Hey everyone, Neil here. It’s been a while, eh? Still training hard and highly motivated, I hope?
You are? Excellent! A big hug and a pat on the back from me! You ROCK!
Hmmmm, the rest of you? Not so much, huh? Life and it’s associated ‘rich tapestry’ got the better of ya?
Tell me ’bout it! Here’s my shoulder. Always here for you, you know that.
Sorry that I’ve not been around as much as I was a couple of years ago but well, let's leave that for another time, in another series of articles I’m sending your way (if you’ll be so kind as to read them, lol) but suffice to say……. I’ve bloomin’ well missed you all and our “bit craic.”
Ahh, now then you at the back! I heard that sigh!
Don’t worry, I’m leaving out the ‘colloquialism’, the ‘ranting’ and the swearing, as entertaining or not (*delete as applicable) as you may have found it from my previous scrolls but you’ll hopefully still be happy to know that the no BS ‘soapbox/high horse' remains intact.
Either way, I’d love to hear from you.
Soooooooooo, Leptin. Have you ever heard of it?
Don’t be coy if you haven’t. Not everyone is aware of Leptin, let alone its function in the body. But getting familiar with its actions might just help you achieve the fat-loss goals you’ve been aiming for.
So, what is it then? Hmmmm, a bit tricky this one but I’ll try and keep this as simple(ish) as I can.
Yes, I’ve touched upon this subject in past articles so please excuse me if I’m repeating myself but the most basic term I’ve come across is ‘the starvation hormone.’
Now to me that maybe sounds a little too blunt and let's face it, a little scary……so let’s call it the “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse” signalling hormone.’
What do I mean by this? Has Neil gone mad and now he’s telling me to starve myself to lose fat?
Errr, nope! Because that simply won’t allow fat loss to happen!
Oh, you’ve tried it?
See, you do about Leptin, after all. You just hadn’t realised it!
OK, let me expand slightly but I’m still going to try my best to keep this simple and light-hearted……
Leptin is found in our fat tissue. It ‘transmits’ certain signals to the brain regarding the energy requirements of the body and the brain then sends signals back as to whether your body should release fat (for energy), or store it (for ‘future’ energy).
So, just as we have with Insulin (which is kinda like Leptin’s hormonal tag-team mate), Leptin ‘sensitivity’ or ‘efficiency’ can be classed in different ways. Or rather the body’s sensitivity or efficiency to Leptin can.
Good, low or in a resistant state.
As you will imagine, a ‘good’ state of Leptin ‘signalling’ means that the ‘communication’ routes between the fat tissue (adipose) and the brain is pretty damn funky.
Happy days. The brain (or rather, the Hypothalamus) ‘calls up’ Leptin and says “hey, how're the fat stores doing down there?”
Leptin shouts back upstairs “all good here man” and the brain keeps the metabolism-a-rocking and all in the garden of metabolic efficiency is rosy.
But... If in our quest to achieve our fat loss goals (note: I didn’t use the term ‘weight loss’), they are two completely different terms of outcome. We’ve been cutting calories to the minutest amounts, doing 17 ‘body-blaster-boot-camp’ sessions per day and a couple of ‘Insanity 3000’ DVDs before bedtime and eating the calorific equivalent of fresh-air, then chances are that your Leptin signalling ain’t so good!
The brain says “whoa” and kinda puts the brake on fat mobilisation (stored fat being used as energy) as it’s now getting ‘starvation’ signals from the body (see, you knew I’d get there eventually) and (again, I’m being basic here) effectively halts your ‘fat burning’ capabilities.
“Yes but Neil” I hear you cry!
”I’m carrying a lot of body fat at the minute, I train hard, I have an active job/working mam, etc so that means I’m hungry all the time. All I want to do is eat! I don’t get the time to eat properly but I used to be able to lose weight when I first started cutting calories and training intensely but it’s all stopped, I’m losing motivation and can’t work out why?"
Yup, I hear ya! And you said weight loss too, lol.
Just as we can become Insulin resistant, we can also become Leptin resistant.
This means that the brain has now ‘turned off the phone’ so to speak (or not…eh, eh, get it).
Ie. it can’t ‘hear’ all the Leptin in the fat tissue screaming down the phone “we’re chocka-block down here…up the metabolism for f’s sake.”
So, what can bring on this ‘breakdown of communications’ you ask?
OK, I’ll tell ya...
- Overly high fructose consumption
- High stress levels (over-training, life stress, etc)
- High consumption of simple carbs (sugars)
- Lack of sleep
- Extended periods of high Insulin levels/Insulin surges (carbs as your fuel source? Hmmmm?)
- Increased blood triglyceride levels
- (Potentially) Wheat (although studies are few on this at the moment)
- Caloric restriction
- Paleo diets….or following ‘Paleo’ too strictly, would be more to the point. Chuck in some white rice every now and again guys, eh?
Soooooooo, Leptin! Any questions at the back?