Nourish Mama by Sherry Rothwell

Posts Tagged ‘How Chronic Stress Keeps You Craving’

How Chronic Stress Keeps You Craving

Ever wonder why some people can eat whatever they want and remain thin, while other’s have to “diet” just to maintain their weight? By understanding the effects of stress on the hormone leptin, this occurrence will no longer be such a mystery.

cravings“Fat Programs” is the term that Jon Gabriel, author of “The Gabriel Method” uses to describe a metabolic profile that can cause a shift in the body’s internal “set point”, signalling the body that it needs to be “fat” for reasons of self preservation and survival.

Leptin is a hormone secreted by our fat cells that tells our brain how much fat our body is carrying.

Leptin is responsible for:
1) regulating body weight
2) feelings of satiety
3) reduces sugar cravings
4) signals the thyroid to speed up metabolism
5) signals the liver to start burning fat

When leptin levels rise, we eat less, we burn more calories and we burn fat easily.

While uncommon, there is a rare genetic defect that causes a severe deficiency of leptin that causes obesity. When people with this condition are treated with leptin, they lose weight.

There is also a condition called Cushing’s Sydrome which causes chronically elevated levels of cortisol in the bloodstream.  These people are also typically overweight and have leptin resistance.

However, the majority of overweight people do not have a deficiency of leptin, in fact they have an overabundance of leptin because the more fat cells one has, the more leptin is produced.

So why would a person produce so much leptin, yet not maintain a healthy weight?

The trouble is that overweight people are leptin resistant, meaning that the body is not listening to leptin.  The net effect of leptin resistance is the same as having little or no leptin. The worse the leptin resistance, the fatter someone will become. The answer is not in more leptin but in getting your body to start listening to leptin again (become more sensitive to leptin again).

Certain chemical and hormonal signals can cause or influence leptin resistance, such as:

  1. chronically elevated cortisol
  2. elevated triglycerides
  3. insulin resistance
  4. inflammatory conditions

Our internal set point for our weight is determined by our sensitivity to leptin.

Researchers believe that leptin plays a dominant role in managing your body’s “internal set-point” (an ideal weight that your body wants to be) and that it will seek to maintain that weight.  The level of our internal set point is determined not only by genetic factors. Our internal set points shift, depending on the kind of stresses or stress responses that we engage.

“If your body decides for survival reasons that your internal set point should shift to being fatter, you’ll become leptin resistant. Anytime your body decides it is more advantageous to be thinner, it will become sensitive to leptin.” Jon Gabriel

Modern stressors can create a metabolic profile that is akin to old world stressors that we no longer need to adapt to – like living outside in the winter or famine.

In the case of starvation or cold (chronic stress) we increase our weight for protection.

Whereas, in the case of needing to protect ourselves from a predator (acute stress) we lose weight for protective purposes as well, namely so that we can escape fast!

Interestingly enough, the physiological responses to the stress of starvation and cold temperatures causes elevated cortisol (plasma & intracellular), elevated triglycerides and insulin resistance.

As previously stated, these are the same chemical signals that cause us to resist leptin, signalling the storage of fat for protection.

Except that today chronically elevated cortisol, triglycerides, inflammation and insulin resistance can come from any one or a number of physical, environmental or emotional stressors that are completely unique to modern day life.

“…the stresses of modern living are creating the same metabolic profile as perpetual starvation and/ cold weather, thus tricking our bodies into activating ancient survival mechanisms that cause our set point to shift toward fat accumulation.” Jon Gabriel

On the other hand, acute stresses, such as exercise can lead to reduced cortisol and triglyceride levels in the blood, as well as increased insulin sensitivity.

So as to be expected, acute stress such as in the flight or fight response can make the body thinner.

Your body is simply interpreting the stress one way or another.

It may be that stresses that are unexpected and come on fast would cause us to lose weight, while those that creep up on us (and are persistent) such as constant daily stressors are interpreted by the body to be more like the chronic stress of famine and cold weather – causing us to gain weight.

These are the modern stressors likely to turn on ‘Fat Programs’:

  • chronic yo yo dieting
  • nutritional deficiency
  • toxic chemicals
  • radiation
  • medication
  • food additives
  • artificial sweeteners
  • mental, emotional, physical, spiritual threats or starvation
  • dehydration
  • oxygen deprivation
  • sleep deprivation

So while there is a biochemical basis for our current tendency to be thin or overweight, we are not powerless in the face of our cravings.

We can assume responsibility to reduce the stress in our lives by feeding ourselves – body, mind and spirit – and doing whatever it takes to create the shifts that we need to – lifestyle wise – to reset our body’s weight “set point”.

It begins with looking for the cause  – not stressing our body – through deprivation, will power or over exercise.

Want to learn more about sustainable weight loss?

If you are tired of dieting or feeling futile about your weight, click here to get access to my free training! You’ll learn uncommon nutrition wisdom about the underlying causes of unexplained and stubborn weight gain. I will show you how you can simply get your body back without having to obsess about it. Best of all, you’ll learn how to do it without having to give up the rich, sweet, creamy foods you love!

The Gabriel Method- The Revolutionary DIET FREE Way to Totally Transform Your Body

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