Fat Loss and your ole mate Leptin
Why is optimal body fat ratio so tricky for many of us to achieve? It is my belief, that we are perfectly designed to thrive and that our optimum weight & fat/body mass ratios have a way of regulating. I think we shouldn’t need to be using scales or obsessively tracking Kilojoules, based on algorithms (that take no account into our personal biology, life stressors or relationship with food). I know it’s possible to naturally balance our energy input (food) and energy output (movement, thinking, body functions), when we have the best fuel (best food) and a healthy mindset.
But many of us know, “trimming the fat” can be hard and many things stand in our way to achieving our fat loss goals. In this short article, it is my hope that you understand a little more about how our hormone Leptin can influence our hunger and fat loss efforts. My aim is to empower you with simple knowledge, so you can be kinder to yourself in your health journey.
So, we have a set hormones that tell our brains when to eat and when to stop. They are there to make sure we don’t starve or overeat. One of these hormones is Leptin.
Leptin is a hormone made primarily in our body fat cells. It is involved in the process that balances our food (energy) intake. It communicates to our brain (via Leptin receptors) when its time to reduce your hunger and cut back on the eating, because you have enough fat to keep you well. This beautiful system makes helps our bodies stay balanced.
BUT, like any body system, it can go a bit haywire. Hello Leptin Resistance! Over time, when we have an excess of body fat, our leptin levels are high continuously. That is a problem for your Leptin Receptors. When they are continuously overloaded with Leptin (lots of body fat over time = lots of Leptin hormone = I’m hungry lets eat = more body fat = more leptin = lets eat….repeat), our receptors sometimes stop being able to ‘receive’ the message well. They cant detect fluctuation in our leptin levels anymore, since its been high for a long time. Your brain doesn’t register that your body is fueled up right. So you keep eating. This is a simplified explanation of “leptin Resistance”, and one of the painful cycles of obesity.
Once you become resistant to leptin, regulating your weight becomes difficult because your body thinks you are hungry due to the fact that it can’t register your leptin anymore. Confused Leptin signals also can make you conserve your energy, leaving you feeling sluggish. This is because your brain is thinking you’re in starvation and cant afford to waste energy.
All the while you are consciously trying your best to stick to a fat loss diet. Your willpower has to battle with your biological design and hunger is one of the most powerful urges we humans have. We know that our willpower has limits and decision making fatigue is a real thing. If you are Leptin resistant this could be such torture. You may end up ‘breaking’, eating whatever you can get your hands on and maybe feel bad about yourself for “failing” your diet.
So, I think, time to stop beating yourself up about fat loss, and start understanding and appreciating your design. Trust that there is a system in place to keep your body fat ratio ‘optimal’, it’s just that, that system can be possibly malfunctioning in you.
Good news is that you can reverse leptin resistance and restore your bodies ability to regulate your hunger and satiety messages, and lead a fuller life. Start your cautious Dr Google research now, “reverse Leptin resistance” or cut through the info and meet with a nutritionist or Coach and start getting good support around your desire to reclaim your health. Leptin resistance is just one potential puzzle piece to yo yo weight loss and gain. There are many other factors at play. On which I shall write more ( when the baby isn’t teething and ruling my life!)
Be kind to yourself and keep going. Don’t give up on your journey to your best health just because you are still waiting to see 'results' like you see on paid Instagram ads! Keep going, and trust that you are designed wonderfully, and you can work with it.