Get Your Ideal Body Pt. 4 – Leptin

Leptin is nicknamed, “the satiety hormone” for it’s role in telling your brain that the body has enough energy stores  and does not need to store anymore.  Therefore it regulates fat loss directly or indirectly. It affects the feeling of hunger or “satiety”, feeling full.  When leptin levels are low, it triggers the body to release a hormone, called grehlin, telling you that you need to eat something.

Leptin also affects the production of other hormones, such as T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones).  When leptin levels decrease these thyroid hormones decrease with it.


So how does this affect weight loss?

When leptin levels are high, then T3 and T4 levels are high and fat loss is increased.  This is normally the case when someone begins a restricted calorie diet and exercise program.  They lose a lot of weight quickly with a quick spring out of the gate.  As the caloric deficit continues, then metabolic slowdown occurs.

The slowdown occurs because leptin levels are dropping.  As leptin drops, then T3 and T4 drops resulting in a slowdown or complete halt in fat loss.

So in order to have keep losing you weight you have to keep your leptin levels high.


So how do you keep your leptin levels high?

Leptin levels are controlled by two factors:  the amount of body fat you have and caloric intake.

Leptin is made from lipid cells.  So the more lipid cells, or body fat, you have the higher your leptin levels will be.  Again why so many people lose a lot of weight when first starting out.

As your body fat steadily decreases, your leptin levels decrease with it.  Which is why it is so hard to lose that last ten pounds.

Leptin levels are also controlled by caloric intake.  Leptin levels are high with a high caloric intake and drop with a prolonged caloric deficit.

So lets repeat this again in a real life example, you begin a diet and exercise program to lose fat.  You go on a caloric-deficit diet and workout.  You lose a lot of weight right out of the starting gate.  You feel motivated and like a million bucks.  Now as you are celebrating all of these achievements, your body fat is decreasing and your caloric intake is continually decreased.  Which is good right, because that is how we lose the weight.  Catch 22:  the decreased body fat and caloric intake cause your fat loss to flatline due to low leptin levels. Fat loss…. stopped!

So let me get this straight, doing what I need to do to lose weight is actually going to cause me to stop losing weight and make it harder for me to lose the weight down the road? WHAT!?!?!?


Which is why people get stuck, hit a plateau and give up.


So how do you keep leptin levels high?

The first thing to do is, not drop your caloric intake too drastically in the beginning.

People get to excited and go from a 2,000+ calorie diet to a extreme calorie deficit like 1,000 or less.  This extreme will plummet leptin levels very quickly.  So only decrease calories by a small margin and burn the rest off through exercise.

This way you are still eating enough to keep leptin levels high enough to keep the fat burn going.

So for example, if you eat 2,5oo calories, burn 500 calories through exercise and finish the day with 2ooo calorie total for the day.  This way you eat enough to keep leptin levels high, but create a caloric deficit through exercise to burn the fat.  Compared to restricting your diet to a 1,2oo calorie deficit then burning 500 calories in exercise and ending the day with leptin dropping 700 total calories.

In closing…

So as you can see the conventional way of reducing calories and exercising, dieting till you’re miserable is  just a bunch of non-sense.  It keeps people stuck in a rut and eventually giving up.

Hopefully this spread some light on the topic of losing fat and you can see where you may need to make some changes in your plan.





About The Author

Kevin Fulton

Kevin Fulton is personal trainer in Pittsburgh, PA. His goal is to help his clients look, feel, and move better. In his spare time you can find him under a barbell or practicing jiu jitsu.

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