Week 6: Day 4

2021 Wellness Program “The Beauty Chef”

The Ongoing Battle with Hunger

The people who fail at weight loss do so not because their eating plan or exercise plan stops working. It’s likely more because they stop practicing the healthy lifestyles. It can occur at any point in the process of weight loss, and it is often when people start to believe that they don’t have enough willpower. But answer to why people begin to feel a lack of willpower is not that simple. Hunger and appetite issues are physical signals from the body. If those signals are strong enough willpower may not be enough.

Hunger is mostly regulated by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. (There are some other hunger hormones and peptides that come into play as well, but we will focus on the two key hormones). Normally, when you eat, leptin levels increase after a meal, and it sends a signal to the hypothalamus in the brain to tell you to stop eating. Ghrelin, on the other hand, increases when you haven’t eaten for a while or when you reduce the amount of food that you eat. Ghrelin is a hunger stimulating hormone that increases your urge to eat.

So in a perfect world, all of us would have enough leptin to curb hunger and appetite, and just enough ghrelin to “remind” us to eat from time to time. When leptin and ghrelin work in harmony with one another the result is prevention of excess eating and maintenance of appropriate appetite control.

Sometime the levels of leptin or ghrelin levels can become imbalanced or stop working in sync with one another. When this happens, it becomes harder to lose weight or to control strong urges to eat.

The person who gains weight and more body fat actually develops high leptin levels, and low ghrelin levels. Even though leptin should help to curb appetite, the mechanism is faulty in the overweight person who continues to gain weight. If this person goes on to lose weight, the leptin levels start to drop and ghrelin increases. Why? Because when calories are reduced, the normal physiologic response then switches to less leptin and more ghrelin. The end result can be increased hunger, decreased satiety (the feeling that you have had enough to eat), and you guessed it…weight regain.

The physiology of weight loss is an issue that has to be reckoned with, and at this point you may be thinking that long term weight control is a hopeless endeavor. Well we’re here to tell you that it’s not hopeless. If you understand what could happen and why, you will realize the importance of taking steps to keep the leptin and ghrelin hormones in better balance.

The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and The Obesity Society have studied the issue of weight regain and maintenance. They have set forward these weight management guidelines for the long-term weight loss maintenance:

Maintain physical activity. In the early stages of weight loss, simply getting exercise was perhaps your goal. Now it’s time to increase the amount of time spent on physical activity. The recommendation: 200 – 300 minutes per week (3-5 hours)

Revise your calorie intake based on your new weight and amount/intensity of physical activity.

Monitor your body weight. Studies have indicated that frequent weighing (daily or at least weekly) at this stage of the weight loss process helps prevent relapses.

In addition to the above guidelines, emerging research on the subject of weight regain suggests these steps as well:

  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake… we know, you’ve read this before ?
  • Increase water intake
  • Eat breakfast regularly
  • Reduce frequency of snacking unless planned as part of daily caloric intake
  • Choose nutrient dense foods

 


HOMEWORK

This Wellness Program has not been about weight loss specifically, but some of you may have lost weight.

Either way – this is valuable information when it comes to understanding why LIFESTYLE is so important to your health.

So put it all together… Your track-able plan, your new approach to understanding food and gut wellness, adding fitness to your routine, finding Joy in everything you do, taking time to be quiet, being kind with your words…

Take a walk on the beach. Its beautiful out there!

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