Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Leptin - Finally, a Hack that Seems to Work!

I've been at this a while. Okay, not as long as some people but I put a good 6 months in Paleo last year although I wasn't terribly serious but this year I've been at it for 8 months or so and I've been pretty damn serious. Yet my average weight loss is fairy unimpressive. Each of my experiments with different approaches to dieting has been about finding what works for me and also, ideally a hack that speeds things up a bit. I'll settle for just an extra few pounds every now and then. I'm not talking shop vac in the rectum on full power fat extraction, but just an occasional blip to provide a little extra kick of motivation. Is that too much to ask? Well up until recently I would have said, "yep, sorry dude, you've been a fat bastard for decades so don't expect it to change overnight". About six weeks ago after deciding that leangains style IF wasn't working for me I discovered Leptin and Dr Kruse's (Dr K) blog (see my regular reading widget).

When I first started looking I decided that I was already eating Primal which is what Dr K recommends so following his additional recommendations wouldn't be a big deal. For the first few weeks it was difficult because my daughter was born and honestly a somewhat stale, still cold from the fridge turkey sub is like crack after being up all night. So lectins and antinutrients be damned I'm downing that bread-narcotic and triglycerides and denser LDL particles can just go on forming that day. Then 3.5 weeks ago I started to get serious about it. Wow, it's an interesting experience. Since starting on it I'm losing an average of 3 lb a week. I NEVER. EVER. lose that fast. I've only got three weeks of proof so far, but hey, I'll take it, 9 lb in three weeks, sign me up! Will it continue this week? I hope so, but even if it doesn't, I'm still 9 lb closer to my goal.

So how does it work?

1. Eat a BIG breakfast within 30 minutes of waking. You can bend the 30 minute rule, but the BAB (Big Arse Breakfast) is required.
2. Breakfast should consist of 50-75g of protein and very little carbs. Don’t worry about fat and calories.
3. Do not snack, ever.
4. Leave at least 5 hours between meals
5. Eat lunch if you feel hungry, also make it low carb.
6. Keep carbs below roughly 50g per day
7. Eat a normal dinner, keep carbs low of course, to stay under 50g a day
8. Over time, try to phase out lunch and eat two meals a day. Eat more protein in the morning if you find yourself getting hungry before dinner.
9. Don’t worry about exercise initially

The goal is to do this for six weeks. I'm not counting the first 5 because I had a cheat meal every weekend. I started the six week clock last week so I'm 1.5 weeks into the 6 week reset.

The premise of this approach is that it resets your Leptin Sensitivity. Leptin is the master control hormone, the more body fat you have the higher your Leptin levels. Leptin is supposed to suppress appetite but when the levels are chronically elevated (yes, that would be me) we become Leptin Resistant. This effectively means the communication between the trillion cells in the body and the brain is no longer functioning appropriately. This has a whole heap of biochemical implications one of which is appetite control but others are insulin related and fat storage related. So it’s a vicious cycle the more fat you have the higher Leptin levels the more fat you will accumulate and store. This approach to eating helps reestablish Leptin Sensitivity, it can take a little while to settle in and 6 weeks are not always enough to achieve the reset but it’s a start.

From what I can gather, the big protein breakfast is really meant to help control cravings and suppress appetite. It does both for me. I can go all day without even thinking about food now. In the interest of full disclosure I do find I am eating less calories. Is the weight loss a result of the increase in Leptin Sensitivity or the reduction in calories. Not sure, although I'm not eating that much less than I did before. I am also not snacking at all. I have noticed other changes that Dr K refers to such as sweating more and increased libido.

So is a Leptin Reset the answer for me? So far it's working well, if I improve Leptin sensitivity it should help me continue to lose weight and keep it off.

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