It’s hard to know what’s to blame when you’ve tried everything under the sun and still can’t lose weight. But recently scientists and practitioners are focusing on leptin, a hormone that regulates body weight and metabolism. When we gain weight, the body attempts to balance extra pounds by secreting leptin. Leptin is wonderful because it delivers messages to the brain that tell the body to shed excess weight, decrease hunger levels, and increase satiety, resting metabolism and fat breakdown. And you want all those effects when you’re overweight.
But scientists have recently discovered that resistance to leptin could be at the root of many stubborn weight issues today.
That’s because leptin signaling can become disturbed by our modern eating and lifestyle habits. These disturbances cause excess leptin to be released — but not recognized by the body — which is known as leptin resistance, causing the body to increase fat stores rather than shed them. The top factors that can lead the body to become leptin resistant are diets that are particularly high in fructose and unhealthy fat, lack of sleep and excess stress. Once you become resistant to leptin, you become less satisfied after eating meals, suffer more cravings (especially at night), and gain unwanted weight. Pharmaceutical companies are working hard to create a drug for leptin resistance, but there are steps you can take in your life to rebalance your leptin levels.
Here’s how you can naturally rebalance your body to normalize its response to leptin so you can finally lose that extra weight for good.
5 Steps to balance leptin and lose weight
1. Eat little to no sugar and/or fructose. Recent studies show that fructose — the sugar found in table sugar and high fructose corn syrup — can play a major role in the development of leptin resistance. The theory is that fructose causes high triglyceride levels, which then prevents leptin from getting to the brain. Even though fructose is also found in fruit, moderate fruit consumption is not a problem, especially because the sugar in fruit is accompanied by fiber. Limit your consumption of all sugars, but especially table sugar, high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar. If intense sugar or carbohydrate cravings are a problem for you, we recommend trying 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), a naturally occurring amino acid that can help control appetite and promote satiety as you work to cut your sugar consumption.
2. Include healthy forms of protein, fiber and fat. Both insulin and leptin determine your metabolism and so keeping both hormones balanced allows your body to shed extra pounds. Cutting way back on grains and carbohydrates while adding lean protein, quality fats and fiber to each of your meals and snacks will help increase satiety, or feeling full and satisfied, and will also help to balance your blood sugar and insulin. Protein and healthy fats are particularly important at breakfast to promote lasting satiety early in the day. Try a non-traditional breakfast of vegetable-almond stir fry or even leftovers from the night before. Eggs are also a great source of protein to start the day with.
3. Explore targeted weight-loss nutrients. There are many nutrients that support healthy insulin and leptin levels. B vitamins, cinnamon, green tea, chromium picolinate, L-carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid are just a few effective metabolism supporters. We developed M-Boost that includes chromium picolinate to naturally balance blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as other metabolic boosters like green tea leaf extract and L-carnitine to help with weight loss. We also have a snack shake to provide a great source of protein and fiber, while helping satisfy the craving for something sweet.
4. Sleep 7-8 hours a night. As curious as it sounds, multiple studies have shown that sleep plays a significant role in healthy weight, and one of the main reasons is leptin. Sleep restriction leads to imbalanced leptin levels and increased hunger and appetite. That means that those who sleep less eat more. So setting a regular bedtime and sleeping seven to eight hours each night can help lower your hunger levels and keep leptin levels in balance.
5. Minimize snacks, and fast for 12 hours during the night. For some hormonal imbalances, frequent meals and snacks are very important. However, when it comes to leptin resistance, space out your meals, cut down on snacking and allow at least 12 hours between your dinner and your breakfast the next day. Many of us overeat because of a gene that keeps our bodies from feeling full. If you know this is a problem for you, controlled snacks are very important. For example, it works well to have three meals with a small snack between each. Leptin resistance happens in the same way insulin resistance happens: over exposure to the hormone causes your body to stop responding to it. The less frequently you eat, the less your body will produce leptin and the more likely your cells will respond to it when it is released. But keep in mind, long bouts of calorie restriction or fasting are never good for your metabolism so find a balance that works for the way you live.
Rebalance your body and lose weight for good!
Weight gain is one health issue that affects how we feel about ourselves and often our outlook on life, but you don’t have to let leptin resistance get in the way of looking and feeling the way you want. We developed our Weight Loss Resistance: Essentials Program to help you manage cravings, cut sugar, include more healthy (AND delicious) foods into your diet, while offering tips on sleep and lifestyle to get the weight off and keep it off. Our approach to weight loss works at your core to rebalance metabolic hormones and promote lasting weight loss.