Cravings, Lifestyle and Hormones, OH MY!!
By Lori Strand
The word ‘diet’ is thrown around a lot in today’s society. Everyone is always talking about the newest, trendiest thing to get fit, lose weight and feel better . It’s plastered all over magazines, social media and it seems to always be the buzz . The options seem endless and the question is, what is the right one for you and what will actually work?
The definition of a diet is the controlled or restricted consumption of food or drink for a particular purpose. If I am going to be honest, you will never achieve what you are looking for by following the latest diet. Let’s flip the script and instead of dieting let’s talk about lifestyle. The definition of lifestyle is the way in which a person lives. You don’t want to be restricted to a cabbage soup diet, cutting calories or pills for the rest of your life. While some of those methods can work they are not sustainable, they are not a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle is more than what you consume; it’s how you eat , when you eat, your mindset and how your hormones are working.
In this article I am going to dive into a lifestyle change that is scientifically proven to work for our bodies . We will address how it works and the five simple rules you need to implement to have a healthier lifestyle.
Have you ever heard that our stomach is our second brain? It’s true, they are directly linked to each other ! Your gut and brain are connected through millions of nerves. There is a network of neurons in the lining of your gut that not only help with digestion but also can play a big role in diseases throughout the whole body and your mental health. There is a particular hormone that is produced in our fat cells that does the talking between our brain and stomach , it is called Leptin.
Leptin is the one that tells your brain if it is hungry or not. It signals to your brain if you need to store fat or burn it and it manages your metabolism. Sounds crucial, right? Unfortunately it is common to see this hormone not working properly for most people.
You may ask , how did my leptin stop working for me? Well what we eat directly affects our hormone levels and production. Poor eating choices and a lifestyle of unhealthy habits prevents our body from receiving signals from our hormones. In this particular case it is called ‘leptin resistant’. Which means your hunger/ full signals, cravings and metabolism are all suffering because your brain can not receive the proper message from your hormones!
Here are some symptoms you may be experiencing if you have leptin resistance; always feeling hungry at night and grabbing that bedtime snack, not feeling hungry in the morning, craving sweets, needing snacks between meals, eating lots of carbs for meals and crashing a few hours later. Sound familiar ?
If you don’t correct this issue you will keep riding the roller coaster with your health.
The connection between leptin and your brain needs to be fixed or you are headed for obesity, diabetes, heart disease , GI issues and even cognitive decline.
However there is hope!! You can reverse this resistance and get your body back on track. Here are 5 rules to get your Leptin working for you.
- NEVER eat after dinner- allow 11-12 hours between supper and breakfast , never go to bed on a full stomach , finish supper 3 hours before bed. Now I can understand life happens sometimes so try your best with this rule.
- Eat 3 meals a day and allow 5-6 hours between meals. An afternoon snack is permissible if you are a diabetic, extremely active young adult , bodybuilder or a child.
- Do NOT eat large meals. Try to finish eating when you are slightly less than full. The full signal takes 15-20 minutes to catch up to your brain , so SLOW down.
- Eat protein for breakfast . It is the most important meal of the day!
- Reduce the amount of carbohydrates that you eat. Specifically processed carbs!
You might think to yourself, I follow some of these rules, isn’t that good enough? The answer is no. They must all be implemented together to truly work! I can hear you all saying “I seriously can’t eat in the morning” or “I will starve without my afternoon snack” but what we need to acknowledge is that is a pretty good indicator you have a leptin problem!
You already know where you are headed if you don’t make a change. I promise it will get easier as your body figures out how to communicate again. Start with one step at a time and choose the rule that will be easiest for you. Once you have that rule down, move to the next one . Some rules may have to be more gradual than the others. An example would be if you eat 2 snacks a day try reducing down to one snack a day then when you feel ready, get rid of that final snack .
Who knew a little thing called Leptin plays such an important role in our bodies? But now you know and you have the tools to fix it. You can search the world over for the perfect diet but I guarantee you it will never sustain you the way a healthy lifestyle will. Choosing a healthy lifestyle will eliminate crazy rules and yoyo effects . Follow the science and let your gut and brain do the talking!