Why Can’t I Lose Weight? Part 3
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Hidden Culprits that Sabotage Weight Loss: Starving Yourself
Someone once asked me if I could have any super power in the universe what would I chose? Without hesitation I said, “I want my “Super Power” to be that I could eat any food I want, in as much quantities I want, and never gain weight.”
In reality, of course I want more important things like world peace and the eradication of pain and suffering, but this was fantasy question and for someone who’s struggled with weight loss their entire life I allowed myself a split second of selfish fantasy for the intent of a chuckle. But this silly dialog made me look hard at one of the top issues that affect a body’s ability to lose weight.
One of the most popular misconceptions is that eating as little food as possible induces fat reduction. This common misunderstanding is actually counterintuitive because as soon as you stop eating at a normal level, your body will adapt by slowing down metabolic rate. This means you do not lose any excess fat because your system induces your metabolism to a slow crawl.
The goal is to keep your metabolism running at fat burning speed even while cutting calories. There is clinical proof that supports the following, unless you restrict calories in the proper cycles and eat sufficient amounts of high quality protein you will sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Let’s face it, when you say you want to lose weight, what you actually want to lose is fat. If you starve yourself almost 25 percent of that weight loss can be made up of water and lean muscle tissue. Yes, the very same lean muscle that will keep your body a fat burning machine forever.
The reason for this is that the human body is actually programmed to hold on to fat to survive times of famine. The body does not recognize that in modern times food is always available. So in times of what your body considers to be ‘famine’ induced by your voluntarily cutting calories, it will actually go directly to breaking down muscle and losing water in order to hold on to its fat reserves.
There’s also the question of metabolism. When you crash diet, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy and make the most out of the small amounts you are eating. What happens when you go back to eating normally? Well, everything you eat is being dealt with at a much slower rate and more fat is stored. So why does this always happen?
Part of the answer to millions of years of evolution lies in the single most important fat-burning hormone in your body named Leptin. Leptin is a critically important hormone that helps control or influence practically every other weight loss hormone in your body…and is responsible for regulating your ability to burn fat as a whole.1-3
Here’s the facts: just about everyone is unintentionally fighting an uphill battle with leptin each and every time they attempt to lose weight. With that discovered, it’s pretty easy to see why so many dieters, perhaps you’re among them, struggle to shed their unwanted belly fat, month after month, year after year.
In order to burn fat, your body depends on these two things:
1) High levels of leptin*
2) Highly-sensitive leptin “receptors”*
Now for the bad news (and don’t worry, stay with me solutions are coming!)… Anytime you go on a diet and reduce your calorie intake, leptin levels nose-dive and fat burning is radically reduced.7-9 Why? Because leptin’s main function is to protect your body against starvation, and in the midst of decreased food intake (i.e. be it dieting or famine, you’re body doesn’t know the difference, nor does it care!), your body unfortunately views your stored body fat as a huge asset to survival. After all, body fat provides a vast supply of stored energy and warmth, both highly-valued resources when food is intentionally restricted or in short supply.
The result: reduced leptin levels…which triggers decreased fat-burning. In fact, some research has shown that leptin levels can drop by as much as 50% after just 7 days of dieting… that puts you at only 50% of your fat-burning potential just one week in to your fat loss program, and it only gets worse with each passing day.10,11
And if that wasn’t bad enough, with every pound you do struggle to lose, leptin levels fall even further, making it even more difficult for you to continue to lose fat.12,13 Why? Because, as discussed, in spite of calorie limitation, your body views stored body fat as your answer to survival. The more body fat you lose, the more “threat” your body senses, and the harder it is to drop that next pound.
This scenario illustrates only half the dilemma. The other bad news is that most people are unable to proficiently utilize leptin due to years of high body fat levels and a diet full of processed foods.14-16
Finally the good news, depending on the amount of weight you are trying to lose research has led to the discovery of both a diet protocol and a diet supplement formula which was scientifically designed to approach leptin from two different angles: production and sensitivity.
The Diet Protocol:
A recent discovery in regard to leptin may have relevance to our understanding of the way Dr. Simeons HCG Diet Protocol works its magic. In the August 2007 issue of The Journal of Endocrinology, a research paper was published which states: “hCG significantly stimulates the secretion of the pro-adipogenic factor, leptin, from human adipose tissue.” Nobody is able to figure out precisely how these two protein hormones interact however, it looks likely that leptin and hCG – together with insulin – work to determine the way the body both stores and burns fat. Animal studies have shown clearly not only that leptin and hCG influence each other but that the effect that leptin exerts on insulin also creates an indirect response between insulin and hCG.
