FOOD CRAVINGS out of CONTROL?
It could very likely be because your hunger hormones are not in Harmony!
If there was ever a statistic that would be a diet buzz-kill, it is this one:
Most people (95%) who go on a diet and lose weight end up regaining that weight (and more) within a year.
Nothing like raining on your diet parade, right?
When it comes to weight loss, we’ve seen MANY people eat super healthy, and still complain they can’t lose weight or feel powerless to their sugar, sweet, salt cravings…especially late at night!
If THESE 3 HORMONES are not addressed or in check, weight loss is impossible!
Time to point the finger somewhere else…Blame it on your ‘MUM’.
Nope, we’re not talking in an English accent…we’re referring to a:
Messed Up Metabolism
We’ve all seen it (or may have experienced it ourselves) – low calorie diets seem to work at first, then suddenly backfire. Repeated attempts at dieting, commonly known as “yo-yo dieting” makes matters works. You may have heard that it “messes up your metabolism”, but what does that even mean?
Well, metabolism is a complicated process, but is – in a big way – influenced by two very important hormones – Leptin and Gherlin.
When Leptin and Ghrelin levels are not optimal, your metabolism is, well, “messed up”.
Primitive Protectors – Hunger Hormones have your back
Have you ever wished you could hire someone to follow you around and tell you when to eat, exactly how much, and then slap the fork out of your hand once you’ve had enough?
Well, in a sense, that is exactly what Leptin and Ghrelin are in place to do.
Leptin and ghrelin work together in the body with their primary goal being to keep us from starving to death.
- When energy stores are low, Ghrelin signals your brain to tell you to eat (which you feel as hunger), while at the same time signals your body to slow down the rate at which it burns energy (in case you can’t find food, you need to conserve) Once you eat, your Ghrelin levels drop back down.
- Leptin, on the other hand, tells the brain that you are full or satisfied, so you stop eating when energy stores are high. Leptin also revs up your metabolism due to the abundance of energy to burn.
When these hormones are out of balance, your ability to lose weight can seem nearly impossible.
This image illustrates it pretty well. This way of eating is common (not to be confused with NORMAL, which is eating REAL food made by nature for humans) and is not going anywhere, unless YOU do. The hormone that makes you feel 0% fuller is none other than: LEPTIN!
For full infographic, CLICK HERE
Where did it all go wrong?
For our ancient ancestors, these hunger and metabolism regulating hormones were true lifesavers. We can see the perfect synergy at work in babies as they innately know that they need to eat, and when they are done. However, as that baby grows up, the hunger hormones seem to go haywire (at least in some of us)
Leptin and Ghrelin Imbalance result from:
- Consumption of processed Foods
- Artificial sweeteners or diet drinks (which ironically cue the brain to eat MORE)
- Eating for reasons other than hunger (boredom. Social activity, stress)
- Lack of sleep
- Prolonged Low Calorie and/or Low Carb diets
- Hyper-palatable foods
- Environmental Toxins
- Stress and over-exercise
- Blood Sugar Dysregulation
As you can see, our modern fast paced, sedentary lifestyles have lead to the ultimate failure of this delicate signaling system.
The good news is that you can master your metabolism by adopting a diet and lifestyle that more closely resembles your ancient ancestors. -Move more, eat real food, sleep under the moon and rise with the sun.
I’ll share my top hunger hormone hacks at the end of this post, but first let’s take a closer look at Ghrelin and Leptin
- Ghrelin is responsible for making us hungry. (I like to say ‘Grehlin’ is G for GRUB, while ‘Leptin’ is L for LEAVE IT )
- Levels are highest before you eat.
- Higher ghrelin = more hunger
- Levels dip after a meal and stay depressed for about 3 hours
- Low Ghrelin = less hunger and cravings
- High ghrelin = higher fat – especially in the midsection. This belly fat increases risk of insulin resistance and fatty liver which lead to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and all kinds of health problemsl
Let’s keep your GRUBBY fingers…I mean, Ghrelin under control!! (I tell you how later)
But first, let’s learn about Leptin.
- Leptin is the satiety hormone – your body’s natural appetite suppressor. (REMEMBER: L for LEAVE IT)
- Made in the fat tissue
- Communicates with the brain to regulate energy intake and expenditure
- Higher Leptin = less cravings, faster metabolism, and an easier time sticking to your diet
- More fat cells = higher leptin levels
- As you lose fat, leptin levels decrease
The Rise and Fall of Leptin
Well first, you need to remember that Leptin’s concern, first and foremost is your survival.
- When you have lots of energy stores (i.e. fat cells), you have higher leptin levels.
- As you lose fat, your leptin supply will also decrease.
Hey, no fair!
I know it seems like cruel diet sabotage, but leptin’s job is to keep you alive, so when it sees energy stores going down, it backs off, so you can conserve energy and survive for a longer period of time.
This also explains why low calorie (and extremely low carb) diets don’t work so well in the long term for fat loss.
If you restrict your calories each day, you leptin will plummet.
In fact, your leptin levels can fall 30-50% in a week. This is bad because as your leptin levels fall, your appetite goes through the roof (to prevent you from starving to death).
