Christmas, what a wonderful time of the year. Holidays, gatherings, happiness, gratitude the list goes on. But what about the waist line? how does the waist line fair over the festive season? Well it doesn’t fair to well and I bet you knew that too…
I don’t need to mother you on controlling yourself over Christmas, but I will educate you on the hormone Leptin which is responsible for the metabolic management of our weight and also weight loss.
Have you heard of leptin before? No? GREAT! I will give you a quick nerd lecture on leptin and why you should know about it, and how you can control it…
Leptin is a hormone produced in our adipose tissue and functions as a food inhibitor, YES food inhibitor by regulating weight and homoeostasis. Our Hypothalamus which is an area of the brain that is responsible for releasing hormones like leptin and much more receive information by leptin in our adipose tissue and this sends information to our leptin receptor in our brain (LEP-R) which becomes a neurotransmitter and decides what happens next. This will lead me to overeating over the Christmas break and how it affects our leptin and communication in the brain.
When we overindulge in a 12hr period or 2-4 weeks are leptin becomes more resistant. Now what do I mean by resistant? your hypothalamus in your brain gets tricked by your overeating. And that it’s energy demands have increased, but they haven’t have they? So what happens next? because leptin becomes resistant. Leptin increases fat in our adipose tissue…oops… and we have weight gain. This leads to all sorts of hormonal problems and leptin becomes misinformed on your homoeostasis.
So, how can we keep leptin more sensitive? Exercise! especially incorporating aerobic (20-30+ min of moderate intensity) and anaerobic (10-20 sec high intensity 1:1 work to rest ratios, 3-6min) into your strength training. This will increase leptin sensitivity and anabolism WIN! Or getting involved in the back yard with cricket which is always fun.
Intermittent fasting, under consultation with your Doctor/naturopath has been shown to improve leptin sensitivity, cognitive function, decreased blood pressure and glucose uptake. Fasting for 12-16 hrs before Christmas lunch would be a good example of intermittent fasting.
Lastly the BIG one, Controlling your portion sizes. It’s a no brainer but excessive calories especially foods high in sugar will illicit a spike in your insulin levels along with an abundance of good hormones (Serotonin) and thus again the want for more. There is more to this with rewards centres in the brain and behavioural addictions but that’s for another time.
So there we go ladies and gents. I’m sure your not sick of the word “Leptin” yet…. There is a array of ways to keep the weight off over the Christmas period.
Happy Holidays 🙂