Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal! My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal BMI is 24.9.
Natural Weight Loss
Metabolic Hormone #12: Ghrelin
Leptin and ghrelin act in kind of a yin-yang balance between hunger and satisfaction.
Just as leptin tells your brain to turn off hunger, ghrelin tells your brain you’re famished.
Where Ghrelin Is Produced: The stomach, duodenum, and upper intestine.
When you’re hungry, about to eat, or even just thinking about eating, your gut releases ghrelin.
Acting as a messenger, ghrelin then travels up to your hypothalamus and turns on neuropeptide Y, which increases your appetite and decreases metabolic burn.
Ghrelin has one good thing going for it, though – it helps your pituitary release growth hormone.
How Ghrelin Impacts Metabolism: In your average person, ghrelin goes up when your stomach is empty.
This hormone is the reason you always feel hungry at certain times of the day – your body’s clock triggers the release of ghrelin according to a finely tuned schedule.
Ghrelin levels stay up until you’ve given your body enough nutrients to satisfy its needs.
Because those signals can take a few minutes to kick in, eating slowly may help you to eat less overall.
By the time your stomach fills up, ghrelin levels start to drop again, you feel satisfied, and you can stop eating.
Interestingly, it’s not ghrelin itself that makes you feel hungry – hunger is stimulated in part by neuropeptide Y and by the growth hormone it releases.
In fact, ghrelin levels must rise to allow the release of growth hormone.
That’s just one of the many reasons why this plan doesn’t allow eating after 9:00 p.m. – we want food to be nearly out of your system by the time you head to bed.
Your body needs ghrelin to let you move through all the necessary phases of sleep.
Without the right progression, you won’t get to stage 4 sleep, where you get a big pulse of growth hormone, or to REM sleep, which helps protect leptin levels.
For the rest of the day, though, the object is to keep ghrelin levels low.
You don’t need the extra hunger and metabolic havoc those blood sugar ups and downs wreak on your system.
How Ghrelin Gets Out of Whack: You have to stay ahead of those ghrelin surges, because ghrelin is crafty about getting you to eat.
New research shows it triggers reward centers in your brain to make food look more appetizing.
These areas of the brain have been linked to drug addiction for many years, and researchers believe ghrelin triggers these centers even when you have no reason to eat.
Constant calorie restriction keeps ghrelin levels high, which may be why some yo-yo dieters feel like their hunger just keeps getting worse the fewer calories they eat.
This is all part of nature’s way of getting us to eat.
This ever-rising ghrelin is probably a big part of what makes maintaining weight loss so challenging.
Interestingly, a small group of people may feel better when they have higher levels of ghrelin.
People with anorexia nervosa actually have much higher levels of ghrelin than average people, whereas people with binge-eating disorder have lower levels.
Binge eaters’ ghrelin production may take a hit after they repeatedly eat well beyond the point where ghrelin is no longer making them hungry – as with other hormones, their hormonal feedback system no longer works.
On the other hand, some studies suggest increases in ghrelin may help some people manage depression caused by chronic stress.
Perhaps in people with anorexia, ghrelin acts almost as an antidepressant.
A reduction in ghrelin levels might even be one of the ways gastric bypass surgery reduces people’s weight.
When you literally remove the cells that produce ghrelin, you feel less hunger.
But this seems a little extreme to me.
We can come up with better ways to manage your ghrelin than going under the knife – like eating balanced meals every 4 hours and hitting the sheets for 8 hours a night.
That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Come join me on my weight loss journey! I’d love to have you along!
Have an awesome day!
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If you’d like to read Jillian’s book, you can get it here: Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body!
Dick and Lenay
email: Lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657