Weight loss is a topic that interests most people. I'm not exaggerating - about 70% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. As someone who lost 100 pounds in recent years, I am intimately familiar with this fight. They told me over and over that it's just about eating less and moving more. I felt ashamed that I was finding something so supposedly "easy" almost impossible. Maybe some people have iron willpower, but it's not me. Even with big meals and snacks in between, I was almost always hungry. Resisting cravings is difficult! And when I gave in during moments of weakness, the feeling of failure led to an emotional binge. It was a vicious circle.
When I learned about leptin, it all started to make sense. For most obese and overweight people, leptin plays an important role in the behaviors surrounding weight loss and explains why it is so difficult. I'm not saying our weight is out of our control, we are not slaves to our hormones. In fact, the opposite is true.
Learning how leptin works, and how to use it to your advantage, can unlock the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Read on for more information.
WHAT IS LEPTIN?
Leptin is a hormone produced by the fat cells of our body. It received its name from the Greek word "lepto", which means "thin. Leptin is involved in many vital body functions, however, the one that interests us most today is the promotion of satiety. Satiety is a feeling of fullness created by our brains. Simply put, leptin makes it easier to eat less. It is also part of the reward system. When leptin levels are low, the food seems very rewarding. High leptin cushions the reward system so calorie-rich foods don't look as good. This means that we have a better chance of resisting temptation. In addition, leptin increases the activity of the nervous system, which stimulates fatty tissue to burn energy. So in theory, when we have eaten enough and we have a lot of fat cells making leptin, this hormone tells our body to use our existing fat for fuel instead of consuming more food.