Help Me Lose Weight: Part I

Help Me Lose Weight

Frequently it is necessary to look beyond diet and exercise for the hidden obstacles that make weight loss a frustrating experience. I see some patients who limit their calories too much and exercise too much to “force” the weight off. Sometimes I hear, “If I eat over 1000 calories per day I gain weight.” There is more to weight loss than just calories in and calories off. What is in between is your own biochemistry including hormones you probably have never heard of…but more on that in a minute. I recently saw a woman in her early 40′s who was frustrated with lack of weight loss even though she had been following the dietary plan in our FirstLine Therapy program and being active. At her last visit I asked her about her sleep. She said she goes to bed around 10 or 11 but gets up at 3 am when her husband goes to work and does not go back to sleep. She gets up just to see him off not because he needs anything done for him. So her main concern is “Help me lose weight.”

Researchers in the long term nurses study in 2006 found that the women sleeping 5 or fewer hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain, defined as an increase of 33 lb or more, and 15% more likely to become obese during the 16-year study period than the women who slept at least 7 hours per night. In addition, women who slept for 6 hours were 12% more likely to have major weight gain and 6% more likely to become obese compared with women who slept at least 7 hours per night.

The key result was that sleep deprivation decreases the levels of leptin (a hormone produced in our white fat cells) which signals to the brain that the body has had enough to eat, producing a feeling of satiety with a corresponding increase in the levels of ghrelin (a hormone produced in the stomach and pancreas) which increases the sensations of appetite and hunger.

So for my patient, it will be necessary to make a lifestyle change to better “regulate her hormones” and have an easier time of losing weight. In my next Help Me Lose Weight blog I will cover another hidden cause of weight loss frustration.

One thought on “Help Me Lose Weight: Part I

  1. Pingback: Help Me Lose Weight - Part II | Functional & Nutritional Medicine

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