Are you fed up with fighting to maintain a healthy weight, or still struggling to get off even a few extra pounds that just seem to ‘hang on’ despite you doing everything you possibly can to shed them??
If the answer is yes and you can’t lose weight or maintain it easily, you are like most other busy women. So, if you are tired of saying you can’t lose weight–it is time to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT and work SMARTER to manage your weight and NOT HARDER. It’s time to use the science of fat loss and metabolism control to your advantage so you can effortless maintain your healthy weight without worrying and obsessing about it.
The Science of Fat Loss and keeping a healthy body weight
The science of weight management is about understanding the effects of the neurohormones that regulate metabolism, satiety, blood sugar and mood. I’m going to explain a bit about the science and a few ‘BOTTOM LINES’ to help you use the science NOW to manage your weight better!
The Glycemic Index and the Science of Fat Loss
We will start by a short explanation of the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a well-established way of classifying foods based on their potential to raise blood glucose (blood sugar). High glycemic index diets are typically composed of foods that produce a large rise in blood sugar after a meal and cause large amounts of insulin (the hormone the body produces to lower blood sugar) to get released. This causes oxidative stress in the body (i.e. pro-inflammatory) and promotes creation of new fat cells. Then, a few hours after a big meal of high GI foods, low blood sugar causes hunger again. [Andrea Cignarella , Rodolfo Paoletti and Andrea Poli. The emerging link between nutrition, inflammation and atherosclerosis. Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy. 4.3 (May 2006): p385.]
Bottom line; eating a high glycemic diet (white flour, pastries, fried foods, processed meats, cheeses, ice cream, sugary drinks, all fruit but no veggies) makes you hungry all the time and makes your body create more fat cells!!
Solution: Eat a diet with foods that are LOWER on the GI index, such as whole grains, veggies, legumes, lean meats and fish
Leptin and and the Science of Fat Loss
Leptin is the neurohormone that regulates appetite, weight and satiety (the feeling of feeling ‘satisfied’ from food) Without leptin hormone, the body has no ability to regulate appetite as well as metabolism and obesity results. Genetic leptin deficiency is rare luckily, but very common is leptin resistance. As we acquire more fat cells (or adipose cells) the body cells lose their ability to respond to leptin. It is a viscous circle because the more weight gained, the less ability the body has to control appetite and metabolism and that leads to even more weight gain!
Bottom line: when we eat a high glycemic index diet, we develop cravings for more bad foods, and these ‘quick sugar foods’ get turned into fat, which leads to leptin resistance and more fat cells. Then once you have leptin resistance, your body loses the ability to feel satisfied after a meal, leading to us eating more and us wanting to reach for those unhealthy foods that will satisfy the increasingly difficult to control cravings we have created by eating high GI foods!
Cortisol and Fat
Now throw cortisol into the mix. Cortisol is the stress hormone of the body. Humans were designed to secrete this hormone in times of acute stress (i.e. chased by a saber-toothed tiger). However, in our modern life, there is little acute stress but widespread chronic stress, from our daily lives that consist of sedentary work for at least 8-10 hours a day, poor diet and not enough exercise. Now, cortisol is being secreted every day under these chronic stress conditions and that cortisol is wreaking havoc on the body. Cortisol causes fat cells to be retained, especially around the middle of the body more so than the arms and legs. It also causes the body to crave sugars, and high glycemic index foods.
Bottom line: When you are stressed out and not getting rid of chronic stress, your cortisol levels are high in the body, making the body hold on to every fat cell for dear life (and making it TEN TIMES more difficult to lose weight or keep weight stable!!)
Serotonin and Fat
Finally, add the effect of serotonin pathways on appetite and cravings. Serotonin is the body’s ‘happy hormone.’ People who suffer from depression have lower serotonin levels than non-depressed people. Certain foods also increase serotonin levels—mainly carbohydrates but also chocolate. This is why when we are in an emotional slump; often these are the foods that are craved.
Bottom Line: When we are stressed, we will crave those ‘bad carbs’ that are high on the glycemic index to get more of the ‘happy hormone’
So what can you do???
- Eat a Low GI Diet
- Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet (see my article on this to get started!)
- Find a stress management strategy that works:
- For example, I work with clients using a customized stress-managment system that combines breathing techniques, custom audio recordings, 5 minute exercises and dietary support. I use specific techniques such as the Healing Breath, Veloma Breathing, parasympathetic nervous system stimulating exercises such as seated forward bends, childs pose (from Yoga), guided relaxation recordings and Omega 3 fatty acid dietary supplementation.
to SUM IT UP..
Final Bottom Line: Creating balance in your life and keeping it is critical to weight management and maintaining good energy levels–when your life is out of balance, your weight will be too and you will suffer from chronic fatigue and low mood. Regular exercise and relaxation practices are crucial to keeping our serotonin levels up especially in our busy modern lives.