Always hungry? Maybe this hormone is out of whack!

 

I know there’s many people out there that no matter how much they eat, they are still hungry.  They can eat a half of a pizza, plus have dessert and they’re still hungry afterwards.  Does this sound like you?  Well it could be possible that it’s a condition called Leptin Resistance.

To understand leptin resistance, you first have to understand the role the hormone leptin plays in your metabolism. When you’ve eaten a meal, the fat cells throughout your body release leptin, which travels to the hypothalamus which is the part of your brain that helps regulate appetite.  While there, it switches off neuropeptide Y — a protein that tells your brain you’re hungry — and switches on appetite-suppressing signals. In other words, it gives your brain the message to stop being hungry and start burning calories.

You’d think, then, that low levels of leptin would be the cause of an unstoppable appetite, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some research indicates that many people who are overweight actually have very high levels of leptin. How could this be? Well, the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce. And when the body continually cranks out excess levels of leptin in response to overeating, the receptors for leptin in the hypothalamus can start to get worn out and no longer recognize it. People with leptin resistance have high circulating levels of leptin, but the receptors are “deaf” to it, so it can’t shut off appetite or stimulate your metabolism.

This vicious circle is similar to what happens when a person develops resistance to insulin, the hormone that allows your cells to use the glucose in your blood. (Insulin resistance can cause high blood glucose levels and eventually lead to diabetes.) In fact, the two conditions often go hand in hand, and research suggests that leptin resistance may be reversed in the same way that insulin resistance can be reversed — by exercising, eating right, and losing weight.

The Role of Fat

You probably don’t think of fat as an acetive part of your body, do you? Although researchers used to believe that fat cells were just big blobs of yuck waiting to get bigger or smaller, they now know that fat is an enormous endocrine gland, actively producing and reacting to hormones. The less fat you have, the less likely you are to overload your leptin receptors and deafen them to what leptin is trying to tell them — one more reason that fat-burning exercise is crucial for a healthy hormone balance!

What’s preventing you from losing the weight?

Lack of Exercise

I can’t tell you how many people just let exercise slide as they get older — then turn around and blame their lagging metabolism on their hormones. Yes, as we age, our hormones naturally shift in ways that encourage weight gain. But it’s just too easy to blame your protruding belly on your advancing years. The truth is, you probably haven’t been taking care of yourself! The more you eat clean, live clean, and work out, the better your hormone balance will be, and the healthier your metabolism will remain.

The first thing you should do is step on the treadmill. Exercise reduces weight-gain hormones like cortisol by releasing endorphins to combat stress, and it increases fat-burning hormones like testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone.  Not to mention, every pound of muscle burns three times more calories than every pound of fat does. You need exercise. Period.

Yo-yo Dieting

Some people go to crazy extremes to lose weight. They may cut out entire macronutrients, like carbs or fats. This type of dieting directly disrupts your hormone balance, sending survival messages to your body to store fat and slow your metabolism in case the state of famine persists.

Most “weight cyclers” — also known as yo-yo dieters — have been on diets all their lives. This up-and-down pattern makes each weight-loss attempt more frustrating than the one before — especially if you lost weight by starving your body. Starvation diets prompt your body to cannibalize your muscles for fuel. Without that muscle, your metabolism is slowed further, and your powerful metabolic thyroid hormones are lowered.

If you’re desperate to lose weight, you may figure that there’s no harm in consuming a measly 800 calories a day for a couple of weeks. But then what happens? After you return to what would be considered normal eating — roughly 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day — you’re toast! Your sensitivity to leptin (which plays a key role in regulating energy intake and expenditure, including appetite and hunger, metabolism, and behaviour) and your insulin has taken a hit. Your gherlin (a hormone produced mainly by P/D1 cells lining the fungus of the human stomach and epsilon cells of the pancreas that stimulates hunger. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals.) shot through the roof. And you wonder why the weight returns…

Processed Foods

Our 21st-century diet is composed primarily of corn, soy, and wheat — whether or not we ever recognize them on our plates. Just pick up a typical packaged food and check the ingredients list — you’re likely to find refined wheat flour, hydrolyzed soy protein, partially hydrogenated corn oil, and/or high-fructose corn syrup.

