Last week we explored one of the keys to losing, and keeping, weight off. This key, as I shared, is to control the amount of insulin that’s released by the pancreas.
Today I want to introduce another powerful hormone that some claim to be even more critical to weight loss than insulin. And this hormone is called leptin.
What is Leptin?
Leptin, sometimes called the “satiety hormone,” is produced by the body’s adipose (fat) cells. It’s called the satiety hormone since its main job is to tell our brain (the hypothalamus to be precise) that we have enough energy (fat) and don’t need to eat.
So, in a perfect world, an overweight person would produce a lot of leptin which would then tell the brain to not eat and to burn off some energy lest we become fat.
Enter Leptin Resistance
Unfortunately, the world hasn’t been perfect since Adam took a bite out of that apple and brought something called leptin resistance in the world. Don’t believe me? Go read Genesis. Leptin’s in there.
OK… I’m kidding. It’s not in there but I suppose you could indirectly blame Adam. I mean he brought sin into the world and sloth is a form of sin, right? OK, let me get back on track.
The reason many overweight people constantly feel the urge to eat may be due to something called leptin resistance.
Basically, when someone is leptin resistant their brains no longer “see” leptin. So, even though fat cells are producing all kinds of leptin… the brain thinks you’re starving and need to eat.
And, to make matters worse, since the brain thinks you’re starving, and may eventually run out of energy, it makes you feel lazy and sleepy in hopes of conserving energy.
So, you’re hungry and lack energy. Not exactly a good formula for managing weight! And, as it turns out, I know EXACTLY how this feels… it wasn’t so long ago that I’d want to nibble my kids fingers off late at night since I was so hungry (even though I’d eaten a full dinner a few hours earlier).
What Causes Leptin Resistance?
That’s what leptin resistance is. But what causes it? Well, as with any hormone, there isn’t just one thing that causes leptin resistance. But, research has shown the following factors may contribute to leptin resistance.
- Diet induced inflammation
- High insulin levels (notice a trend here?)
- High fructose consumption… think high fructose corn syrup which is in just about everything these days.
- Eating too many simple carbs
- High grain and lectin consumption
- Imbalance of Omega-3 & Omega-6 fats
- Lack of sleep
- High stress levels
- Too much exercise when hormones are damaged
How to Fix Leptin Resistance
So, those are some of the potential causes of leptin resistance. Obviously, then, to fix leptin resistance we need to do the opposite!
In other words, we need to control insulin production, eat less sugar and simple carbs, throw the bread away (except the Eucharist!), eat more fish oil, get 8 hours of sleep, relax more, and repair our hormones before launching into the Intentional Wellness 40-day workout plan!
But, I’d also like to share, as food for thought, the approach I’ve personally used to get my weight under control. Now, to be clear, I’m not 100% certain I struggled with full blown leptin resistance but I most definitely struggled with intense cravings and seemed to always be hungry (especially for things like salty chips and fast food)!
Again, as we’ve stated before, we’re not doctors and don’t even play them on TV… so be sure to consult with your doctor before making serious changes to your diet.
I now consume mostly good fats for breakfast in the form of grass-fed butter and organic heavy whipping cream in my coffee. I also add MCT Oil which is another good fat (more to come on MCT oil in a later article). I may even add a few egg yokes into the blender with the butter, cream, and MCT oil which may sound strange… but I promise you’ll love it if you give it a try. You do need to blend it all up for optimal results.
Now, a few times a week, I may also eat some eggs and veggies for breakfast along with my coffee… but I try to never consume simple carbs first thing in the morning.
The idea behind eating good fat, first thing in the morning, is to promote satiety and get the body burning fat straight away. Our bodies burn what we feed it.
For lunch I typically eat protein and veggies. Salads are the easiest choice. But, again, I do my very best to not consume many, if any, complex carbs like potatoes for lunch. And I have most definitely stopped eating all bread (except, of course, the Eucharist).
Lastly, for dinner my amazing wife almost always prepares a healthy dinner. As as aside, my wife has been eating clean far longer than me and I owe so much to her for slowly, and patiently, working on me until I finally saw the light!
A typical dinner for us will be protein (chicken, beef, fish, etc.), veggies (broccoli, carrots, salad, etc.), and a complex carb like sweet potatoes or, every once in a while, regular white potatoes. Oh, and we smother our veggies and sweet potatoes in grass-fed butter with a dash of sea salt! Trust me… we enjoy our food!
The key is the complex carbs. Eating complex carbs later in the day will satisfy you while also increasing the brain chemical serotonin which aids in getting better sleep.
I should also say I drink water from morning till night. In fact, besides two cups of coffee in the morning… I only drink water. Now, once Exodus is over I’ll likely enjoy a beer or glass of wine every once in awhile… but water will always be my main beverage.
So, if all of this makes your head hurt… and belly rumble since you’re hungry… I can boil the remedy to losing weight and repairing broken leptin systems down to three words – eat real food.
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!
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