I feel that I will not be able to lose weight
Fear of the unknown is one of the biggest mental obstacles that people face when taking on any new challenge. So let’s shed some light on how you can lose excess fat.
I will try not to be very scientific on how weight loss is achieved, but I want to stress that as part of changing your habits and lifestyle you need to invest some time to understand how your body works. So here we go. In the storing/losing weight process there are mainly two hormones involved. Insulin and Leptin.
Insulin is a hormone triggered by the pancreas every time we eat. Its purpose is three-fold.
- Lower the blood sugar which is elevated due to eating carbohydrates. Certain carbs will generate a bigger spike in your blood sugar and it is of upmost importance for the sugar levels in the bloodstream to remain stable.
- Hence, it allows cells to absorb glucose and leave the bloodstream.
- Excess glucose which is not absorbed by the cells is then stored in the liver and muscles for consumption and at a later point in time as fat if the other deposits there are full. The process of storing glucose as fat is very taxing to the body as this is not an efficient mechanism. You will recognize this when being sleepy after a big carb meal.
There are other functions of insulin but for the purposes of our discussion these are the main one. The liver can store 100g of glucose and the muscles about 500g which will be used for energy and maintain stable blood sugar levels. However, when you eat and trigger insulin every 2-3 hours, those deposits will never be used and the food will most likely be stored as fat. Additionally, if you constantly produce high levels of insulin the cells will start being non-responsive as they can’t make more use of glucose and this will lead to a condition known as Insulin Resistance. That is the first step to diabetes.
Leptin is the hormone that regulates hunger and signals our brain that we are hungry or that we had enough to eat. It is secreted by the fat cells and it is often referred to as the Satiety hormone.
Its function is to control energy, balance and influence the calories you use. This is achieved when you have a proper meal. Then Leptin will signal your brain to stop looking for food. On the other hand, when you are low on energy, Leptin raises and signals your brain to look for energy. Interestingly enough, Leptin is secreted in proportions of how much body fat you have. If you have more body fat you will have higher leptin. If you are performing a calorie restricted diet, leptin will go down and your brain will cause you hunger and sugar cravings. In proper functioning bodies, leptin should be self-regulated according to food intake and burn off but when not, this will lead to Leptin Resistance which works hand-in-hand with Insulin Resistance. This causes the brain to not react to the signals to stop eating and be satisfied. Some of the causes of Leptin Resistance are stress, sleep depravation, over-training, frequent meals, overconsuming simple carbs and trans-fats.
Let’s start with two take-aways.
- Insulin helps maintain our blood-sugar level by acting as a key for the cells to absorb nutrients. However, in the continuous presence of insulin it is very difficult to lose weight.
- To avoid having cravings, satisfying nutrient dense meals are preferred.
We will look into techniques of how effortless weight loss can be achieved starting from the two principles above. Losing weight forever is a lot simpler than it sounds, so stay confident!