Food manufacturers add a whole shit load of chemicals to these incredibly cheap, incredibly bland ingredients to make them taste good. Some evidence even suggests that the food-science industry is tinkering around with your neurochemistry by throwing in addictive junk that makes you want to eat more — and more and more. Until the government decides to step in and keep the food industry from stocking the shelves with toxic processed foods, it’s up to you to protect yourself

Too Much Stress, Not Enough Sleep

Stress is like kryptonite for your hormones — just a bit can throw them entirely out of whack. Among other things, stress may lead to:

  • Leptin resistance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lower estrogen in women
  • Lower testosterone in men
  • Lower levels of growth hormone
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • Impaired thyroid hormone

Any one of these changes could slow your metabolism and cause you to gain weight. Add them together, and throw in all the behavioral responses that accompany stress — mindless snacking, not exercising, consuming too much caffeine or alcohol — and you can see that stress is a majorendocrine disruptor.

One of the biggest causes, as well as a symptom, of stress-induced hormonal upheaval occurs when people cut their hours of quality sleep. Studies have shown that when sleep is restricted for even a couple of nights in a row, your body’s levels of the satiety hormone leptin drop, and levels of the hunger hormone gherkin shoot up, along with your appetite for sweets, breads and pastas, and salty foods.

In a study of healthy people who were deprived for three days of the ability to reach deep sleep — the period in which most of the body’s growth hormone is released — the subjects’ ability to process sugar dropped by about 20 percent. In other words, they became insulin resistant in only 72 hours. The point is, you need your rest!

Pharmaceutical Overload

Drug companies have become very creative about selling people on new “lifestyle” diseases. Whether you’re sad, anxious, angry, or hyper — or have any other human feeling — they have a drug to “medicate” it away. In addition to the obvious hormone jostling caused by birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, disruptions are produced by chemicals contained in many other pharmaceuticals. For example, a common class of antidepressants — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — has been linked to higher rates of metabolic syndrome. And weight gain can be caused by diabetes medications, antihistamines, mood stabilizers, and steroid hormones. All these pharmaceuticals can seriously affect your hormonal health. Of course, some people are taking their medications for very good reasons, and sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks. Never stop taking the medicines you’ve been prescribed without first talking the matter over with your doctor — suddenly stopping some medications, such as steroids, is actually very dangerous. Your doctor can help you decide what’s truly necessary for you to take.

This is something I’ve been thinking of lately.  I have been thinking of talking to my doctor to wean myself off my antidepressants.  I feel that it’s not helping really.  Plus, since Ive changed medications… my appetite has been out of control.  And I know I’ve gained weight.  So who knows what’s going on with my body.

Certain herbs, vitamins, and other supplements can also have very powerful hormonal effects — especially when combined with any meds prescribed by your doctor. So if you don’t tell your doctor you’re taking them, you risk doing some real damage to your endocrine system.

Cigarettes

Okay, here’s a no-brainer: Smoking is bad for you. But you probably never suspected some of the ways in which it’s bad. This destructive little habit affects a slew of endocrine glands — pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, testicles, and ovaries — in addition to the lungs, heart, brain, and, oh yeah, every other cell in your body.

To give you a breakdown of the metabolic risks, smoking helps cause insulin resistance and drives up your cortisol levels. It can make you infertile and throw your body into menopause years before your time. Smoking is also a huge risk factor for problems with your thyroid.

Think quitting will make you fat? I have news for you: Smoking fills your body with a number of pollutants that not only won’t help you lose weight but will make you fat. Seriously, people, just don’t do it.

A Super-sized Culture

The final factor on our list of hormone disruptors, and a reason that’s often cited for our society’s excess pounds, is the idea that more is good and bigger is better when it comes to food.

There’s no denying that we’re struggling with an environment that conspires to make and keep us fat. Restaurant portion sizes have increased 500 percent since the 1970s. On average, the typical American eats about 23 pounds of candy and drinks 35 gallons of regular pop a year. Add to these statistics remote controls, a few million TV channels, Internet addictions, longer commutes, extended workweeks, no sidewalks, drive-throughs, supersizing… and you can see why we’re a nation filled with overweight children and adults.

And this epidemic of “too much” isn’t just a harmless symptom of our supposedly greedy appetites. I want you to see this caloric excess as a highly profitable, corporately sanctioned endocrine disruptor every bit as disturbing as the pesticides and pharmaceuticals you’re putting into your body.

Look at overblown fast foods and huge portions as poisonous in and of themselves, and realize that by cutting back, you’re not depriving yourself — you’re sidestepping an enormous black hole of toxins in our environment. Toss the pop, keep reading about nutrition, and follow a diet that gets you to a place where your metabolism and hormones start working for you.

Come on guys! We can do this!  Let’s make 2014 the healthiest year yet!

Merry Christmas! Try this healthy dish!

A New Twist on a Hearty Winter Dish

With the mercury dropping outside (and, in some cases, the snow piling up), a hearty meal might just be in store. This hearty dish combines lean protein with sweet (and a little tart) Granny Smith apple to make your taste buds happy without messing with your hunger-hormone ghrelin. Add some simple puréed winter squash on the side to round out this delicious dish!

 

 

Pork Chops With Apples and Thyme

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 16 ounces boneless pork loin chops, (4 4-ounce chops), 1/2 inch thick, trimmed of fat
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple (or any tart apple), peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup organic apple cider, or organic apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Preparation

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons broth and cornstarch in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chops and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add onion to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until it starts to soften and brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add apple and cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining broth, cider (or juice), mustard, thyme and the cornstarch mixture.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring, until thickened and glossy, about 1 minute. Return the chops to the pan and heat through. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

What exactly are processed foods?

Processed foods are a major contributor to weight gain, and they can harm your health in many ways, which is why it is imperative that you know how to spot them and avoid them.

Processed food is anything that has been altered from its natural state. It can be fruit that has been canned and blasted with chemical preservatives to make it last longer; it can be dehydrated fruits or vegetables, canned soda, or oils that have been chemically altered (hydrogenated) to increase their shelf life and enhance their flavor. It’s also those pesky refined grains. Regardless of how they are used, most of the time these processed foods have been stripped of a large part of their true nutritional content. Some processed foods, however — like frozen or prechopped veggies — can be a godsend, saving us time when cooking. They may not be as ideal as food bought in season from a local farmers’ market, but I’m a realist, and whole processed foods help us walk the right path to healthier lives.

The bad processed foods are those that are made with refined grains, vegetable oils, and added sugar. The thing about processed foods is that they can be harmful in many different ways. For example, you might think you’re eating healthy by having a salad with bottled fat-free ranch dressing, and you’d never even think about the fact that the dressing contains chemical flavor enhancers, such as MSG. Nonorganic processed meats often contain sodium nitrate and nitrite, which may contribute to colon cancer and metabolic syndrome. But you probably don’t think about that as you patiently wait for your number to be called at the deli counter. Are you starting to see the big picture?

The reality is, it’s a lot easier to talk about avoiding processed foods than to actually avoid them! Look at it positively: Eating more whole foods means eating the things we were meant to eat in the first place — things that have a real life and have a “mother.” We should be eating fresh fruits, vegetables, organic lean meats, organic dairy, and whole grains. All that other stuff is full of empty calories that will do nothing but hinder our ability to reach a state of maximum health and wellness.

If you shop at an all-organic market or food co-op, you’re already taking a step in the right direction; however, you still need to look out for processed foods. Check the labels on all the foods you buy. If you see any ingredients that look questionable, don’t buy the food! If you see an unpronounceable list of ingredients that look like gibberish, put the item back on the shelf! Go with foods that are truly natural and contain minimal ingredients. More specifically, don’t buy anything containing:

  • Anything not 100 percent whole wheat
  • Trans fats or hydrogenated oils
  • Corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup
  • A chemical
  • MSG
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Sodium nitrate or nitrite
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Potassium benzoate

MONDAY MYTH BUSTER

MYTH: Never Eat Before Bed

The Truth: It doesn’t matter what time you eat — the only thing that matters is the amount of calories you’re consuming.

We all have crazy schedules these days, so rules of how to dictate what time you eat can be pretty hard to follow. Is it really necessary to restrict your meals to certain times to lose weight? Keep reading to watch me bust this myth once and for all.

