Weight Loss: Is it all about willpower, control and motivation? 1 thing you haven't considered
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
This blog is for you if you seem to always be dieting but always ending back at square one.
Leptin: just one of the multiple hormones that can effect how successful or unsuccessful your weight loss efforts are.
Leptin could also be known as our "satisfaction hormone" or our "starvation hormone"
Leptin's role is to tell us when we have eaten enough and we should stop (satisfaction action) and to tell us when we don't have enough energy stored in our fat cells and we need to eat more (starvation action).
Leptin is how your fat cells tell your brain that your energy thermostat is set right
When you diet, lose fat or restrict your energy intake - our Leptin levels decrease, which signals to our brain "energy is in short supply", eat more to increase our energy stores and restore our Leptin levels.
What could this look like in real life scenarios?
Eating a meal - and still feeling hungry.
Never feeling fully satisfied with food, unless you overeat and feel uncomfortably full.
Sticking to your calorie target for 5 days and overeating on the weekend.
"Being good" all day and ending up scoffing a family size Cadbury's that evening.
Feeling "out of control" when you end up over-eating.
This could be the case for you if...
You are currently dieting and keep falling off track and you don't know why you just can't control yourself.
Maybe you are good for a few days and then you end up overeating for a few days ending back at square one.
Maybe you have dieted on and off for years and you keep regaining weight.
& this is just one reason why 95% of diets fail
It is also another reason why you are not a failure for being unable to stick to your diet.
It is not your motivation, willpower or dedication
Yes these definitely play a role, but if you have all of your dieting ducks in a row yet STILL can't seem to stick to a diet, maybe it is time to do some more digging?
If you look up "calorie calculator" on Google, you will find tonnes of automatic calculators which will tell you how much you should be eating
When you think of it, isn't it kind of ridiculous that we think we need to be told an *exact* very specific number of calories to know how much we are allowed to eat? and kind of crazy that we think controlling calories is the only factor we need to consider for weight loss?
When, really, our bodies are designed to do this
We have a complex network of metabolic processes that are designed to send signals to our brain to control our weight, relying on motivation and willpower just isn't going to cut it.
If you are gaining weight or unable to lose weight - something is out of balance in your life or your body.
This blog is about Leptin but, I want to highlight that losing weight is a lot less about controlling your food and a lot more about finding out what is the root cause of your weight struggles. The usual culprits are stress (cortisol), lack of knowledge on what to eat and when, lack of support and accountability, history of yo-yo dieting and disordered eating, hormonal imbalances (Grehlin, insulin, Neuropeptide-Y, Oestrogen, Testosterone, Progesterone), digestive imbalances, mindset and limiting beliefs, the list is endless.
Instead of trying to control and restrict calories, which can create more disordered eating habits, hormonal imbalances and weight regain, it would be more beneficial and longer lasting to identify what is causing you to gain weight and learn how to make your food and lifestyle choices work with your body and your lifestyle not against it, so weight loss and maintenance is easier and long term.
Studies have shown that the more you diet, the more weight you regain after each diet, which is believed to partially down to Leptin. Leptin levels can decrease causing you to feel less satisfied, but Leptin Resistance can also occur when Leptin is in excess, and our brain becomes desensitised to the signals from Leptin.
Think of Leptin like an elastic band when dieting, when you pull it back, it snaps back with force so you ultimately end up overeating as your body tried to restore it's energy reserve.
If you are thinking, but how do I actually lose weight without dieting and restricting my calories?
Weight Loss and maintenance is complicated and individual, no one diet will suit everyone so, we need to start taking a personal approach and stop looking for the quick fixes.