For the most part, I’m not a huge fan of the concept of dieting. Not because I think they’re harmful (although some of them can be which is exactly why you should do your homework and make the appropriate appointments with your medical/nutritional specialists before starting one), but because for the most part they don’t work. I find the majority of them to be nothing more than disheartening and depressing, really.
If you’re someone or you know someone that’s been defeated by a diet or two (or you know, 25), you’ve probably said or heard at one time or another I just don’t know what happened after the inevitable weight gain, you’re going to absolutely love this article because it might finally present you with some facts.
Obesity is still incredibly misunderstood. Luckily some breakthroughs are being made though. When it comes to the inability to feel full regardless of how much (even healthy) food you’re eating, more and more scientists are pointing to a hormone produced in your body’s fat cells called Leptin.
What Is Leptin?
Leptin plays a major role when it comes to complete hormonal balance – everything from fertility to immunity and even how your brain functions – but its main role is to let your body know when it’s hungry and when it had enough to eat. When it’s functioning correctly, leptin creates an energy balance by regulating the amount of calories we eat, how many of those calories we expend, and how much fat we store overall.
Basically, it’s supposed to keep us from overeating or starving to death. Sometimes the hormone doesn’t function properly though. When that happens, you end up eating way more than you’re supposed to and you seemingly never feel full.
People that are constantly overeating tend to eventually become obese. Since leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells, overweight and obese people tend to have more of the hormone flowing through them. You would think this would help them out with their struggle, but that doesn’t seem to be the case – For some reason – despite all of that extra leptin being there – the brain doesn’t recognize the hormone. This is known as leptin resistance.
If you’re leptin resistant, your brain constantly thinks that your body is starving. Not only does that make you want to eat more, but it also tends to make you feel lazy. So the next time you hear an overweight person tell you that they simply can’t stop eating or start exercising, take them on their word – They’re not kidding. In fact, leptin resistance is now thought to be main biological abnormality when it comes to obesity in humans.
How To Deal With A Deficiency
If you just can’t seem to say no to food and/or if you’ve just been feeling overall ‘off’ lately, there’s a good chance that you have a leptin resistance issue. Of course, there are supplements that you can buy at your local health store that can give you a synthetic dose of the hormone, but you can never guarantee that they’re going to work.
If you really want to battle a deficiency in an effort to reset your overall hormonal balance, you want to regulate your excretion. Believe it or not, it can be done with a ‘diet’. I use the quotes because I’m not sure you can even call it that – It’s based on scientific research and when you really get down to the bare bones of it all, it’s kind of common sense. It’s called The Leptin Diet, and it could be the key to finally solving your weight issues for the rest of your life and getting off the yo-yo ride forever.
What I like about this diet is that it’s not based on calorie counting. It doesn’t require you to portion everything our or weigh it before it can even touch your plate. You won’t be denied the things you love and you won’t starve to death.
Of course, it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to need a little bit of willpower and commitment if you want to succeed. That said, if you’re able to make it over the hump there’s absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t see some significant (and staying) results relatively quickly.
One of the greatest aspects of this diet is that you’re only going to have to remember five simple rules. That’s it! Here they are:
Rule # 1: Never Eat After Dinner
Once you’ve set up you’re schedule (which we’ll get to in just a minute), you’re going to be eating more than enough food anyway.
Ideally, You want to finish eating your dinner at least three hours before you go to bed and you want to leave 11 or 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. It’s going to be hard to give up those evening munchies while you’re mindlessly checking your social media pages or watching your favourite show on Netflix, but I promise you it won’t be long before you realize that you don’t need them.
As you know, our bodies heal themselves while we sleep (which is why it’s super important to make sure that you’re getting enough!). Leptin levels are highest at night, so let them do what they need to do.
Rule # 2: Eat Three Meals A Day, Nothing More
Some people can snack all day long and never gain a pound, but that’s more the exception than the rule. If you’re someone that has leptin resistance, you’re going to want to only eat three meals a day and you’re going to want to space them out by 5-6 hours each.
Remember that schedule I mentioned earlier? This is why it might be helpful for you to create one. The diet doesn’t require it of course, but unless you’re someone that can meticulously plan everything without ever needing to write anything down, it might be handy to mark when you need to eat in your day planner so that you don’t forget (alternatively, you could set alarms on your phone to remind you).
By not snacking during the day and leaving ample space between your meals, you’ll be allowing your liver to flush triglycerides (fat) from your bloodstream. Clearing the excess fat helps the leptin work better.
Rule # 3: Watch The Size Of Those Meals
If you’re overweight or obese, your body has more than enough energy to compensate for the initial (possibly massive) change in your meal sizes. That said, you definitely shouldn’t be starving yourself – If you’re still hungry after you’ve eating your protein and carbs, feel free to eat all kinds of fiber-rich veggies (the fiber will help fill you up). Ideally, you want to stop eating just as you start to feel full.
Most of us eat a typical Western diet; that diet has caused us to think that portion sizes are much larger than they actually are. Sometimes our eyes also play a role in it – If you’re struggling with your plate looking so empty; try using a smaller one, it might help you feel fuller by the time you’re done (I’ve heard more than one person say that they swear by this technique for success with cutting down on food consumption).
Rule # 4: Make Sure You Eat Protein At Breakfast
I’m sure that you’ve heard at least once or twice that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in this case it really is true. Your metabolism can increase by 30% for as long as 12 hours from a high-protein meal (which is actually equivalent to a two to three mile jog), and eating that meal in the morning can set you up for an all-around great day. Any protein will work (you could even consider eating dinner in the morning), but if you’re someone that simply cannot bring yourself to eat as soon as you open your eyes (Trust me, I feel you there), at least have a shake or smoothie with some whey protein added to it. Eggs are another great option, and so are beans. If you’re in a rush, have some peanut (or other nut) butter on toast. The possibilities and options really are extensive.
Rule # 5: Reduce The Amount Of Carbs You’re Consuming
It’s absolutely unrealistic to think that you can simply cut carbohydrates out of your life altogether. Not only do they taste amazing (seriously, who doesn’t like bagels?), but they’re actually necessary for your body to function at its optimal level because they become easy to use fuels that keep us going. All you need to do is to cut back on things like processed white bread and donuts and instead reach for things like cottage cheese, vegetables, and butter.
A good rule of thumb is to use the 50/50 technique to measure out your plates – Half protein and half carbs. Beyond that, you can feel free to eat as many fiber rich vegetables as you’d like.
And that’s it! No you can’t have this, no you have to measure that. Everything in moderation and on a schedule. If you want to eat ice cream or cool whip with your dessert food, go for it! Just make sure that it’s a small amount – Just enough to satisfy your craving.
Is It Safe?
For the average person this is a generally safe diet (after all, it has science backing it up), but if you’re someone that works out a lot or you’re pregnant, there just isn’t enough food to keep your body functioning as it needs to be.
If you’re thinking of going on the lectin diet, it’s advisable that you make an appointment with your healthcare professional or naturopath first, just to make sure that you don’t have any underlying conditions that could make this diet dangerous to you.
Does It Work?
While I don’t know anyone personally that’s tried this specific diet, I have a few friends that have had great success with meal scheduling and portion control. Like I said before, it’s definitely not going to be easy at first. I definitely think that it has the potential to have some amazing and long lasting results if you can manage to stick to it.
You’ll also probably notice that you’re experiencing some pretty wild cravings when you first start out as well. They will subside eventually, I promise (and if they don’t, have a taste of what you want and walk away). And hey, if you fall off the bandwagon get back on – You’re not a failure; weight loss is a life long journey for some people.
Have you given the leptin diet a shot? What type of results did you see? We’d love to hear what your personal experience with this diet was/is – Let us know in the comments section below!
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