“You could probably nail these three things to the wall when it comes to success with fat loss and health: gut health, hormone regulation, and sleep.”
I recently made that statement during my appearance on Vinnie Tortorich’s podcast. And then I got to thinking about that second part. More specifically, I started thinking about how the conversation of hormone regulation with food almost always centers around insulin.
But insulin is just one of many hormones in play. And hormones all interact with each other. I’m not sure who boiled the story down to “insulin,” but doing so is a drastic oversimplification.
So let’s talk about some hormones that aren’t insulin. Not all of them — just leptin specifically. We can get to others later. I easily go off on tangents so I want to protect you from yet another one.
Leptin is a hormone made by your body fat. That right there is probably a strong sign that you should be paying attention.
Anyway, Leptin plays with leptin receptors in your body to regulate things like hunger (via satiety) and activity level — you know, stuff that’s kind of important.
That picture says a lot. Our friend on the left is unable to produce leptin and our friend on the right has no issue. Still want to talk about insulin? Didn’t think so.
The key question here is: are you falling victim to poor leptin sensitivity?
Just like you can be insulin resistant, you can be leptin resistant. So you’re producing leptin (unlike our fat rat friend) but that leptin isn’t getting the message across because the receptors are becoming hard of hearing.
If you’re overweight and growing more-so each day, you need to take a hard look at leptin. If you’re more than 30 pounds overweight, you almost certainly have some degree of leptin resistance.
If you experience a bunch of food-as-reward and overeating issues, especially with carbs, that’s another sign because leptin dims the reward center of your brain when it’s functioning properly — this is what produces the feeling of satiety.
Leptin resistance makes you satiety-resistant. Your brain never says, “hey, you can stop now.” And it’s a cycle, because the more body fat you have, the more leptin you produce and the more the receptors ignore the signals.
If you frequently use the excuse, “my metabolism sucks,” you’re a prime candidate. And you might not be wrong — if you’re leptin resistant then you’re metabolism DOES suck. But you can fix it.
We can see the importance of proper leptin communication in people who don’t produce leptin at all. People who don’t have leptin are almost always overweight, but when these people are given leptin injections they feel sated after meals and naturally lose excess fat. Bada bing, bada boom. It’s that clear cut.
You don’t have that problem (because it’s extremely rare). But what’s NOT rare is producing a bunch of leptin and having deaf leptin receptors. In today’s world, it’s rampant. Whether you make a lot and it doesn’t work or don’t make any at all doesn’t really matter: broken is broken.
Well, I take that back, you’re better off because you can restore your receptors’ ability to listen and don’t need injections for the rest of your life.
So let’s talk about that — let’s figure out how to get your leptin back on track.
Step One: Eat in a way that naturally aligns hormone function — aka a whole foods approach based on lots of healthy fat, well sourced protein, and carb intake mostly from vegetables. Stages one through three of Total Body Reboot are strategically designed to restore proper hormone function, including leptin function.
Step Two: Eat a ketogenic-style breakfast within 30 minutes of waking.
Step Three: Eat enough at each meal so that you can limit eating to two or three times per day. Absolutely avoid snacking. Leptin is a circadian hormone that must be kept in proper rhythm.
There are other factors, tips, and tricks that influence how quickly you can reset leptin sensitivity, but those are the main ideas. Questions can be left in the comments section below.