“I can’t help being overweight,” a friend told me. “My hormones are out of whack.”
And she is exactly right. I could tell without a peek at her blood work or a word with her doctor. I’ve heard that same statement so many times! It is always true. I know because when a person is overweight, there is almost always a corresponding dysfunction of hormones.
Let’s take a look inside our bodies again and visit our old friend, the autopilot. Click here to learn about your autopilot.
The hormones that control hunger and satiety are made to perfectly balance each other out. When the stomach is empty and the body is running low on readily available fuel, the hormone ghrelin kicks in. It carries the message from the autopilot to the conscious pilot (the conscious you) that it’s time to refuel. Eat, in others words. As you eat, ghrelin backs off and the satiety hormones kick in. One of those is leptin, which carries the message from the autopilot to the conscious you that you’ve had enough already. No need to keep eating. Insulin is the other satiety hormone that goes to work processing the sugar in the meal to store in the body as fat.
That’s how it is supposed to work. The hunger hormones and the satiety hormones balance each other out. What happens too often with us? In our culture the food we eat is mostly processed, high in carbs, and full of high fructose corn syrup. That’s a perfect recipe for messed up hormones.
We have looked at what happens when there is consistently too much sugar in the system. The overworked pancreas can’t keep up and the satiety hormones don’t work as they should. That leaves the hunger hormones in control.
Have you every felt that way — that hunger is controlling you? You just can’t seem to feel satisfied. Even after a meal, you are still hungry. The main reason that is happening is that your hunger hormones are ruling. You keep eating because you never feel full. You yearn for more of what you’ve been eating — carbs and sugar. As you eat more, you impair your satiety hormones more. You feel sluggish and less alert. You certainly don’t feel like moving. You burn up less and less of the available fuel. So your body packs away the extra as fat until you have a serious weight problem and, more than likely, a case of diabetes. The hunger army wins and you are the loser — and not in The Biggest Loser sense!
Can this situation be reversed? Good news — yes, it can! Now that you know of the war going on inside you, you can provide reinforcements so the satiety hormones can win.
We’ll be looking at ways to support leptin and insulin in the next few posts, so keep watching! In the meantime, I can give you a clue. If you’ve been following the Green Light/Red Light eating plan, you’ve already given the good side a head start. New to the blog? Click here to read about low glycemic foods and the Green Light/Red Light eating plan.
Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown