August 26, 2013
Last week I told you guys about the hypothalamus being the control center of food regulation. I told you that it sends and receives signals to help keep us in balance and maintain our set points. Leptin is made by your fat cells and is one of the hormones that sends those signals. If your current food and activity practices cause you to gain weight in the form of fat, your fat cells will pump out more Leptin. Leptin saunters up to the HT and tells him to get you to eat less, move more, and rev up your metabolism. Leptin is there to help get your fat cells down to the size before they started popping out too many fat cell babies. When we are dieting and losing weight, the reigns are pulled back on the leptin production to keep our appetites nice and hearty and our metabolism and activity down. This is one of the ways our bodies try to keep us at their preferred, preprogrammed weights. THIS. IS. COOL. Here is something that’s not as cool. Leptin works great up to a certain point. It does a bang up job of protecting us when it thinks we are headed into a famine (ahem, diet) but when our weight train passes a certain surplus station, the leptin signal isn’t strong enough to fully do its job. What this means is this: our bodies gain weight much easier than they lose it. I’m sure many of you have probably already experienced this yourself. Our bodies will fight us on losing weight (thanks leptin!) and this is one of the reasons that people who are “doing everything they are supposed to do” can still struggle to lose weight.
Some of us have started to ignore leptin. One of the biggest ways do this is by overeating and not listening to our body tell us we are full (I’ll blog about becoming better listeners later). So Leptin is being it’s awesome self, doing its job trying to keep all hell from breaking loose in our fat cells (and by all hell breaking loose I mean us getting fatter than what our bodies were programmed to keep us at). But remember, all of our bodies are programmed differently most of our bodies weren’t programmed to look like the fake bodies on any of the magazines (I’ll rant about magazines later). When we ignore the leptin, our fat cells grow and pop out other fat cell babies. Those babies never go away. They are there to start sending signals too, signals like, “FEED ME!” This friends is called raising your set point. Those new fat cells want to be maintained and will send signals to help achieve this.
While our bodies may be slightly combative against our weight loss efforts, we can learn behaviors that don’t further muck up the system. You may be in a place where weight loss is very difficult or even impossible but preventing extra weight gain is totally doable and I’m super excited to walk you through this! If you’d like to get a jumpstart, shoot me an email and when can get started on some coaching sessions!