Now considering that most folks are not in the health and fitness industry they would have never heard anything about leptin. Whatever they hear may make them believe that since this hormone causes people to feel hungry, it is the direct cause of obesity.
In this article we will look at what leptin really is, how it works in the body and most importantly, how you can use it to your advantage and accelerate your fat loss. Hunger doesn’t cause obesity. Overeating the wrong types food does. You must be clear on this.
Leptin is a natural protein hormone that is found in the human body. It is produced by the white fat deposits and adipose tissue that is located in many parts of the body.
As a hormone, leptin is responsible for regulating the intake and usage of energy. It affects physiological processes like metabolism, appetite and food intake. Leptin is produced by fat tissues. So, the amount of leptin in the blood is directly proportional to the amount of fat in the body.
You will have more leptin in your system if you are morbidly obese and less leptin if you are leaner. This explains why overweight people feel hungry much more often than leaner people and find it more difficult to control their cravings.
The more fat you have, the more leptin you have… which makes you more hungry, resulting in you eating more, getting fatter and producing more leptin. It’s a vicious cycle that if left uncheck can and will spiral out of control resulting in morbid obesity.
Since caloric expenditure and intake are critical factors that directly impact weight loss, it is vital to maintain leptin levels within the proper physiological range at all the times.
Have you ever wondered why you feel lethargic and lack vitality when you are on a severe calorie restricted diet?
The reason for this is, when you are on a severe diet, you lose fat and consequently your leptin levels drop considerably resulting in lower energy levels in your body. Once you are in this state, you feel tired and weak.
The body goes into “starvation” mode and the brain triggers a chain of processes in your body to increase your leptin levels and hold on to as much fat as it can. This is a natural response beyond your influence or control that is aimed at increasing your energy levels. The same applies for cravings that occur due to low leptin levels. The vagus nerve is stimulated and you start feeling hungry and crave for food all the time.
So if low leptin levels will make you feel hungry then high leptin levels should mean you will not be hungry right?
It depends. Theoretically, this should be the case… but life can be cruel.
Overweight people who have high leptin levels usually feel hungry more often and have strong food cravings. That’s because obese people have an unusual response to increased levels of leptin.
Their bodies can sense and respond to low leptin levels but cannot sense and respond to high leptin levels. This means that there is no natural body mechanism to generate a stop signal to over eating no matter how high the levels of leptin rise to. This condition is called leptin resistance and occurs in obese people. This is the worst of both worlds.
Take heart. All hope is not lost. You can take control of this problem and reverse the unwanted effects of leptin and use it to aid in weight loss. It will be a struggle and you will need to fight your cravings for a while, but with time, your body will develop sensitivity to leptin and be able to regulate your appetite and cravings accordingly.
In order to achieve this you will need to go on a carbohydrate cycling diet. During the carb cycling diet you should be on a caloric deficit of about 500 to 600 calories with minimal carbohydrate consumption (not more than 50 grams) for a few days. This will kickstart the fat burning process. Now depending on your metabolism, your leptin levels should start rising anywhere between the third day and the fifth day of your low carb diet.
To avoid going into starvation mode, you must have a cheat day where you will consume a calorie surplus of between 500 and 700 Calories on that day. There are no hard and fast rules here. When you should have your cheat day will depend on how you feel.
If you feel tired and drained by the third day, then you can cheat on day four and if you feel tired and lethargic on the fourth day then cheat on day 5. Do not have a cheat day earlier than the 4th day.
Remember, that for carb cycling to work it is imperative that you have at least 3 days of very low carb consumption and a single day of excess calorie intake. Most of the top fitness models in the world are on a carb cycling diet most of the time. It is very effective and will shred all the excess fat off your body in no time at all.