Unbalanced hormones are a major reason for weight gain and the inability to lose weight. The hormone leptin was discovered in 1994 and was believed to be the key to controlling weight. But this hasn’t happened because many people are resistant to the hormone.
What is leptin?
Sometimes referred to as the satiety hormone, leptin is a hormone produced by your fat tissues. Its main function is to send signals to your brain that regulate hunger based on the amount of fat you have stored.
When your body has a good supply of nutrients leptin levels should be higher, and it decreases when your body goes does not have enough nutrients.
In theory, if you have little fat, leptin will make you feel hungry more often, and if you have enough fat you’ll feel less hunger. Unfortunately, leptin resistance means that it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.
What is leptin resistance?
When you have a large amount of body fat, you also produce a large amount of leptin. But instead of working the way it is supposed to, your brain becomes resistant to leptin.
So even though your body has enough fat stored, your brain doesn’t receive the signal. And it can think that you are starving. This can cause you to eat more, because your brain thinks you need to. It also reduces your metabolism so you burn fewer calories at rest.
Leptin resistance isn’t reversed with dieting
There are a few reasons that dieting, especially with severe calorie restriction won’t reverse leptin resistance:
Much of the early weight lost with many diets is due to water weight, so no fat is lost
Weight loss may also be due to muscle loss which won’t affect leptin levels
Leptin seems to actually do its job when you are starving (as in a low calorie diet). Levels drop and your body responds by decreasing feelings of satiety. You may feel hungry all the time, which can lead to the yo yo dieting effect.
What causes leptin resistance
I mentioned earlier that having a large body fat percentage can lead to leptin resistance, but what actually causes leptin resistance? Here are some of the major factors:
Not enough natural light
Yo yo dieting
Eating foods that are high in sugar or processed carbohydrates, but low in nutrient density
Eating foods that are high in fat
What are the symptoms of leptin resistance?
Obesity or excess belly fat
Difficulty losing weight
Constantly feeling hungry
Cravings, especially for junk food
If you are having difficulty losing weight and are always hungry or have cravings, you might want to ask your doctor to test your leptin levels. Or book a call with me to discuss how easy it is to balance this and other hormones for optimal fat loss.
Can you improve leptin sensitivity?
There are several changes you can make to your diet to improve leptin sensitivity:
Reduce the amount of fat in your diet
Eat fewer processed carbohydrates
Lower your sugar consumption in both food and drinks
Eat more protein
Other things you can do are:
Get enough exercise. Exercise can reduce the amount of body fat so it will help to reduce your leptin levels. But be careful that you don’t overdo it. That can increase inflammation and cortisol levels which can increase leptin levels.
Improve your sleep habits so you get better sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to leptin resistance and lead to behaviors that increase leptin resistance.
Reduce your stress levels or practice stress reduction techniques.
Get professional help
I can help you reduce leptin resistance and balance other hormones by taking a holistic approach. Your personalized plan will include the right amount of food and balance to keep you feeling satisfied. And I’ll guide you through other lifestyle changes that will make a difference.
Vicki Witt | Clinical Nutritionist | Holistic Coach | Reiki Master | Certified LEAP allergy therapist Over 25 years of successfully helping you achieve optimal health and weight loss 🍏 | www.vickiwittweightloss.com
Vicki Witt is a Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Coach, and Reiki Master. She has been practicing over 25 years and specializes in holistically customizing diet and lifestyle plans to each individual for weight loss and hormonal control. Her clientele often report they feel the best they have ever felt and wish they had started sooner. One of the USA and Australia's top Nutritionists, she has won multiple awards for her services in the industry.