Satisfaction can be hard to come by. Whether it is your level of satisfaction in life or more commonly with food. One of the biggest problems we struggle with throughout our lives is how satisfied we are. While there are several variables that are factored in for our overall satisfaction in life. One hormone is at the heart of our feelings of satisfaction or fullness when it comes to food.
What is Leptin?
Leptin is a hormone that is predominantly made by adipose cells and enterocytes in the small intestines. This hormone helps to regulate balance by inhibiting hungar, which in turn diminishes fat storage in adipocytes. Leptin acts on cell receptors in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. While this hormones job is to help stimulate feelings of fullness it can be easy to build up resistance to its signaling.
The Dangers of Obesity
In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to Leptin can occur, resulting in the inability to detect satiety. Despite the presence of high energy stores and high levels of Leptin people still feel hungry. One of the most common mistakes people make is restricting calories. When consuming a low-calorie diet, you lower your Leptin levels and slow down your metabolic rate. This reduction in metabolism is what can make it difficult to lose fat. Too much Leptin can increase your risk of Leptin resistance. This means your body cannot recognize when your body fat levels are too high.
With the rate of obesity at an all time high in the United States, it is safe to say that we as a nation need to rethink our approach to weight loss. According to an article posted December 2019 in CNN health by Sandee LaMotte within 10 years half of America will be obese. One of the largest contributing factors in the rise of obesity is not just a lack of nutrition, but the fact that treating obesity is difficult. When we lose our sensitivity to Leptin it can cause us to not just store excess weight, but also make it even more difficult to lose the weight we already have.
How to Reset Sensitivity
Fortunately, I have put together a list of natural ways to help reset your sensitivity to Leptin. The following are some of the best ways to naturally improve your Leptin sensitivity.
- Get Enough Fiber
- Limit Fructose Consumption
- Consume Complex Carbohydrates
- Eat Protein For Breakfast
- Take Omega-3
- Avoid Severe Calorie Restriction
- Perform HIIT Workouts
- Get More Sleep
- Minimize Stress
- Don’t Eat After 7 pm
- Consume An Anti-inflammatory Diet
Most people do not consume enough fiber in their diets. Fiber helps us to feel full longer. Given that one of the main functions of Leptin is to make us feel full it stands to reason that increasing fiber will improve our bodies ability to sense Leptin. Some of the best foods to increase your fiber intake are: avocados, apples, pears, most vegetables, oats, and beans.
Cut Out Sugar
Fructose is a sugar that naturally occurs in fruit. However, you will notice that there are also artificial sweeteners that use a form of fructose. As a rule of thumb avoid ANY artificial sweeteners and limit your fruit consumption. This does not mean you cannot eat fruit, just try to limit it to 3-4 servings a day. On average one cup of fruit translates to one serving. There are also fruits that have higher sugar content. If at all possible try to stick to fruits with a lower sugar level such as berries.
Be Carb Smart
Carbohydrates get a bad rep. Most foods contain some level of carbohydrates. The goal is to consume more whole foods that are high in complex carbohydrates. Some examples of these foods are: whole grains, potatoes, beans, brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, etc. Complex carbohydrates take longer for our bodies to breakdown and as a by product create the feeling of fullness longer. Once again, naturally simulating the role of Leptin.
Start The Morning Off Right
Eating protein for breakfast is a great way to improve your body’s sensitivity to Leptin. Protein is one of the most difficult foods for our bodies to breakdown. With this in mind, by consuming protein in the morning you are giving your body ample time to digest and eliminate. When you consume proteins at night you can cause your body to produce higher levels of acid to break the food down. People who experience heartburn in the evening should think about eliminating proteins from their evening meals.
Fish Are Friends
Omega-3 occurs primarily in fish. However, you can obtain it through the consumption of plants such as spirulina, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Due to the fact that most people do not consume these foods regularly or in high quantities it can be beneficial to take an Omega-3 supplement. I recommend consuming foods that contain Omega-3 along with taking the supplement to ensure you are getting enough.
Don’t Over Restrict!
Calories in minus calories out. This is the most basic approach to weight loss. The theory is that the less calories you consume the easier it will be to lose weight. However, extreme calorie restriction has been shown to increase Leptin levels and decrease our body’s sensitivity to Leptin. Fasting for short periods can be a great way for your body to reset itself. However, lowering your daily intake for prolonged periods of time forces your body to take drastic measures such as slowing down your metabolic rate. In order to start losing weight again you end up having to lower your calories again, and again. Instead make better food choices and you won’t have to worry about calories.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great way to shake up your metabolism. HIIT workouts force your body to constantly readjust to the fluctuating speeds and movements. One of my favorite things about HIIT workouts is that you only have to workout for a fraction of the time compared to a traditional workout. This is due to the fact that you are pushing your heart rate up and allowing it to fall slightly prior to pushing it back up again. In a traditional workout you are bringing your heart rate up slowly and then holding it until it adjusts creating a new norm. With HIIT your body doesn’t have enough time to adjust. It is during the higher heart rate timeframes that you burn the most fat.
Make Sleep A Priority
The recommended amount of sleep is 7-8 hours for an adult. The average American adult gets about half of that a night. Lack of sleep can cause an increase in Cortisol production which causes the body to store even more fat. Sleep is one of our bodies natural ways of resetting itself. During our sleep cycle our body is naturally detoxing, digesting, repairing itself, and more. When we do not get enough sleep we are forcing our body to work twice as hard and at a disadvantage.
Find Your Happy Place
Stress in today’s modern lifestyle can be hard to avoid. One of the hormones that is increased due to the presence of stress is Cortisol. As mentioned prior, Cortisol can cause our bodies to hold onto fat. This puts us at an even higher risk of developing a lack of sensitivity to Leptin. Conveniently, there are several ways to naturally reduce your stress levels. One of my favorite options is meditation. You can do it anywhere and it can take as little as five minutes to do.
Early Bird Special
Eating after 7 pm can not only help to keep you up later (reducing the amount of sleep you receive) it also causes your stomach acid levels to rise. One of the most difficult tasks for our bodies is to digest food. Now, there are some foods that are much easier for our bodies to breakdown. However, consuming any food after 7 pm forces your digestive system to work harder than it needs to.
Take Down Inflammation
There is a reason most doctors highly recommend an anti-inflammatory diet. Our bodies naturally produce inflammation. Inflammation is actually one of our bodies natural self defensive mechanisms. Unfortunately, inflammation is not meant to be experienced long term. Most of American diets are high in inflammatory foods which can lead to a number of health issues such as joint pain, heart problems, and more. Diets that are rich in anti-inflammatories consist primarily of fruits and vegetables. Which based on our current list of tips all fall into things you can do to restore sensitivity to Leptin.
It’s All Coming Together
Like always, I want to provide you with a quick and easy way to put these tips to use. That is why I am including one of my favorite recipes to this blog post. It is anti-inflammatory smoothie.
Pineapple Turmeric Smoothie
Gluten-Free Vegan Serves 1
- 1 Cup Frozen Pineapple Chunks
- ½ Frozen Banana
- 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 Coconut Bia Water
Combine all ingredients into blender. Blend until desired texture has been reached. Enjoy.
Ready For a Change?
A happy and healthy life is closer than you may think. Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at DrDeeandMe@gmail.com or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!