Hunger Hormones and Your Metabolism
This post contains basic information on your metabolism. It’s a complex subject, and not everything can be included here. I highly recommend the book The Hormone Reset Diet by Sara Gottfried, M.D. if you want to explore this subject more fully.
Leptin and ghrelin are our hunger hormones, and we know they affect our metabolism. If your hormone levels are out of whack, so is your metabolism. It’s pretty simple: as your leptin levels increase, so does your metabolic rate. Leptin is the hunger hormone responsible for making us feel full while ghrelin is the hormone that tells us we are hungry, and it’s time to eat.
The more fat you have in your body, the more leptin is secreted because your body’s fat cells are the cells responsible for secreting leptin. Your body then knows there is enough fat to survive and your leptin hormone is letting your brain know!
Unfortunately, individuals who are significantly overweight can develop resistance to leptin over time. This can be problematic, especially when it comes to balancing your metabolism. In a properly functioning system, leptin sends signals to the thyroid that there is adequate fat in the body so you can work on burning it off as opposed to storing it in excess.
Individuals who suffer from leptin resistance may feel as though they are ravenous and starving most of the time. This often happens when you are following a diet that is excessively restrictive and when you are not eating enough to adequately satisfy. Once this cycle starts, fewer calories are burned and fat storage is increased. Since you do not feel satisfied, your appetite will increase and this is when overeating occurs. It may begin to be more and more difficult to shed those excess pounds.
This is why you hear people say “my metabolism is slow”, or “my thyroid makes me fat”.
On the other hand, we have another hormone that affects your metabolism and that has been affectionately nicknamed the “Ghrelin Gremlin”. This is the hormone that makes us feel hungry and causes our appetite to increase. It’s produced in the stomach, and it sends signals the brain to eat and drink when your stomach is empty.
It’s interesting that studies show your ghrelin levels become elevated when you’re sleep deprived which is why after a few sleepless nights, you often feel hungrier. Interesting! And a good-to-know fact when you’re trying to lose weight!
Time To Increase Your Metabolism
If you’ve been overweight for a while, it is definitely time to begin with some positive self-control. Increasing your physical activity levels will help stabilize your hormones and will help you burn off excess calories. It may require some significant lifestyle changes to bring you to this new level of healthy balanced hormones; but if you stick with them, these changes will soon become your “norm.”
Eating healthier foods on a consistent basis is the best thing you can do to increase your metabolism.
How Leptin and Ghrelin Affect Your Metabolism
Studies have been conducted that confirm when you skip breakfast, rich, high-calorie foods are more appealing due to the powers of ghrelin. There is also a psychological factor that kicks in where we often feel we “deserve a treat” and it will “be okay to eat something even though it is fattening” due to the fact that we haven’t consumed any calories for quite some time because we’ve skipped meals.
This is a danger zone since our metabolism can become severely disrupted when we regularly go into “fasting” states brought on by eating irregularly. Our body believes that it might not receive calories any time soon, and it responds by storing fat. In fact, it’s hesitant to burn calories! Over time, this causes our metabolism to become sluggish and to slow down altogether.
It may seem paradoxical to eat more and weigh less. However, if you are eating nutritious, protein-rich foods on a frequent basis, you will kick-start your metabolism into high gear, be able to successfully burn calories, have more energy overall and see positive results.
Now is the time to get active and eat healthy so your metabolism is able to understand what your hunger hormones are telling it!
Helping You Live Healthier in a Major Way!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC