Leptin is a hormone in our body that controls fat regulation. This post is going to be a work in progress but I wanted to point out a hormone that we all have to deal with when it comes to hunger and fat loss and fat storage (getting fat).
One of the problems that I have found, and my wife as well, when Leptin is explained is that science is not very nice to us common folk. I suspect that you want to know how to lose and are not really too interested in becoming a biochemist to do it.
How Leptin controls fat stores
Leptin is that starvation hormone that decides that our body has to store fat if we are in a starvation situation (like animals getting ready for winter hibernation) or to burn our calories quickly (like when animals are in a hunting or hunter situation).
Basically when we eat too much food and do not exercise enough we store fat. Leptin controls that storing of fat in our body just like it would in animals but we as people with supermarkets, fast food, and easy access to the smells and tastes that we like. We kind of mess things up as far as eating when hungry comes in and do have to do something to regulate it on our own.
Okay, have you got that straight? Hope so. So when we are on any kind of a regular diet what will happen is that we lose for the first few days or couple weeks and then we plateau. The other crappy side effect is that our energy drops and we have trouble working out. The plateau is caused by our our Leptin levels dropping which causes our metabolism (energy burning) to slow down and at the same time our body stores as much fat as possible.
This means that we have to do something to take us out of this fat storage problem
How to Reset Leptin Levels
There is a simple way to rest our Leptin levels and this is to stop our bodies from thinking we are starving. What will happen is that you will diet for a week or week and a half and then take a day or two off and remind our bodies that we are not in a starvation phase. Some diets do this already and they call it different things. Fat Loss for Idiots calls it calorie shifting, in 24/7 Fat Loss Joel Marion calls it a cheat day.
On any diet that uses this strategy you don’t just go and gorge, you eat normal size meals until satisfied but not worrying about fat content of the foods or carbohydrate types.
The important thing about this method is to make sure that you are reminding your body that you are safe, you are not starving, and to bring your Leptin levels back so that you are again able to lose fat and not have your body store fat.
Diet and Leptin Levels
Now that you know how this Leptin business works you have all the information you need to make your current diet or to further evaluate a diet. What you need to do is never diet hard for more than a week or two without taking a day or two off. Although these cheat days can cause a bit of gain if done incorrectly you will be doing more help then any single diet day to making sure that you are going to have long term loss success.