I love food and used to frequently overeat. I enjoyed the feeling of being extremely full after a delicious meal. Knowing that I could burn off the extra calories through exercise this pattern continued for many years with little regard for my long term health (Read on to discover why my appetite may have been so high and what I recommend as the best natural appetite suppressant).
At the time I was a university level athlete doing 2-4 hours of training per day. I never gained weight.
When my career as an athlete ended my appetite continued at the same intensity. I continued this pattern of overeating, especially late in the day.
My experience has now revealed that this is a common pattern among retired athletes. What I have noticed is that these athletes continue to have a high appetite despite the lack of exercise/calorie burn.
Why aren’t they eating less?
This could be explained by simple factors like habit or interest in food but I suspect there is a metabolic feedback mechanism impeding the proper functioning of appetite hormones in addition. Impaired blood sugar regulation via pancreatic insulin release could also play a role.
One thing we know for sure is that as soon as weight gain occurs the problem perpetuates itself. Overeating due to high appetite and intense cravings can be caused by weight gain.
As retired athletes, or anyone with a significant body fat percentage, gains more weight they experience an increased difficulty reducing caloric intake.
Below you will find the mechanism for why this occurs and how to fix it.
How Weight Gain Causes Increased Weight Gain
Fat cells secrete leptin, the hormone that is meant to suppress appetite and tell us to stop consuming calories.
As we gain more weight we secrete more leptin and in theory we should be less hungry. The problem is that this appetite suppression doesn’t always occur. In fact, consumption often increases.
The reason for this inability for the brain to respond to high levels of leptin is inflammation caused by the leptin release and correlated with obesity. The immune cells released when leptin levels are high block the brain from recognizing that leptin is high.
We still experience hunger.
“Several studies have implicated leptin in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammation, and the elevated circulating leptin levels in obesity appear to contribute to the low-grade inflammatory background which makes obese individuals more susceptible to increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, or degenerative disease including autoimmunity and cancer.” – REF.
The thought that one of our appetite regulating hormones can be the trigger in an autoimmune reaction is confusing but has been confirmed. There is potential.
So, what do we need to do?
How to Lose Weight by Overcoming Leptin Resistance
For those currently overweight it is important to note that your sensation of hunger may be altered and it might be advisable to not respond to it right away for a while.
Aside from practicing holistic weight loss we still need to have a calorie deficit when on a weight loss journey. This is difficult if you are hungry all the time.
We need to re-sensitize the brain to leptin levels and the logical way of achieving this would be by reducing inflammation systemically.
I can say from experience that this is effective for many. Reduce inflammation and your hunger levels will reduce.
In this situation I usually use the following supplements, herbs and lifestyle changes to actively reduce inflammation. I have included which markers of inflammation each intervention reduces. All of these are increased in obesity with high leptin levels and therefore using these therapies could improve the ability to respond to appetite signals.
Natural Appetite Suppressant Supplements and Herbs to Reduce Inflammation
Use these herbs and healthy fats to reduce leptin resistance in the brain and improve weight loss.
- Turmeric – Reduces TNFa
- Omega 3 – Reduces IL6
- Omega 7 – Reduces CRP
- Boswellia – Reduces IL6 and TNFa
Natural Appetite Suppressant Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Inflammation
The following activities can improve leptin recognition by the brain simply by reducing systemic inflammation. Get outside!
Anything with the potential to reduce inflammation could prove beneficial.
Please consult with your ND or MD to determine what options may work best for you.
How to Optimize Appetite Hormones and Lose Weight
To optimize your leptin response and reduce hunger it is important to know when it is time to eat and when it is not. People who are overweight cannot rely on their hunger signals to be appropriate.
This means we sometimes need to go hungry.
To make this process more efficient we can actively reduce inflammation and in theory our hunger should decrease. This is breaking the leptin resistance cycle.
It is effective and easy to do.