Are you finding it difficult to maintain a stable weight? Do you feel tired a lot? Is a good night's sleep something you've lost? These are all too common complaints that send us to see our doctor for solutions, yet we still struggle.
Why Is This Happening?
First of all, it's actually not about lack of willpower or discipline. It's all about our hormonal balance, and once we understand all the hormonal fluctuations that go on when it comes to hunger, appetite, satiation and fullness along with the downstream problems of poor sleep, anxiety, fatigue, gut issues and climbing weight - we can begin to stop blaming ourselves and become informed.
Our hormones want nothing better than to be restored back to balance.
The Magnificent Four.
1.Leptin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating energy balance and appetite in the body. Leptin is produced by the fat cells and is released into the bloodstream. It's primary function is to communicate with the brain to signal the amount of fat stored in the body, which then influences how much energy the body uses, food intake, and metabolism.
When leptin is out of balance, the body isn't able to regulate appetite well. This is called leptin resistance where leptin cannot communicate properly with the brain to tell how much energy is stored in the body. When working well, leptin docks on the hypothalamus while we are sleeping to give the brain a 'download' of how much energy we have on our bodies so our metabolism [energy expenditure] for the next day is appropriate.
Leptin resistance can mean either too high or too low levels of leptin, and this leads to a number of symptoms and health issues.
Inability to lose weight.
Strong food cravings, especially for sweets after a meal.
Cold body or having a hard time regulating body temperature.
High inflammatory markers [CRP]
High reverse T3 levels [thyroid]
High blood pressure
Reasons We Become Leptin Resistant.
Lack of light exposure - especially in the morning.
Poor sleep, lack of a regular sleep schedule.
Restrictive dieting, overeating, restrictive eating.
Stress [excess cortisol as a stress response impairs leptin's ability to communicate with the brain.]
2. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases hunger. It's produced by cells in the gastrointestinal tract, especially the stomach and is called the "hunger hormone" because it increases the drive to eat. Ghrelin should go down after eating, but when out of balance, the body continues to feel hungry which causes us to overeat.
3. Insulin is an essential hormone helping the body turn food into energy by balancing micronutrient levels during eating. Insulin is critical for transporting glucose to the liver and muscles. Insulin also stimulates protein synthesis and lipogenesis, the conversion of fatty acids for storage as fat. The pancreas a small organ behind the stomach is the main source of insulin in the body. Clusters of cells in the pancreas produce the hormone and determine the amount of insulin to be released based on blood glucose levels in the body. The higher the level of glucose, the more insulin goes into production to balance sugar levels in the blood.
How Dietary and Lifestyle Choices Affect Insulin.
When we eat the Standard American Diet- high carbohydrate, high sugar diet, insulin must increase to deal with all the available glucose [sugar]. This process drives glucose into the cells, but over time, eating this way causes our insuin levels to become chronically high. A sedentary lifestyle and excess body fat, especially around the belly also increases our risk of becoming insulin resistant.
Because insulin is a fat storage and growth hormone, this will stimulate the storing of fat and continue to tell the body it's hungry to promote growth.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance.
Waist circumference over 40" in men/ 34"in women.
Blood pressure readings higher than 130/80.
Fasting glucose level over 86 mg/dL.
Fasting triglyceride level over 150 mg/dL.
Skin tags, dark velvety skin around neck.
4. Cholecystokinin [CCK] is a hormone that's released in the presence of fat in the digestive tract. It send the message to release bile from the gallbladder along with lowering blood glucose levels. When CCK is low - obesity rises. Therefore, if you do not have a gallbladder, it's very important to supplement with a good quality ox bile supplement to support proper gastric emptying for both your digestion and to promote stable blood sugar.
So Much More Than a Lack of Willpower.
Understanding how these four hormones and the messages they give us to regulate our hunger, fullness, weight and digestion provide real reasons for our struggles to remain consistent with our health goals.
Let's move forward here and take this information to heart and stop blaming and feeling like a failure.
Our body is created with intricate systems that are always striving to be in balance. We might experience some stalled motion in seeing immediate improvements, but remember this truth; keep moving toward better choices every day and soon results will follow.
At first, our hormones will scream and shout when we change things up. But soon they fall back into balance and behave.
Simple Steps for Everyday Improvements.
Choose real, whole foods to stabilize metabolic health.
Ditch refined carbohydrates, inflammatory seed oils, gluten and foods with added sugars.
Stop snacking and eat 2-3 real meals.
Drink enough filtered water with added electrolytes -aim for 64+ ounces at least.
Develop a consistent wake/sleep system by aiming for 8+ hours of sleep every night.
Wake up early and go outside and move your body every day.
Hormonal balance can be acheived with consistent practices of both what we eat and when we eat. The downstream problems of high blood sugar, fatty liver, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure are all issues of hormonal imbalances and signaling that's gone awry.
I can help you begin to feel better and realize improvement for lifelong health.
Reach out here: https://www.janlindquistntp.com
Keep it up - it matters.