Diet Fails not for lack of willpower, but for lack of Leptin
Resistance is Futile
If leptin is produced in the fat cells, and more fat cells mean more leptin, then wouldn’t obese people have great metabolisms and small appetites? In theory, that would be true, however, there is something called Leptin Resistance that throws a wrench into the picture.
When cell receptors get overloaded with leptin, that they grow tired and stop receiving the messages. So leptin’s power of reducing appetite and boosting metabolism are rendered useless.
7 Tricks to Hack your Hunger Hormones
- Don’t condemn carbs
If I had a dollar for every person that tells me that they are “eating healthy” and them adds that they don’t eat carbs, I’d be rich. Somewhere along the line we wised up and stopped condemning dietary fat – which is awesome, but we simply shifted out macronutrient bigotry to hate carbs.
I’m not advocating stuffing your face will piles of pasta, bread, and doughnuts, however, please be clear: Demonizing carbs is not a long-term fat loss solution.
If you follow a daily calorie-restricted low carb diet, your metabolic rate will slow down and you’ll end up bingeing.
Carbs are the only macronutrient that can boost leptin levels. So to make a long story short, carbs are crucial for energy, satiety and a robust metabolism and all 3 of these things are crucial for achieving and maintaining a lean physique 365 days a year.
- Avoid Toxic Food Additives
*MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a popular food additive that makes your appetite spiral out of control. Your body loses its ability to tell that it’s full because MSG suppresses leptin. You end up eating more than you normally would and get hungrier sooner. MSG is in ALL fast food and most processed food, even the healthy ones at Whole Food (yes, I went there – not everything at Whole Foods is healthy!)
*Artificial Sweeteners stimulate ghrelin and suppress leptin. Turns out, diet soda, low calorie snacks (ahem – chemical $hit storm) and those artificial sweeteners in protein shakes, bars and just about everything else on the grocery store shelf items aren’t doing us any favors in the weight loss department! Look for acesulfame potassion, sucralose and ‘artificial flavors’ on the label and PASS if they contain any.
- Ease up on the FRUIT
I know, I’m going to be unpopular here. Yes. Fruit is healthy. Fruits contain many wonderful phytonutrients and vitamins. However, if your goal is getting your metabolic hormones balanced, and weight loss is on your to do list, then FRUIT IS NOT YOUR FRIEND…temporarily anyway.
Fruit contains sugar in the form of fructose. Fructose prevents leptin and insulin from elevating to normal levels after a meal, while increasing ghrelin and triglycerides. This can lead to overindulging. While high-fructose sweeteners in soft drinks and snack foods are the biggest concern (maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, organic sugar), it’s also important to note that fruit, and especially fruit juice, consumption can lead to these shifts as well. My advice is to LIMIT fructose intake to 25 grams or less per day, which is about 2-3 servings of fruit per day. The Warrior Cleanse teaches you about quantity of sugar grams contained in fruits and how to keep track so you can revive these hunger hormones and lose weight!
- Avoid Very-Low-Calorie Diets
Okay, you’ve heard me say this a millions times, so I will keep it brief. Don’t starve yourself. By eating more food, you’ll avoid the diet hormone surges that trigger uncontrollable hunger and the inevitable weight gain that follows.
- Get your beauty sleep
Less than 7 hours of sleep has been associated with higher ghrelin levels, decreased leptin, increased hunger, and higher body weight in research studies. This is why people who sleep less are heavier than those getting adequate sleep. (Are you beginning to fall in love with me? I just told you to eat more then I told you to sleep more, next I’m gonna tell you to have more sex! No you aren’t dreaming – you’ve just been lied to way too long..hugs)
- Reduce stress or rather COPE WITH STRESS better
Stress is associated with increased cortisol levels which leads to higher body weight and ghrelin production. My favorite stress reducing activity – Sex! It burns calories, and released endorphins and oxytocin – which may increase leptin. You can also reduce stress with short walks, meditation, taking a bath, yoga and listening to soothing music.
- Heal Your Gut
When your gut is in great shape, it’s easier to get your body to follow. A healthy gut can help control appetite and body weight – and keep leptin and ghrelin in balance. Including fermented foods like sauerkraut and inulin containing foods like garlic, onions and leeks will promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. My FAV PROBIOTICS also help, I’ve seen a TON of positive weight loss and hunger craving hormone stabilization with this spore based TRUE probiotic formula.
Perhaps best way to heal your gut is to clean up your diet and your environment.
Check out the Warrior Cleanse for a dynamic detox that will give your gut, your skin, and your hormones clean slate so they can work their magic on your metabolism, your health and your appearance. Go somewhere you’ve never thought you would go…to the BEST version of you possible.
Eat like a human. Eat like you love yourself. Eat like a WARRIOR! Ready for a life change?
PS. Sometimes it’s NOT enough to get these hormones in check. OR other things might be going on in the body that are CAUSING imbalance or interference with them. Sometimes it’s OTHER systems, organs or glands that aren’t operating our metabolism optimally. One example of that is your endocrine system, specifically the thyroid. If your head is spinning already, just book an appointment with me and we’ll navigate through the maze of weight loss and discuss next steps to getting your dream body, together!