Calories don’t tell time. This myth stems from the long-rumored belief that you should stop eating two hours before you go to sleep. Has any reputable expert ever stated that this myth is fact? No, simply because it’s a bunch of B.S. You don’t gain more fat from the calories you consume if you eat them at 9 p.m. versus 7 p.m. Like I stated above, calories don’t tell time! You will consume the same amount of calories whether you eat them earlier or later, and your body will digest those calories the exactsame way.

Late-night meals can lead to overeating. The one caveat of this myth is that when people eat later at night, they tend to consume more calories. Late-night eating is associated with obesity because if you’re waiting to eat until very late, you may wind up overeating. It may be that you’re a late-night snacker and your snack choices and quantities get out of control, or you eat a really late dinner and wind up splurging on a gluttonous dessert. Yet remember, it’s the food that is making you fat in this case, not the fact that you’re eating before bed. If you must eat later at night, plan your meals out ahead of time and don’t eat more than you intended.

Eating late at night may cause you to skip breakfast.  Another thing that happens when you eat late at night is that you might still feel full the following morning. This could result in you skipping breakfast. As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and study after study has supported that fact. A healthy breakfast helps you reduce your hunger throughout the day and gives you energy. If you skip breakfast, you’ll end up ravenous at lunchtime and eat way more calories than intended. So even if you eat late at night and wake up still feeling relatively full, have a light breakfast like a piece of fruit with nuts or a low-fat Greek yogurt — it will help to control your hunger throughout the rest of the day!

The Bottom Line:

You’ll consume the same amount of calories whenever you decide to eat — yet when some people eat late at night, they’re more likely to over eat and skip breakfast the next day. Keep that in mind and plan your meals out ahead of time, and avoid overeating by stopping eating when you are full!

GET REAL WITH YOURSELF!

Get real with yourself!

I personally know that it’s easy to let the media – and the world – dictate how we think we should look and feel.  It’s time to stop and get real!

We have to know that the first step on the road to total health and living our best lives is simple: We can’t achieve success if we’re not moving toward something.  So, before we do anything else, we have to set goals!  Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. It’s easy to say to yourself that you want to look like an ac­tion hero or a supermodel. It’s a little bit different to arrive at an ultimate goal that’s both ambitious and attainable.

What’s attainable, you ask? In our day-to-day lives we’re bombarded with images of supposed perfection and beauty all the time; it’s easy to let the media and the world at large dictate how you feel you should look and consequently how you feel about how you do look. That’s got to stop.  Trust me, I’m the first one to compare myself to others – it sucks! It doesn’t help with my own self love and self esteem.  It’s time to forget about those articles about how to get Jessica Biel’s tush, Kelly Ripa’s arms, and Matthew McConaughey’s rock-hard abs. Forget them! Even Cameron Diaz doesn’t look like Cameron Diaz. Most of the photos we see in magazines are shot after hours of hair and makeup sessions, then air­brushed to perfection.  It’s called photoshop.  I can easily alter a photo and make myself “perfect. Trying to live up to these impossible standards will lead you down the road to poor self-image, self-loathing, and disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

Find Your True Shape

I looked online to find the different body shapes.  Here’s what I found.  So what is a realistic expectation of an ideal you? Below are three basic body types — identify the one that best applies to your body. It’s important to understand your shape and what you can and can’t expect from it.

  • The apple shape. The apple tends to store fat in his or her upper body, so if a person is carrying extra weight, it’s usually around the belly. Fat stored in the upper body can lead to cardiovascular disease, so it’s important for apples to be health conscious. Apples have evolved to store fat in this way to adapt to long periods of famine.
  • The pear shape. Pears are almost always women and hold the majority of their fat in the lower body: hips, butt, saddlebags. This shape has evolved because fat stored in these areas aids in fertility. This type of fat isn’t as much of a health risk as ab­dominal fat, but it can be harder to lose!
  • The proportionate shape. Lucky proportionates have fat cells dis­tributed equally throughout their entire body. When they gain weight, they gain it everywhere. When they lose weight, it comes off evenly.

