It’s safe to say that so far in 2018, most of us are doing our best to eat well, exercise and live a balanced lifestyle. For some, it comes easy, but for others, not so much. Let me delve into why losing weight is more than just going on a diet.
The reality is that for a good portion of these individuals, it is really hard. For those who find that losing weight doesn’t seem to come so easy, I am here to tell you that there might be a reason why.
In order to truly understand the mechanics behind this weight loss battle, we need to get to the source: the brain. The brain determines our behaviour, our desires and our feelings around, well, everything. This includes cravings, hunger and appetite. It all begins with the brain.
It all comes down to our ‘satiety centre’. Our what? This ‘satiety centre’ is an area of the brain situated in the hypothalamus and concerned with the regulation of food intake. Leptin; a protein hormone that is produced by our fat tissue and regulates our fat storage in the body. It acts as a signal to tell the brain how much fat we are carrying, and the purpose of this is to prevent us from dying of starvation. It also signals the brain when we are full so that we know when to stop eating as well as when fat levels become too low, our brain will increase our appetite and cravings and reduce our calorie expenditure.
This hormone works wonderfully until we begin to carry excess fat.
Too much fat means that proper leptin signalling is disrupted and our ‘satiety centre’ isn’t being hit. It doesn’t mean we are no longer making leptin, it means our brain can’t see or feel this hormone anymore. Our brain thinks it is starving but our body is obese. Some say that obesity is actually brain starvation. This is also commonly known as leptin resistance.
If you are struggling to lose weight and can relate to what you’ve read so far, you might just have some leptin resistance. However, don’t fear. Below are some ways you increase leptin sensitivity and help get that hormone firing correctly again. Do keep in mind, losing weight is more than just going on a diet, it is a change of lifestyle, and mindset.
Here are 10 tips to help improve leptin sensitivity
- Increase your protein intake. This has been shown to be the most effective way to improve leptin sensitivity.
- More substantial meals, less snacking. Try spacing your meals at least 4 hours apart.
- Eliminate gluten from your diet.
- Consume more fresh whole foods, and less refined, packaged and processed foods. These are high in trans and saturated fats, chemicals and hormone disruptors as well as excess sugar we don’t need.
- Increase foods high in omega 3 & 6 to reduce inflammation. Walnuts, chia seeds, olive oil, hemp oil and seeds, oily fish (if you consume).
- Incorporate exercise a minimum of 3 times per week.
- Ensure you are getting adequate sleep.
- Manage your stress levels.
- Cold water therapy
- Consider booking in to see an naturopath or integrative doctor to assess any other hormonal imbalances that may be impeding your ability to lose weight.