Did you know that you have hunger hormones? They’re called ghrelin and leptin and they help control your appetite.
Leptin acts as a fuel gauge in your body letting your brain know how much energy is on hand and how much more may be needed. Its key role is to tell you when you’re full and decrease your appetite accordingly.
Leptin is released from your fat cells so the more fat cells you have and the larger the fat cells the more leptin is produced. Your brain responds to high levels of leptin by switching off your hunger messages. The opposite is also true so that when your leptin levels decrease your body thinks your fat stores are dropping and therefore more energy is needed and you will feel hungry again.
So you might think that the more fat cells you have the more leptin you produce and therefore the less hungry you become. However, research has revealed that if a hormone is present in high amounts for longer than it should be its message is blunted and your body stops listening. Essentially you experience hormone imbalance and become leptin resistant. If you have consistently high levels of leptin its message is weakened and your body responds as if the levels are low. The result is:
- Increased hunger
- Increased food intake
- Increase in number and size of fat cells
- Increase in leptin production
You become trapped in a vicious circle.
Signs you are leptin resistant
- Uncontrollable cravings especially for sweet foods and refined carbohydrates
- Late night eating
- Stress eating
- Weight gain around the middle
- Stubborn fat loss
The good news is that the right type of foods and the right type of exercise can impact leptin resistance. Your body will start listening to leptin’s message again and you will stop feeling hungry once you’re full.
How to beat leptin resistance
- Avoid all white starchy carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta and white rice. Stay away from potatoes too.
- Eat plenty of fruit and veg – the more colours in your diet the better as different colours give you different types and amounts of nutrients.
- Increase omega 3 intake through foods such as herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna and flax seeds
- Reduce caffeine intake – no more than two cups a day!
- Get a good night’s sleep – lack of sleep or poor quality sleep is known to impact leptin levels.
- Reduce stress and cortisol levels through restorative yoga and long leisurely walks.
Understanding your unique hormone balance is crucial to healthy weight loss for women. If you’ve tried to lose weight before and you’re still not happy with the results then maybe it’s time for a change. CLICK HERE if you’re ready to try something new.