After identifying your shape as one of the three basic types, you need to es­tablish a realistic weight for your specific build.  Just google BMI chart, it’ll help you see what your ideal weight should be for your height.

Setting and Realizing Your Goals

Now that you’ve got an idea of what your shape can look like and what your goal weight should be, visualize it! Imagine in great detail how you’ll look and feel, the many ways in which your life will be different and, yes, bet­ter. I recommend keeping a food and exercise journal.  Track your progress and write down goals.  Use it every day so you’re inspired to work through your issues and toward your goals, rather than avoid your problems and stay in neutral.

Meditate on your daily goals every morning to give purpose to your day. And every night before you go to sleep, think about your vision of the ulti­mate you — strong, healthy, and happy. Reaffirm your belief in yourself and your goals, and you’ll find yourself taking the active steps needed to achieve them.

I just want to thank Jillian Michaels.  I got this info from her site to help you all out!

It’s December 1st

To tell you the truth, I’m terrified.  This is why it’s December 1st and I’m finally starting my Fit by 30.  I originally started November 25th.  But with different things happening, I easily got off track and back into my normal habits.

As many of you know, I’ve made a goal to be Fit By 30.  Sure, I still have a goal weight in mind, but my main focus in this journey is to become physically fit.

I want to be able to run without being short of breath.  I want to be able to keep up with my son when we’re outside playing.  I want to go to the gym and not feel intimidated by those around me.  I need tunnel vision when at the gym.  I find I easily get distracted while at the gym.  I’m constantly looking at other girls wishing I was their size.  Why do I do that?  Why am I so consumed with worry?  I’m constantly worried about what others think of me when they look at me.  I struggle with my own self image.

But it’s going to stop.  Today was an off day with foods – not that I ate horribly, I didn’t have an appetite.  So I didn’t really eat.  I ate an apple and dinner.  I’m heading to the gym later tonight.  Will ensure I have a good post workout snack afterwards.

I’m excited for this journey though.  I haven’t weighed myself.  I’m unsure if I’m going to weigh myself or not.  It could be that I’m simply in denial that I’ve gained A LOT of weight back.  It could be that I’m quite scared to see the number on the scale knowing that I once got down to 169lbs.

But why does it matter?  Seriously.  I need to ask myself why it matters.  I’ve come along way, I need to be happy.  I need to accept that this year has been full of bumps in the road.

January I lost my Aunt to cancer.
July I lost my Nan – my best friend – to conditions still unknown.
Unfortunately, I’m still grieving the loss of my Nan.  I have accepted she’s no longer here, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  Since July, I’ve been trying and trying to stay on track and make good choices.  But unfortunately, sometimes I truly just say to myself “fuck it”

HOWEVER…. in my heart there’s still that voice that says “Danielle, you’ve come so far, why are you giving up.  Your Nan would NOT want you to give up.”  So, with that, I keep going.

So, it’s December 1st.  My 30th Birthday is March 28th.  I’m going to do it – you watch!!  I’m going to utilize this blog to keep you all updated on my progress.  I’m still going to post advice, workouts and other blabbings I feel like to keep you all entertained.

The ones reading this mainly are the ones who have been supporting me along the way.  Yeah, it’s been a long time coming.  But 2014 is going to be my fittest year yet.  No more “I’ll start tomorrow” or “I’ll get back on track next week.”  All of that ends today.

It’s only me who I’m hurting.  My close friends and family don’t care what size I am – they love me either way.  It’s me that is unhappy with the way I look.  It’s myself who wakes up each morning and looks in the mirror and disappointment immediately showers over me.  I know it shouldn’t be that way… but that’s just what happens.  It’s time I get back to my old self.  It’s time I realize my potential once again.

My career goals are to become an actual health coach.  Any one can call themselves a health coach, it’s hard work and dedication that actually makes you one.  So here I go.  I’m going to put forward the work that will help me become the health coach I know I can be.

I know my potential… just time to dig down deep and bring it to the surface.  I want to shine!!!!

I was born to MOTIVATE! I was born to INSPIRE! I was born to LEAD!
I wasn’t born to give up.  My Nan would not let me give up if she were still here, so I’m sure she’s rooting for me up in heaven.  I know she’s that little voice inside my head saying “give it one more chance”