If you are struggling to lose weight but finding it difficult be on the lookout for these three suspects, grehlin, leptin and cortisol. Hormones control pretty much everything in our bodies. If you’re eating right, getting enough sleep and moving but not shedding the pounds these three may be part of the issue.
Ghrelin is responsible for letting the body know when it is hungry. Truly hungry. This hormone may be contributing to your weight gain by telling your brain your body is hungry when it really isn’t. This is exacerbated by people who partake in high-calorie lifestyle choices such as processed and fast foods. The more fatty foods you eat the more ghrelin gets involved with providing false signals of hunger. The fat in your body takes on a mind of its own wanting more and more fatty foods.
Cortisol is the stress hormone. When you get stressed this hormone is released, the more stress the more hormone. The problem is it interferes with the other hormones. For example it can incite ghrelin into signaling hunger. It slows down the metabolism and tells the body to not burn fat. You see when the body is under stress it focuses all of its resources on getting out of danger. The body doesn’t know that the deadline at work is not the equivalent of a dinosaur chasing it.
Leptin is actually a good guy but can be a bit shy. It is responsible for telling the body to burn fat. The problem is the body can be become resistant to it. Here’s the twist. Obese people may actually have plenty of leptin. However the high concentration of leptin may be causing an insensitivity to it. It’s similar to being insulin resistant which results in type II diabetes. Leptin is produced in fat cells. The solution to any problem can be found in the problem itself right. But the issue comes in because dieting or losing fat can actually also lower leptin.
The key is to get these three working in harmony together. Reducing the level of cortisol is key. This can be accomplished by reducing your stress or at least your reaction to it. Regular exercise can help with this along with meditation or other ways to simply relax. Exercise will also help with regulating ghrelin as well as maintaining a nutrient-rich diet. And by diet I don’t mean crash diets. When you starve yourself you are actually throwing your body into fat-storing mode. The leptin levels will drop. Not only do you want more leptin, you want it to be sensitive and burn fat.
Here are some ways to increase the effectiveness of leptin:
- Avoid fructose from processed foods, soda, cookies, etc.
- Eliminate the whites – white rice, white bread, white flour stick with whole oats and quinoa
- No deprivation or severe calorie restriction – this makes your body think you’re in danger of starvation
- Cheat day – enough said, if you’re carb-free, this would be a day to have some carbs (please don’t go crazy though)
- Say no no to the yo yo dieting – this confuses your body and it will do nothing as a result
- Eat proteins, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables
- Cut out the sweeteners and snacks, if you’re craving something it’s better to have a small portion than none at all
- Include foods high in zinc such as lamb (yum!), spinach, beef, seafood, cocoa and mushrooms
- Conducive lifestyle – relax, destress and sleep!
- Don’t over exercise – yes! stop with the hour-long sessions on the treadmill, go for HIIT (high intensity interval training), shorter workouts that raise your heart rate and create an after burn effect
It can be a battle, but once these things are in line, your body will respond over time. Also eliminate obesogens from your environment. These are things found in your everyday items that may be increasing your fat composition such as your lotion, plastic bottles or shampoo.
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