The essential thing for you to remember is what these three protein-based hormones have in common: Extreme amounts of leptin and insulin in the body leads to resistance so your body cannot utilize either. Instead of utilizing them on a cellular level, they will undermine your health. Insulin resistance leads to metabolic syndrome, also called Syndrome X, obesity and diabetes. Leptin resistance leads to the storing of adipose fats. hCG appears to restore both insulin and leptin sensitivity, which is likely to be one of the reasons it is so successful for weight loss.
The Conclusions about the HCG Diet:
Simeons’ “Obesity Cure” is indeed delivering on its promises – whether or not we will ever have sufficient, unbiased research to “prove” this beyond reasonable doubt. What is the important difference between the HCG Diet Plan and the other weight loss diets which end in frustration for so many who try them? The answer is simple.
No other weight loss program addresses the root cause of obesity. Simeons’ protocol targets inessential fat deposits, enabling the body to restore its natural shape and form. It does not burn essential structural fat nor muscle tissue the way other diets do. Abnormal hunger disappears on the program. One no longer has to deal with a sense of deprivation or call on will power. The HCG Diet accomplishes these things by resetting the metabolism via the hypothalamus in the brain. Read more about the HCG Diet here…
Now understand the following, and this is going to be difficult for a lot of people to accept—calories still count. But it’s the type and quality of the calories you consume, and when you eat them, that can make all the difference in the world.
Anyone will lose weight by consuming less calories than they burn. But the difference in the physiques between weight losses that occur in a body eating 1,000 calories of Twizzlers a day compared to a body eating 1,000 calories of lean, high quality protein a day would be unmistakable. A radical and unlikely example, but you get my point.
We’ve all seen “skinny” fat people. Bodies that appear to be very thin with no muscle tone and skin that seemingly hangs on their frame. Most people are simply not getting enough high quality protein in their diets these days and require supplementation and if you are a vegetarian or vegan your supplementation needs will be even greater.
I don’t know about the rest of you ladies out there, but I know what body I would chose:
Leptin is a critically important hormone that helps control or influence practically every other weight loss hormone in your body and must be balanced by proper diet, and or, assisted with supplementation.
The hCG Diet addresses Leptin sensitivity and assists with your body’s production of, and sensitivity to, this single most important hormone in the fat-loss equation.
The type and quality of the calories you consume, and when you eat them, can make all the difference in the world. High quality, low carb protein is one of the most important supplements to promote lean, sexy muscle tone.
Anyone who has ever dieted has experience with this common weight loss saboteur whether aware or not. Some dieters may have never heard of Leptin before today. My best advice is to do your research and chose the best diet program for your own personal needs.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or to share your own story about the HCG Diet or Leptin resistance.
Best Regards on Your Journey to Health & Fitness!
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- Van Dijk G. The role of leptin in regulation of energy balance and adiposity. J Neuroendocrinol 2001 Oct;13(10):913-21.
- Ahima RS, et al. Leptin regulation of neuroendocrine systems. Front Neuroendocrinolgy 2000 Jul;21(3):263-307.
- Kennedy A et al. The metabolic significance of leptin in humans: gender-based differences in relationship to adiposity, insulin sensitivity, and energy expenditure. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Apr;82(4):1293-300.
- Ahima RS, Flier JS. Leptin. Annu Rev Physiol. 2000;62:413-37. Review.
- Doucet E et al. Changes in energy expenditure and substrate oxidation resulting from weight loss in obese men and women: is there an important contribution of leptin? J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Apr;85(4):1550-6.
- Miyawaki T et al. Clinical implications of leptin and its potential humoral regulators in long-term low-calorie diet therapy for obese humans. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;56(7):593-600.
- Mars M et al. Fasting leptin and appetite responses induced by a 4-day 65%-energy-restricted diet. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Jan;30(1):122-8.
- Boden G et al. Effect of fasting on serum leptin in normal human subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 Sep;81(9):3419-23.
- Weigle DS et al. Effect of fasting, refeeding, and dietary fat restriction on plasma leptin levels. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Feb;82(2):561-5.
- Dubuc GR, Havel PJ et al. Changes of serum leptin and endocrine and metabolic parameters after 7 days of energy restriction in men and women. Metabolism. 1998 Apr;47(4):429-34.
- Wisse BE et al. Effect of prolonged moderate and severe energy restriction and refeeding on plasma leptin concentrations in obese women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Sep;70(3):321-30.
Levine AS and CK Billington. Do circulating leptin concentrations reflect body adiposity or energy flux? Am J Cline Nutr. 1998. 68: 761-762
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- Bowles L, Kopelman P. Leptin: of mice and men? J Clin Pathol 2001 Jan;54(1):1-3
- Zimmet P. Serum leptin concentration, obesity, and insulin resistance in Western Samoans: cross sectional study. BMJ. 1996 Oct 19;313(7063):965-9.
- Nedvidkova J. Leptin. Cesk Fysiol. 1997 Dec;46(4):182-8. Review.