydrate cravings especially at night, Big appetite, long working hours, Lack of sleep no walks, High insulin levels (vicious cycle here) overeating, exercising too much, specifically with damages metabolism and hormones.
- Being overweight, Ovarian cysts, Bad temper, Mood swings, High triglycerides, High cholesterol, High blood sugar, Thyroid problems, Endometriosis
If you have any of these then you are Leptin resistance.
How to fix Leptin resistance?
If you have one or more than one symptoms of leptin resistance then congratulations, you got the real reason why all your efforts are going into vain. It’s ok there are millions of people who are suffering from leptin sensitivity and leptin resistance and still not aware of it. You are still better off. But that’s not all, we have to overcome this monster.
Thanks for reading this far, it seems you have patience and you are really concerned about your health and also for your loved ones. I really appreciate that. You have stumbled upon the right post. Read carefully as I am discussing how to restore your leptin resistance to get your appetite and energy levels back on the wheel. You have to make smart healthy lifestyle choices and it won’t look as fancy as your yo-yo diet plans but yes if you stick long enough it would be the best decision made.
- Avoid refined sugars, processed foods, canned food item, grain and replace them with slow burn energy food, nutrition-rich food, locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables it will help you avoid leptin spike that results in leptin resistance.
- Add healthy fat and protein like Coconut oil, olive oil etc. Add Omega 3 fatty acid and reduce Omega 6. Experts say, a perfect balance between the two is essential for health as it reduces the inflammation and also promotes leptin sensitivity. And we are taking excessive omega 6 through vegetable oils and other processed food items markets are flooded with. Increase intake of omega 3 fatty acid, vegetarians can add flaxseed in their diet, one of the best sources of omega 3 and non-vegetarians can eat more fish or can add omega 3 supplements to compensate.
- Limit your cardio and add resistance training in your workout. The reason being, limiting your cardio will save you from exertion and save your metabolism which is already whacked out. And resistance training, as per experts, makes it easier for the body to receive fullness and satiety signals. Before starting any kind of regime it is important to understand your body and needs. Add cheat days in your meals as it will help leptin do the job, never ever starve yourself. By doing cardio in present situation will add to the problem and you won’t even realize hitting the bottom.
- Limit your snacking habit; it’s ok as long as you are eating healthy snacks like apple or nuts. We need to stabilize leptin levels and for that sticking to a few meals a day is the thing we need to follow. By doing so, it will be easy for your brain to respond well to leptin.
- Time and again, our elders, doctors, and health experts have emphasized on having a sound sleep. Then for whom are you waiting to tell you that sleep is the most important factor for a healthy mind, body, and soul. There is no way around it; sleep gives your body nourishment it bust out stress levels which otherwise adds to leptin resistance.
In today’s day and age, we all are running a race and before reaching the finishing line we all stuck in health ailments. You have to give what it takes, nature of body is calmness and when it is constantly beaten up by the pressure of daily life chores body gives up and stress settles in. If you are in a situation, pull yourself back right away. Be calm, find what works for you and be in a calm state. Health is wealth; make your health your priority.
RELATED : 11 Steps to a Healthier You
We all think we need to buy some magic pill and poof ailments will disappear. Sorry to disappoint you but that is not going to happen in this lifetime. And it’s high time we realize that all we need is a change, this world of variety has spoiled our health to the core and there is no best time than now to make some lifestyle changes and get our life on track.
Leptin resistance diet rules
I have listed down few simple hacks for restoring leptin resistance through dietary changes. I am sorry there is nothing fancy here but they are pretty simple and doable.
- Eat high protein Breakfast – Having a protein rich breakfast will keep you fuller and prepares you for the day ahead. There is no better way to start your day than this.
- Reduce your carbs intake -Minimizing the carbs intake will stabilize the leptin as well as insulin levels that will help maintain the functioning of leptin.
- Eat three meals a day – Stick to three nutrition dense meals than eating whole day in chunks. It will give some rest to your whacked out metabolism and also help balance your hormones.
- Limit Cardio – Since, you are leptin resistance, your metabolism is already confused and by doing cardio it will put more stress on it. Instead, add resistance training that will boost your metabolism.
- Never eat after dinner – Say “No” to food after dinner and save yourself from excess belly fat.
- Don’t eat large meals – Eat nutritious than quantitative food. Eating large size meals will torch your metabolism. Having nutritious rich appropriate meal will do the job nicely.
RELATED : 4 Good Carbs to Eat for a Flat Belly
Obesity is not a result of laziness, hunger, or lack of motivation. There are biochemical forces that play a vital role and most of the times driven by changes in our environment and the food we consume.
No matter wherever you go obesity, diseases will follow that is the ultimate truth. Not because this eating pattern has made us overeaters and inactive but it changes our biology in a way that affects our behavior pattern.
I was thinking what is the one thing, if I would like to put my finger on that matters a lot when it comes to weight loss one that last. And, it was leptin, there are many other hormones that play the immense role in our body but this one is tricky and it triggers many others at the same moment.
I have done my part now it is your turn. If you are leptin resistance or have leptin issues now you know how to fix them. See maintaining health is not a rocket science, It’s just that we are little lost in this world of variety. Until we meet again take charge of your health. Always remember, “You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you”.