How Dieters Starve Their Brains, Reducing Weight Loss
What You Need to Know About Leptin and Brain Function
Leptin is the fat burning hormone in your body. However, processed foods and obesity cause leptin resistance. Leptin resistance means that your body may be producing large amounts of leptin, but it's not able to burn fat in your cells because what you eat is causing resistance to leptin's fat burning powers. Contrary to fads and popular trends, extreme weight loss programs do not promote leptin production. They cause a drop in leptin production, because your body goes into a full survival mode to keep as much fat as possible. Additionally, fad diets usually cause brain starvation, and when the brain is not optimized with the nutrients it needs, brain signals to release hormones like leptin are severely compromised.
Here's the Important Part
The more overweight you are, the more your brain doesn't recognize high leptin levels in your body because your brain isn't getting the things it needs, triggering your body to store fat instead of burning it, causing leptin resistance. Leptin resistance is very much like insulin resistance in diabetics. In fact, the two in combination will create an unwanted cycle of difficulty losing weight and a greater likelihood of Type 2 diabetes, if you aren't already diabetic. Again—and this is very important—the problem is not because there isn't enough leptin production in the body. It's because of brain starvation which signals the body to keep eating because it's still not getting the nutrients it needs. In fact, the more fat the body stores, the more leptin it produces, but the brain doesn't recognize it, because, remember, the brain says it's starving despite the weight gain. The key, then, is to feed the starving brain that is creating hunger pangs and cravings.
Leptin Resistance and Insulin Resistance
One of the keys to reducing leptin resistance in order to restore fat burning is to reduce insulin resistance, according to 1experts. The more insulin resistance you have, the more prone to diabetes you are, and the more prone to leptin resistance you are, the more prone you are to storing fat.
Diets high in fast burning 2high glycemic index carbohydrates and sugars from processed foods cause leptin resistance and 3elevated triglycerides which can ultimately lead to the onset of Type 2 diabetes. However, incorporating more plant-based food choices—including a small to moderate amount of sugary fruits—result in lower leptin and insulin resistance, allowing better assimilation of nutrients and better fat burning. Additionally, brain fog, energy levels, and blood sugar levels stabilize to help optimize brain and body function. Most fad diets only focus on one or two aspects of whole body health which can trick the body into a false crisis to stimulate weight loss. In so doing, needed nutrients are not supplied to the brain to balance brain chemistry and hormone balance, leading to brain starvation. Hence, the reason why most all 4fad diets fail.
Allow Yourself a Cheat Meal Every Week
This is actually quite important. If you're used to eating a certain way and now you're making many more healthy choices, you're going to miss all the foods your body is used to. You're going to have lots of cravings for several months. But don't despair, there is a practical and fulfilling way of satisfying cravings and not falling off the wagon so that you can reap the benefits of those better choices.
By giving yourself permission once a week to have a cheat meal, you are able to keep focused on your overall goals, and still allow your body to have what it craves. But remember, it's not a cheat day, it's a cheat meal.
Calorie confusion is eating fewer calories on certain days, and eating more calories on others. This concept is commonly used among athletes and bodybuilders, but it has validity in this case as well. By giving yourself a cheat meal, and assuming that meal is going to be higher in processed foods and fats than normal, you confuse your body temporarily by satisfying cravings, which give your body and brain a break. As you return to your better eating habits, your cravings are temporarily gone. And as cravings build again, you can look forward to your cheat meal knowing those cravings will be satisfied again. This psychological approach becomes a powerful tool for your ongoing success.
In Summary: How to Stimulate Leptin Production
1. Eliminate as many processed foods and sugars as you can. Eat only "one ingredient" foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts, healthy plant-based oils, etc.
2. Increase your water intake to keep hydrated. Lots of water helps flush out toxins and keep things moving. A sluggish body is an unhealthy body.
3. Eat more fiber-rich foods like bran, beans, whole grains, berries, green foods, and nuts.
4. Get more sleep. Your body makes all kinds of repairs and corrections while you sleep, including balancing hormones like leptin.
5. Increase your heart rate for at least 30 minutes a day doing some kind of fun, healthy activity. Increasing circulation improves brain function, circulation, and optimizes digestion and helps regulate hormone balances, like leptin.
6. Allow yourself to have a "cheat meal" one day a week so that your body won't feel deprived of what it loves. Cheat meals greatly reduce cravings for foods you miss, help you feel satisfied, and guard against extreme dietary changes that usually lead to going back to the way you always ate. In time, your cravings will continue to reduce until they eventually subside for much, much longer periods.
© 2013 Daniel Carter