The results from the plans are often marginal.
What if weight loss results actually have more to do with hormones? That’s what many people claim, and they often start talking about things like “leptin.”
In today’s article, we’re going to examine the role of hormones in weight loss.
- What Are Hormones For Anyway?
- What Exactly is Leptin?
- Leptin Resistance
- How to Lose Weight Naturally
- 1. Focus on Portion Control
- 2. Limit Processed Foods
- 3. Watch Your Sugar Intake
- What’s your take on leptin's role in weight loss? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Table of Contents
Before we can understand how leptin is connected to losing weight, it’s important to understand the role of hormones in our bodies.
You may have heard of hormones in relation to that time of the month women have to face, or during sex-ed classes discussing adolescent hormones, or even through the term ‘pregnancy hormones’. Lots of commercials advertise pills for women when they go through menopause because they experience a fluctuation in hormones that sometimes need adjusting.
But the truth is, hormones go much deeper than that, and they are not only connected to reproductive aspects in women.
Hormones are also responsible for things like:
- Our body’s development and growth
- Sexual function
- Reproductive growth and health
- Cognitive function
- Maintenance of body temperature and thirst
Hormones act like little messengers in our bodies. They are released from various places such as our hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid, testes, ovaries, and adrenal glands, just to name a few, and they are sent out into our bloodstream to do their work.
These chemical messengers move through our bloodstream and end up in places like our tissues and organs. Once there, they send out a signal to our bodies letting them know it’s time to perform a certain function.
Leptin is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating body weight.
According to the Journal of Epidemiology: “Leptin is an important regulator of the mass of adipose tissue and body weight; it operates by inhibiting food intake and stimulating energy expenditure”.
Okay, so that was a bit of a mouthful and may be hard to understand, so let’s break it down into simpler terms.
Leptin is essentially secreted from adipose tissue (also known as fat cells) and helps regulate our body weight. It also helps to control our energy expenditure levels.
Since it’s released from our fat cells, the amount of leptin that is secreted is directly connected to the amount of fat we have stored. Therefore, someone who is overweight is going to have much higher levels of leptin floating around in their bloodstream as compared to a person who is of a healthy body weight.
When you’re overweight for a long time, your fat cells secrete large amounts of leptin. Those high levels of leptin flood your leptin receptors, and over time, they become desensitized to the effects.
Eventually, your cells become less responsive to the effects of leptin, which makes it harder to lose weight.
To normalize your leptin levels and restablish leptin sensitivity, you need to get back to a healthy body weight. Here are some tips to get you started.
When I mention anything related to portion control, I often hear the inevitable, “Ughhh! Do I really have to?”
Well, yes. You should be focusing your attention on how much you’re eating, aka watching your portions.
You may want to familiarize yourself with some common portion size equivalents. Like, did you know that the serving size of an apple (4 oz) is basically the size of a baseball?
When you go out to eat, take a look at your meal. Without even realizing it, you’re probably sitting in front of a plate that’s got more calories than one person needs.
So if you’re not sharing your plate, use this easy trick: split your meal in half and save the rest for later.
Processed, high fat foods are easy to overeat, so make them a small part of your diet.
High sugar foods are also easy to overeat, so keep an eye on them as well.