Leptin levels and weight loss go hand in hand for women over 40.
Leptin plays a significant role in many different systems of your body, especially important for the process of releasing excess weight and overall appetite regulation. Leptin’ s job is to communicate to your brain how much fat your body has and needs. Leptin also responds to exercise intensity and duration, as well as the amount of chronic inflammation in your body.[left][/left] [right][/right]Typically, women have at least twice as much leptin as men and there is theory that suggests this causes women to develop “resistance” to leptin.
In other words, leptin may not be able to communicate accurately with the brain when the body is resisting. To make matters worse, when women embark on a typical diet, their leptin levels drop drastically causing miserable cravings and crashes in energy.
Here are some tips for helping leptin do it it’s job so you can release that excess fat without the miserable cravings and energy-crashes that come with extreme dieting.
1. Get more (and better) sleep. Inadequate or poor quality sleep can really mess up leptin levels according to research. A very simple but effective strategy for increasing leptin sensitivity is to ensure that you're getting enough quality sleep. A proper “sleep hygiene” routine is key. I do recommend, from personal experience, trying a combination of melatonin, magnesium citrate to help you sleep if you have trouble. Of course, consult with your health care practitioner first!
2. Move your body – GENTLY at first! Heavy lifting NOT required. Even low intensity regular exercise supports leptin levels and helps leptin tell your brain to go ahead and start releasing that excess fat. Do NOT do heavy duty cardio workouts in the beginning as this only creates more stress for your body. Think gentle, easy movement like brisk walks or swimming.
3. Step away from the snacks! Contrary to what we have heard on other programs, snacking in between meals is often found to mess with our leptin levels. In the beginning of releasing excess weight, we want to give the body a chance to heal. Eating throughout the day only taxes the body. Eat 3 meals, spaced out with at least 3 hours in between and make sure your meals are high protein and chockfull of nutrient-dense, high fiber, non-starchy veggies.
4.Focus on Omega 3. Eat or supplement with Omega-3s (clean fish, grassfed meats, chia seeds) and avoid sources of Omega-6 (vegetable oils, conventional meats, grains, etc) to get inflammation levels DOWN and help support healthy leptin levels.
5. Rethink the Drink! When we drink alcohol it's like injecting straight sugar right into our blood stream. Straight sugar in the bloodstream wreaks havoc on the balance of all our hormones including insulin and leptin.
If you want to read more please check out the book Mastering Leptin by Byron and Mary Richards.